The Dallas VideoFest Turns 25

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In the 25 years since the Dallas VideoFest began, annual film festivals have become an accepted occurrence in most cities. Festivals like Sundance and South By Southwest have even become part of mainstream popular culture, and new niche festivals seem to sprout up every year. When the festival opens this September 27th, it may be… Read more »

On the Fast Track of Derby History

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Late last year, Drew Barrymore’s Whip It was released in theaters, giving the mainstream a fictional take on the world of modern roller derby. The story, adapted from the novel Derby Girl by Shauna Cross, focuses on an outcast teen who finds confidence and her inner power by joining the banked track league of Austin,… Read more »

Taking the Temp of SXSW 2010

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The fact that Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker made its US premiere one year ago at SXSW upped the intrigue this year, prompting me to wonder if one of 2010’s 134 features or 126 shorts would achieve that rarefied status. SXSW 2010 included films featuring some Hollywood heavyweights, from Bill Murray, Robert Duval, and Sissy… Read more »

Of Finance and Fantasy: The Aviatrix Takes on Funding in Texas

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“Making a movie is like moving a mountain,” says Toddy Burton, the Austin-based filmmaker behind The Aviatrix, a film about a girl struggling with cancer who finds an escape from her troubles by becoming The Aviatrix, a superhero who rockets through outerspace. Currently touring the festival circuit, the film is a fictional short, although it… Read more »

Making Room

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I’m the director of the low-budget psychological thriller Room (2005), which premiered at Sundance and had its international debut in the Directors Fortnight at Cannes in May. Room was produced by The 7th Floor along with Jim McKay and Michael Stipe’s C-Hundred Film Corp. Our four-week, twenty-four-day production was equally divided between two weeks in… Read more »

Keeping it Real Weird

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Long gone are the days when Austin, Texas was merely a breeding-ground for progressive types, presidential hopefuls, and music junkies. As home to the South-by-Southwest Film Festival (SXSW), Austin has become the independent filmmaker’s Eden. As first time filmmaker Allison Berg explains it, "I thought [SXSW] was one of the best festivals for my film… Read more »

Double Vision

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The so-called “Film Brat” generation of the middle to late 1970s has been blamed for, or credited with, many things regarding independent filmmaking—from sparking off a studio-sanctioned Golden Age (Scorsese, Coppola) to ushering in a studio-sanctioned Dark Age (Lucas, Spielberg). But whatever the myths or merits of that motley band, there’s no denying one salient… Read more »

Cave Paintings, Churches, and Rooftops

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While the Lumiere brothers originally screened their films in a Paris café, the term microcinema was not coined until 1991 with the naming of Rebecca Barten and David Sherman’s Total Mobile Home Microcinema. Since then microcinema has come to define a broad range of small screening spaces specializing in moving image media that hovers out… Read more »

Funder FAQ: Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund

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When and how did the Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund (TFPF) emerge? The TFPF was established in 1996 in an effort to redress the loss of public funds for filmmakers, most notably the end of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Regional Regrants program in 1994. Austin Film Society artistic director Richard Linklater, who received $2,600… Read more »