Last month around this time, SA filmmaker Pablo Veliz (who, at 22, saw his first picture La Tragedia de Macario win acceptance to Sundance ’06 — and still isn’t old enough to legally rent a car some places, the whippersnapper) was nearing the end of production on his second immigrant-centric feature, Clemente. (Mexican wrestling’s in this one somewhere, too.) It was only a mild, if pleasant, surprise, then, when a tidy-looking canvas bag containing promotional materials for the film — a digital press kit, a press release, an Indian in the Cupboard-sized plastic lucha-libre figurine — made its way to my desk last Thursday or so. (Full disclosure: I am, as I type this, vigorously chewing on the feet and hands of said tiny wrestler dude. My compliments to the team that cooks up Mr. Veliz’s small plastic men for him.) Long story short, Clemente is apparently finished, and the trailer is impressively haunting — shot, as is the film itself, on one of those mouthwatering Panasonic digital HD numbers that yields positively beautiful, squint-at-it-right-and-it-looks-like-film-stock image quality. Clemente premieres (free!) at 6:45pm, October 7, at Trinity’s Laurie Auditorium. Meantime, check Cineveliz.com for info and a small version of the aforementioned teaser.
Before that, though, make plans to attend this Saturday’s screening of the intriguing-sounding jumping off bridges (Jumpingoff-bridges.com), a meditation on teenage life and coping with loss by 31-year-old Austin directress Kat Candler. The film made some noise at SXSW this year and seems to be gathering moderate steam, as well as praise for both its portrayal of adolescence and its indie-rock soundtrack. Armed with eight bucks, you can catch it at 7 p.m. at the Guad (see calendar listing, page 41).
Mid-October provides yet another opportunity to support in-state celluloid artists, as the Instituto de México hosts Texas Independent Filmmakers’ A Festival of Films on the 13th and 14th. Friday will feature workshops, a kick-off party, and autograph sessions with special guests; Saturday’s chock-full of shorts and features, including the documentary Barbecue: A Texas Love Story, narrated by the late Ann Richards. Texasindependentfilmmakers.org.
Soon after TIFF’s fest, the uniquely writer-friendly Austin Film Festival (October 19-26) starts up, with our neighbor to the north attracting such panelists as Sydney Pollack, Michael Ian Black, Shane Black, and Christopher McQuarrie. (More on this later, and at Austinfilmfestival.com.)
Finally, if you’d rather make your own film than watch from the sidelines, but don’t know how to get started, why not let someone give you a swift (motivational) kick in the pants? Grab a camera, a few like-minded (or easily influenced) friends, and check out the SA48HR Film Experience (October 13-15, Sa48hr.com) or the fourth-annual National Film Challenge (October 20-23, Filmchallenge.com).
(Update: The lucha-libre dude’s left leg has snapped mid-shin. Sorry, Pablo.)