Thursday, December 21, 2006

Audrey Wells confirmed as a panelist for the 2007 AFF

Writer/Director Audrey Wells had been confirmed as a panelist for the 2007 Austin Film Festival and Conference. Audrey is the writer and director of Under the Tuscan Sun and Guinevere. Some of her writing credits include The Kid, George of the Jungle, The Truth about Cats & Dogs, and Shall We Dance.

The 2007 AFF takes place October 11-18.

more from Marc Potts

Recently stumbled across this earlier short by AFF filmmaker Marc Potts on YouTube. We screened Marc's very funny short For the Love of Family at the 2006 AFF where it received a special mention from the Narrative Student Short Jury. Marc is a student at the University of Oklahoma and part of Singletree Productions along with For the Love of Family co-writer Cole Selix.

Canada's Top Ten

The Toronto International Film Festival Group (clearly the people that bring you the Toronto International Film Festival) have released their annual top ten list of Canadian films. Hopefully, most of these films will eventually make it to the U.S. Already slated for a U.S. premiere at Sundance next month is actress Sarah Polley's directorial debut, Away From Her. One of our programmers, Ryan Williams, caught a screening of the film at Toronto this year and could not say enough good things about it. Also making the list is the big screen version of the popular television show Trailer Park Boys. It is produced by comedy giant Ivan Reitman, and if the trailer is any indication, it should be pretty interesting.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Good Shepherd

AFF co-hosted the Austin premiere of Robert De Niro's new film, The Good Shepherd, last night at the Regal Metropolitan. The turn out was great and while we co-hosted the screening, AFF members still got priority seating for the film. To find out how you can be a member of AFF, click here.

The Good Shepherd stars Matt Damon (who is in almost every frame of the film) and tells the story of early days of the CIA. The script was penned by Eric Roth (Munich, The Insider) who was recently confirmed as a panelist for the 2007 Austin Film Festival.

The Good Shepard opens nation-wide this Friday, December 22nd.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Head in the Oven

AFF filmmaker Maggie Carey - Dance Club (AFF 2002 Audience Award Winner) and Jenny Clone (AFF 2006) has launched Head in the Oven, a new comedy web series.

Head in the Oven follows the adventures of three women who work nine-to-five at a suicide hotline for the wrist-cutters, pill-poppers, and gas-inhalers of Manhattan. Guest stars include Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live) and John Lutz (30 Rock). New episodes are posted each month or you can subscribe to the podcast. The show can also be found on myspace, where I'm sure you can be their friend.

Scott Alexander confirmed as a panelist for the 2007 AFF

AFF is happy to announce that Scott Alexander (pictured at the 2003 AFF) will be returning to Austin for the 2007 Conference. Scott's credits include Problem Child, Agent Cody Banks, Screwed and the upcoming 1408, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, scheduled for release in 2007.Together with his writing partner, Larry Karaszewski, they have also written three of the best bio pics of the 1990s, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon, and Ed Wood.

WGAw Award Noms - TV

The Writers Guild of America, West announced their nominations for best television writing last week. There were a few suprises, including two nominations for Tina Fey's struggling comedy, 30 Rock, in both the best Comedy Series and best New Series categories. A few nominations went to great shows that are no longer with us including The West Wing, Deadwood and Arrested Development. The compelete list of nominees can be found on the WGAw website.

The screen award nominees will not be announced until Janurary 11, 2007.

Christmas Miracle

Christmas Miracle

Screened at the 2005 Austin Film Festival, Darren Curtis' twisted take on the Christmas season can now be found on YouTube along with other very funny films from the Kiddnapper Films crew. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Eric Roth confirmed as a panelist for the 2007 Austin Film Festival.

AFF is proud to announce that acclaimed screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Munich, The Good Shepherd) will be appearing as a panelist at the 2007 Austin Film Festival.

Winning the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Forrest Gump and nominated for two more Oscars, Roth is one of the top screenwriters working in Hollywood today. His script for The Insider helped make it, in my opinion, one of the best films of the 90s.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Weinsteins pick up NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE

According to Kaiju Shakedown, The Weinstein Company recently bought all English-language rights to Shinya Tsukamoto's NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE. The film had it's US Premiere at AFF in October.

Grady Hendrix gushes that NIGHTMARE was, "the best movie I saw at Pusan." He also reports that Tsukamoto is already working on NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE 2 and 3 and speculates about the inevitable US remake.

Read the full post here

Golden Globe Noms

Golden Globe Nominations were announced this morning, a few surprises, including the rare double nominations for Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio (something the Academy prohibits). The ceremony will be telecast on NBC on Jan. 15th and one can only hope that Alec Baldwin will be the presenter for the best musical or comedy film and we get to hear him read out the entire tile of the Borat film.

Regardless, a big congratulations goes out to friend of the festival, America Ferrera for being nominated for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy (Television) for her work on Ugly Betty, The show was also nominated for Best Musical or Comedy (Television). America attended the festival this year in support of her film Steel City, which was in the narrative feature competition.

Other AFF screened films nominated for Golden Globes include...

"Babel" *
"The Queen"

Helen Mirren - "The Queen"

"Little Miss Sunshine" *

Toni Collette - "Little Miss Sunshine"*

Adriana Barraza - "Babel"*
Rinko Kikuchi - "Babel"*

Brad Pitt - "Babel"*

Stephen Frears - "The Queen"
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - "Babel"*

"Babel"- Guillermo Arriaga*
"The Queen" - Peter Morgan

*screened as part of our year-around AFF Membership Screening program

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dance Like a Monkey wins

You might recall the AFF trailers from 04 and 05 involving an animated Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway, they were both animated by Austin animator, Dano Johnson. Since then, he has gone on to form Collection Agency Films with producer Troy Campbell where they have done animated ads for Kinky Friedman's campaign and an award-winning short called Tall Tales and Other Big Lies (based on a story by musician Ray Wylie Hubbard). Tall Tales can now be seen on the Frederator podcast and has also been recently adapted into a comic book.

As if that wasn't enough, they also did the video for the New York Dolls single, "Dance Like a Monkey" and it recenly took home the Best Animated Video Award from the Bradford Animation Festival.

Dano is also animating a new adaptation of Edwin A. Abbott's novel, Flatland.

Below is the "official" word on the big win....

Austin's Collection Agency Films Collects UK Animation Award

“Dance Like a Monkey” brings home

Best Animated Music Video Award from 2006 Bradford Animation Festival

Austin animation house Collection Agency Films won best animated music video at the 2006 Bradford Animation Festival in England on Saturday, November 18th. Their film, “Dance Like a Monkey”, is a music video for the New York Dolls' new album “One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This.”

Producer Troy Campbell accepted the award in Bradford, where he took a break from his European concert tour. “Everyone at the festival was so nice. I felt treated like a star!” The annual celebration of animation is the longest-running and largest animation festival in the UK“Dance Like a Monkey” was one of 5 animated music videos in competition and was the only nominee from the United States. “A brilliant visual interpretation of the spirit of the music,” said the BAF webpage.

Director and animator Dano Johnson received a text message from Campbell Saturday night that simply read, “we won! we won! you are a star here!” Johnson couldn't believe the good news. “I was pretty surprised, especially since we were up against great videos for the Gorillaz, Wolf Parade, and Smog. But this validates all the late nights of hard work. I'm incredibly proud of our talented team and I can't thank the New York Dolls enough for giving us this chance!”

The video came about when Troy Campbell's friend Darren Hill, manager of the Dolls, approached Collection Agency Films about doing an animated music video. After phone conferences with David Johansen, lead singer of the New York Dolls, Dano and Troy won their confidence with a humorous and satirical concept. Dano recalls, “When listening to the song, which has lots of clever references to the evolution/creationism/intelligent design 'debate,' I had the idea of monkeys in an evolutionary science exhibit breaking out and causing chaos in the museum, all to teach an intelligent designer to embrace her inner monkey.”

The video was animated early in the summer of 2006. Cameron Petri illustrated the main sets and characters, while Maura Murnane provided illustrations for the video's montage sequence. Dano Johnson animated and composited the video, while 'Heart of Texas' animator R. Don Smith animated David Johansen's simian likeness. Despite fatal computer crashes and sleep-deprivation, the video was a resounding success, eliciting approval from the label, the band, and fans.

“We're big fans of the Dolls, so it was incredible to be a part of their first album in 30 years,” Campbell remarked. “This video was so much fun to make. Who doesn't like dancing monkeys? And you won't see another music video featuring Charles Darwin, Pat Robertson, Dick Cheney, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster for a long, long time, I reckon,” says Johnson.

This is the first international award for Collection Agency Films. They won previous awards for their short film “Tall Tales & Other Big Lies” (Runner-up Animated Short, SXSW 2006 Film Festival) and their political cartoons for Kinky Friedman (2006 Telly Awards for Best Online Political Ad). Currently Troy Campbell is promoting his acclaimed album, 'Long in the Sun'. Dano Johnson is furiously animating an adaptation of the classic novel 'Flatland', which stars Martin Sheen, Kristen Bell, and various talented Austinites. Collection Agency Films is about to release a comic book, 'Tall Tales & Other Big Lies: the Stories of Ray Wylie Hubbard.' “Dance Like a Monkey” can be seen at various sites online, as well as on Austin's MeTV.

More Year End Lists Roll In!

AFI and LA Film Critics have also released their end of the year film lists.

Three films made the AFI list that we screened as part of our 06 AFF Memberships Screening series, including Little Miss Sunshine, United 93 and Babel.

The LA Film Critics list also gave nods to a some AFF films, including The Queen (runner-up for best picture, as well as best actress and best supporting actor), Paul Greengrass (best director for United 93), and of course, the best screenplay went to Peter Morgan for The Queen and the runner-up went to Little Miss Sunshine writer Michael Arndt.

To find out more about the AFF membership program and year-around screening series, click here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

All Hail The Queen: AFF selections win New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Congratulations to AFF favorite The Queen! Peter Morgan's screenplay for the film was selected as the best of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle. Helen Mirren also took the best actress honor from the critics association for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in the portrait of the British royal family in crisis following the death of Princess Diana.

United 93 took best picture honors on Monday. I first saw Paul Greengrass’ drama which focuses on the eponymous flight at our AFF Member Screening days before flying to Toronto for Hot Docs. It definitely took at least 2 hours for the knots in my stomach to untie themselves after seeing the tense, but brilliant drama.

Read more here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Kopple & Peck Interview

The Austin-American Statesman recently ran an interview by Joe Gross done during the Austin Film Festival with visiting filmmakers Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck about their film, Shut Up and Sing, and the film's subjects, The Dixie Chicks.

Shut Up and Sing is currently in theaters, and The Dixie Chicks performed in Austin this last Monday.

Pictured: Barbara Kopple (middle) and Cecilia Peck with AFF programmer Ryan Williams during the festival.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Michael Showalter blogs about Austin

Writing the R Rated Comedy panel
from the left: Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, David Wain, Bob Fisher, Steve Faber and Jake Kasdan.
(photo credit: Jack Plunkett/Austin Film Festival)

Recently came across Michael Showalter's blog and noticed a section by him and Michael Ian Black about their recent tour and the time they spent in Austin, which included the two of them (along with fellow Stella member David Wain) being panelists at AFF. They had this to say...

(Sho) So we drove in to Austin from our degenerate casino jaunt. The Austin Film Festival is in Austin this week and we're on a bunch of panels. The first one is "Making An R Rated Comedy." David Wain has flown in from New York to join us for the weekend. Tonight there are two screenings of The Stella Shorts at a really cool art house theater in Austin called the Alamo Drafthouse. We're hosting the screenings and doing Q & A and stuff. So anyway, we get to the panel "Writing An R-Rated Comedy." The other panelists are the guys that wrote "Wedding Crashers" and Jake Kasdan who made the movie "Orange County" and was a director on "Freaks & Geeks" and many other things. The panel was fun. We all talked about how great we were.

(Black) There's not that much to say about writing an R-Rated comedy other than you should put in tits. That's pretty much it. Other than that, they're pretty much like other comedies. The "Wedding Crashers" guys and Jake Kasdan all seemed nice. We didn't hang out afterwards. But we did shake hands, which seemed like the right thing to do.

You can read Michael Showalter's entire blog here.

David Wain and Jake Kasdan shake hands after the panel, which does actually seem like the right thing to do.

AFF shorts in competition at Sundance

Congrats to AFF 2006 films One Rat Short (written & directed by Alex Weil), Happiness (written & directed by Sophie Barthes) and The Dawn Chorus (written & directed by Hope Dickson Leach) for being accepted into the 2007 Sundance Film Festival this January.

One Rat Short was the winner of the AFF Audience Award for Animated Short and The Dawn Chorus took home the AFF Narrative Student Short Jury Award.

Hope Dickson Leach (left), with producer Jennifer Westin, accepting the award for The Dawn Chorus during the 2006 Austin Film Festival.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Advice from David Wain?

AFF 2006 panelist David Wain filled in for Amy Sedaris' monthy advice column called "Sedaratives" in McSweeney's Believer Magazine. You can find a sample of his "advice" here.

Also, congrats to David whose new film, The Ten, will be screening at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.