Today saw the official announcement of plans for Villa Muse Studios, a new proposed development just East of Austin near Manor, TX. What is it? A $1.5 billion development that will include residential, retail, and commercial spaces. This will also include a soundstage, a scoring stage, recording studios, and an outdoor amphitheater seating 70,000. Villa Muse will not shock realtors, seeing as new developments are popping up around Austin at a breakneck pace.
The questions raised among Austin entertainment industry insiders are: Can this development really entice major film and music productions? Will residents want to live alongside film and TV shoots? Can a 70,000-seat amphitheater sustain on music alone in today’s market? Regardless, all eyes are on the next phase of funding for Villa Muse. Best of luck to the developers, who include my fellow Fantastic Fest programmer Paul Alvarado-Dykstra. It would be great for this to become a benefit for the Texas film scene.
Meanwhile, over at the Austin Chronicle blog, Richard Whittaker writes about the film incentives bill working its way to the Texas senate. And, he starts to worry a bit:
Even more worrying may be Chair Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, idly wondered whether the money should go for films that might portray Texas in a bad light (does he mean everyone-is-a-homicidal-nutter, Texas Chainsaw Massacre-style bad light, or flat-out-unfunny, Man of the House-style bad light?) Then Ogden raised the controversy around Andres Serrano’s famous Piss Christ (but seemed leery of naming it out-loud), and the National Endowment for the Arts’ right to not fund what it doesn’t like.
Just to show how in-touch the committee may be culturally: Sen. Kip Averitt (R-Waco) getting Michael Moore confused with Mike Myers. At least he knew he wasn’t thinking about “the Austin Powers guy.” Of course, he may have meant the Halloween guy…