Texas Filmmaker's Showcase 2000



Pictured from left to right: ....(...), 

Texas Filmmaker's Showcase at DGA Theater, Los Angeles




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:

Kreuz Market (9:30 min.) - Ken Lewin (Austin)

A documentary about the world's best barbecue in Lockhart, Texas.

Ken Lewin moved from Austin, Texas to New York City upon graduating from film school at the University of Texas at Austin and worked his way up to staff producer with Morningside Movies producing commercials. Ken has since returned to Austin and has been working in the commercial film industry in many capacities while continuing his writing of spec screenplays and directing short films. Based on his spec projects, he was recently hired to adapt the novel In the Hat for Executive Producer Bob Singer. Ken's directorial work has screened at the South by Southwest, Nashville Independent, New Orleans, and Double Take Documentary film festivals as well as on ABC's 48 Hours. Recently, Ken also optioned his original feature screenplay, The Second Coming, which won him a live stage reading from the Austin Film Festival and the 1999 Celis Beer Independent Filmmaking Award.

Last Cigarette (10:35 min.) - Jim Stedman (Austin)

A young man tries to quit smoking. In an ironic twist of fate, smoking saves his life.

Jim Stedman has written, produced, directed, and edited two short digital video projects, Last Cigarette and Couches, Tables, and Darts, for his co-owned company 05Min Productions. Both projects won numerous awards at festivals and Couches aired on the Independent Film Channel as part of a national contest. Jim is integrally involved with the Austin Film Society and edited a video honoring the Society's achievements that screened at the Director's Guild of America Theatre in New York in November 1999. Jim is currently a senior producer with the newmedia company FG Squared in Austin, Texas.

Loaves and Fishes (28:00 min.) - Nancy Schiesari (Austin)

Based on a story told about a Mexican-American family who ran an old motel in Los Angeles where many undocumented workers stay. The film deals with interracial prejudice, but does so within the context of a volatile family caught in unexpected circumstances. 

Nancy has been a Director of Photography on over 40 documentaries and features lensed all over the world. Among her work as a cinematographer is Barbara Sonneborn's recent Academy Award nominated documentary Regret to Inform. Currently, Nancy is in post-production on a documentary entitled Hansel Mieth: Vagabond Photographer, which was selected as a work in progress for the 'No Borders' conference at the 1998 Independent Feature Film Market in New York. Nancy settled down in Austin, Texas with her two children. While pursuing her professional career, she is also a film professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Snack & Drink (4:00 min.) - Tommy Pallotta & Bob Sabiston (Austin)

The latest in a series of animated documentary shorts from Flat Black Films, featuring Ryan Power, a six-foot tall thirteen year old from Austin, Texas. An avid fan of cartoon animation. Ryan is also autistic.

Born in Houston, Tommy moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas where he graduated with a degree in philospohy. His first feature, The High Road, premiered at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center as part of the prestigious "Independents Night" film series and went on to play numerous festivals along with a limited theatrical release. Eschewing traditional film methods since his feature, Tommy has worked exclusively in video and digital formats and is co-founder of the Conduit Digitial Film Festival. Sabiton and Pallotta's Flat Black Films has been creating original animation shorts for two years and screened RoadHead in the 1999 Texas Filmmaker's Showcase. Snack & Drink was created using proprietary software designed by Sabiston.

Sunday Dinner (15:45) - Joseph Ambrosavage (Austin)

A successful industrialist finds that his personal and professional worlds are crumbling, while his family ignores his suffering and blithely prepares for Sunday dinner.

Joseph Ambrosavage's films have appeared in numerous film festivals domestically and internationally. His short film, The Clock, won several awards at the 1997 CinemaTexas Film Festival including Best Narrative, Best Screenplay, and Audience Favorite. The Clock also appeared in the 1998 Texas Filmmaker's Showcase. Sunday Dinner recently premiered at the 2000 South by Southwest Festival.

Twinkle, Twinkle (34:00 min.) - Bing Yao (Houston)

When ten year-old Billy realizes the seriousness of his little sister's illness, he formulates a plan to save her... with a little help from a twinkling star.

Bing Yao has a Bachelor's in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied on the Production Track. In 1995, the script for Twinkle, Twinkle won the Austin Heart of Film Festival's Best Student Short Script Award. The short then won an Honorable Mention at the 1999 Telluride IndieFest, screened at the LA Asian-Pacific Film Festival 2000, and received the Silver Award for Family/Children short films at Worldfest-Houston 2000. Working around his full-time job as a Systems Administrator in Houston, Bing produced his 16mm film Twinkle, Twinkle.

The Other Woman (18:30 min.) - Casey Kelly (Houston)

When Texan Hank Gibbs spots a naked woman boldly displaying herself at roadside, he does what any other sensitive guy would do: he brings her home to his wife and daughter. Plump Virginia and pre-pubescent Ginny are threatened - how could they ever measure up to this voluptuous creature under their very roof? But, as the dangerous day turns to night, quite unexpectedly, this "other woman" proves transformative for the whole family.

First-time director Casey Kelly, a WGA screenwriter, has written two aired NBC movies (one a "sweeps week" winner), among other development scripts and pilots for studios and networks. She began as a playwright; five of her plays were produced around the country, one written on a Humanities grant. She teaches Advanced Screenwriting at Rice university in Houston and serves on the board for The School for Film and Television in New York.