Category: Austin

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Austin Film Festival

Dedicated to the expansion of art, business and craft of screenwriters and movie directors, the Austin Film Festival also recognizes their contribution in any form of media. It champions the creations of those who are still aspiring and even those that are already established by granting special services, cultural events, enhancing awareness and encouraging partnerships.

The Austin Film Festival was founded in 1994 which is the pioneering organization of its kind that closely looks into the unique style of writing in connection with the motion picture industry. It was already attended by the likes of Was Anderson, Robert Altman, Joel Coen, James Brooks, Barry Levinson, Russel Croew, Robert Duvall, Darren Star, Dennis Hopper, Buck Henry, John Landis, Lawrence Kasdan, Bryan Singer, Garry Shandling, Sandra Bullock, Oliver Stone, Owen Wilson and Harold Ramis.

With the mission to establish movie makers such as editors, producers, artists, cinematographers and anybody that uses the language of flicks to translate a story with dynamism, the Austin Film Festival comes up with various programs for career development. In its 1993 launch, it was the first to also have a conference celebrating the significance of telling a narrative. They believe that even after thirteen years later, even if you have been equipped with the technicalities but you are not able to speak of an account and interpret into audio-video, it is as nothing.

Registrants to the activities in the Austin Film Festival will be able to have personal access to the professionals themselves as well as the high-level executives. In the past years they were able to welcome Hollywood celebrities such as Claire Danes, Matthew McConaughey, Mary Masterson, Donal Logue, Eric Stoltz, Sam Elliot, and Gina Gershon, to mention a few. They generate over 80 interactive panel discussions over a four-day course. It includes what they call Meet & Greet where they are in a casual and intimate setting; Roundtables where they will gather with at least eight big wigs in the industry and Panels where it is only limited to a sitting of 30 people.

After the finale of each day, all of them are already more than just acquaintances where in the evening they conclude the night by hanging out to parties. In fact, it is not unusual if there will be conversation with Wedding Crashers’ Bob Fisher and Steve Faber while standing in the line for any premiere screenings. Even brushing elbows with Shane Black or John Hancock, you can then eventually talk to them about writing and directing. If you are in for the obstacles in the business, take note of Barry Josephson or Harold Ramis at the Texas Film Commission Barbecue. There is simply no velvet ropes or VIP access around, everybody are just but ordinary in this one of a kind affair.

South By Southwest Festival In Austin

Recently, the South by Southwest music, film, and interactive festival wrapped up after another successful year in Austin. Because it falls during spring break week, it has become my tradition to take a break from my teaching job to work for the festival at one of the music venues. It is always an interesting and enjoyable change of pace for me, and my students get a real kick out of imagining their teacher working at a club and reveling along with the music lovers and club hoppers. This year was no different.

The SXSW music festival draws over 1400 bands and more than 5000 music industry professionals to Austin, and that number doesn’t even take into account those thousands attending the film and interactive festivals which run concurrently under the SXSW banner, and Austin welcomes them all with open arms. After all, the festival pumps a hefty $30 million into the local economy, and every year, the crowds grow. At least at this time of year, Austin rightfully deserves, and proves its status as “The Live Music Capital of the World.”

Austin boasts more live music venues per capita than any other city in the U.S., and clubs of all sizes, including a church, play host to bands from all over the world during the four-night music festival. The party officially kicks off on Wednesday night with Austin’s own version of the Grammys, The Austin Music Awards. Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, was a big winner, and Pete Townshend formerly of The Who, took the stage with fellow Brit, Ian McLagan, now a beloved Austin performer.

At my club on 6th Street, we showcased bands from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Amsterdam, and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with “Irish Music Night” on Saturday. Without exception, the members of the bands and their entourages were excited about playing Austin and having the opportunity to be “discovered” by a producer or promoter, or picked up by a record label. One band member excitedly informed me that after their show, they were approached to collaborate on a major motion picture soundtrack! At least during SXSW, Austin is the city where dreams really can come true.

Up and down the 6th Street entertainment district and beyond, record executives checked their schedules and hurried from club to club, munching chopped barbeque sandwiches and checking out the artists, who ranged from acoustic singer/songwriters to outrageously dressed and spikey-coiffed punks and heavy metal screamers clad in their inevitable black garb.

Early one night, a nicely dressed middle-aged couple approached me to ask if they could buy a ticket for the show. “You must have a son or daughter performing,” I smiled, because they were definitely not your typical club hopper. Naturally, their son was playing, and the proud parents had followed him to Austin for the show and a mini-vacation all the way from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That day had been beautiful, with the temperature hovering near 80, and we chatted for a while about their visit, and what they had seen and done while in Austin. The couple was exuberant in their praise and promised that next year they would be back for a longer vacation and would definitely be bringing friends.

Later that evening, a woman from the UK dropped in to thank me for recommending Maria’s Taco Express, one of my favorite haunts, and invited me to an after-hours private party in a hotel penthouse nearby. I thanked her, but had to decline, because this golden carriage that is SXSW has to turn back into a pumpkin by Monday morning, and I had some lesson plans to write.

Relocation To Austin

If you have found yourself considering a move to Texas, you might be remiss if you overlook the amazingly attractive options offered by Austin and the surrounding areas. Why is Austin so attractive? Well, that’s an answer that will take a bit of time. For starters, Austin is located along the beautiful Colorado River in the Texas Hills Country. The beauty of this area is hard to beat anywhere in the world. These beautiful hills are home to some of Austin’s most luxurious homes which feature amazing views of the city and the surrounding countryside.

Many aspects have contributed to Austin’s rise to popularity, but none more so than the excellent business environment that is based in the fields of technology. The Austin area has followed in the footsteps of Silicon Valley and has become known as the Silicon Hills. This nexus of the technology industry has provided Austin with a great atmosphere for growth and expansion while ensuring the stability of Austin’s economy and real estate sector.

Another great reason to consider relocation to Austin is the phenomenal real estate value that is possessed by homes and properties in the Austin area. In fact, homes in Austin are priced approximately $50,000 less than the national median. This translates into great opportunities for prospective home buyers. Also, the homes that make up the real estate picture in Austin are of excellent quality and it is possible to find some amazing heritage homes in the beautiful Victorian style that was popularized in the early 1900’s. There is also a great selection of new and modern homes and amazing condos and lofts available in many price ranges.

With such a stable real estate market, the services that are offered by Austin have grown with the increased need. Austin is home to great educational services and public utilities. All of these elements have combined to give Austin the stable base required to show consist ant growth and stability in the real estate market.

Keeping Austin Weird Since 1839: Austin Travel Information

Austin may not have much in common with the rest of its Texan neighbors, but it certainly is right up to speed, if not in high speed, with the rest of the international community. Find yourself some cheap airfare to Austin and discover why most cars and t-shirts of Austinites proudly proclaim, “Keep Austin Weird.” Travel to Austin to experience a vibrant city deeply entrenched in the tenets of self-expression, ever-evolving music of all genres, and the pride of a unique southern history.

Austin was the original capital of the Republic of Texas, and remained the capital of the state of Texas once incorporated into the United States in 1845 as the 28th state. The Texas State Capitol Complex is certainly worth a visit while taking in the sights of Austin. The gardens are peaceful and the 1856 Governor’s Mansion is an architectural testament to the Greek revival style. The LBJ Presidential Library is also located in Austin and offers rotating exhibits focused on domestic and national history and art.

Travel to the Tune of Austin

Anyone who pays much attention to contemporary music would know that Austin is known as “the Live Music Capital of the World.” There are more live music venues per capita in Austin than in any other city. Wander down 6th Street on any given night and you will find yourself overtaken by jazz beats, rock progressions, twanging country, or experimental electro. Each year Atlanta hosts the famous South by Southwest music and film festival, which is a major gathering and showcase for the entire live music industry. The Austin Reggae Festival is hosted in April and this eccentric Texan city even celebrates its own version of Carnaval in February.

It is mandatory that you travel with an open mind if you are visiting Austin during any of their zillions of festivals spread throughout the year. Eeyore’s Birthday Party is an annual celebration of self-expression where face painted families enjoy live music and drum circles alongside rockers, teens, drag queens and just about everyone else in Austin, while a statue of Eeyore dressed like the Statue of Liberty is prominently displayed. To keep in theme with Austin’s quirkiness, the city hosts SPAMORAMA, an annual homage to SPAM in all forms including a cook-off, recipe contest, kid’s SPAM sculpture, and craft booths, and even the SPAMALYPICS.

Austin also boasts a prosperous and eclectic film and theater industry. Over a dozen independent theaters line the streets of Austin, offering enough space for the many theater groups ranging from improv and offbeat to classical and cutting-edge. Check out The Off Center for a real taste of Austin’s finest original music, comedy and theater acts. Hollywood seems to have developed a satellite industry in Austin over the years, with the help of the University of Texas at Austin’s acclaimed Department of Radio-Television-Film. Recent productions include Office Space, A Scanner Darkly, Miss Congeniality, and Sin City.

It’s All About Austin

A trip to Texas is simply incomplete without traveling to Austin. The city single-handedly places Texas on the cultural and artistic global map and smoothes out the edges of the Texan stereotype. Get in on the nutty free spirit of Austin and don’t miss another beat of a breakthrough artist.

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