Women Take Top Austin Script Prizes, Other Winners Announced; Hardbody Doc Near Deal
by Eugene Hernandez
Screenplays by women took the top prizes at the 1997 Austin Heart of Film
Screenwriting Competition. Selected from the 3,235 scripts submitted, ";Royal Suckage" by Christina Eichman and "Santa Hood" by Kathryn McCullough won the
Bronze Award and the Best Family Screenplay respectively, the competition's
highest honors. "The Orbit of Venus" and "Kokra" were named runners-up during
Friday's awards luncheon at the historic Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin.
Final judges for the competition were Miguel Arteta, Jim Dauterive, Polly
Platt, Al Reinert, Joe Tropiano, and Bill Witliff. Eichman's prize includes
a $3,500 cash award and an opportunity for a year long mentorship program.
Also announced at the ceremony were the award winners in the Austin Film
Festival competition. "Colin Fitz", written by Tom Morrissey and directed by
Robert Bella was awarded the fest's top prize, amisdt talk the pic is being
re-worked. Presumably to make the movie more attractive to distributors,
the film, which features appearances by William H. Macy and Martha
Plimpton, is being re-edited to incorporate new footage. "The Clearing", by
Kat Smith, won the festival's short film award, and "Mad Boy, I'll Blow Your Blues Away. Be Mine", directed by Russell DeGrazier took the student short
Interestingly, the film to garner some of the best buzz at the event (dubbed
"The Writers Festival"), was "Hands on a Hardbody" -- a documentary. The
movie, which screened before a jubilant sold-out crowd Saturday night, is
near a distribution deal according to the filmmaker, S.R. Bindler.
Unwilling to provide complete details until paperwork is completes, Bindler
told the audience that the imminent pact would take the film to at least 5
cities, including his hometown of Longview, TX -- the location for the
film. Shot on video and bumped to 16mm, the movie documents a marathon by
town residents to win a brand new truck -- 24 locals began the
endurance test by placing at least one hand on the truck, and 75-plus hours
later the final person with a hand on the vehicle was awarded the prize.
The Austin Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference concluded yesterday,
festival screenings continue through Thursday.