Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids: Thirty Years of Filmmaking in Austin, Texas

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9780292722439: Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids: Thirty Years of Filmmaking in Austin, Texas

During the 1990s, Austin achieved "overnight" success and celebrity as a vital place for independent filmmaking. Directors Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez proved that locally made films with regional themes such as Slacker and El Mariachi could capture a national audience. Their success helped transform Austin's homegrown film community into a professional film industry staffed with talented, experienced filmmakers and equipped with state-of-the art-production facilities. Today, Austin struggles to balance the growth and expansion of its film community with an ongoing commitment to nurture the next generation of independent filmmakers.

Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids chronicles the evolution of this struggle by re-creating Austin's colorful movie history. Based on revealing interviews with Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, Mike Judge, Quentin Tarantino, Matthew McConaughey, George Lucas, and more than one hundred other players in the local and national film industries, Alison Macor explores how Austin has become a proving ground for contemporary independent cinema. She begins in the early 1970s with Tobe Hooper's horror classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and follows the development of the Austin film scene through 2001 with the production and release of Rodriguez's $100-million blockbuster, Spy Kids. Each chapter explores the behind-the-scenes story of a specific movie, such as Linklater's Dazed and Confused and Judge's Office Space, against the backdrop of Austin's ever-expanding film community.

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About the Author:

ALISON MACOR is a freelance writer and former film critic for the Austin Chronicle and the Austin American-Statesman. She holds a Ph.D. in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin and has taught film courses at the University of Texas, Austin Community College, and the Austin Museum of Art.

Review:

"Macor sketches an intriguing flow-chart of like-minded Austin eccentrics who built an economic base for the city.... the book's strength is its enduring relevance." --Film Comment

Austin, TX, often called the "Third Coast," has boasted a homegrown film industry since the late 1970s. Macor, who has been a film critic for the Austin Chronicle and has taught film courses at the University of Texas, writes of how that industry began and how it has grown. Fed by the progressive students at CinemaTexas (Univ. of Texas) and the biweekly Austin Chronicle arts newspaper, the area was able to produce small movies with regional appeal--many of which blew up beyond the DIY scene. Horror movie fans will appreciate the behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and fans of Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, and Richard Linklater will find great histories of how their careers were boosted by the Austin scene. The film industry is going strong with the Austin Film Festival and the popularity of cult movies like Slacker and Dazed and Confused. Verdict: Recommended for film enthusiasts, Austinites, and anyone looking for a companion book to the many movies made in Texas over the last 30 years.--Christine Schonhart, Boston P.L. --Library Journal, March 12, 2010

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