The 53rd Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival, which runs June 29-July 7, will dedicate a special section to the Austin Film Society, the nonprofit film organization founded in 1985 that has grown into one of the U.S.’s key film institutions. AFS founder and artistic director Richard Linklater will be among the guests of the program, which also focuses on filmmakers from Texas.
Karlovy Vary’s artistic director, Karel Och, said: “Richard Linklater and his colleagues have been a huge inspiration to film communities around the world, and we’re delighted to embrace the incredible achievement of the organization with a selection of outstanding films from Texas filmmakers that have been supported by AFS.”
The AFS began as a film club that attracted students, artists and cinema die-hards. “AFS quickly grew into an institution supporting film culture and film production in a vibrant and growing Texas film community,” according to a statement. Since its inception, AFS has awarded more than $2 million in filmmaker grants that have supported the production of hundreds of Texas films and jump-started the careers of filmmakers like David Lowery (“A Ghost Story,” “Pete’s Dragon”), Athina Tsangari (“Attenberg”), Kat Candler (“Queen Sugar”) and the Zellner brothers (“Damsel,” “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”).
Today, AFS operates a studio facility that supports film production in Austin; a community media and film education center, where independent filmmakers, youth and the community can access filmmaking equipment and production resources; and the AFS Cinema, a two-screen arthouse and repertory theater, which is home for Austin’s cinephiles.
Linklater commented: “I’m so proud that AFS is receiving this incredible honor from the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival. KVIFF is fully committed to the discovery of new voices. It’s deeply humbling that they’ve chosen to tribute AFS by shining a light on the community of independent artists that we’ve worked so hard to nurture. With this series of films, KVIFF celebrates creativity and uniqueness of vision, which have been the only consistent themes in the many wonderful films that have come out of Texas over the past 40 years.”
Made in Texas: Tribute to Austin Film Society will present nine feature-length films and two programs of short films. These include “Slacker,” Linklater’s iconic first feature, and contemporary Western actioner “El Mariachi,” the debut feature by Robert Rodriguez.
Also screening is offbeat indie “The Slow Business of Going” by Greek writer-director Athina Rachel Tsangari. The documentary scene will be represented by Laura Dunn’s “The Unforeseen.”
Among recent films from Texas, the festival will show “Take Shelter,” the psychological thriller of Cannes favorite Jeff Nichols, David Zellner’s minimalistic drama “Kid-Thing,” Bob Byington’s witty comedy “Somebody Up There Likes Me” and Andrew Bujalski’s retro stylized drama “Computer Chess,” set in a software programmers’ community, as well as a program of contemporary short films by up-and-coming Texas filmmakers.
The section will also include “Last Night at the Alamo,” directed by a pioneer of Texas independent film scene, Eagle Pennell, and shot two years before the foundation of the AFS. Other early works will include a program of six shorts originally curated by Jonathan Demme as a snapshot of the punk and new wave scenes of Austin in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
MADE IN TEXAS: TRIBUTE TO AUSTIN FILM SOCIETY
“Last Night at the Alamo” (Eagle Pennell, 1983)
“Slacker” (Richard Linklater, 1991)
“El Mariachi” (Robert Rodriguez, 1992)
“The Slow Business of Going” (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2000)
“The Unforeseen” (Laura Dunn, 2007)
“Take Shelter” (Jeff Nichols, 2011)
“Kid-Thing” (David Zellner, 2012)
“Somebody Up There Likes Me” (Bob Byington, 2012)
“Computer Chess” (Andrew Bujalski, 2013)
Jonathan Demme Presents: Made in Texas (program of six short films from 1980s)
Program of recent short films from Texas