×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Austin Film Society Bangs Drum for Lone Star Filmmakers

Everything is truly bigger in Texas, including the 30th birthday celebration for the Austin Film Society, which finishes its year-long pearl anniversary at this year’s Texas Film Awards.

The organization, founded by Richard Linklater back when he was still slogging it out on the indiest fringes of film, gave birth to the Texas Film Hall of Fame 15 years ago. The hall will see four new Lone Star natives inducted this year, including the San Antonio-raised Carol Burnett, whom Mya Rudolph will present. (Linklater’s new film, “Everybody Wants Some,” will world premiere at SXSW the following evening, with an Austin Film Society screening several days later.)

Hosted by Texas Film Hall of Famer Mike Judge for the second year running, the evening will also honor Sony Pictures Classics co-president and co-founder Michael Barker (raised in Dallas), “Grey’s Anatomy” actor and director Chandra Wilson (hailing from Houston), and Dallas native Jesse Plemons, with the “Breaking Bad” and “Other People” actor receiving the Rising Star Award.

“I think if we waited any longer we’d have to induct him outright, he’s just exploding,” Austin Film Society president Rebecca Campbell says of Plemons. “And I think if you look at the (other) honorees, you’ll see a certain unifying theme with Chandra and Barker and Carol Burnett — in the sense that they’re all groundbreakers in one way or another.”

In the case of Barker — whose 25-year tenure at SPC has seen him collaborate with Texas filmmakers like Linklater, David Gordon Green, Jeff Nichols and Tommy Lee Jones — Campbell notes that his Texas roots go deeper than mere geography.

“Michael went to the University of Texas, and was the chair of the Texas Union Film Committee. And the cohort he was a part of is still largely together today, including the folks at the Austin Chronicle and SXSW. Michael, when we spoke with him about giving him this award, he rattled off about 20 people who’ve already been inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame as being key members of what he considered his community. And it was really inspiring to realize how much this Texas diaspora still forms a community. And that’s what I think is so great about the Texas Film Awards, is that it’s a way for a moment to bring them together. And Michael is at the pinnacle of that community.”

In concert with presenting the honors and announcing a new venture, the event will as usual serve as a fund-raising effort. In addition to holding year-round screenings, spearheading education programs and organizing public access TV programming in its converted airplane-hangar home base of Austin Studios, the AFS’ grant program has allocated approximately $1.5 million to several hundred emerging filmmakers since it was started by Linklater in 1996. Campbell notes that the event typically sees the society raise all of the money it needs for the year to continue its filmmaker grant program.

But beyond the parties and fund-raising, Campbell says that the annual event serves as an important reminder of the vibrancy of the Texas film scene, whether it stays at home or spreads elsewhere.

“It all goes back to Linklater choosing to stay here in Austin, and a number of other important directors making this place their home,” Campbell says. “It doesn’t mean they can afford to always work in Texas, but it remains a touchstone for them, and we’ve legitimately grown to pride ourselves as a film community. So it is sort of a diplomatic mission.”

What:
Texas Film Awards
When:
May 10,
6:30 p.m.
Where:
Austin
Studios, Austin, Texas
WEB:
austinfilm.org

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Benedict Andrews (L) and US actress

    Kristen Stewart on the 'Insane Gall' of Directors as 'Seberg' Arrives in San Sebastian

    SAN SEBASTIAN – On Friday, Kristen Stewart and Benedict Andrews’ political thriller “Seberg” plays at the 67th San Sebastian Film Festival, where it opens Perlak, a section dedicated to the Spanish premieres of major international films. The star and her director addressed the media prior to the screening in the festival’s first high-profile press conference, [...]

  • Les Miserables

    Ladj Ly's Cannes Prize-Winner 'Les Miserables' Is France's Oscar Submission

    Ladj Ly’s politically charged drama “Les Miserables,” which won the Jury Prize at Cannes, has been chosen by France’s Oscar committee to enter the international feature film race. In one of the most competitive years for French movies, “Les Miserables” beat out Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” the 18th-century-set romance which won [...]

  • David Kehrl neuer Head of Acquisitions

    'Resident Evil's' Constantin Names Acquisitions, International Co-Production Chief

    David Kehrl is to join Constantin Film, Germany’s leading independent movie producer and distributor, as the head of acquisitions and international co-production. He will report to Martin Moszkowicz, chairman of the executive board at Constantin Film, which produces the “Resident Evil” movies. Starting in February, Kehrl will be responsible for the acquisition of international theatrical [...]

  • The Plague Season 2 Spanish TV

    Telefonica, Atresmedia to Create Content Factory Behemoth

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — In a game-changing move for Spanish-language production Telefonica, Europe’s third biggest telco, and Atresmedia, the original co-creators of “La Casa de Papel,” are uniting to create a new joint contents production giant. Aimed at gaining more scale and uniting talent relations – writers, directors and producers – the 50/50 joint venture will [...]

  • KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Finally Has

    KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Finally Has a Name: Leonine

    The KKR-backed German media company formed through the merger of Tele München Group, Universum Film, i&u TV, and Wiedemann & Berg Film finally has a name: Leonine. The company revealed its moniker Friday, saying that “Leonine” met its criteria of being associated with its home region of Bavaria and Munich, in southern Germany, and of [...]

  • Scattered Night

    San Sebastian New Directors Jihyoung Lee and Kim Sol Talk ‘Scattered Night’

    After taking the Korean Competition Grand Prize and the best acting award (Moon Seung-a) at the Jeonju Intl. Film Festival, “Scattered Night” now heads to San Sebastian’s New Directors selection. An intimate portrayal of a family whose members are deeply isolated from one another, the film follows two parents overwhelmed by their responsibilities, their own [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content