Austin Film News: Linklater, Rodriguez, and a Case of Millennium Bugs
Production updates, new releases, and job opportunities
By Richard Whittaker, Fri., Sept. 13, 2019
Sneak peek time! Here's a first production still for Millennium Bugs, a Y2K comedy starring UT grad Katy Erin (Shameless) and Michael Lovato (Graves) that recently wrapped shooting in Austin – including at Vulcan Video. Writer/director Alejandro Montoya Marín is a graduate of Robert Rodriguez's Rebel Without a Crew reality show, during which he made his debut feature Monday (also in Austin) for $7,000 in 14 days, and he has plans to shoot his next film here as well. Millennium Bugs is currently in post-production, and the filmmakers hope to have it finished in time to submit for the spring 2020 festival season. Find out more about the film at austinchronicle.com/screens.
Speaking of Rodriguez, he has announced his follow-up to Alita: Battle Angel will be We Can Be Heroes, a superhero project for Netflix. The film, which harkens back to his blockbuster Spy Kids franchise, sees a new team of superpowered teens stepping up to defend the Earth when the grownup heroes are kidnapped by aliens. The feature, which is currently shooting, stars Quantico's Priyanka Chopra (who has some superhero experience having voiced Ms. Marvel for Marvel Avengers Academy), Pedro Pascal (about to become a household name with The Mandalorian on Disney+), and Christian Slater.
And there's word on Richard Linklater's next project (sort of). With the long-delayed release of Where'd You Go, Bernadette last month, the Austin filmmaker is going back to his Boyhood habits with an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's 1981 musical Merrily We Roll Along. However, this being the ever-ambitious Linklater, it's not a regular shooting schedule. The story – which Sondheim and librettist George Furth adapted from George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's 1934 Broadway play of the same name – follows a trio of bright young things but plays their lives in reverse, from jaded middle age to the optimism of college graduation. To this end, Linklater (who has been a fan of the musical since the 1980s) is planning a 20-year filming schedule, reuniting stars Beanie Feldstein, Blake Jenner, and Ben Platt through to the scheduled release in 2039.
Hallelujah, Sister Aimee is almost here! The highly fictionalized biopic of 1920s proto-megapastor Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, shot in Austin and starring a who's who of local talents (including Lee Eddy, Macon Blair, Nathan Zellner, and Anna Margaret Hollyman as the titular preacher), opens in New York, L.A. and Austin (with a special filmmaker Q&A at Austin Film Society Cinema) on Sept. 27, with a national release and VOD starting on Oct. 1. The film will be released by 1091 (formerly known as the Orchard Film Group, which recently released theatre dramedy Before You Know It, snake-handler thriller Them That Follow, and fashion documentary Halston). For more on Sister Aimee, read "In Production: An Austin Love Letter to L.A.," Sept. 28, 2018.
Austin Film Society has announced the election of new board members. The list includes the ubiquitous Robert Rodriguez, producer and film historian John Pierson, El Rey Senior Vice President for Marketing Cecilia Conti, singer-songwriter LeMel Humes, and First National Assets CFO Dan Allen. They took their seats effective Sept. 1, joining Panacea Collective co-founder Lisa Hickey and Rushing Design founder and principal Riki Rushing, who became board members in May.
Shorts and sweet: Congratulations to Austin filmmaker Benjamin Moody, director of Last Girl Standing. His new short, "Bar Fight," won the best micro-short at the GenreBlast Festival in Winchester, Virginia on Sept. 1. Meanwhile "The Last Delivery," directed by Renegade Film Studios manager Jarrod Yerkes, was nominated for best short at the fest.
The Son has risen again! Sadly, AMC may have canceled the Austin-made Western drama after two seasons, but at least now you can binge the entire show as all 20 episodes are now available on Hulu (plus you can read all about the book by Austinite Phillip Meyer that inspired it at austinchronicle.com/screens). And we can't be too mad at AMC, as they are shooting Fear the Walking Dead, which wrapped up season 5 last week, around here.
They have the power! Indie filmmaking legend Kevin Smith and Austin's Powerhouse Animation are joining forces again for a continuation/reboot of the classic 1980s animated adventures of He-Man. Masters of the Universe: Revelation picks up where He-Man and the Masters of the Universe finished its two-season, 130-episode run in 1985. It's the third big project for Netflix from Powerhouse, after two seasons of horror game adaptation Castlevania and their upcoming original Mexican martial arts adventure Seis Manos. However, it also reunites them with Smith, who played a pivotal role in the animation house's early days: They produced the famous "missing scene" for the 10th anniversary re-issue of Clerks, as well custom-building a couple of arcade games for Smith (including one called Jen Saves Ben as a wrap party gift for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez while they were shooting Jersey Girl).
Love Asian cinema? Looking for a job? The Austin Asian American Film Festival is looking for a new executive director. Tim Tsai has been serving in the post as an interim appointee but the festival (which recently celebrated its 11th outing) is looking for a permanent replacement. The part-time position involves fundraising, festival and staff management, administrative duties, and being the festival's public face. Think you fit the description? You can apply via Linkedin now.
Austin Film Society is hiring too. Austin Studios, which AFS runs, is in the middle of completing buildout on its expansion, and the society is looking for a new and experienced Studio Manager. The society also has vacancies for a marketing coordinator, and a box office cashier and bartender at AFS Cinema. Find out more about all these positions, as well as the AFS Spring 2020 intern program, at www.austinfilm.org/jobs-internships.