Austin Film Scene Meets the World, Exterminates It
If you need any proof that the Austin/Texas independent film scene ain't dead yet, read on: Yes, Heather Graham is in town shooting Ex-Terminators, an indie that Variety tells us is about "three women who meet in an anger-management therapy group and decide to form a traditional business using very untraditional methods." It also stars Jennifer Coolidge (Best in Show), Matthew Settle (Gossip Girl), and Amber Heard (lead of the Central Texas-shot All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, which has seen its release date pushed back yet again to August) and is the feature-length directorial debut of longtime Scrubs director John Inwood... Meanwhile Will Moore's Cowboy Smoke had its first public screening at Cannes last week. It's the story of a convenience-store clerk who, longing to be a real cowboy, goes to South Texas where he instead finds himself smack-dab in the middle of a town that survives on the human smuggling trade. Other locals involved in the production include composer Brian Satterwhite, director of photography Stephen Acevedo, producer Dustin Cross, and actor Matt Johnston (of the Discovery Channel series It Takes a Thief)... You know PJ Raval as an ace camera jockey, but he's also the director (along with Jay Hodges) of Trinidad, a documentary four years in the making about the Colorado town touted as the sex-change capital of the world. It premieres next month at the Los Angeles Film Festival and counts as its executive producer Matt Dentler, the now-former South by Southwest Film Festival producer. Oh, and Kyle Henry (Room) is the editor... I had a nice chat with Mariusz Kotowski last August on the Austin set of Forgiveness, which had its first screening recently at the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles. The former dance instructor and choreographer also shot a documentary about Polish actress Pola Negri, who spent her last days in San Antonio. Forgiveness is about two women, one Jewish and the other Christian, who discover their families' histories are intertwined through events of World War II... Speaking of Mandy Lane, the film's producer Chad Feehan is one of the folks behind the upcoming Devil's Swing, a border thriller somehow derived from One Ranger, the autobiography of Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson that was co-penned by David Marion Wilkinson. The script is from Mandy Lane scribe Jacob Forman... For those keeping score, here's some of the other latest casting news for ongoing local lensing: Jessica Chastain, who has mainly done TV guest stints on shows including Veronica Mars and Law & Order, is the female lead of Terrence Malick's Tree of Life. Meanwhile, Danielle Panabaker (Yours, Mine and Ours) has been cast as the female lead in Platinum Dunes' Friday the 13th remake. Also joining previously announced lead Jared Padalecki are Jonathan Sadowski (Live Free or Die Hard), Travis Van Winkle (Transformers), and Aaron Yoo (Disturbia).