Magazine article Variety

Texas Film Society Awards

Magazine article Variety

Texas Film Society Awards

Article excerpt

The Austin Film Society's Texas Film Awards, now in its 14th year, will take place at 7:30 p.m. March 6 at Austin Studios. As part of the build-up to the festivities, Variety will host a press conference that morning at 11 at the Four Seasons Hotel, moderated by executive editor Steven Gaydos. Participants will include honorées Robert Rodriguez, Amber Heard and Louis Black, as well as filmmaker Richard Linklater and actor Fred Williamson, who starred in Rodriguez's "From Dusk Till Dawn."


Black Helped Launch SXSW

Louis Black might be the most important cultural figure in Austin, Texas, that most people have never heard of. And yet he's served as a lightning rod for the community for more than three decades, as co-founder of alternative weekly the Austin Chronicle, the city's version of the Village Voice, and a key early figure of SXSW, which he helped launch in 1987.

'Louis is just one of those few people where you can really say Austin wouldn't be the same without him," says filmmaker Richard Linklater, co-founder of the Austin Film Society. "Austin sort of got lucky in that the alternative weekly paper ended up being the core cultural hub of the community."

Black, who earned an MFA in film from the U. of Texas, acknowledges the school's role in the area's thriving film activity, but also cites such Texas-based filmmakers as Linklater, David Cordon Green and Jeff Nichols as fueling this cultural hotbed. It's what distinguishes SXSW from Sundance.

"If you go to Park City. 50 weeks out of the year, it's a resort town," he says. "If you come to Austin any day of the year it's like it is for the 10 days of SXSW,which reflects what goes on in Austin, but it's really organic."

- Steve Chagollan


Green Keen on Lensing In Lone Star State

Life brought David Gordon Green back to Texas, where the director shot his last three features - "Prince Avalanche," "Joe" and the upcoming "Manglehorn" - while living in laid-back Austin among such indie helmers as Jeff Nichols, Andrew Bujalski and the Zellner brothers.

A 2014 inductee to the Texas Film Hall of Fame. Green grew up in Dallas, where he had his first brush with filmmaking on the set of Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July."

"I'm an extra in the movie," says Green, who can be seen cheering a home run at a baseball game during the opening credits. "I look into the camera and wiggle my eyebrows. I feel like that's the birth of what I was meant to do. That was the day when I thought. 'I want that guy's job."

Hollywood seemed a million miles away to Green in Dallas, until a moment in late 1993 when three films - "Dazed and Confused," "A Perfect World" and the Iowa-set, Texas-shot "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" - made the prospect of telling stories from the Lone Star state seem plausible. "That's when the confidence swell hit me," Green says.

- Peter Debruge


Heard Circles Back to the Starting Point

The career of Amber Heard, originally from Austin, Texas, will come full circle when she receives this year's Rising Star kudo at the Texas Film Awards, hosted by the Austin Film Society.

"I've been working over a decade now, and it's nice to be rewarded in a way that reminds me of where I started," says Heard. …

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