Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November's Events

As the semester gets closer and closer to coming to an end, everyone gets much much busier. Thankfully, Women In Cinema is here for you.


11/2 Cinema41’s TRIVIA41: An Independent Film Pub Quiz/Fundraiser

Dive Bar Lounge 1703 Guadalupe


Cinema41 will be hosting 8 rounds of independent movie trivia ranging from the mainstream to the obscure. Teams of 5 max, but less is always welcome. $1 of every drink goes to benefit Cinema41. Drink special: $2 pints of UFO White.

11/16 Agnes Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)

7:30PM The Hideout Backstage Theater 617 Congress

LIVE Q&A with Hendrix College Film Professor DR KRISTI MCKIM via Skype

11/30 Margarethe von Trotta’s Sheer Madness (1983)

7:30PM The Hideout Backstage Theater 617 Congress

LIVE Q&A with local filmmaker and UT professor NANCY SCHIESARI


Brought to you by Women In Cinema

Tuesday November 15th
CMA 3.116

Join Women In Cinema for a night o
f support, workshopping and constructive criticism. This is the one time in the semester that our Women In Cinema members can show their works-in-progress and get honest opinions on how to make it better.

If you have a short (maximum 15 minutes) you would like to show or a script (maximum 12 pages) you'd like to get workshopped, please email to submit. Only paid Women In Cinema members can get their work shown or read.

This event is free. Everyone is welcomed to attend.

Mark your calendars - ANIMATION PANEL
Brought to you by Women In Cinema

Tuesday November 29th
Meeting from 7:00-7:30pm | Panel from 7:30-9:00pm
CMA 3.116

Join Women In Cinema for a night about the frame by frame secrets of being an animator.

Confirmed panelists Katy O'Connor, Jennifer Deutrom and Megan Kluck.

Final panel TBA

This event is free. Everyone welcomed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Women in the Austin Film Festival

We are lucky to live in a town with so many amazing film festivals, among which is the Austin Film Festival. If you're going to the Austin Film Festival this week/weekend, here are some films by women to check out ...

Note from AFF - we are excited to have Mira Sorvino in attendance for Union Square!

All I Know - the Castle Sessions - This melodic doc features 12 singer-songwriters from around the world who have come together for three full days of intense songwriting in a 16th century castle in Denmark.

American Teacher: Matt Damon narrates this doc by AFF Alum Vanessa Roth (attending the festival!) about four teachers living and working in disparate urban and rural areas across the country.

Don't Expect Too Much: Nicholas Ray’s widow Susan directs an exploration into the difficulties that Ray faced in Hollywood and the significant influence he continues to have on filmmakers today. Featuring newly released archival images and audio tapes of Ray.

Leila: Paul and Leila appear to have the perfect life, they are both madly in love; the only problem is that one of them has lost their mind.

One Night Stand: A funny, intimate doc following top Broadway and television writers, actors, and directors as they invent four short musicals, from the blank page to the live stage, all within 24 hours. Featuring Rachel Dratch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Richard Kind.

Pariah: A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.

Union Square: tells the story of a reluctant reunion between two sisters (Mira Sorvino and Tammy Blanchard) One is on the verge of marriage; the other is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Both struggle with truths they're hiding from each other--and from themselves.-- note, director Nancy Savoca in attendance!

When Dreams Take Flight: Through a series of fascinating stories about brilliant and often courageous characters, spanning six centuries and two continents, this doc explores the myth and reality of why humans are compelled to fly like birds.

Wish Me Away: After a lifetime of hiding, Chely Wright becomes the first commercial country music singer to come out as gay, shattering cultural stereotypes within Nashville, her conservative heartland family and, most importantly, within herself.

Also while you're at the festival, you might consider checking out some of the shorts and films made by RTF alumni which includes Women in Cinema's own, Carlyn Hudson and her film, Z & Beau and Chelsea Hernandez and her film, Archer. RTFer at AFF

More information about the Austin Film Festival can be found at: and more specific information - including trailers and screening times for the films at:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October's Events

October is an exciting month: In Austin it means that the weather starts to cool, the leaves change from greenish yellow to golden brown, and the Halloween holiday adds a bit of mischief in the air. Another thing to look forward to is what Women In Cinema has planned:


MOVIE NIGHT - Where The Soldiers Came From

Tuesday October 12th 7:00-10:00pm

Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar

1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX

Join Women In Cinema for a relaxing night off from school, as we go to the movies to watch an amazing film by a local female director!

From a snowy small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM follows the four-year journey of childhood friends and their town, forever changed by a faraway war. A documentary about growing up, WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM is an intimate look at the young men who fight our wars and their town. Returning to her hometown, Austin documentarian Heather Courtney gains extraordinary access following these young men as they grow and change from teenagers stuck in their town, to 23-year-old veterans facing the struggles of returning home.

Buy your tickets ahead of time at

$10 for ticket

Aim to get there an hour early so we can all get seats together.

Email for movie suggestions.


SXSW Secrets Revealed

A Panel brought to you by Women in Cinema

Join SXSW producers and programmers JANET PIERSON, CLAUDETTE GODFREY and the Women in Cinema group for their Film Festival Panel to ask all your burning questions about how film selections are made and how such an elaborate festival is organized so successfully.

Tuesday, October 25th, 7pm-9pm, CMA Building, Rm # 3.116

Meeting from 7:00-7:30pm, Panel from 7:30-9:00pm

JANET PIERSON is the Producer of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival and so is responsible for the vision, programming, and execution of the annual event. Before joining SXSW in April 2008, Janet spent over 30 years championing independent films and filmmakers, in a variety of roles including distributor, exhibitor, producer’s rep, investor, workshop producer, executive producer, documentary subject, and as co-creator and segment director of the IFC cable TV series Split Screen. Much of this work was in partnership with her husband, the author, producer, professor, and co-president of Grainy Pictures, John Pierson. An Austin Film Society Board Member 2004-2010, she’s currently on the Advisory Board, and has served on and taken part in several grant panels, festival juries, and advisory roles, including on behalf of the NEA, ITVS, and Creative Capital.

CLAUDETTE GODFREY is the Film Festival Coordinator and Shorts Programmer for South by Southwest. A University of Texas Film graduate, Claudette also worked as a Corporate Relations Coordinator at the CineVegas Film Festival and is a Shorts Programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse's Fantastic Fest. Additionally, she does a mean karaoke version of Notorious B.I.G.'s ‘Hypnotize.’ a Shorts Programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse's Fantastic Fest. Additionally, she does a mean karaoke version of Notorious B.I.G.'s ‘Hypnotize.

This event is free and open to all.


and Don't forget Austin Film Festival is from Thu, 20 Oct, 2011 - Thu, 27 Oct, 2011

The Austin Film Festival furthers the art and craft of filmmaking by inspiring and championing the work of screenwriters, filmmakers, and all artists who use the language of film to tell a story.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Coming up: EDITING PANEL featuring Sandra Adair & Karen Skloss

Tuesday, September 27th, 7pm-9pm, CMA Building, RM # 3.116
Meeting from 7:00-7:30pm, Panel from 7:30-9:00pm

Questions? Send us an email!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This Weekend...

Come out to our Camera, Sound & Lighting Workshop
This Saturday, Sept. 10
from 10am-5pm @ Picturebox Studios.

If you wish to attend and haven't already registered please email ASAP:

Friday, September 2, 2011

September Events

Women in Cinema News:

  • We had a great turn out at last week's Documentary Panel meeting. We were joined by great guest speakers-- Laura Sobel, Rakeda Lashae, and Mike Nicholson-- who gave sound advice about the documentary world. They weren't hesitant to give candid responses and share insightful anecdotes. Keep a look out for the videos we'll post from the meeting!
  • Last Wednesday, Slacker 2011 had its premiere at the Paramount Theater which included the Women in Cinema produced scene. The film was a hit! It'll play again every Sunday in September at the Alamo Drafthouse.
  • Quick reminder that dues to join Women in Cinema are $10/semester and $20/school year. Your membership helps us offer amazing speakers, workshops and events!


Upcoming Events:

  • Women in Cinema will be having a Camera/Lighting/Sound workshop this upcoming Saturday, September 10th from 10am-5pm at Picturebox Studio, where we will be going over basic camera, sound, and lighting. There is still time to RSVP, so email us and let us know if you'd like to attend.
  • Our next Guest Speaker Meeting will be on Tuesday, September 27th. We'll be joined by editor extraordinaire Sandra Adair. Mark your calendar now!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Upcoming Events

Documentary Panel
Women in Cinema Meeting and Guest Series (Documentary Panel)


Tuesday, August 30th, 7pm-9pm, CMA Building, Rm # 3.116
Meeting from 7:00-7:30pm, Panel from 7:30-9:00pm

This event is free and open to all.

Join the Women in Cinema group for their Documentary Panel. Panelist Laura Sobel, director of
Cereal: History in a Bowl, Rakeda Lashae, documentary television director, and Mike Nicholson, producer of Better This World come together for an evening of shared non-fiction filmmaking secrets. Hear about non-fiction filmmaking and television production from ladies who have done it before.

Women in Cinema is an official University of Texas at Austin Student Organization, formerly known as Reel Women Students. Women in Cinema provides a support system for student filmmakers at all levels of experience and also aim to provide students with the knowledge, tools and connections that will better enable them to create successful films.


LAURA SOBEL has produced and written for PBS, A&E, Biography, VH1/MTV Networks
and Fuel TV. She directed and wrote Cereal: History in a Bowl, a pilot for The History
Channel that extended to a 13-part series. Her scripts for A&E Biography have run
the gamut from Hugh Jackman to Catherine the Great to a behind-the-scenes looking
at the making of the movie Animal House. She also co-produced the ITVS funding
documentary Tattooed Under Fire with Nancy Schiesari. As a development writer, her
credits include film treatments and series proposals for PBS, HBO, National Geographic,
Bravo, Discovery, HGTV, and A&E. Laura also teaches documentary filmmaking
workshops at DCTV in New York and at The Mobile Film School in Austin, Texas.

RAKEDA LASHAE has more than ten years of experience as a producer and director. Her credits are with networks like A&E, NBC and MTV. Rakeda Lashae's career began at Warner Bros., with work on various television series and feature film, Cats and Dogs. She went on to join VH1, lending her producing and directing talent on the Emmy winning series, Behind The Music. Other VH1 shows on her credit list include Driven, Hip Hop Babylon and Ultimate Albums, which earned several award nominations. In addition, she's produced episodes of documentary series, E! True Hollywood Story and E! Investigates. Her independent work includes shorts films, music videos and The N Word, a Peabody Award winning documentary she associate produced.)

MIKE NICHOLSON is a founding partner of Picturebox and an accomplished graphic artist with more than ten years of experience. He has designed titles for numerous films including The Hot Shoe, Cremains, Clock-Paint-Eyeball, and My Electric Bill. In addition to producing award-winning commercial and industrial projects, Mike served as co-producer and director of photography for the documentary Blaze Foley Inside. With partner J. Kevin Smith he co-directed the feature documentary Teaching Austin, which aired on PBS. Mike recently produced Better This World, a critically acclaimed feature documentary which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2011.


Slacker 2011 Premiere

August 31st, 7pm, The Paramount Theatre

Last semester’s members were able to work together and contribute a scene for the upcoming feature Slacker 2011. Richard Linklater's Slacker inspired a generation of American filmmakers by exploring the subculture of Austin, Texas in a loose narrative with a tapestry of quirky characters. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of that iconic movie, 24 of Austin's top filmmakers banded together to update Slacker with their own perspectives on the city. Slacker 2011 is a stream-of-consciousness chronicle of a day in Austin, presenting the city-dwellers, dragworms, proto-hipsters and locations that give the city its modern identity. The film showcases a transformed town next to things that never change. Slacker 2011 is an homage to twenty years of independent filmmaking, presenting the city’s changing face and showcasing some of its most exciting talent. If you are interested come join us to the screening of the film! Tickets cost $15 for general admission and $10 for AFS Members.

We are planning on meeting up beforehand and going out to dinner, Silhouette ( So let us know if you need a ride or just want to meet us there.


Women in Cinema’s Camera, Sound, Lighting Workshop
Saturday, September 10th, 10am - 5pm

Picturebox Studios, $5 for UT Reel Women Members ONLY

We're offering a beginning of the semester workshop going over camera, lighting and sound to Women in Cinema members. Lunch is included in the $5.00 registration. Come get a stress-free opportunity to get your hands on equipment with trained, professional instructors. To sign up, please send a note to with "WC Students Workshop" in the heading. Pre-registration is required.

The Austin Studios Tour Field Trip

Tuesday, September 13th
5:30pm - 7pm
Austin Studios
Hosts: John Mace, Ryan Long

Cap of 20 Students (Including However Many of Us are Going)
Registration, First Come First Serve
Must Be a Women in Cinema Member

Join Women In Cinema for an evening of exploration of the famous Austin Studios. Learn how studios operate and what kind of things get made. See the largest green screen in the state.


Editors' Panel
Women in Cinema Meeting and Guest Series (The Editing Panel)

Tuesday, September 27th, 7pm-9pm, CMA Building, Rm # 3.116
Meeting from 7:00-7:30pm, Panel from 7:30-9:00pm

This event is free and open to all.

began working as an assistant editor to some of Hollywood’s leading editors in the early 1970s and learned the principles of post-production. She started editing small, low-budget films in the mid-1980s and by 1990 served as second editor on Paramount Pictures' Internal Affairs. In 1991 she moved with her husband and two children to Austin, where she continued to work on both feature films and documentaries. She teamed with Texas documentarian Hector Galan on the award-winning The Hunt for Pancho Villa and Songs of the Homeland. Ms. Adair’s most active alliance in Austin has been with Academy-Award-nominated filmmaker Richard Linklater, for whom she has edited 14 films: Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, subUrbia, The Newton Boys, Waking Life, Tape, the short film Live from Shiva’s Dance Floor, the hit comedy School of Rock, Before Sunset, Bad News Bears, the animated feature A Scanner Darkly, Fast Food Nation, based on the best-selling book, the documentary Inning by Inning: A Portrait of a Coach, Me and Orson Welles and most recently, Bernie. Adair is a member of American Cinema Editors and of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She remains very active in the local film community in Austin, as a mentor and as a
member of the Austin Film Society.

an award-winning filmmaker and internationally exhibited visual artist. She has edited a number of feature documentaries some of which include: Atomic Ed & The Black Hole, Writ Writer, Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt. Sunshine is her first feature film as director.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Name Change

Juliet: What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Thanks Juliet, that's a good point you make. As the new school year approaches, Reel Women Students has decided to change the name of the group to Women In Cinema. We will still be doing everything we did (and more) but with a different name. We thought we would start fresh. We are no longer affiliated with the non-profit REEL WOMEN which is currently on hiatus.

This semester our monthly meetings/guest speaker series will be on the third Tuesday of the month from 7:00-9:00pm, where the meeting part will happen between 7-8 and the guest speaker will be from 8-9. Make sure to check out our calendar for exact dates. We will NOT be in Studio 4D but instead we have an intimate space in CMA 3.116 on the UT campus. We will still have script readings, rough cut viewings but will also hold field trips and movie night at local theaters.

Hopefully no one will be heart broken that we've changed our name. We were going to change it to Cinema Chicks but some people thought that that sounded a little too girly and not serious enough.  We're still a sweet smelling rose, but we're just going by a different name.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Our Slacker 2011 Scene gets some attention

Slacker 2011: Carlyn Hudson and Reel Women Students Squeeze Into a Packed Car

 Hudson and Reel Women UT filming their Slacker 2011 scene
In celebration of Slacker's 20th anniversary, local filmmakers are re-creating scenes from the Richard Linklater movie for Slacker 2011, a fundraising project benefitting the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund. The trailer is now available. As we await the August 31 premiere, we're chatting with some of the filmmakers participating in one or more of the short films that will comprise the project.
Today's interview is with Carlyn Hudson, a young filmmaker who directed the Slacker 2011 sequence produced by the Reel Women UT Chapter.

Slackerwood: Which scene from the film did you re-shoot?
Carlyn Hudson: We re-shot the scene with Steve ("S-T-E-V-E") and three girls in a van who proceed to Blue Bayou (now Trophy's) and get rejected.

Carlyn Hudson on set for Slacker 2011Why were you looking forward to re-creating this particular scene?
This scene isn't necessarily one of the iconic ones in Slacker, so that in itself created a unique opportunity. Furthermore, it never made sense to me that one of the girls left her friends to be with Steve, clearly a D-bag.
We also shot with an all-female crew which was incredible and a first for most of us on set.

What do you think your challenges have been in re-visiting this scene?
Technically our scene presented a few challenges. We had a night scene in a moving vehicle during which for most takes, four characters, an audio recordist, the cinematographer, and myself were filming in the car also stuffed with music gear. Please don't inform the Austin police of this fact.

Do you have any connections or memories related to the original Slacker?
To be completely honest, I do not. I'm in my early 20s, so I came to Slacker around the time it began streaming on Hulu.
I do have a vivid memory of coming to Austin as a nine-year-old, however, when we were sending my older sister off to UT. After being accosted by drag-rats, exposed to more sexual orientations than I knew existed, and witnessing the strangest wardrobe choices of my life, I threw my arms around my sister, crying, and said, "How can we let her live here, with all of these ... weirdos!"
I may have been late seeing the film itself, but the legacy Slacker created (and documented) was certainly a part of what drew me to Austin to make films. I am thrilled to re-create a scene honoring my own generation's particular brand of slacking.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SLACKER 2011: S-T-E-V-E, Day 2

Another awesome night of female filmmaking at its finest. Tonight the Reel Women Student group shot the first half of their scene for the Slacker 2011 which takes place in a van. Officially we got assigned scene 19 which consists of Steve driving 3 girls in his car to a club that his roommate's band is playing at after randomly meeting them in a dinner. (You might remember it in the original movie because he's talking about the ants in his apartment.) It's a two part segment because there's the van part and then there's the part in front of the club, which was shot yesterday. We were happy to get this scene because there seemed to be a lot of room for creativity.

The cast and crew met at Arts and Labor which generously lent us its space to set up camp. This was an interesting shoot because all that needed to be done was prelight the van, hide the mics, measure the focus for the camera, let the scene play out in the van and tweek / adjust along the way. The scene requires for four people to be in the van, two in front and two in back. There were going to be two major set ups: the front of the car and the back of the car. There was a lot more relaxed lounging on this night for everyone that wasn't piled in the car. 

Once the sun had set, lights were ready, Carlyn, the director, Therese, the Director of Photography, Renee Stairs, the sound recordist and mixer and Kate Steinhebel, the first Assistant Camera piled into the car with two actors at a time. They drove up and down Lamar Blvd doing the scene over and over and over and over again until they got what they wanted. After every other take they would pull over, get some air and adjust. This became more challenging when the camera was positioned to face towards the back of the car since there was suppose to be musical equipment in the back of the car. One thing is for sure, these ladies were committed to their job.

Meanwhile at Arts and Labor the rest of us hung out, worked on our TFPF applications which are due tomorrow, played in the parking lot and kept our equipment organized. Because of the generous donations, we were able to do a coffee run around 10:00pm. Tonight's meal was provided by Chipotle Mexican Grill which definitely hit the spot.

For more pictures from Slacker 2011, photographer Sarah Gonzalez please visit the Reel Women Students Picasa

For more pictures from Slacker 2011, photographer Patrick Rusk please visit the Flickr 

Monday, May 30, 2011

SLACKER 2011: S-T-E-V-E, Day 1

After weekly meetings, a ton of emails, casting, rehearsals, camera tests, etc., our pre production has come to a head for our Slacker 2011 scene. Tonight we shot the first half of our scene at Trophy's Bar which is the same bar that the original scene was shot. Beth, producer, sent out an email with the call times and locations on Sunday, reminding everyone to let her know if they have any dietary issues. Finally tonight was the night!
Call time was at 7:30pm. Everyone found the place without any real problems and no one was late. Everyone smoothly got to work or began to eat dinner. Other than the 2 male actors and Patrick Rusk the still photographer, it was a set full of all women in all roles. It was a beautiful scene of moviemaking at it's best. No drama and no real problems. Director Carlyn Hudson, Director of Photography Therese Tran and Producer Elizabeth Chatelain had been working around the clock for the last couple weeks preparing for every possible snag. Trophy Bar was very generous to give the production the whole back lot of the club, just for the production to spread out and make camp and of course the front of the bar for the shoot.

Carlyn and Beth spent a lot of time finding the right people for this piece of Slacker 2011. Steve was played by Alejandro (Ali) Rose-Garcia, Annick (aka "Traveler") played by Jessie Tilton, the Writer by Maggie Lea, Questions Happiness girl by Adriene Mishler, the Italian Cousin by Reel Women Student Gaia Bonsignore, Guy on Ledge by Will Elliot, Girl on Bike by Mimi Lopez and Doorman by Eric Lord. An interesting fact about Eric Lord, he played the original doorman in Richard Linklater's Slacker 20 year ago.

The sun was setting during everyone's arrival so the G&E had to go right to work with the camera department to make sure they rigged everything and got their electricity of juice figured out early while they had the natural light. However, the magic-hour light made it so that they couldn't place the lights or test the camera until they could see how it would all look in the night sky. Meanwhile the actors ate, got in costumes and make-up while Carlyn sat with them all, going over everything one last time. Manoeuvrings around the camera department and G&E, the art department got to work transforming this has-been club to look more like a lovable dive bar.

The food was provided by Pok-e-Jo's. BBQ was the perfect addition to keep everyone fed and happy. Some might think that girls don't like meat and those people are fools. These ladies can put back some BBQ. Each group or filmmaker that the Austin Film Society recruited was given a small amount of money and resources to produce the scene for the Slacker 2011 project. Though this was very useful and appreciated, it didn't cover all the costs that were seen for this scene. Reel Women board members Heather Collier, Beth Sepko, and Suzanne Weinert each gave a donation to the scene which was amazing. We can't thank them enough. It was because of their generous contribution that we were able to get a sufficient amount of snacks and refreshments that made our crew work as hard as they did.

The production was about halfway through the night when local Austin legend, Leslie came strolling on to set. If you don't know Leslie is a semi homeless man that lives in Austin and dresses in women's clothes. He didn't disrupt the production but was instead a surprising delight. The Assistant Producers, Jordan Harrison and Sarah Gonzalez, even thought he might make a great addition as an extra, walking by in the scene. However after some discussion, it turned out the Leslie's on set rate was much higher than the production was willing to spend. Instead, he ate a meal at craft services and made everyone in the back feel uncomfortable with awkward conversion before leaving for more important things to do.

Overall everything went better than expected. It was the smoothest set set. Carlyn did a terrific job staying focused, directing the actor while working with Therese, the DP. All the ACs, Assistant Cameras, and Grips did an amazing job maintaining the look. The sound department consisting of Renee Stairs and Hallease Clemons kicked major butt battling with the South Congress ambience.

It was wrapped at 2:00am (on schedule). Kelsey Coggins, Assistant Director, had done a fantastic job keeping everyone on schedule. Everyone had smiles on their faces as they ate the leftover snacks and put away the equipment. Tomorrow was going to be another late night production, but knowing it was in the hands of these ladies, everyone had faith it was going to be fun.

For more pictures from Slacker 2011, photographer Sarah Gonzalez please visit the Reel Women Students Picasa

For more pictures from Slacker 2011, photographer Patrick Rusk please visit the Flickr

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Slacker Project

Last week an exciting opportunity flittered across our feet. If you’ve been plugged in to film news lately, you’ve probably heard of the Slacker 2011 Film & Campaign. Esteemed filmmakers from all over Austin will each recreate a scene from Richard Linklater’s “Slacker” to “honor one of Texas’ best homegrown films” and campaign for the 2011 Texas Filmmakers Production Fund. In part with some of Austin’s finest filmmakers, Alamo Drafthouse, Austin Film Society and REEL Women, Reel Women Students will partake in this homage to the 20-yr-old classic with some of our own rising stars.
Thus far, we have Carlyn Hudson directing, Elizabeth “Beth” Chatelain producing, Sara Deuel editing and script supervising, Melodie Irvin and Jordan Harrison as Assistant Producers and Therese Tran as Director of Photography. Based on some plans made last night, we’re looking to begin production later this month and the creative plans are underway.
Slackers, we are not….

If you’re interested in partaking in this awesome experience, send us an owl, carrier pigeon or email us at or Elizabeth Chatelain

Friday, April 22, 2011

Production Design Meeting

Thursday night was another great night of inspiring talks from women in film doing what they love. Be sorry if you missed it. (I’m sorry if you did.) The best thing about these meetings is always the candidness of our special guests’ stories. Costume Designer Amy Maner and Set Decorator Jeanette Scott weren’t any different. They didn’t just list all of the technical aspects of their jobs, but rather, they infused their dialogues with colorful anecdotes ranging from a phone call with Dennis Quaid to “that one time” after a 22-hour straight shift ended in an abandoned, gasless, car on the side of the road.
While both Scott and Maner talked about the technical sides of their jobs, there’s no question that they love what they do. Scott gushed that one of the greatest benefits of being a Set Decorator is the prep work involving meeting people and immersing yourself in their culture. Whether it be talking with some fishermen who make old wooden boats or having dinner with some town locals as you research the set location, the prep work that a Set Decorator gets to conduct is a highlight of the job and an integral aspect, too. Scott notes that the number one rule to remember when doing your research and creating a set is to ask yourself, is this in service to the story being told? She says that while it can be tempting to choose things you really love or things that “look cool,” ultimately, everything has to be authentic and integral to developing the story. (When you see “The Tree of Life” in theaters next month, take note of the minimally decorated—and authentic-looking—50s style living room. Know that that’s how Scott the job.) Less is sometimes more.
Not necessarily for Maner, though, who likes to juggle an array of jobs. Whether it be costume designing, supervising, buying, directing or acting, Maner keeps herself busy by switching it up a bit on the work front and always staying plugged in to various projects. She encouraged students to do the same, agreeing with Scott that first step is getting your foot in the door and the easiest way to do that is to intern. Interning, says Maner, is a great way to make connections and stay plugged in. On that note, Maner that if you want to work for her, you have to know C Plot Pro, a software program that breaks down a script scene by scene and is something she refers to as "the Bible" for Costume Designers. Keeping up with scenes and sizes, budget and time frame, and keeping actors happy and corresponding with the art directors and the film’s director can be exhausting, but Maner’s passion and energy for her job seem to make it look relatively breezy. Geographically speaking, she’s also in a good place that enables her to do it.
Something both ladies agreed on was the benefit of living in Austin as a film devotee. As opposed to LA, for example, “Austin is nurturing…it’s really a town that is in love with film,” said Scott. Maner agreed, saying it is “an honor” to live here. Hear that, Hollywood? You’ve got some competition.
The thing that really struck me (for the 1040th time and may or may not have gotten me a little misty-eyed as senior on the verge of graduation) was toward the end of the meeting when both guests were encouraging all of us to find our passion, and “do something that makes [us] smile.” If these two ladies aren’t living out the adage of doing something you love and never working a day in your life, then I don’t know who is. On the note of being passionate about your work, Scott shared a story that a professor had told her daughter: this professor mused that so many people say certain fields are too competitive and odds are slim that you’ll be that one successful person in your field…but why not you? If you have that passion and you work hard, why can’t you be the person that is crazy successful in your chosen field?
So find your bliss, the thing (or things) that make(s) you smile, work hard, stay plugged in, and go be crazy successful, y’all. Why not you?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Meeting, Reading, Workshopping

This past Thursday night was script review/screening night over at Reel Women Students meeting headquarters. It was my understanding that we were lacking a few attendants due to Elizabeth Avellán speaking on campus, which, according to another RWS member, was fantastic. But back to the meeting…

In a nutshell, here’s what you missed: attempted robbery, hanky panky, murder, a missing person, relationship woes, racial issues and a dog dying. This was all in the two scripts we reviewed, of course.

The first script, by Kirsten Frazee, was a feature-length script (we only read a bit of the first part) entitled, “Killer Kate.” It was a stylized, Film Noir-type “erotic thriller.” “There is some profanity, so if any of y’all are offended…,” said Kirsten. “Oh, I’m offended if there’s not,” countered another member. So we all agreed that we were all adults that could handle the material, and we were assigned roles for the read-through. 

Aside from One Act Play back in my younger years (i.e. high school), I have never actually participated in a read-through, for sure, never for a film. Despite my hacking cough, brought on by what I assume to be allergies, I had fun playing an old man who owned a convenient store and called other characters, “kid.” (The cough helped me get into character for the old man.)
After we all finished, the floor was opened to give feedback. Kat Candler, our fearless faculty leader, encouraged Kirsten to put some fresh spins on her story. To give her story a good arch, she said Kirsten should know her characters through and through by making pages and pages of character bios. “It’s not about what you do—it’s why you’re doing it,” Carlyn Hudson said, regarding characters’ actions. Finally, Kat told Kirsten to do her homework. “The best writers spend so much time researching,” said Kat. 

The second read-through was for a short script by Sarah Gonzalez with the working title, “Saturday Afternoon.” This script was a drama that tackled heavy issues like race and death. My character here was Amy, and I killed a dog. (On accident, I assure you.) 

As a group, we talked about what was working in the script and what was confusing. We made some suggestions for tweaking the story a bit and even changing the dog’s name. Kat referenced the simplistic beauty of the script for “The Kids Are All Right” where the characters get in, establish conflict, and get out. She also noted the consistency of the film’s theme. (Note to self: re-watch “The Kids Are All Right.”) Her big challenge for Sarah was to narrow down her focus/conflict and cut out four pages. 

Overall, it seemed that both women walked away with some excellent constructive feedback. I walked away coughing, thinking of beloved pets lost, the satisfaction of participating in my first official read-through and an itch to Netflix “The Kids Are All Right.” I’d call the meeting a success…
Next up: Production Design Meeting with special guests and info. on Summer Production Camp, 4/21

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Machetes, Mariachis & Spy Kids: Elizabeth Avellán Speaks at UT

After an evening with Elizabeth Avellán, there was an air of hope whistling through the rafters of the film industry. To be in the presence of such a successful woman in film, was truly the best way to celebrate culture, humanity and the love of cinema! The Benson Latin American Collection's 9th annual ¡A Viva Voz! also featured an art showcase with items from various productions that were filmed at Troublemaker Studios, items from the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema and Cine las Americas. To top off a fabulous night, guests were provided with delicious refreshments from El Meson. It was a fabulous night!

Avellán was introduced by Dr. Charles Ramirez-Berg, a favorite among the students in the School of Communications at the University of Texas. Ramirez-Berg took a few minutes to emphasize the importance of Avellán’s work and her approach to film making. Filmmaking is an intricate mesh of creativity and business, this is not an easy task to balance. Film costs are high, money and time are precious resources, and the mix of these pressures sometimes triggers fears and ignites explosive tempers. He then talked about his experience on her film sets, saying that “There is so much difference on her sets when compared to other sets; people were working hard, happy and content, and there were no shouting matches. He said that working with Avellán was very organic. Most importantly, he said that “In a business with a bottom line, Avellán treats people with respect, diligence, successfully combining professionalism with humanity.” These aspects of working in the film industry are often overlooked, and Avellán’s work is a new corner stone in a world of business that is dominated by men.

Avellán spoke of other experiences of discrimination that were directed towards her from male co-workers, but in the end she utilized these instances to create a better mode of production.
She said that being a producer is like being a mom.” A producer has to contend with 150 people who have relationships, children, careers, and various other problems. These situations may not be important to the film, but they affect the labor produced by each employee and these problems need to be solved with care. There will always be bad apples in the working world, but Avellán suggested that filmmakers find good people who have values similar to their own, treat them right and they may turn out to be life long allies.


The over all message received was just a lovely reminder of the golden rule, treat people the way you wish to be treated. Avellán has contributed so much to the film industry and she is a shining example of how hard work and perseverance really do pay off. Her attitude, work ethic, and dedication set a beautiful example for women and men alike. It is so good to know that people like her are leading the way to a new future in film! was touched by such a loving introduction, talked with the crowd of her experiences. Her family was raised in the film industry. moved to the United States from Venezuela. She worked hard to learn English, finished high school, and was even accepted to Rice University at 16. As a young adult, she encountered

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mark Your Calendars: Upcoming Meetings

This week (4/7):

This Thursday is screening/workshop night. We will be showing two short films and reading two short scripts. These meetings are about sharing and giving caring feedback to fellow filmmakers in our warm, friendly atmosphere. It’s got good energy, people. (And might I add, it’s free entertainment…) Take a break from your studying and come celebrate the fact that, come Thursday, there are only four weeks and one day of classes left.

Not next week, but NEXT next week (4/21):

It’s our Art Department/Production Design meeting with special guests Jeanette Scott and Amy Maner. We’re lucky to have these gals! If you haven’t been to one of our meetings featuring guest speakers, you’re missing out, kids. They’ve got stories that you won’t find in textbooks and invaluable first-person advice. (We will also be celebrating the fact that there are only TWO weeks and one day of classes left.)

Jeanette Scott is pretty much the go-to Set Decorator on the big films that come to town “and then some,” as Kat Candler says. Her resume includes “Cedar Rapids,” “Grindhouse,” “Sin City” (also served as Art Director), “Man of the House,” “Spy Kids,” “Double Jeopardy,” “Selena” and most recently, “The Tree of Life,” starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. Scott, a UT psychology grad, has been decorating sets for about 30 years.

Amy Maner wears many hats: actress, writer, director, producer and costumer. She has served as Costume Supervisor on notable feature films such as “8 Seconds,” “Miss Congeniality,” “Stop Loss,” “Push,” “Spy Kids,” “Shorts,” “The Ringer,” and “Fireflies in the Garden.” “Her Lubbock Lights,” Maner’s documentary on her hometown’s rich music heritage, premiered at SXSW in 2003 and has played festivals all over the world, collecting accolades along the way. Currently, Maner is in pre-production as Associate Producer on “The Broken,” slated for release in 2012.

Also, at this meeting we will be discussing more details concerning our Summer Production Camp. Mark your calendars; it’s going to be a good one!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Monthly meeting and guest series with Dr. Bonnie Orr and Suzanne Weinert

Tonight's Reel Women Students meeting was a complete success! Our gracious speakers were Dr. Bonnie Orr and Suzanne Weinert. They enlightened us with the experiences of their lives and their successes.

Kat Candler, our moderator, did a great job of asking questions that pertained to our guests and to us as students. There was a good turn out of film makers that showed up for the UT Reel Women dialogue and they also came with an arsenal of questions that have been burning holes in all of our pockets! Some of the questions included the process of screenplay writing, and individual aspects as well as universal techniques of film making and script writing. We also got some insider information on what to do and what not to do when starting our careers in the film industry.

Orr, who studied screen writing at UCLA, encouraged us to take a few simple steps to ease through the pre-writing stages. She instructed us to "do our research".
She told us of one experience in particular where a director made a comment on her beautiful writing of Costa Rica. The ironic part of the story was that she had never been to Costa Rica. Her research on the topic made her an expert about the place, and the director could tell she had done her home work. She suggested that students should use the Internet to locate documents such as journals, shoot scripts and other information. The Internet was not a tool that was used when Orr first started her career, and she suggested that students should take full advantage of it. She also talked to the audience about creating a beat sheet. She instructed writers to begin a beat sheet by writing 12 phrases down, just phrases, not complete sentences. These phrases form the foundation for an entire script. Then the writer can break every beat down into 10 to 12 pages each, equaling the 120 pages needed for a script (9 beats = 90 pages for comedies).

Weinert, who went to Columbia University, talked to the students about her extensive career in the film industry. Over the duration of her career she has established a working relationship with Ron Howard and Julia Roberts, as well as many other well known film makers. She told us that she sharpens her writing skills by writing every day. She encouraged students to do the same and said that by the time a student graduates with an undergraduate degree, they should have completed two feature length scripts. Each script should be a different genre, and it is a good idea to always have that second script in the hole. It will serve as a back up just in case inquiring directors or corporations want to see what else a writer might have up their sleeve.

The students also learned some differences between short and feature film making and writing, the importance of budgeting, and some great tips for Indie film making. Some of these tips included; shoot during the day, and use as few actors and locations as possible. Another sensible tip was; if a student isn't sure what line of work they are interested in, they should decide now! This will save young film makers time and money in the long run!

Thanks to all who showed up for the dialogue! Feel free to bring your friends and remember Reel Women welcomes everyone, including men! The following are two of trailers that we watched from each of the two experts latest works:

Here is a link to a trailer from Bonnie Orr's latest script:

Also, here is a link to a trailer from Suzanne's Weinert's latest script and production: ExTerminators