ATX Film News: Fundraisers and a Special Delivery Scare Package
Is Austin giving the world the next Game of Thrones?
Austin Film Society is opening the new Creative Media Center at Austin Studios, an office and production space designed to give flexible options to small and large productions. The building was formerly a Texas National Guard armory, which AFS added to the existing Austin Studios in 2012. The 38,500-square-foot facility will officially open in mid-December, while Stage 7 (previously a helicopter hangar) is already open.
Speaking of AFS, the filmmaking and film-loving institution will be featured in a new exhibition dedicated to the work and career of Richard Linklater which opened this week at the prestigious Centre Pompidou in Paris. For more about this great honor, see "Behind the Scenes at the Centre Pompidou's Tribute to Richard Linklater."
The calendar of film festivals in Austin goes out with a bloody bang next month, as Austin-made horror anthology Scare Package will be the centerpiece film for the Under Worlds strand at science-fiction film fest Other Worlds. The festival (formerly known as Other Worlds Austin) runs Dec. 5-8 at Galaxy Highland: Tickets and full details at www.otherworldsfilmfest.com, and pick up next week's Chronicle for an interview with producer Aaron B. Koontz.
Congratulations to Cowboys: The Austin-made documentary about modern cowpokes, and the challenges of the contemporary open trail, picked up the audience award for Best Documentary Feature at last month's Austin Film Festival. Don't miss Matthew Monagle's interview with directors John Langmore and Bud Force, "Still Out on the Range," Oct. 25.
Austin's film podcasting community is rallying to raise urgently needed medical funds for local horror expert Patience Robinson-Campos. The co-host of Deliberations of Doom was recently diagnosed with chronic liver failure, and her family is desperately raising cash to help cover medical expenses. There will be a special fundraiser Sunday, Dec. 8, 8pm, at Knomad Bar (1213 Corona) with a special silent auction of donated items including film memorabilia, rare collectibles, and out-of-print posters by artists including Tyler Stout, Jay Shaw, and Olly Moss.
Looks like Austin is staying animated: Amazon Prime has commissioned season 2 of Undone, the surrealist mind-bender by BoJack Horseman writer Kate Purdy and creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg. The series' distinctive look is the work of Austin-based studio Minnow Mountain, which specializes in the technique known as rotoscoping (illustrating over live footage).
Kat Candler is telling a Texas story for her next project. She's currently developing a new series for TNT about union activism in modern-day Texas, as a woman mobilizes a strike after an oil refinery explosion. The project reunites the Austin filmmaker with Ava DuVernay after Candler was showrunner on season 3 of the superproducer's series for OWN, Queen Sugar.
Rooster Teeth is coming to HBO, and it's bringing one of its highest profile properties with it. The Austin-based studio has confirmed season 2 of its smash hit series gen:LOCK, but in a huge change in company history, it will not debut on their own streaming service at RoosterTeeth.com. Instead, the sci-fi action series will be one of the first original series to debut on the upcoming HBO Max service, launching early in 2020. The show will be an HBO exclusive for 90 days – joining high profile animated projects including new Adventure Time and a reboot of the scathingly subversive Boondocks – and then be made available to RT subscribers. Created and directed by former RT head of animation Gray Haddock before he left the company, gen:LOCK is set in a dark near-future in which pilots link their minds to giant fighting robots to save humanity. The show stars the voice talents of Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) and Dakota Fanning (The Alienist), although there is no word yet on who will take over as showrunner since Haddock's departure. For a behind-the-scenes look at season 1, read "Redrawing the Future in gen:LOCK," Jan. 25.
Frances Ferguson, the latest film from Austin director Bob Byington, has arrived on Amazon Prime. The laconic and sardonic story of a school teacher (the eponymous Frances, played by Kaley Wheless) who busts a few taboos out of sheer boredom, made its local debut before taking the jury award for Best Narrative Feature at the Sidewalk Film Festival in August. For more, read our interview with Byington, "Small Town Sins," March 8.
Could Elric of Melniboné be the next Game of Thrones? Deadline reports that New Republic Pictures has acquired the rights to The Elric Saga, the epic fantasy/horror/sci-fi/psychedelic book series by Austin transplant Michael Moorcock (source of the term Multiverse). The 11-book series follows the lives of Elric, a warrior cursed to reincarnation across time and space. It's the defining work of the British author Moorcock, who moved to Central Texas in the 1990s. Deadline reports that Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead) and Vaun Wilmott (Star Trek: Discovery) will be developing a TV show, but the series could also move into other media.
File this under industry rumors for now, but Deadline has also reported that Legendary Television is close to inking a deal for a new TV series based on Frank Miller's Sin City comic series, and Robert Rodriguez is reported to be considering producing the show. Miller and Rodriguez originally brought the brutal noir to the big screen in 2005, then returned to those mean streets in 2014 looking for A Dame to Kill For. Both hyperstylized movies, as well as the Miller-directed adaptation of Will Eisner's The Spirit, were filmed in Austin, but there's no word if/where this potential small-screen successor will be shot.
More Saw? Reboots of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre seem like a regular occurrence, and after a string of unsuccessful revamps horror fans have gotten used to tamping their hopes down. However, there was excitement this month as it was confirmed that Don't Breathe director Fede Alvarez is developing a new take on the Austin-birthed horror for Legendary Pictures. Alvarez previously directed the widely loved 2013 reimagination of another beloved gore franchise, Evil Dead. The news was initially broken by Bloody Disgusting in September, but a new report by Deadline adds that Chris Thomas Devlin will be handling script duties. Five of the eight films in the franchise were shot in Central Texas, and while we're not saying the other three are the worst three, we're also not saying that it's a coincidence that Texas Chain Saw films are best when made in Texas.
There's one series we know definitely won't be made here: Fox has set a debut date of Jan. 19, 2020, for 9-1-1: Lone Star, the Austin-set spin-off to their successful 9-1-1 show. The new series will star Rob Lowe and Liv Tyler as Austin Fire Department crew but was shot in California: So if you want to see L.A. filling in for the ATX, mark your calendar now.