Thursday, April 27, 2006

AFF hosts Writers Ranch for screenplay contestants

Austin Film Festival held the inaugural Writers Ranch for three select writers - 2005 Screenplay Competition Semifinalists Terry Parmer (The White Caterpillar) and Benjamin Lee (Mindreader), and Finalist Jeremy Wadzinski (Ruby Blue) - this past February. All of the 2005 Screenplay Competition Finalists and Semifinalists were invited to apply to this program at no cost. The winners were selected after a lengthy decision-making process involving our Writers Ranch Committee made up of several producers and agents.

Read about the Austin Film Festival Writers Ranch and peruse the participants' Ranch diaries.

Donal Logue joins Mick Jagger in sitcom

Donal Logue (at right at the Austin Film Festival Film and Food gala) has a new sitcom in the works that has everyone buzzing. The title? "Let's Rob Mick Jagger."

Below is an excerpt from a New York Times article about the intriguing new comedy.

Mr. Logue wrote and directed last year's indie hit Tennis Anyone, which screened at the 2005 Austin Film Festival.

Mick Jagger Joins a New ABC Sitcom

Published: April 26, 2006

Trying to conjure some way to make a new television series stand out, show creators sometimes come up with pie-in-the-sky notions, like getting Jerry Seinfeld to come back and star in a sitcom, or inducing Vince Vaughn to quit movies.

But Mick Jagger?

By far the most unlikely star of a prospective fall situation comedy is that still-active lead singer of the Rolling Stones, who has signed on to an ABC pilot for its fall schedule. Just to increase the degree of unlikelihood, Mr. Jagger shot his scenes for the New York-based pilot in a hotel room in Auckland, New Zealand, last week.

That was the culmination of a saga at least as whimsical as the premise of the show, which, for now, anyway, is titled "Let's Rob Mick Jagger."

The writing team that came up with the idea, Rob Burnett, long David Letterman's executive producer, and his partner, Jon Beckerman, had previously created the NBC comedy-drama "Ed." As Mr. Burnett outlined the tale in a telephone interview, he and Mr. Beckerman "wondered if there was a way do a serialized comedy — something like a comedy version of 'Lost' or '24.'"

Hatched in numerous meetings, the concept centered on a janitor for a prominent New York building, to be played by the character actor Donal Logue. Down on his luck, the janitor sees a celebrity on television wallowing in his wealth during a tour of his new Manhattan penthouse. Enlisting a crew of similar ordinary but frustrated accomplices, the janitor conceives a plot to rob the big shot's apartment, a story line that would unfold over a 24-episode television season.

Full article

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

United 93 opens Tribeca, plays tonight for AFF members

United 93 opened the Tribeca Film Festival on Tuesday and plays in Austin tonight, Wednesday for AFF members. Here's an excerpt from a Reuters article.

Kicking off the Tribeca Film Festival on Tuesday will be the premiere of "United 93," a dramatization of the story of the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers fought its hijackers.

"If it was not opening the festival, it would seem strange," De Niro said at a news conference on Monday launching the festival. "It's important to see because it's kind of a playback of what happened and you know what's going to happen (but) still, ... you have to see the movie."

"United 93" is the first major Hollywood movie treatment of September 11. The next, Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center," about two police officers trapped under the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center towers, is due out in August.

"United 93" was made with the full cooperation of the families of those who died and around 90 of them are due to attend the premiere.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

AFF Trailer Competition!

You know those trailers that play before every movie at a film festival? Ever thought to yourself, "I could make a better trailer than that"? Now's your chance to prove it by making a promotional trailer for the Austin Film Festival.

Past Trailers have gone on to win Austin ADDY Awards, are promoted on our website and in our Program Book, and, most importantly, are viewed by a film-going audience of 25,000 viewers!

See the full set of competition rules here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Early Bird Conference Badge Deadline is April 15th

April 15th is the deadline for mailing in your taxes and with that fat tax refund, you should buy your AFF & Conference Badge for $225. After that Badges go up to $300, so don't delay.

Click here to buy your Badge now.

Monday, April 10, 2006

AFF Photo of the Week: Paul & Chris Weitz

Writer/Director Paul Weitz (left) attended the festival in 2003 along with his brother Chris Weitz (right). His new film, American Dreamz, opens later this month, and is the second film Paul has done without his brother Chris (the first being In Good Company) as a writing and/or directing team (Chris was, however, a producer on both films) . Together, they wrote and directed About a Boy and wrote the script for Antz, among other films. Chris also played the part of "Chuck" in the Mike White penned Chuck and Buck.

(photo credit: Jack Plunkett/Austin Film Festival)

The Onion plots a TV take over

Broadcasting & Cable recently published an article about how former writers from The Onion are working their way into television much like writers from The Harvard Lampoon have been doing for years. Some writers, like The Daily Show's Ben Karlin (who had never been on a TV set) was offered writing jobs based on the fact that he worked on The Onion, but rarely is it that easy to find a television writing gig...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Durwood's Video Pick of the Week

Durwood Wilkes is a professional bingo caller from Henshitt, Texas currently making his home base in Chicago. He recently celebrated his 25th year of criss-crossing the country spreading the gospel of bingory. The video pick of the week is taken from The Weekly Hopper, a newsletter for fans of Honky Tonk Bingo, a Sunday night tradition at the Pontiac Cafe' in Chicago. To subscribe to the Hopper, drop him a line at

A note from Durwood about his absence...
All right, I'm back. Did you miss me, my darlin's? The Hopper will
be weekly from now on. I really don't want to get in to why I was
gone, but it was kind of like in Superman II when Superman ditches his
Earth-saving duties to be with Lois Lane and three super villains run
amok. But I'm here for you now and I promise to never let you down
again. Ah, terrible analogies. It's what the Hopper's all about.
I'm serious, y'all.

And now, this week's pick:

The Apostle, dir. Robert Duvall 1997

This is Robert Duvall's (Texan!) engrossing character study of a
charismatic evangelical preacher running away from trouble and
building a church in a tiny Louisiana town. Duvall eschews the
cliché's associated with evangelists and offers up a performance that
is filled with compassion for a character seeking forgiveness. This
was a labor of love for Duvall and anyone can see his affinity for the
rural south and the people who inhabit it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Staffing Season

For those of you who have no idea what staffing season is in Hollywood- I just found a great blog by Jane Espenson. She answers her friend's question for all who wonder-

Monday, April 03, 2006

"The Simpsons" jump to the big screen

It's been rumored for years, but now it's finally being made. A teaser trailer for the feature film version of The Simpsons played before screenings of Ice Age 2 this weekend, and some enterprising soul got it up on YouTube. Click below to watch. The trailer has been removed from YouTube, but you can see it over on Apple's Quicktime Trailers site.