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Austin & Houston

Articles - Directing

Texas may be a half-country away from
California and New York, but the Lone Star State seems appropriately
situated, given the amount of film production that takes place here
from both the Hollywood and independent film worlds.

Austin continues to lead the state in film
productivity, with at least 175 major feature films and television
movies coming out
of the city over the last two decades. That includes the work of
Austin-based
Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez, who is creating an industry
unto himself as a one-man cinema band (writer-director-producer-cinematographer-editor-composer-etc.).
But don’t let the big names give you the wrong impression—hundreds
of indie auteurs are also based here, working hard to carve their
names out of the city’s diverse landscape. Many of them seem
to be succeeding, as evidenced by the quotes you’ll read
here.

Austin may arguably be the state’s number one city for indies,
but its neighbor to the southeast, Houston, is quickly gaining ground.
And with good reason—tax-free equipment and services, tax-free
hotel stays and permit-free shooting! Not to mention the fact that
it shares many of Austin’s more attractive attributes: moderate
weather, beautiful landscapes, diverse urban locations, low cost
of living and very talented crews.

Jake Coe

For our Fall 2003 “On Location” report,
more than a dozen moviemakers sound off about life and moviemaking
in the
capital
city,
and Space City, respectively. 

The diversity of people and the
overall energy that this city produces makes for a very cool pool
of creativity to pull from. As an actor, there is no comparison to the
quality of hip and professional people to work with. Austin is the
place to be for making flicks.
Jake Coe, Actor  

All the knowledge I possess as a moviemaker has been
learned through hands-on experience while working on local projects.
Austin’s greatest educational resource
is its moviemakers and their willingness to donate time and energy
in
an effort to see other local moviemakers’ dreams become reality.
Will Moore, Bandwagon Films 

Chris Ohlson

More than its vendors, studios, user-friendly film
commissions and locations, Austin offers up an amazing talent pool
of people
to collaborate with—both
in front of and behind the camera. Simply put, that’s the reason to
shoot, live and work in Austin: the people.
Chris Ohlson, Moviemaker www.824pictures.com 

Austin is a more than an adequate place to make films. While the
city lacks viable job opportunities compared to the demand, young moviemakers
have a place to work creatively, most importantly, and learn low-budget filmmaking
with good crews. The Austin Studios are a great resource for a relatively young
film production city and two of the best film festivals in the country take place
in the spring and the fall: SXSW and the Austin Film Festival.
Mel Rodriguez, Writer/Director (Mockingbird) 

Austin’s film community is as eclectic as its
inhabitants. The scene is growing so fast and everyone is kind of
doing their own thing. When
we all start
working together and getting involved in larger projects locally, the
whole process will be much easier. The train is leaving the station.
We just
have to make sure
and get on board.
Jarod Neece, Moviemaker

Juan Garcia

Austin is an amazing center of artistic, cultural and
technological activity. It’s no wonder why so many moviemakers
are born and bred here. Rapidly being respected as a true “Third
Coast,” Austin has a real sense
of community. It’s that Texas “can do” spirit meets
Hollywood’s “let’s
do lunch” attitude.
Juan Garcia, Writer/Producer 

Austin has become a haven for moviemakers at every
level. Cast and crew routinely jump from big studio productions to
small independent films. Because
of this cooperative environment, I’ve been able to make low-budget movies that
have played at prestigious film festivals and aired on the Independent Film Channel.
In Austin, it’s all about making the movie, no matter what
the budget.
Jim Stedman, Writer/Director/Producer/Editor, 05minute Productions www.05min.com 

Austin is a city in love with cinema. From free screenings
of Luchino Visconti gems to huge premieres of Spy Kids 3, Austin
embraces and supports
its own budding and seasoned filmmakers, financially and theatrically.
It’s
absolute heaven making films here.
Kat Candler, Writer/Director/Producer (The Absence of Wings, The
Disease Trilogy
) www.absenceofwings.com 

Damon Brown

Walk 20 paces in Austin and you’ll run into someone who’s
making an independent film, or composing the music, or projecting
it onto the side of
their apartment building at two in the morning. It’s less
a business here, and more like those altruistic movie dreams
I had
as a kid.
Damon Brown, Director
(Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock) damon@goneoffdeep.com

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