ATX Film News

Our monthly guide to what’s filming and screening

Damsel, the new Western comedy-drama from the Zellner brothers, leads the Austin contingent at Sundance

Park City, here we come: Film festival season kicked off this month with Sundance, and of course the Austin contingent was there in force. The Zellner brothers had the world premiere of their Robert Pattinson-starring period romp Damsel (good news for local filmmaking siblings David and Nathan: Even before its Sundance debut, Damsel had been added to the Berlin Film Festival competition section). Meanwhile Ethan Hawke is getting plaudits for directing Blaze, his biography of local musical icon Blaze Foley adapted from Living in the Woods in a Tree by Foley's longtime partner Sybil Rosen (full disclosure: Blaze was executive-produced by Chronicle co-founder Louis Black). Arkansan singer-songwriter Benjamin Dickey has been critically lauded for his portrayal of the late Foley, with matching plaudits for Austin musical mainstay Charlie Sexton as Townes van Zandt. Hawke also appears in and served as a consultant producer of another Sundance title: The King, Eugene Jarecki's new documentary about road-tripping in Elvis Presley's Rolls-Royce.

Neon, the new distribution house founded by Alamo Drafthouse boss Tim League made three acquisitons out of Sundance: social media horror Assassination Nation; family mystery documentary Three Identical Strangers; and searing race relations drama Monsters and Men.

SXSW is just a little over a month away (gulp), so watch out for a full list of titles playing any day now. The film speaker list is already filling in fast: Directors Darren Aronofksy (plus his regular cinematographer Matthew Libatique), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Joe Berlinger (the Paradise Lost trilogy), Olivier Assayas (Demonlover, Personal Shopper) and Austin's own Richard Linklater will all be in attendance.

Speaking of Linklater: His last film, Last Flag Flying, is barely out of cinemas, and his next (an adaptation of Maria Semple's offbeat adventure Where'd You Go, Bernadette starring Cate Blanchett and Kristen Wiig) is scheduled for a May 11 release, yet he is already at work on his next feature. Last month he put out a call for pictures and archive footage of Houston in the late Sixties as research material for his next feature: a so-far untitled project set in 1969, the year of the first moon landing.

We're number nine! MovieMaker magazine placed Austin in ninth place on their list of best big cities in North America to live and work for film professionals. Austin came in behind (deep breath) Atlanta, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Albuquerque, Boston, and Toronto. The list was calculated using criteria including number and scale of locally shot productions, filmmaking infrastructure, and the one area where Austin gets low marks – tax incentives.

Rooster Teeth, Austin's online entertainment leviathan, has announced its animation slate for 2018. Aside from blockbuster American anime success RWBY (and its cutesy spin-off RWBY Chibi) unsurprisingly confirmed for a sixth season, summer comedy Camp Camp and genre-defining machinima Red vs. Blue return for their third and 16th seasons respectively. New to the streaming site will be the previously announced gen:LOCK (their take on classic mecha giant robot action), and a surprise announcement: on March 2, Western-influenced actioneer Nomad of Nowhere arrives. All shows will stream first for subscribers to their First service, before moving to YouTube. Can't wait? The teaser trailer for gen:LOCK is online now.

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Sundance, Rooster Teeth, Zellner brothers, Blaze, Damsel, Richard Linklater, MovieMaker

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