South Texas Cinema

It’s been a while since we last took to nosing around the South Texas film world. That while ends now. Let’s get to it.

Toward the end of last year, then-23-year-old UTSA student Pablo Veliz made one of the biggest San-Antonio-centric cinematic splashes in recent memory, as his immigrant song La Tragedia de Macario was selected for inclusion in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. (The film premiered there in late January of this year, and was subsequently picked up by Arlington-based distributor Arrival Pictures.) The ripples of Macario’s success linger, but SA’s reigning prodigy-auteur hasn’t stopped to catch his breath: He’s currently in post-production on his next picture, Clemente: La Lucha~The Struggle, which he’s rushing to finish in time for Sundance ’07. A recent phone call catches Veliz at his computer, composing the soundtrack for Clemente.

“It’s been crazy up to now,” he says. “We’ve been butchering the movie all week … but the deadline is September 11, so I gotta have it there. I already called ’em; I called Tanya the programmer and told her, ‘I’ll have it there. It’ll be there September 11 at 5 p.m., but it’ll be there.’” Veliz says he’s aiming for an October 7 San Antonio premiere/preview, for a planned audience of at least 1,000 people. (Incidentally, if you’re curious: the film isn’t about what you might guess. “The baseball player? No,” Veliz says, and laughs a little. “Not at all … I’m even thinking of changing the title of the movie, ’cause people are asking me about that … It’s about a wrestler.”)

From Austin: September 1 brings The Quiet, the first feature-film collaboration between the University of Texas Film Institute and UT’s for-profit production house, Burnt Orange Productions. Shot entirely in Austin, the film utilized close to 50 alumni and students — both graduate and undergraduate — in crew and intern positions. Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader) directs Elisha Cuthbert (The Girl Next Door) and Camilla Belle (When a Stranger Calls, The Ballad of Jack and Rose) as an in-crowd cheerleader and deaf-mute girl, respectively, whose lives intersect — judging from the trailer — with themes of secrecy, incest, and murder. (Also known as the Lifetime-Original-Movie Trifecta.)

For the future: According to San Antonio Film Commission Director Drew Mayer-Oakes, an untitled Paramount Pictures project by Boys Don’t Cry directrix Kimberly “Not a Typo” Peirce will be shooting in San Antonio on Tuesday, September 5, Wednesday, September 6, and Thursday, September 7, and is in need of male extras with a “military look.” Pay is $75 per 12-hour day, plus the theoretical chance to glimpse Ryan Phillippe. (512) 472-5385 Ext. 1 or [email protected] for more information. From Mexico with Love, a lower-budget picture starring Kuno Becker (Goal! The Dream Begins), is also in town, and seeks to fill set-decorating, prop, and construction positions. Contact: Art Director Rando Schmook, (310) 927-1478.

Altogether, with September comes a reasonable level of activity for SA-area film, which is nice to see. Any news, generally, is good news.

Special Screenings

Slab Cinema: Young Bill Hickok
Joseph Kane (1940)
This B-movie Western features “King of the Cowboys” Roy Rogers as a young, fictionalized, singing Wild Bill, assigned to protect a secret train shipment of gold. Outdoor screening at La Tuna Bar and Grill, Thursday, August 31. Pre-show at dusk, feature at 9 p.m. Probandt and Cevallos. 212-9373. Admission by donation. Bring chairs, blankets, no coolers. Call ahead and order food to go from La Tuna: 212-5727.

P.O.V.: Hardwood
Hubert Davis (2004)
This Academy Award-nominated documentary is a deeply personal filmic journey by director Hubert Davis (not the former NBA player), son of former Harlem Globetrotter Mel Davis. Mel, now a coach for young basketball players in Vancouver, fell in love at first sight with Hubert’s mother, a white woman, at a time when racism seemed to make their union impossible. Encore presentation. PBS. Tuesday, September 5, 10:30 p.m.; Wednesday, September 6, 3:30 a.m.
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