ATX Film News

Acquisitions, awards, and a big gaming rumor

John McCall, the newest inductee to the Texas Film Hall of Fame (Courtesy of Austin Film Society)

Is the Alamo Drafthouse planning its own MoviePass killer? The Austin-based cinema chain will start a trial run of their new Alamo Season Pass on July 18. Don't get too excited yet: The pilot program only applies to the Yonkers, N.Y., location. In a statement, Drafthouse management said, "We plan to test a variety of models and pricing structures to see what works as a sustainable model." Considering MoviePass' current financial woes, that sustainable component will be key.

PJ Raval better clear some more display cabinet space: After scooping the Grand Jury Prize for Outstanding North American Documentary Feature at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in May, the Austin director's new film Call Her Ganda has won best documentary at Toronto's Inside Out LGBT Film Festival.

A late but deserving addition to the Texas Film Hall of Fame: On June 23, John McCall was inducted into the prestigious club, in recognition of his years of financial support for the Austin Film Society. During the evening event, the hair care product mogul was serenaded by his old friend Kinky Friedman, as well as a surprise appearance by Joe Ely.

Good news for an Austin regular, director Yen Tan. His latest film, period AIDS drama 1985, has been acquired by Wolfe Releasing, who also released his last film, 2013's Pit Stop. Read our SXSW interview with Tan about this deeply personal story, "A Different Spirit of Christmas," March 9.

Location, location, location. Remember how we keep saying Austin is a movie town? Now we have the numbers to back it up. Data company Verve Search has trawled through all the shooting locations listed on IMDb, and found that more films and TV shows have been shot in the ATX than in any other city in Texas. With 2,257 credits and counting, we easily beat out Dallas (at No. 2 with 1,537 titles) and Houston (No. 3 at 1,279), and came in 14th overall globally. Sadly, we don't have the state's most used single location: Houston takes the honor, with the Johnson Space Center.

Interested in letting your home – or even your hometown – become a film set? New Republic Studios and the Bastrop County Economic Development Corporation, along with the Texas Film Commission, are running four public meetings in late July explaining the Film Friendly Texas program. That's an initiative to teach communities how they can become more accessible to filmmakers, and there are currently 120 Film Friendly certified communities around the state, many of which have seen the benefits of production dollars spent in their stores and hotels. Come meet the experts: Mon., July 23, at Bastrop Opera House (711 Spring St., Bastrop); Tue., July 24, at Elgin Public Library (404 N. Main St., Elgin); Wed., July 25, Smithville First National Bank (312 Main St., Smithville); and Thu., July 26, at New Republic Studios (140 Utley Rd., Elgin). The meetings will run from 7-8pm.

That's pretty cool: Not only is the Capital City Black Film Festival back after a two-year hiatus, but it's definitely bringing the thunder on its return. Stars Malik Yoba and Leon, aka Yul Brenner and Derice Bannock, will be in town to celebrate the 25th anniversary of beloved sports comedy Cool Runnings. CCBFF runs Aug. 30 to Sept. 1.

Quick notes... Austin had a strong showing at the 14th annual Fantaspoa genre film festival in Porto Alegre, Brazil, last month: Owen Egerton gave his Rooster Teeth-produced horror-comedy Blood Fest its first international outing, while locally shot and cel-shaded rotoscoped crime caper The Next Kill received its world premiere, before the filmmakers flew back to preview some footage at the inaugural Greater Austin Comic Con... Good news for Austin's gaming scene: Kotaku reports that Bethesda Games Studios is developing its highly anticipated Fallout 76 in part at its Austin branch (formerly known as BattleCry Studios)... Steven Degennaro (Found Footage 3D) has wrapped shooting on his next short... Other Worlds Austin founder Bears Rebecca Fonté raised a massive $20,251 on Kickstarter for post-production on their new short, an LGBTQ+ horror called "Conversion Therapist."

Got any tips or breaking news? Making a movie and want to tell us about it? Email us at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More ATX Film News
ATX Film News: Fundraisers and a Special Delivery Scare Package
ATX Film News: Fundraisers and a Special Delivery Scare Package
Is Austin giving the world the next Game of Thrones?

Richard Whittaker, Nov. 29, 2019

Austin Film News: Linklater, Rodriguez, and a Case of Millennium Bugs
Austin Film News: Linklater, Rodriguez, and a Case of Millennium Bugs
Production updates, new releases, and job opportunities

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 13, 2019

More ATX Film News
Five Musical Movie Moments at Sound Unseen
Five Musical Movie Moments at Sound Unseen
The sonic cinema celebration returns to Austin

Annie Flores, Nov. 4, 2022

Five Bizarro Films at Fantastic Fest @Home
Five Bizarro Films at Fantastic Fest @Home
The strangest and most fearless of the streaming selection at this year’s Fantastic Fest

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 30, 2022


ATX Film News, 1985, Call Her Ganda, PJ Raval, Yen Tan, Texas Film Hall of Fame, Bethesda Games Studios, BattleCry Studios, New Republic Studios, Texas Film Commission, Capital City Black Film Festival, Cool Runnings, Fantaspoa, Blood Fest, Rooster Teeth, The Next KIll

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle