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Texas Film Fans – This Is Your Weekend

by Bart Weiss 10 Feb 2011 12:45 PM

This is a big weekend of film and video in North Texas with the first Texas Independent Film Network shorts program and the North Texas University Film Festival.


Guest blogger Bart Weiss is the Artistic Director of Videofest.

This is a big weekend of film and video in North Texas.

Friday night we begin a new series called Texas Independent Film Network (TIFN). This is a series of Texas films that played in festivals but have been somewhat hard to see since then. It is founded by Austin Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Louis Black and Screen Door Film’s Ryan Long. The TIFN has grand plans to create its own self-programmed, self-distributed network of Texan films across the entire state from Nacogdoches to Abilene and beyond.

In Fort worth, these films will run at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth with the support of the Lone Star Film Society. In Dallas, the video association is running them at the legendary Texas Theater in Oak Cliff

The first offering (7 p.m. tonight in Fort Worth, same time Friday in Dallas)  is a series of shorts called “Texas Legends Before They Were Legends.” More information can be found on the TIFN website. Here’s the lineup:

Bottle Rocket (1992)

By Wes Anderson

Shot in Austin in 1992, this little gem is not only the directorial debut of Wes Anderson, but also the screen debut of Owen and Luke Wilson. The short film would form the basis for the full-length feature version of Bottle Rocket released four years later.

Styx (1976)

By Jan Krawitz

Renowned Stanford and University of Texas professor Jan Krawtiz started her career as a documentarian with Styx, an impressionistic view of the subterranean world of the Philadelphia subway system. Joining an anonymous mass of commuters, the camera embarks on a journey across a decaying cityscape.

Woodshock (1985)

By Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater’s first foray into filmmaking was actually a documentary, filmed at the 1985 Woodshock Music Festival held in Dripping Springs. Linklater and cinematographer Lee Daniel captured the mayhem and debauchery that was Woodshock, along with a rare early interview with a young Daniel Johnston. Think a Texan version of Heavy Metal Parking Lot.

Speed of Light (1981)

By Brian Hansen

When Jonathan Demme visited Austin in 1981, he was so blown away by the filmmaking culture he witnessed that he took a collection of films back with him to screen in New York. Speed of Light is the centerpiece of the program “Jonathan Demme Presents: Made in Texas – New Films from Austin,” and is best described, in the words of its creators, as “a screaming red piece of time crash landing in the backwash of the American Gothic.”

The Heisters (1965)

By Tobe Hooper

Nearly a decade before Texas Chainsaw Massacre, changed the landscape of independent film, Tobe Hooper was busy learning the craft of filmmaking at the University of Texas, where he made The Heisters. Hooper calls the film “a Gothic mod comedy,” and it was invited to be entered in the short subject category at the Oscar’s, but it wasn’t finished in time.

Bedhead (1991)

By Robert Rodriguez

Made while he was a student at the University of Texas at Austin, Rodriguez shot Bedhead with his brothers and sisters as actors and with his family and friends as crew. The short film was then entered into several competitive film festivals, where it won cash prizes – money that Rodriguez then used to produce his first feature film, El Mariachi.

And there’s more…

Sunday night at 5, the Texas Theater will host the free North Texas University Film Festival.

This is our annual look at the work from the three major film schools in town, UNT SMU and UTA. Each school will show 25 minutes of its student work and introduce the filmmakers. No competition, no prizes but a chance to see the best talent in town.