VISIT HOUSTON

Texas Filmmakers Showcase 1998

This year seven film/video projects from the state of Texas have been chosen for the two-hour screening. The filmmakers and their films follows:

The Clock (16:00 min.) 

Some decisions in life seem to grip us with such intensity that we lose hope for any sort of resolution to our quandry. The Clock captures such a moment as a young man desperately searches for a solution to the problem of whether he should purchase a clock or not. We follow the adventures of this young man as he enlists the aid of everyone within earshot who will help him come to a decision.

Joseph Ambrosavage - Austin
Joseph Ambrosavage is currently in his third year of the MFA film production sequence at the University of Texas at Austin. While at the university he has produced and directed several short films and videos and was also the co-editor for Snake Tales, a feature film produced by Francesca Talenti at UT. His short film, The Clock, won several awards at the 1997 CinemaTexas Film Festival, UT's student film competition, including Best Narrative, Best Screenplay, and Audience Favorite. 

Conscious Convenience (12:30 min.) 

A distracted businessman meets an exotic woman who knows intimate details about his life.

Chris Eska - Houston
Chris Eska grew up in the tiny Texas town of Ottine (pop. 100) where he was an hour's frive from the closeset movie theatre and could only receive four TV channels. He recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rice University and will pursue and MFA in film at UCLA this fall. Conscious Convenience has previously been shown at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Collapse: A Commodification ofTalent, and the Templo Drive-In, and it recently received the John Swift Award. Chris has also completed a 20-minute absurd comedy called The Cookie Teaser. 

Divide & Conquer (17:00 min. trailer) 

Based on real events. Divide & Conquer is a story about the institutionalization of corruption within a private penitentiary. Guards bent on maintaining control of their prison stage fights among the inmates by pitting members of different races and gangs against each other in a small recess yard. As underpaid guards wage bets on the fights, prison officials use the violence to institute greater control over the inmates while calling for increased funding. Trouble looms for two men as they seek to evade what has become a prison policy of brutality.

Jamarl Tyler - Austin
Jamarl Tyler was born in New York and raised in Providence, RI. The son of artistic parents, he was encouraged to explore the arts at an early age. He became enamored with film at a young age and began to make 8mm short animated films. In 1993, he graduated from Macalister College with a degree in Political Science and is currently completing his MFA in film at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Flyer (13:00 min.) 

Flyer is a story of youthful dreams and chanced opportunities. Based on true events of rock and roll's most tragic day, Flyer follows a young pilot reaching for his lifelong destiny and his struggle to prove his abilities and overcome the brash cockiness of youth.

Kevin Pruitt - Austin
A student at the University of Texas at Austin at the time of production, Kevin Pruitt marks his DGA debut with a director's cut. Shot in 16mm, Flyer has been a finalist in the Austin Heart of Film Festival, The New York Expo, San Francisco's Bacchanalia Film Festival, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Kevin currently works as a freelance director in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. His credits include directing numerous sales/promotional projects for Columbia TriStar Home Video, a music video for the musical group Wammo, and recently, a promotional segment featuring Jacqueline Bisset for the Showcase Channel. Pruitt has also completed a collaboration script - a gritty, topical, five-character drama loaded with the deep, dark secrets of the South, that will surely catch the attention of an audience and potential investors. 

Macarakeybrakeyhumptyhump (7:00) 

Macarakeybrakeyhumptyhump is a music video for the musical group The Big Texas Bucket Bucket Club (TBTBC) In the film, the earth is destroyed by a huge natural disaster, and the survivors are thrown into a great depression. A musical dance craze is the only link to the happiness they once shared, and TBTBC makes the music.

Jason Wehling - Austin
Jason Wehling was born just outside Boston, but raised just outside Austin. As a little critter, he liked camping, music, movies, theater, girls, and a whole lot of other things. Then he went to Rice University, where he discovered he still liked the same things. So he majored in art, emphasizing film and printmaking, makes sense right? While at Rice he was honored with a Vice President's Appreciation Award for "contributing to the quality of life at Rice"; he interned at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston in the film department; he co-curated the 34th Rice University Student Art Show; he helped found the Infill Gallery, Rice's first student-run art gallery; he received the Director's Choice Award from the Rice Art Department; he served as a Programming Manager at the Rice Coffeehouse; and he was a DJ at KTRU. Jason has directed three short films, experimented with video art, and worked in various positions on other student projects. He just graduated and plans to spend next year getting a BFA from Rice and then going to film school, unless a big contract prevents him. His middle name is Benjamin and he's an Aquarius. 

Texas and the Death Penalty (31:10 min.) 

Texas and the Death Penalty starts with a brief account of the roots and evolution of capital punishment in Texas, from the illegal lynchings of the past to today's lethal injection. Advocates both for and against the death penalty provide information on issues such as the quality of representation, the apparent arbitrariness involved in many capital trials, the huge difference in cost between life imprisonment and an average death sentence, etc. Additionally, this documentary focuses on a little-known death penalty case, that of Carl Kinnamon, with the help of interviews with his sister, cousin, lawyer, and former cell-mate, as well as Kinnamon's own artwork and letters.

Tassos Rigopoulos - Austin
Tassos Rigopoulos joined the Master of Fine Arts program in film and video production at the University of Texas in Austin in 1992. His previous student short, The Significant Other, was a finalist in the 1995 Texas Filmmaker's Showcase. Texas and the Death Penalty, his thesis project, was voted Best Documentary at this year's Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' College Awards. Tassos graduated in May 1997 and moved to New York where he currently works as a freelance editor while developing several documentary and fiction projects. 

Texas Pawn (12:00 min.) 

Texas Pawn is a narrative film set in a pawn shop in east Austin, Texas. Sharleen works in the cluttered, dusty shop, enduring stifling isolation and a yearning for something she cannot name. Overwhelmed by her invasive father and the monotony of her work, she seeks comfort in the objects that surround her.

Julia Halperin - Austin
Before pursuing narrative film at the MFA program at the University of Texas at Austin, Julia Halperin worked professionally in documentaries and educational video. She also has extensive experience in theater, dance, and community media. She is currently in pre-production for her graduate thesis, an experimental narrative tentatively titled "SuperDoll."