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In Anticipation. ‘Grindhouse.’

In Anticipation. 'Grindhouse.'

For Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming release, Grindhouse, there’s a level of anticipation in Austin that hasn’t ever really been matched since I’ve lived here. Maybe it’s the fact that the three-hour epic was filmed almost entirely in this town? But, in truth, it’s primarily because Tarantino has spent the last 10 years hosting semi-regular “QT Fests,” a local marathon of relatively obscure cult-classic films (usually screened as double features), from the ’60s to today. In other words, the film fans of Austin have spent the last decade unknowingly whetting their appetites for April’s Grindhouse.

As mentioned before, we’re doing our part in honoring the film at SXSW, with Robert Rodriguez’s “Grindhouse 101” panel on March 11 and the “Grindhouse Trailer Competition.” Hopefully, we’ll have a few more elements to throw in there by the time SXSW 2007 rolls around.

But, for the time being, check out Whitney Joiner’s new article in Sunday’s New York Times, in which she chats up Rodriguez, Tarantino, and Bob Weinstein, about their anticipated masterplan:

“Grindhouse” is being billed not as one movie, but two for the price of a single ticket. “Planet Terror,” from Mr. Rodriguez, is 80 minutes long, and tells a story of, well, biochemical terror. Mr. Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” clocking in at 90 minutes, has to do with a murderous stuntman and his car. The films are connected by trailers for four movies that do not exist, by four directors who do — Eli Roth (whose most recent real film was “Hostel”), Rob Zombie (“House of 1,000 Corpses”), Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”) and Mr. Rodriguez himself.

The experiment, if it works, will be a triumph both for the filmmakers and for Weinstein, which is readying the largest promotional push since its founders, the brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, established the studio on their exit from the Walt Disney Company’s Miramax unit in 2005. To hear Bob Weinstein tell it, the industry itself has something riding on the exercise. “The whole theatrical business is looking for something new, a little showmanship,” he said recently. “These guys took something old and are making it new.”

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