ATX Film News: What Kat Candler Did Next

Fear the Walking Dead returns, The Son sets, and more

What Kat Candler did next: Ever since the filmmaker, who has helped define Austin movies over the last decade, wrapped up her tenure as showrunner and director on OWN's Queen Sugar, she's been quiet about her next step. Now Variety reports that she will direct supernatural drama Splitfoot. The script (originally written by horror specialist J.T. Petty, with a rewrite by The Sinner director Antonio Campos) is inspired by a 1936 article for The New Yorker by reporter and folklorist Carl Carmer. Titled "Voices Through the Trumpet," it examined the Lily Dale Spiritualist Assembly, a mystical group that gathered at America's first recorded haunted house. This will be Candler's first feature since 2014's critically acclaimed Hellion; however, she's not done with original projects, and she's said that the planned full-length version of her 2013 short "Black Metal" is "still on my dream project list."


Put on your best shuffling shoes: Fear the Walking Dead, the Austin-made spin-off from AMC's zombie leviathan The Walking Dead, returns to screens on June 2. The show, which has become a cable smash in its own right, moved here in 2017 for season 4 after stints in Los Angeles and Baja California, and is back for season 5. Of course, the hope is that the series (which has been a massive employer of local creative talent and film techs) will stick around for season 6, and the ongoing discussion in the Texas Legislature about the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program could affect that decision, and that of several other network and cable shows rumored to be eyeing Austin for potential relocation.

Say goodbye to another AMC show: The Son, the locally shot Western series based on the novel by Austin author Philipp Meyer, has just begun broadcasting its second and final season. The network's positive experience with Austin's production crew was a major part of the original decision to move Fear The Walking Dead here. (For more on the show, read our interview with the author, "The Son Rises With Philipp Meyer," April 7, 2017.)

Speaking of production incentives, the Texas Film Commission is hiring. The agency has just listed two positions – a production incentives specialist, dealing specifically with TMIIIP applications, and a program specialist, reporting directly to the commission's director and deputy director. Visit www.gov.texas.gov/film/page/employment for details.

Austin-based scriptwriter Paul Vance just made the Austin Film Festival 25 Screenwriters to Watch list, published last week by Moviemaker magazine. Vance has been cutting his teeth as a production assistant and script supervisor on a host of local features (including two recently released titles, Little Woods starring Tessa Thompson and Willie Nelson's latest Waiting for the Miracle to Come), but it's his four shorts as a writer, including "A Haunting" and "Panty Raid" (which he also directed), that caught AFF's attention.

Another win for Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains: the Austin-made meta-horror picked up the best feature award at last month's Georgetown Film Festival, its third best feature prize after HorrorHound Film Festival in Indianapolis and L.A.'s Artemis Women in Action. According to co-director Gary McClain Gannaway (who wrote the film while he was a mature student at ACC), the producers are currently working with distributors and sales agents internationally, with plans for digital and physical release this fall. Read a full interview with Gannaway at austinchronicle.com/screens.

And here's what happens when you don't have competitive incentives: SyFy has announced that it is filming a new original series, Cipher, starring Adrian Grenier. The show will be set in Austin; the pilot will be shot in Atlanta, Georgia, which has built a massive film and TV industry over the last decade because of incentives.

The American Genre Film Archive has announced another film distribution deal, this time with archival label Shout! Factory. The Austin-based film preservation nonprofit will offer restored DCP and,in limited cases, 35mm prints for theatrical screenings of a slate of Shout! titles, from drive-in madness like Humanoids From the Deep to award winners like Whale Rider. This is AGFA's latest distribution partnership as the organization already has similar arrangements with Arrow Films, Severin Films and Vinegar Syndrome.

Richard Linklater isn't just a filmmaker, he's also a passionate film historian, and since 2014 he has been presenting his Jewels in the Wasteland series, highlighting forgotten gems of Eighties cinema. Now Austin Film Society has put all his in-person introductions and conversations about these titles online. Catch all 32 on the AFS YouTube page, then head over to AFS Cinema for the latest run of the series, which began this week with Local Hero and continues through to the end of May.

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