Monday, April 30, 2012

Bryan Poyser does 'The Bounceback' with new film

If you're wondering what that indie movie is shooting in Austin for the next few weeks, it could be Bryan Poyser's The Bounceback. He recently left a pretty cushy gig at the Austin Film Society to get busy making more of his own flicks. He's got the able assistance of cinematographer P.J. Raval and producer Megan Gilbride. We're talking three stars of the Austin film scene here. Shooting started yesterday.

I haven't a clue what the film is about, but Poyser's films (Dear Pillow, Lovers of Hate) have been regulars at the Film Independent Spirit Awards and Sundance, so expectations are high. Break a leg, Bryan. No, I didn't mean literally!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

David Lowery poised for film big time

As reported by Deadline, Texas indie auteur David Lowery is on the verge of jumping into a whole new level of filmmaking. He will direct his own script of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which is sort of a modern Bonnie And Clyde. Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Casey Affleck are attached to the cast. A film shoot is set for this summer in Canada.

Lowery and producing partner James Johnston been toiling as the Dallas/Fort Worth indie filmmaking names in recent years, most notably with St. Nick, which premiered at Sundance and then won the grand jury prize at the 2011 South By Southwest Film Festival.

And, of course, credit must be given to Lowery's magnificent mustache, which now must never be removed. Congrats, David and James!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

David Gordon Green is indeed shooting 'Suspiria'

Um, let's make this clear: I'm not saying the June shoot is Suspiria. I have no confirmation of that. I am saying I don't know that it's not Suspiria. Got it? OK.  Read on...


As we told you the other day, new Austin resident David Gordon Green is shooting in Bastrop (about 30 miles from Austin) for three weeks in June. We guessed that it might be his remake of Suspiria, and that may have been a good guess. Green's folks and Crime Scene Pictures have announced that the remake of the famed Dario Argento film is a go for September. Is this time in Bastrop an early shoot for the film or something altogether different? Will it all shoot in the Austin area? Stay tuned.

Oh, and Natalie Portman had been attached to the project in the past, but the similar ballet-world setting of Black Swan may well have changed that. But then Portman is set to star in two films (Knight of Cups and Lawless) from Green mentor and Austin resident Terrence Malick.

It would mark a return to Austin for Portman, who was last here to shoot Where the Heart Is more than a decade ago. That is assuming Malick isn't shooting more scenes of his two films in Austin. Knight of Cups is slated to shoot this summer and Lawless in the fall. Lawless is about the Austin music scene. FYI: Given Malick's ability to keep his projects hushed in the past, some even believe that his two upcoming film projects actually may be one film disguised as two to throw off folks like yours truly.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Louise Shelby: a fighter to the end

One day while I was working in the tutoring lab at Austin Community College a woman wearing a patch over one eye turned to me and said, "You're Joe, aren't you?"

Her name was Louise Shelby and I didn't remember her, but she remembered me as if we were still at Bryker Woods Elementary in Austin, Texas. My sister recalls Louise as a pretty little girl with translucent skin. Louise was an innocent who one day discovered something odd hanging out of her nose. It was a flap of skin that didn't belong. It didn't hurt, but it concerned her family who immediately took her to the first of many doctors. Louise had something growing in her face. It was a massive and quite malignant tumor.

I didn't immediately remember Louise from Bryker Woods. She was a year younger than me and she had vanished from our school. Her life was a series of treatments for a cancer she had little chance of surviving. Doctors had to remove her eye. They just as quickly removed her youth. Many of us are stuck, frozen in a moment of tragedy or brilliance. It might be the glory days of high school or the partying times in college. Perhaps it's that first love that still stings with desire. For Louise it was innocent childhood days at Bryker Woods when she could still see through both eyes clearly.

Like me, the adult Louise was a writer. She set out to tell the improbable story of her survival in a book called Child of Glass. She joined a tight group of Austin writers who helped her along her journey. She had found her purpose. She had improbably survived both of her parents and many of the doctors and nurses who treated her.

Then the beast that had been crouching in wait pounced on the adult Louise. Cancer. Again. More chemotherapy. More struggle. More survival. Louise wrote, she drew, she fought.

Two years ago I sent out a note on Facebook that I would be selling my novel-in-stories Evacuation Plan at a Texas Book Festival booth. Louise wrote that she would love to read it, but she was broke. I told her to come and I'd give it to her as a gift. When she arrived it was clear that the chemo had taken its toll. Her speech was slurred and the weariness was pulling her down. But she was alive and Louise knew how to fight. She put her book out on Kindle, and I recently tried to help her connect with a publisher who would put out a print edition.

She lost the battle this past week.

My book Evacuation Plan is about hospice, but I don't claim to know much about death. Louise knows. She fought it off for years. She never stopped being that little innocent at Bryker Woods. She made art, laughed in the face of the beast of cancer and lived as long as she could manage. In her last days traveling to Houston to see doctors, she marveled at the beauty of Texas wildflowers. She never stopped seeing the beauty in life, and that's a big lesson for us all.

Please do me a big favor and read her story as she wrote it. You can find it here. The best tribute to Louise would be for her book to be on the Amazon bestseller list.

You can also read Louise's blog here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

David Gordon Green shooting mystery project near Austin

UPDATE: Green is indeed shooting Suspiria soon. In Austin? Read more here.

This nugget slipped out during John Pierson's Master Class at the University of Texas: David Gordon Green (Undertow, Pineapple Express), who recently moved to Austin, will have a three-week film shoot in nearby Bastrop this June.

No word on the subject matter, but wouldn't it be great if this were his planned remake of Dario Argento's Suspiria? I'm probably just dreaming, but it does sound like the director is going back to his George Washington indie roots in Austin, where he can hang with old pal and mentor Terrence Malick.

Oh, and I believe a certain director whose name rhymes with Spinklater owns some land out in Bastrop. Coincidence?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

'Corpus Christi' coming to Austin this summer

I wrote last year about Richard Kelly's plan to shoot a film called Corpus Christi, which is, of course, set in Corpus Christi, Texas. Looks like the latest from the Donnie Darko director will film there some but primarily in Austin this summer, my sources confirm. Why Austin? The movie shoot is being financed by Robert Rodriguez's Quick Draw Productions.

Edgar Ramirez is set to star as "a mentally unstable Iraq war veteran named Paciencia 'Patience' De La Rosa, who forges a strange friendship with his boss Ralph Salverson, the wealthy and politically ambitious owner of a supermarket chain."

Don't expect many more details from the filming given Rodriguez's love of having anyone who comes near him sign a confidentiality agreement, but maybe Mr. R. will be too busy with his own projects. He announced during SXSW that Machete 2 would start production this month and Sin City 2 should--finally--shoot this summer.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Paul Bright's 'Goliad Uprising' screens in Austin

Paul Bright is one of those hardworking indie Austin filmmakers who doesn't necessarily get noticed. Most of his films go straight to DVD/stream, but he's pulling out the stops for an Austin premiere of Goliad Uprising June 21st at 7:30pm at the Spirit Theater in the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.

It's a creepy story of mind control in the internet age. The trailer is here.

To purchase tickets for this single screening go here.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Playing the game

Austin's film scene has been relatively quite of late, but homegrown indie Zero Charisma about the gaming scene popped up this past week. And we're talking tabletop gaming here where the old Dungeons & Dragons pro sees his turf invaded by the upstart hipster nerd. Much of the film is being shot at Great Hall Games and Distractions on North Lamar. The film comes from director Katie Graham, cinematographer on Best Worst Movie, and writer/director Andrew Matthews, editor on Best Worst Movie. They raised $25,000 for the project on IndieGoGo. The local cast includes Sam Eidson (Austin High, Natural Selection).