Fear the Walking Dead Hits Big After Move to Austin
Plus more local production updates
Hyde Park's historic homes have made it one of Austin's most regular shooting locations for filmmakers, and intergenerational indie drama One Hand Clapping is the latest to take advantage of its leafy streets, shooting for almost a week this month on Avenue H. The passion project of writer/director Jerry Alden Deal, the script had been in development on three occasions as a studio project since he wrote the original draft in the Nineties. Rather than stay in development hell, he said, "I just decided, I'm going to do this totally indie, come back to Austin." Based in L.A., Deal learned filmmaking in the Seventies at the now-defunct Austin Community Movie Company. That was when he first heard Austin called the Third Coast, a production alternative to Hollywood and New York – a promise he now sees being fulfilled. "I've been really pleased by the quality of the crew and the cast."
Gore News Is Good News: Ratings are in for the season 4 premiere for Austin's latest TV show, AMC's Fear the Walking Dead, and it's great news for the dozens of local professionals working on the show. The zombie apocalypse show pulled in 4.09 million viewers and a 1.6 rating among viewers 18-49. That's the best figures since midway through season 2, and nearly double the second half of season 3. AMC moved production to Austin after shooting seasons 2 and 3 in Baja California, Mexico, due to their great experience working with Texas crews on The Son.
Austin Goes to Dallas: Two films out of Austin are taking a road trip to the Dallas International Film Festival for their world premieres. Period oil patch drama The Iron Orchard, which shot in Austin last August, will screen on May 5 and 7. Make it a double bill, since Also Starring Austin, directed by political consultant/film producer Mike Blizzard, screens the same day. Blizzard promises that there will a hometown screening of his documentary about how Austin's cinematic representation reflects the changing city.
Black Film Fest Returns: Last year, the Capital City Black Film Festival was canceled at the very last moment, due to issues with key sponsors. Now it's back, with confirmed dates of Aug. 30-Sept. 2. CCBFF director Winston G. Williams credited the community around the festival for encouraging him to keep going. "I thought we were over and done with, and everyone said no, no, no, no." Watch out for more details at www.capcitybff.com.
Blaze of Glory: Sundance Selects has acquired SXSW smash Blaze, the critically lauded biopic of the late musician Blaze Foley, directed by Austin native Ethan Hawke. Sundance previously released two of Hawke's films as a director, Seymour: An Introduction and Chelsea Walls.
Speaking of SXSW acquisitions, the list of 2018 titles getting distribution is growing. Greenwich Entertainment picked up U.S. rights to special jury prizewinner Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable, with plans for a 2018 theatrical release and a broadcast premiere on PBS's American Masters; horror experts IFC Midnight swooped up Midnighter favorite What Keeps You Alive; and National Geographic bagged audience award winner Science Fair. Magnolia already acquired a double bill of films by Austin directors: Andrew Bujalski's breastaurant comedy Support the Girls, and the Zellner Bros.' Damsel.
Congrats to the team behind Tower, the SXSW award-winning documentary about the 1966 University of Texas mass shooting: It's one of the 20 titles nominated for a Peabody Award for best documentary. The winner will be announced at the 77th Annual Peabody Awards ceremony on May 19.
Quick Notes: Richard Linklater's 2018 sleeper success Last Flag Flying arrives on Amazon Prime on May 4... Steven DeGennaro, director of fan favorite meta-horror Found Footage 3D (currently streaming on Shudder), will shoot his follow-up this summer... Online content leviathans Rooster Teeth have funded a $50,000 bursary for UT-Austin's Texas Student Television station, where many of the founders got their start... Rooster Teeth's plan for global domination continues with the addition of a London sales office.
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