Last night, I got a chance to see and speak with some of the people that restore my faith in the future of independent filmmaking in Texas. The Austin Chronicle hosted a party honoring several of its contributors for Texas Writers’ Month. The gathering was held at FactoryPeople and featured a DJ (a venue regular) as well as Mexican food from Curra’s on the patio deck outside. Despite being a rather humid Texas evening, it was a nice night. But what was even nicer was getting a chance to chat with Mike Jones and Brent Hanley. Mike and Brent are both screenwriters, and what’s more, they make a living doing it. They both recently relocated to Texas and are doing their best to maintain a nice career while not leaving the Lone Star State.
Mike (who wrote the excellent festival hit Evenhand, and is also one of the pioneers of indieWIRE) is expecting a newborn in the next few months, but is also spending his time in L.A. getting some great jobs that allow him to work from New Braunfels. Meanwhile, Brent (perhaps best known for writing the creepy indie horror hit Frailty) is getting ready to begin production on a short that will segue into a feature.
After the party, we ran across the street to the San Jose (which is both a great hotel and a great nightspot bar, for you out-of-towners) and grabbed micheladas with Tommy Pallotta. A former Austin resident, Tommy’s in town working on Rick Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly. Tommy is a fantastic animator/filmmaker and in addition to having worked on Waking Life, he also made some of the best videos of the last 5 years for one of the best albums of the last 5 years. This was for Zero 7’s debut LP, Simple Things. He has a real knack for blending live action and animation, which suits him well for the Linklater films…
As if all of this wasn’t enough, I just got word today that Shane Carruth has agreed to participate in a panel we’re hosting for the SWAFT Convention next month. Shane is the man behind Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Primer, the super-indie science fiction film ThinkFilm has picked up to release this fall. The panel is set for June 5 at the Dallas Convention Center. Still in Dallas, Shane will no doubt be a pivotal part of our presence in Dallas in just a few weeks, helping give new filmmakers a sense of how you can still make movies in Texas.