♦ The 24th Austin Film Festival, set to take place October 26-November 2, has announced the first 10 titles that will be screened during the event. One of the titles to have a screening is actually a TV episode, the season finale of HBO’s The Deuce, where show creators David Simon and George Pelecanos will be in attendance. Among the other films announced is 24 Hours to Live with Ethan Hawke, Permanent with Rainn Wilson and Patricia Arquette, and Please Stand By with Dakota Fanning and Toni Collete. Local Austin filmmaker Brandon Dickerson will be premiering his romantic comedy Amanda & Jack Go Glamping, starring David Arquette and Amy Acker. The AFF will also screen a remastered version of the 1985 cult horror film Confessions of a Serial Killer, which stars the late Texas art director Robert A. Burns. The festival will also honor Kenneth Lonergan with the Distinguished Screenwriter award.
♦ In an effort to promote the growth of the film industry in the Rio Grande Valley, the City of Edinburg has developed an annual film festival known as the South Texas International Film Festival. Consisting of feature and short film screenings, film workshops, Q&A panels, and seminars, the STXIFF showcases local, regional, and international filmmaking in hopes of connecting the South Texas film industry with the world. From the 68 submissions, a total of 19 films have been selected for final judging by this year’s panel of industry members which includes Barney Cohen (Writer/Producer), Matthew Stein (Producer) and Raul Castillo (Actor, Looking). The event will take place September 7 – 9 in Edinburg.
♦ On September 1st, American Masters on PBS will air the new documentary Richard Linklater — dream is destiny. The doc will focus on that specific style of independent filmmaking in the late 80s and 90s that came out of Austin, Texas with director Linklater as its rising star. Featuring writings from Linklater’s own journals, footage from his sets, and interviews with the man himself, the doc is said to explore his specific brand of filmmaking that made him and other Texas filmmakers stand apart from those emerging out of LA or NY. Also featured will be interviews with collaborators and actors from his films such as Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawk, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Smith, and Julie Delpy. The film is co-directed by Karen Bernstein and first-time director Louis Black, The Austin Chronicle editor and SXSW co-founder.
♦ The Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) has announced final selections for the festival’s 30th run which will be taking place September 7-10 at Alamo Drafthouse Lamar. This year’s lineup includes 39 features and 54 short films. The opening night will showcase Frances Lee’s God’s Own Country, which won the World Dramatic prize for Best Director at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. The closing night presentation is Becks from Daniel Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh. The dramedy starring Lena Hall, Christin Lahti, and Mena Suvari won the Best US Fiction Award at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival and is inspired by the life of the singer/songwriter Alyssa Robbins.
♦ On August 26th, director Tobe Hooper, best known for the horror classic Texas Chain Saw Massacre, passed away at the age of 74. Born in Austin, TX in 1943, Hooper found a love for filmmaking after playing with his dad’s Super 8 camera as a child. This love was further refined when he studied Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas, where he would also spend time as a professor and documentary filmmaker in the 60s. But it was with Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1974 that he would cement himself in the horror pantheon. The film was shot with a measly $300,000 and is still considered one of the best films of the genre. In her book Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids: 30 Years of Filmmaking in Austin, Texas, Alison Macor points to Chain Saw as essentially kicking off filmmaking in Austin. Hooper would go on to adapt Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot for TV in 1979 and have a part in directing Poltergeist (though his effect on the finished product is unclear as Spielberg stepped in take over what is rumored to be the bulk), but Chain Saw alone was enough to immortalize him in the world of Texas filmmaking.
Written by Ellen Lloyd