By James Herd
Texas’ independent film industry is getting a boost from the Texas Independent Film Network, which devotes its services to promoting Texas made films, bringing them to small towns, college campuses and museums for exhibition.
Founded by Louis Black, co-founder of both the South-by-Southwest music conference and festival and the Austin Chronicle; and Ryan Long, film programs manager for the Austin Film Society and the director of Screen Door Film, the network seeks to create a film circuit that takes the best Texas-made films and shows them off at their various venues.
“What the Texas Independent Film Network does is create an alternate means of distribution that allows these films to get out and get some attention and get screened in a theatrical environment with an audience,” said Dr. Jim Kendrick, associate professor of film and digital media. “Whereas otherwise, they might be on the festival circuit, not get a distribution deal and then just wind up going straight to video.”
At Baylor, the network will start off the season of films at 7 p.m. Thursday at 101 Castellaw Communications Center with the film “Searching for Sonny.”
Directed by Andrew Disney and starring Jason Dohring (“Veronica Mars”), Minka Kelly (“Friday Night Lights”), and Masi Oka (“Heroes”), “Searching for Sonny” is the story of a man who returns to his hometown for his 10-year high school reunion to find that his friend Sonny is missing.
Along with several of his friends from high school he is dragged into a murder mystery that seems oddly like a play they performed in high school – a play that Sonny wrote.
Joining this cast is Michael Hogan (“Battlestar Galactica”), Clarke Peters (“The Wire”) and Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher of the web-comedy group BriTANick.
“They were very smart with ‘Searching for Sonny’ with who they cast,” Long said. “It helps me get people to come out and see it … It’s less of a chance for them to take, you know, instead of an unknown actor that they’ve never heard of, it’s more of a familiar face that makes them want to go see it.”
The Fall 2012 season of the Texas Independent Film Network is composed of:
• “Searching for Sonny,” showing Thursday
• “Sironia” (directed by Brandon Dickerson), the story of a talented musician who is “chewed up and spit out” by Hollywood, on Sept. 27.
• “Man on a Mission” (directed by Mike Woolf), the story of astronaut Richard Garriot’s celestial journey, on Oct. 27
• “America’s Parking Lot” (directed by Johnny Mars), the story of two Dallas Cowboys fans struggling to remain a part of the tailgating crowd with their team moving to a new billion dollar stadium, on Nov. 8.
A new season of films will begin in the spring of 2013; however, the films have not yet been announced.
You can learn more about the Texas Independent Film Network by visiting http://www.austinfilm.org/tifn.