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Sundance Film Festival 2014

Touch of Texas at Sundance: Fewer Lone Star films but a big one from Houston's favorite director

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Slideshow
Boyhood Richard Linklater
Richard Linklater's Boyhood was shot over a 12-year period. Boyhood Movie/ IMDB
Aaron Paul in Hellion
Aaron Paul stars in Hellion. Hellion/IMDB
No No: A Dockumentary
No No: A Dockumentary tells the story of a pitcher who threw a no-hitter while high on acid. No No: A Dockumentary/Facebook
Ping Pong Summer
Ping Pong Summer is set in 1985 and tells the story of 13-year-old obsessed with Ping-Pong and hip hop. PIng Pong Summer/ Facebook
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter is directed by Austin filmmakers (and Sundance alumni) David and Nathan Zellner. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter/ Facebook
Boyhood Richard Linklater
Aaron Paul in Hellion
No No: A Dockumentary
Ping Pong Summer
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Last year was an exciting year for Texas-made films at the Sundance Film Festival. More than a dozen were made by Texans —many shot in Austin or directed by Austin-based filmmakers — or had a Lone Star theme, including a German-made drama set in and called Houston and a well-received documentary on Houston Rockets star Jeremy Lin.  

Though this year's Sundance lineup has a lighter Texas load, there are still a number of films with Austin ties to keep an eye on.

Boyhood

Announced as part of the Sundance lineup at the last minute, this Richard Linklater film, shot over a 12-year period, stars Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater (the director's daughter) and Ellar Salmon. Shot in and around Austin every year since 2002, this innovative film, which was and still remains somewhat shrouded in secrecy, follows the story of a divorced family and the "emotional and transcendent journey of childhood to adulthood."

Linklater, who was born in Houston and attended high schools in Bellaire and Hunstville, received the Houston Cinema Arts Festival’s Levantine Cinema Arts Award last fall for his contributions to cinema. At the festival his classic indie film, Dazed and Confused, was shown to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
 

Hellion
 
The feature version of Austin director Kat Candler's 2012 Sundance short of the same name, this highly-anticipated drama stars Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins, Deke Garner and beloved Austin-based actor and producer Jonny Mars, who starred in the original short.
 
Hellion follows the story of two wayward young brothers, Jacob (Wiggins) and Wes (Garner), and their relationship with their distant and grieving father (Paul). Child Protective Services sends Jacob to stay with his aunt (Lewis) and his brother and father must come up with a plan to bring him home. This gritty feature is already being hailed for its powerful performances and haunting Texas landscape. The climax was shot on the Lynchburg Ferry.
 

Ping Pong Summer

Written and directed by Michael Tully, a recent Austin transplant and husband of Austin Film Society director Holly Herrick, this film, set in 1985, follows the story of Rad Miracle, a "shy, 13-year-old white kid obsessed with two things: Ping-Pong and hip-hop." This coming-of-age story features a diverse cast including Susan Sarandon, Lea Thompson, Amy Sedaris and Robert Longstreet.

No No: A Dockumentary

This documentary about pitcher and LSD-lover Dock Ellis features an array of Austin talent including first-time director Jeffrey Radice, filmmaker and Austin Film Society board member Mike Blizzard and filmmaker Sam Douglas. Promising to be an entertaining and heartwarming doc, No No tells the story of the man known for pitching a no-hitter while high on acid.

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
 
Directed by Austin filmmakers (and Sundance alumni) David and Nathan Zellner, this character study follows the story of Kumiko, an oddball whose incessant watching of one American film on VHS causes her to head from Japan to Minnesota in search of non-existent buried treasure.
 
Rat Pack Rat
 
This short by Austin transplant Todd Rohal tells the powerful story of a Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator who "hired to visit a loyal Rat Pack fan, finds himself performing the last rites at the boy's bedside." Rat Pack Rat also features the producing talents of Austin filmmaker Clay Liford and former Alamo Drafthouse persona Zach Carlson.

 

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