The Austin Film Society’s Texas Film Awards will mark their 19th iteration in the Texas capital tonight, with John Lee Hancock, Brooklyn Decker and Mike Judge’s cult classic “Office Space” as the evening’s honorees.
Co-founded by Richard Linklater in 1985, the AFS supports a variety of initiatives throughout the year, ranging from screenings to filmmaker grants, as well as operating the Austin Studios production facility. Austin filmmaker and longtime AFS supporter Judge will be on hand at tonight’s gala fundraiser as “Office Space” — his 1999 feature film debut which bombed in release, only to become an oft-quoted cultural sensation on home video — is inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame on its 20th anniversary.
John Lee Hancock
Star of Texas Award
Screenwriter-turned-director Hancock was born in Longview and spent most of his childhood in Texas City, yet managed to find a foothold in Los Angeles by writing one of the 1990s’ most quintessentially Texan movies, the Clint Eastwood-directed “A Perfect World.”
After excursions to Southern California settings for his previous two films, “Saving Mr. Banks” and “The Founder,” Hancock is getting back to his Lone Star roots with the upcoming SXSW premiere “The Highwaymen,” about the two Texas Rangers who took down Bonnie and Clyde.
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“I don’t necessarily go out and think ‘I want to do a Texas project,’” he says. “That said, it’s always lovely to have Texas as a character, because it’s a real enigma. There’s something about it that’s hard to put your finger on, it’s everything and nothing at the same time sometimes. It can be frustrating and it can be amazing. It’s the only state with its own country.”
Rising Star Award
Decker may have her roots in North Carolina, but the model-turned-actress has spent the past decade as an Austin resident, and recently notched one of the most critically acclaimed films of her career with Andrew Bujalski’s Texas-set “Support the Girls,” which made its way from a SXSW premiere last year onto a number of prominent best-of lists, Barack Obama’s in particular.
“Girls” marked Decker’s second time filming in Austin with Bujalski, after 2015’s “Results,” and she hopes to make shooting in her adopted hometown a regular occurrence.
“I’d lived there for years before I made my first film there,” she says. “It’s just such a small filmmaking community, but one with so many talented people who have an enormous gift but haven’t really been given a platform to exercise that gift. So you find this wonderful pool of talent that has yet to be tapped or is just now starting to be tapped, which is really exciting.”