Life & Arts

Drafthouse Films, Participant Media

From Texas Standard:

The 2013 film “The Act of Killing” broke the mold for documentary storytelling. It told the events of Indonesia's 1965 genocide — some estimate more than half a million people were purged following a coup —  from the perspective of the killers. The film even had the killers reenacting what they’d done.

Now, “The Look of Silence” tells the same story from another angle: that of those still living under the rule of the men who murdered their loved ones.

Courtesy Penguin Random House

From Texas Standard:

By now, you've probably heard about the latest book – newly discovered and rushed to publication — by Dr. Seuss. It's been about as well-kept a secret as Harper Lee's "Go Set A Watchman," which came out a few weeks ago. We decided to call in our resident Texas expert on literature to find out whether you should get "What Pet Should I Get?"

Claiborne Smith is the editor-in-chief of Austin-based Kirkus Review.

Photo via Facebook/TEXASshow
TEXASshow/facebook

From Texas Standard.

Texas has a state bird, a state flower — even a state insect. What most Texans don’t know, however, is that the state also has an official play, and this year marks its 50th anniversary. And, though millions around the world have seen the musical, many Texans have yet to experience it.

It happens six nights a week for three months every summer. Crowds gather at an outdoor amphitheater at Palo Duro Canyon State Park outside of Amarillo, as they have for the past 50 years. They come to see a musical they won’t see anywhere else.

It’s called ‘Texas.’ It’s kind of like the more-famous ‘Oklahoma,’ except it’s about, well, Texas.

Photo via Cody Rea/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Actor Jason Schwartzman is a Californian through and through. He was born in LA and is part of the storied Coppola film clan – led by Schwartzman’s uncle Francis Ford Coppola. Before he turned to film, he was a musician. And his band Phantom Planet’s most famous song? “California.”

But Schwartzman is Texan by association. He’s best known for his work with Houstonian Wes Anderson – and North Texas brothers Luke and Owen Wilson. One of the two films he was promoting at this year’s South by Southwest was filmed in Austin.

quintanomedia/flickr

From Texas Standard:

There are at least three things every Texan knows about Austin. 1) It's the state capitol. 2) It calls itself the live music capitol of the world. And 3) It seems like there's a festival nearly every weekend.

One of those festivals is all about television – a segment of the entertainment industry that used to have a Rodney Dangerfield complex – it "never gets no respect."

But as the Texas Standard's Laura Rice found out at this year's ATX Fest, the real story here is how much that's changed.

Courtesy Pixar Animation Studios

From Texas Standard.

Pixar has produced hit after award-winning hit. Films including the “Toy Story” series, “Cars” and many others. The company has arguably set the standard for computer-generated animation.

Jim Murphy has been at Pixar since 1996. He’s been an animator for Academy Award-winning films including “Finding Nemo “ and “The Incredibles."

Via kumikothetreasurehunter.com

This story comes from Texas Standard.

When someone says filmmaker brothers, who comes to mind? Likely, it's the Coen brothers. But it’s another set of filmmaker brothers that have really gotten the attention of critics and film festival attendees lately, and these guys have Texas ties.

David and Nathan Zellner were born in Colorado but now live in Austin. They’ve probably spent at least half of their careers fielding comments about the Coen brothers, but their latest film “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” sort of pays homage to them.

Photo courtesy of Endocrine Entertainment.

Austin has a brand-new film festival and it’s all about science fiction. The first-ever Other Worlds Austin Sci-Fi Film Festival is happening this weekend.

I know what you’re thinking – just what Austin needs – another film festival. But that’s exactly what Other Worlds Austin Director of Programming Bears Fonté thought.

“I had a science fiction film a couple years ago that wound up playing about 40 film festivals. So as I was going around the country with the film, I just saw so many great science fiction films and I was like, this isn’t playing Austin and I want to do that, I want to bring those films to Austin and give those filmmakers a chance to play in front of an audience that’s going to be really receptive," Fonté says.

Lionsgate Publicity

The third film in the popular “Hunger Games” series hits theatres on Friday. To drum up anticipation for “Mockingjay Part-1," the filmmakers are traveling the globe for special premieres. So far they’ve been to London, L.A. and Austin. 

KUT sat down with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson to talk about the film and why they made a stop in Central Texas.

Michael Wilkinson

Oscar-nominated costume designer Michael Wilkinson is making his first-ever trip to Austin this weekend. He's the subject of a special event with the Austin Film Society on Sunday.

Wilkinson is known for his work on films including "American Hustle", "Man of Steel" and "Noah". He's also working on the upcoming film "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Wilkinson spoke with KUT about his varied collection of work and some of his favorite past projects.

On His Goals for Superhero Costumes:

With superhero films, you want people to come out of the theatre and talk about the costumes and how inspiring they are and how cool they look when they're on a billboard that's like 10 stories high and you want to show people different creative worlds that they haven't seen before and take them to new inspiring, compelling places."

"Winter in the Blood"

The Austin Film Society is screening “Winter in the Blood” this evening.

The film’s been on the festival circuit for more than a year – and has been picked up for national distribution. Some of the attention it’s gotten is thanks to its star – Chaske Spencer – who fans of the “Twilight” movies know as an ab-bearing werewolf.

In this film, Spencer plays Virgil First Raise – an Indian cowboy who struggles with questions of identity and heritage while on a mission to get his gun back from his runaway wife.

The filmmakers describe “Winter in the Blood” as a neo-noir – mixing dream elements and flashbacks with the modern tale. But much of the focus and coverage of the film has actually not been on the film itself but over issues of race. That’s because “Winter in the Blood” is based on a book by Native American author James Welch and it features a mostly Native American cast. But it was written and directed by white men – including Austin-based filmmaker Alex Smith.

"Phantom Halo"/Station 8 Films

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

Antonia Bogdanovich is filmmaking royalty.

Her dad is Peter Bogdanovich – the director of films including “Paper Moon” and “The Last Picture Show.” Antonia’s mother – the late Polly Platt – also worked on that film among many others. She produced “Bottle Rocket” – the movie that launched Wes Anderson's award winning career.

But while Antonia Bogdanovich has worked in and around the film business for decades – it took her a while to get behind the camera.

She's making her feature directorial debut at the Austin Film Festival with “Phantom Halo.”

thetexaspromisemovie.org

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

“The Texas Promise” is screening at the 2014 Austin Film Festival. It tells the story of the $5.4 billion in cuts to education that the Texas Legislature made in 2011 and follows the ongoing legal challenge to that cut and efforts to restore some of that funding.

It’s an ongoing issue Texans ought to be very familiar with but producer/director Vanessa Roth came to this story from the outside.

Roth's documentary work has mainly focused on education and the foster care system. She says the story about how Texas is funding education is one the country needs to know about.

"Rosewater"

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The 21st Annual Austin Film Festival Starts today. The fest celebrates screenwriting and is equal parts conference, competition and screenings.

AFF Executive Director Barbara Morgan sat down with KUT's Laura Rice to talk about what's exciting to her about this year's fest.

On Television at the Fest:

"We have been doing television for a long time at the festival and, like everybody I think, I too, have become quite obsessed with a lot of different TV shows. We've really done a lot this year with marrying that television into both the conference and the festival. We've got panels with Noah Hawley, who created this year 'Fargo' for television - which was a really cool show. And then, of course, Cary Fukunaga of 'True Detective.'

Mondo

If you’ve heard of Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse offshoot Mondo – you probably know them for their film posters. They’re artistic alternatives to the stuff pushed out by the film industry.

But Mondo has become much more than that as of late – also producing throwbacks with a focus on design including VHS tapes and vinyl records. Now, they’ve starting making toy collectibles.

They’re showing off all of this and inviting people to learn more about what they do in the first ever MondoCon. It’s this weekend in Austin.

Mondo CEO Justin Ishmael sat down with KUT's Laura Rice to talk about it.

On What's Special About Mondo's Posters:

"I think, first, the place where they're coming from is completely different from what's coming out of Hollywood. A lot of times, ours are not promoting a film that's actively trying to make money so I think there's a lot of liberties that we can take with them that studios can't... Some of our posters rely on having seen the movie to evoke an emotion."

Fantastic Fest

Fantastic Fest is underway in Austin. The festival celebrates genre filmmaking – including horror, fantasy and sci-fi. This year is the festival’s 10th – so organizers are literally going hog wild with the lineup and events.

Fantastic Fest Founder and Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League sat down with KUT's Laura Rice to talk about it.

Tim on Fantastic Fest:

“It started out that we just wanted to have a showcase for international genre films in Austin, TX for the community here, and it’s evolved into a decent-size industry event. Right now, we try to make a lot of opportunities happen for young filmmakers.”

Courtesy Radius-TWC

Mark Duplass is an actor best known for his role in television's "The League" and a director/producer made famous by "The Puffy Chair" – a film he made with his brother Jay.

He produced and stars in a new film in theatres now  – "The One I Love."

KUT's Laura Rice had a chance to talk with Duplass about the film, about his ties to Austin and about one of his heroes: Austin-based filmmaker Richard Linklater.

Ron Mrowiec

Austin-based filmmaker Jeffrey Radice's first feature film is now in theaters.

"No No: A Dockumentary" follows the life of Dock Ellis, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates from the late '60s through the mid '70s who is best known for pitching a no-hitter on LSD.

KUT's Laura Rice spoke with Radice about about Ellis' life on and off the field, the use of drugs in the MLB before the steroids era and Ellis' impact on the game.

Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams was found dead in his California home Monday. He was 63.

His death is under investigation, according to a press release from the Marin County Sheriff's Office. Emergency personnel arrived at Williams' home in Tiburon, Calif., at noon Monday.

Courtesy "Two Step"

Update: Austinites have another chance to see "Two Step" on the big screen. After showing at SXSW and the Little Rock Film Festival, the Austin Film Society is screening Austin-based writer/director Alex R. Johnson's dark feature.

KUT talked with Johnson about the film back in March.

Original Story (March 10, 2014): The Texas drama "Two Step" debuts at SXSW Film. It is Austin-based writer/director Alex R. Johnson's first feature-length film. It has a "No Country for Old Men" vibe – along with a memorable villain who you're better off not running into.

Johnson is pretty new to Austin. He talked with KUT about "Two Step" and how moving here inspired him to make it.

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