Tribeza Talk: Music + Film
An insider’s guide to what’s buzzing around Austin
by Nicole Beckley
Keeping it Weird
In his latest book, “Austin to ATX,” Joe Nick Patoski details what makes Austin truly Austin, from the natural beauty of places like Barton Springs to the music makers of “Austin City Limits,” lending a conversational style to the telling of the city’s history.
Released through Texas A&M University Press, Patoski’s 10th book also ponders the survival of the city’s weirdness, with the changes to South Congress, Rainey Street and Austinites themselves. But what could be more Austin than thinking about how Austin used to be?
Who Run the World?
At the Girls Impact the World Film Festival, high school and college students will harness the power of film to shine a light on issues that affect women. Presented by Connecther and judged by filmmakers and philanthropists, including Eloise DeJoria and Christy Turlington Burns, the festival selects powerful short films tackling topics like education, the wage gap and women’s health. The winning films will be screened on April 14 at the St. Andrew’s Dell Fine Arts Theater.
It dawned on me when we were cutting vocals, every song is kind of a comment about hope,” musician Ben Dickey says. For his new album, “A Glimmer on the Outskirts,” Dickey wrote 25 songs in two weeks. “That’s kind of how I work,” Dickey says. “If I get thunderstruck with a song, it’s pretty guaranteed that at least four or five will satellite around it.”
“Glimmer” is the first release from SexHawkeBlack Records, a newly formed label from Charlie Sexton, Ethan Hawke and Louis Black. The group came together while filming “Blaze,” the Hawke-directed film about musician Blaze Foley, played by Dickey. While Hawke and Dickey had been friends for years, “Blaze” marked Dickey’s acting debut. “Once the process started, it’s so musical, it’s so much like performing a song, which was a surprise to me,” Dickey says. “The instrument is sort of your voice, your body, your presence … I was like, this makes a lot of sense, I like this a whole lot.”
Wide Open Spaces
On 200 acres on the outskirts of Austin sits New Republic Studios — a creative campus for the film community. Formerly Spiderwood
Studios, New Republic celebrated its one-year anniversary in October. “We’ve had about 50 productions come through our doors this first year, so it’s been great,” says Mindy Raymond, New Republic’s president. With a mix of office spaces, soundstages and versatile landscapes, the facility can accommodate a variety of types of productions. And it just premiered its first feature film, “Sister Aimee,” at Sundance. “We’re able to let folks know what we’re doing,” Raymond says, “that we’re really investing in filmmakers and their projects.”
While the gaming industry is blowing up, how can parents make sure that what their kids see through channels like YouTube and Twitch is appropriate? That was the question posed by Gerald Youngblood and Dan Chiu, who founded Tankee, a platform featuring kid-safe video game content. Launched in 2018, Tankee will be one of five Austin-based companies in this year’s SXSW startup pitch competition.
Before the Austin film scene started buzzing with the likes of Richard Linklater’s “Slacker,” Catherine Hardwicke was studying architecture at UT Austin and thinking of ways to use her creativity. “I thought, as I started watching movies and animated films, you get to build special worlds and be so creative,” Hardwicke says.
After studying animation and film at UCLA, Hardwicke worked with Linklater as a production designer. “He would show us really cool movies — an early Austin Film Society kind of vibe,” Hardwicke says. Inspired to direct, Hardwicke helmed “Thirteen,” her Oscar-nominated first feature, and “Twilight,” the first film in the blockbuster series. For her latest, “Miss Bala,” an action movie starring Gina Rodriguez, Hardwicke turned a creative focus to hiring, working with a 95 percent Latinx cast and crew. “In a way, as a director you kind of lead the charge and say, ‘I want to do it this way,’ and everybody got on board with that.”