The 25th annual Austin Film Festival kicks off on October 24!

 

ColdTowne Theater is excited to continue our partnership with Austin Film Festival at this year’s Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference!

The 25th annual Austin Film Festival kicks off on October 24th with our Film & Food Fundraising Party. Come enjoy cocktails and cuisine with filmmakers, producers, celebrities and foodies from Austin and beyond at the historic Driskill Hotel! The live auction will be hosted by Will Cleveland and all proceeds benefit Austin Film Festival’s Young Filmmakers Program, which aims to improve creativity, literacy, and communication skills through the arts of screenwriting and filmmaking.

On Thursday, head to the Driskill’s Victorian Balcony for First Three Pages, Live! featuring Will and Erica Lies. Join host Dave Buckman and AFF for an afternoon of live readings featuring the first three pages of works-in-progress, forgotten screenplays, and a few other surprises.

Back by popular demand, we’re offering morning improv workshops during Friday and Saturday of the Conference to help you “rise and shine” throughout the day. Join hosts Dave Buckman and Rachel Madorsky to learn techniques that you can utilize at the Conference to pitch your script or approach your screenwriting idol with confidence.

Dave Buckman will host this year’s Awards Luncheon (tickets are sold out – call to get on the waitlist 512-478-4795)! Dine with panelists, awardees (Roger Corman, Tony Gilroy, Daniel Petrie, Jr., and Larry Wilmore), and hear inspiring speeches from this year’s honorees and winners.

You won’t want to miss these incredible events. Check out the promo codes below and get your tickets for the fest today!

coldtowne25 – $25 off all badges – you will need at least a Conference Badge to participate in First Three Pages, Live! And the Friday session of Morning Improv if you are interested in Morning Improv on Saturday and checking out films you can purchase a Lone Star Badge

 

coldtownefp – $15 off a Film Pass – for access to all 8 days of film and the Film Pass Party in partnership with Do512

Here is some information about some of the comedies we are screening this year!

Travel back to 1989 for a special retrospective screening of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure presented by Ed Solomon on Sunday, October 28 at 7:00PM at the Galaxy Highland – screen 9!

Check out this year’s Comedy Vanguard Films:

Simple Wedding

Nousha might have finally found the one in Alex, an eccentric bisexual artist. But when her parents find out about the blossoming relationship, she’s pressured into tying the knot before either of them are ready. The thrust-upon wedding becomes a runaway train as cultures clash and families collide.

Filmmaker Interview

Thursday, October 25 | 7:10 PM | Alamo Drafthouse Village

Tuesday, October 30 | 8:30 PM | Galaxy Highland screen 8

Original Sin (Pecado Original)

In partnership with Cine Las Americas

A sexually-frustrated woman, her uptight husband, and a freewheeling artist form an unlikely love triangle.

Trailer

Filmmaker Interview

Thursday, October 25 | 9:45 PM | Bethell Hall-St. David’s Episcopal Church

Tuesday, October 30 | 5:30 PM | Galaxy Highland screen 9

Antiquities

Walt moves back to his hometown in hopes of learning more about his recently deceased father. After accepting a job in a local antique shop, he ends up not only finding out who his father really was but learns more about himself than he ever thought possible.

Trailer

Friday, October 26 | 4:00 PM | State Theatre

Tuesday, October 30 | 2:30 PM | Galaxy Highland screen 7

In Reality

In partnership with Something More

In order to reclaim her bearing on reality, newly heartbroken Ann confronts her overgrown fantasies by making a film about the experience.

Trailer

Saturday, October 27 | 8:30 PM | Galaxy Highland screen 8

Wednesday, October 31 | 1:00 PM | Alamo Drafthouse Village

The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova

Estranged siblings Sarah and Aaron arrive in Dombrova, Poland with a singular mission: to fulfill their dying grandmother’s wish to find, dig up, and bring home the bones of her favorite childhood dog.

Saturday, October 27 | 9:30 PM | Bethell Hall-St. David’s Episcopal Church

Wednesday, October 31 | 9:30 PM | Hideout Theatre

Lost & Found

Seven different stories interconnect around a lost-and-found office at an Irish train station. Even though they each have their own journey, they all stumble upon something they weren’t expecting.

Trailer

Sunday, October 28 | 1:00 PM | Alamo Drafthouse Village

Monday, October 29 | 4:00 PM | Hideout Theatre

Friends From College Season 2 Premiere–FREE and open to the public!

Creators Francesca Delbanco & Nicholas Stoller in attendance

Season 2 of Friends From College follows six Harvard alums in their 40s living in New York City and the complicated relationships they have with each other. It’s been a year since Ethan & Sam’s affair was exposed to the 4 other friends – including Lisa, Ethan’s wife – and the friend group is still fractured. No one has heard from Lisa, Ethan has been living a repentant year of writing a YA novel, and Sam has been trying to repair her marriage with her husband Jon.  But with Max’s wedding coming up, the friends won’t be able to avoid each other much longer. Between the engagement party, bachelor party, and wedding, the six will have to overcome the destruction in their past and figure out how to function as a friend group again. Will they be able to move forward or will they regress back to their old destructive patterns once again?

Friday, October 26 | 7:00PM | State Theatre

To purchase a Film Pass or Badge visit austinfilmfestival.com or call 512-478-4795. Film Passes are also available for purchase at The Long Center and The Paramount Theatre box offices.

An Uncomfortable Woman: Read, Relate, Donate

Meghan Ross is a writer, producer, and comedian, and the host of the women-run late night show That Time of the Month (Teen Halloween episode is this Saturday at ColdTowne, featuring an all-teen girl lineup!). We sat down with Meghan to talk about her upcoming film, An Uncomfortable Woman.

 How’d you get to ColdTowne?

I moved to Austin 2 years ago from New York, where I had started performing comedy and completed my improv/sketch training at UCB, and ColdTowne was kind enough to give me a monthly spot on the schedule when I wanted to adapt That Time of the Month here (I’d previously been co-hosting it for 2 years in New York with Liisa Murray). This fall, I’m also directing and producing An Uncomfortable Woman, a dark comedy short film I’ve written with Sam Stepp.

You’re currently in pre-production mode for An Uncomfortable Woman. Can you tell us what inspired you to write and produce this project?

Every year, I make a resolution to film something I write, and every year, I procrastinate on that goal (does this make me relatable???). About a year ago, Sam and I started meeting up as writing accountability buddies, keeping each other in check on our own personal projects. During one of these meetings, Sam had just finished watching a disturbing amount of Lifetime movies on YouTube and we started discussing how they all have one theme in common: show women in pain, as a form of entertainment.

We were both drawn to the dark comedy genre, and it seemed natural to use that tone to depict someone going through some real shit, while using humor to cope with it. I’d found myself in one of those shit moments last year with the passing of my Aunt Dawn, who was like a second mother to me. I continue to use comedy to help me ride the ups and downs of the grief rollercoaster (which sounds like a failed idea for a Six Flags ride).

Our idea developed further when we honed in on a woman dealing with her own personal trauma, and at the same time, experiencing the everyday behaviors of a patriarchal society. We thought it’d be interesting to show what seem like trivial moments in the script (ex: a waiter putting his hand on her waist to brush past her) as much more eerie and exaggerated through cinematography, to convey the discomfort a woman feels internally, but might not be as obvious to others externally. And on top of everything that’s already happened to this woman (her mother passed away, she had to move back into her childhood home after the end of her engagement), she still feels like a third bad thing is lurking around the corner.

Tell us about the leading lady.

Robin Beltran as Dylan in An Uncomfortable Woman

The role of the lead character is played by Robin Beltrán, a Houston-based actress who also happens to be an amazing vegan chef and an all-around wonderful woman being! Our goal was to cast a WOC as the lead, because we wanted to flip the trope of an ethnically-ambiguous sidekick who serves a white lead character’s storyline and instead focus the story on the WOC, with support from the fantastic Haley Alea Erickson (Say Uncle Improv) as the lead’s childhood BFF.

I met Robin through casting and quickly learned the obstacles she’s had to overcome in her personal life, from a tragic incident where her husband was shot (propelling her family to adapt a plant-based diet, since it was the only way he could process food), to a former news station employer criticizing and wanting to change everything about her appearance, including her natural hair. Her resilience has been so inspiring to me, and she’s been incredibly supportive of the project since the day she came into auditions.

 

Why was it important to you to have a crew made up entirely of women and POC?

It’s taken a long time for the TV/film industry to realize the importance of diverse casting when it comes to telling stories from the perspective of POC (see: Matt Damon, Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, someone probably auditioning for Aladdin 2 right now) and we still have a lot more work to do to improve it. But booking a diverse crew and staff (anywhere from the writers’ room to showrunners, gaffers to directors) continues to be an afterthought for many studios and networks who boast about their “woke” content.

That’s why another priority on this project was to have a crew that reflects the inclusiveness of the cast. And for me, that extends to booking women in roles that are often exclusively filled by men on set. I’ve witnessed this gender inequality in previous work experiences in the TV industry, as well as in the comedy scene with show lineups. I may not be a rich and powerful TV/film executive, but I can still implement the kind of change I’d like to see, even on a smaller level.

How can folks support the project?

We’re currently raising money to fund our film (most importantly, pay and feed our amazing cast and crew). If you have the means, please consider donating to our Indiegogo campaign where in exchange, you can get some cool-as-hell prizes from local women-owned businesses, women artists, and women professionals.

If you can’t donate, please share the link with anyone/everyone you know! We’re also looking for businesses who are interested in donating meals for craft services during our shoot days, so if that’s you, please email us at uncomfortablewomanfilm@gmail.com.

Where can we follow for updates?

You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@uncomfwoman), and Instagram (@uncomfortablewoman). This is the one scenario where it’s appropriate to follow around “an uncomfortable woman.”

You can see Meghan Ross in her monthly ColdTowne show, That Time of the Month, and on Saturday, Nov. 3 at BettyFest at the Historic Scoot Inn.

It’s 2023 and Weed is Legal In Texas

Dream Shake Productions’ Alex Ybarra and Carl Stoneking first started making comedy videos together 10 years ago as students at Texas Tech University. After college they pursued more traditional career paths, but their passion for filmmaking reunited them three years ago in Austin. Alex and Carl immediately got involved in the local comedy scene including taking classes with the ColdTowne Conservatory, enlisting dozens of comedians and actors in their award winning short comedy films.  

Last year they took on their most ambitious project, a web-series written by Christina Parrish called Toddumentaries. The science-fiction teen dramedy has been an official selection at SeriesFest in Denver, Melbourne WebFest and HollyShorts Festival in Los Angeles and is making its debut online this month. After the success of Toddumentaries, Ybarra and Stoneking decided for the first time to seek outside funding for their next project, High From Texas, which is live on Kickstarter until the end of August.

We sat down with Ybarra and Stoneking to learn more about their new stoner comedy. 

Tell us a little more about Dream Shake Productions.

Stoneking: Alex and I started making dumb comedy shorts when we were in college, it was just for our own amusement.  Then about 4 years ago I decided to move to Austin and pursue filmmaking more seriously. Alex was already living here working as a PA.

Alex: I was just soaking up everything on set, or I have been for a while now. I worked on independent films, TV series and had a stint in the post production office for Terrence Malick. I wanted to be an assistant director before deciding to jump into the camera department, and that’s where I’ve been the most comfortable. Filming comedy is what I want to do, and I’m eager to continue improving my skills behind the camera. I’ve always thought Carl was a natural director, and I’m a natural facilitator, so we continued to grow our relationship and here we are, still making things.

Stoneking: We both graduated from ColdTowne Conservatory. We met Christina Parrish through the theater, and she wrote the last web-series we produced (Toddumentaries). We also met Cody Dearing, who helped write our new project High From Texas.

Some of the cast and crew at the first High From Texas table read.

What is High From Texas about?

Ybarra: High from Texas is set in the year 2023 when weed has been legalized nationwide. It follows a small town couple as they attempt to open the lone star state’s first marijuana dispensary despite concerns from a collection of interesting locals. 

What made you want to combine weed and Texas? 

Stoneking: I spent a lot of time in Denver and found the whole marijuana scene very hilarious. I didn’t really see any shows that represented it accurately, so I wanted to write one. When I moved to Austin, I felt like I was really living in Texas for the first time. You go to Barton Springs or Zilker, you see the capitol, living in this city really made me feel like an actual Texan.  So it felt natural to me to combine these two cultures that I’ve spent time in.  

What is your goal with this web series? 

Stoneking: The first thing we want to do is make people laugh. Cody Dearing and I have spent almost a year working on the scripts, and we are very proud of where they are now. The cast is made up of some of ColdTowne’s most talented performers, so with them the scripts are taken to another level.   

Ybarra: Beyond the comedy of the show, we really want to shed light on the issues of federal prohibition on marijuana, and to show that it’s not that big of a deal. Life in Texas will go on, there will be so many people who are for it, and the state would be better off, period. Texas is so far behind the rest of the country, we honestly just want to create a world where that’s not the case. It’s fun to ask the question, “What if Buc-ees had a small marijuana dispensary section by the Yeti coolers?” There’s a lot to lampoon here, and we intend to do that without restraint. 

Why should people support and back this project?

Stoneking: The scripts are hilarious. The cast is extremely talented.  There are 40 million Texans and like 3 billion pot heads, so the audience is enormous!  We just need a little help to get it out there.

Ybarra: This is a collaboration with so many funny Austin improvisers and comedians, who are working together on a unique idea. The list of actors is incredible, and you can find all of them on stage in Austin any given night. Not to mention, there are a lot of shows about weed, and there are a lot of shows about Texas, but we have created the only show about weed AND Texas. Apparently, Willie Nelson is a fan of the whole idea, too. He agreed to sign some posters as Kickstarter rewards, and three have been bought already. We’re extremely grateful for his interest, it’s amazing.

If you’re into the idea, believe the state of Texas doesn’t want us to CHILL or just love throwing your money at the arts, you can back the project here: https://goo.gl/m9KXXH

You can also check out other work by Dream Shake Productions here: https://goo.gl/w1BhEo

AFF Presents: Pitch Day!

Join Austin Film Festival for a day of pitching fun! Fine tune your pitch before you take on the big leagues at AFF 2018 with Pitch Day on Sunday, July 22nd. This workshop is great to practice an elevator-style pitch and can help writers to conquer their fears of public speaking and selling themselves.

Start your day off with an intimate Pitch Workshop with industry script consultant Jill Chamberlain, founder of The Screenplay Workshop. She’ll give feedback and workshop a few pitches to make sure they’re ready to go!

Next, enjoy a generous break – plenty of time to practice your pitch with other workshop attendees and grab a drink or two before… The Pitch Party! Invite your friends because there is also going to be an audience award-winner for the contest! Guests can arrive at 2:30 pm for drinks and mingling. The Pitch Party is Free with RSVP!

In the final event of the day, you’ll have 90 seconds to pitch to a live audience and a panel of judges. One winner will be crowned Pitcher Extraordinaire and win a Lone Star Badge and Pitch Ticket for the 2018 Austin Film Festival for a chance to do it all again!

Confirmed Judges include:

Elizabeth Avellán – Co-Owner and Vice President of Troublemaker Studios and President of EYA Productions. In addition to producing family and genre films that have collectively grossed over a billion dollars, she has played a primary role in developing Austin, Texas as a thriving film community.

Cathleen Sutherland – Oscar® nominated and award-winning producer of Boyhood. She has been involved in independent filmmaking in Texas since she was a youth and is proud to still call Austin home.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets!