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Lights, Camera, Austin
with: Robert Sims
Thursday 14:00:00 - 15:00:00

A fun and informative look at what's happening locally and nationally in film, including interviews with area and Hollywood filmmakers and industry figures such as festival programmers, authors, and other behind-the-scenes people. Also featuring an events roundup, reviews, news, and analysis.

Robert Sims has written for, Miami New Times, the Palm Beach Daily News, Shock Till You Drop, Total Film Magazine, and What's On in London.

Email: lightscameraaus

Twitter: @lightscameraaus

YouTube: lightscameraaustintx

Latest Lights, Camera, Austin Posts [VIEW ALL]

Lights Camera Austin talks with director Luke Korem (pictured) about his documentary Lord Montagu, which screens May 2 during the Hill Country Film Festival in Fredericksburg. Matthew Burnett and Jay Young discuss their roles in director Stephen Reynolds' The Might of Me, which screens April 19 at the City Theatre. Nick Frost reveals how he got into dancing shape for his new comedy Cuban Fury, which opens April 18. Director Frank Pavich discusses his documentary Jodorowsky's Dune, which examines Alejandro Jodorowsky's aborted adaptation of the Frank Herbert sci-fi novel. Jodorowsky's Dune premiered at last year's Fantastic Fest and opens April 18. Also, host Robert Sims will review Dom Hemingway and Under the Skin. Thursday, 4/17, 2-3 p.m.  

If any director deserves credit for creating the prototypical Arnold Schwarzenegger action thriller, it’s Mark L. Lester. His 1985 Commando turned the antihero of Conan the Barbarian and the villain of The Terminator into a larger-than-life muscle-bound man of action by tapping into his inherent charm and charisma and arming him a barrage of memorable one-liners that 29 years later we can recite by heart. The ticking-tock thriller Commando followed the efforts of Schwarzenegger’s John Matrix to rescue his kidnapped daughter Jenny from an exiled South American dictator who is plotting to overthrow his nation’s government. Commando also stars a 12-year-old Alyssa Milano stars as Jenny Matrix, Rae Dawn Chong as John Matrix’s initially reluctant sidekick Cindy, and Vernon Wells, Bill Dukes, and David Patrick Kelly as three of the mercenaries hired by Dan Hedaya’s dictator. Before Commando, Lester cut his teeth on such drive-in cult classics as Truck Stop Woman, Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw, Stunts, and Roller Boogie. He came to prominence in 1982 with Class of 1984, which courted controversy due to its depiction of high school violence. He followed Class of 1984 with his adaptation of the Stephen King novel Firestarter, which starred a 9-year-old Drew Barrymore. Commando led to the John Candy comedy Armed and Dangerous, the Class of 1984 sequel Class of 1999, the Dolph Lundgren-Brandon Lee action comedy Showdown in Little Tokyo, and a pair of Scott Glenn thrillers, Extreme Justice and Night of the Running Man. Lester’s new film, the creature-feature Poseidon Rex, will be available via iTunes on April 18. Commando will screen in 35mm at 7:05 p.m. April 4 at the Alamo Ritz with Lester in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. Aired April 3, 2014 on KOOP 91.7 FM. Listen now to the segment: 

The Hill Country Film Festival runs April 30 through May 4 in Fredericksburg. The lineup includes two films with Austin ties, director Andrew Disney’s Intramural and director Luke Korem’s Lord Montagu. Other features include Elsa and Fred, with Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer; You Are Here, directed by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner; and the SXSW Audience Award Winner Before I Disappear. Chad Mathews, an Austin resident, serves as the executive director of the Hill Country Film Festival and is one of its founders. Aired April 3, 2014 on KOOP 91.7 FM. Listen now to the segment:

The found-footage vampire chiller Afflicted stars its directors Clif Prowse and Derek Lee (pictured) as two American backpackers, named Derek and Clif, whose trek across the world comes to a grinding halt when Derek hooks up with a mysterious woman in Paris. Afflicted, which received its Austin premiere during last year’s Fantastic Fest, is now available on VOD. Aired April 3, 2014 on KOOP 91.7 FM. Listen now to the interview: 

The Lights Camera Austin Film Review: Captain America: The Winter

The Lights Camera Austin Film Review: Nymphomaniac: Volume II:

Nicolas Cage and Tye Sherdian (pictured) and director David Gordon Green discuss the Austin-shot drama Joe on this week's Lights, Camera, Austin. Joe opens April 11 after premiering locally at this year's SXSW Film Festival. Cine Las Americas film program director Jean Lauer discusses this year's film festival, which runs April 22-27. Oculus director Mike Flanagan reveals the dark secrets about his ghost story, which opens April 11 after premiering locally at this year's SXSW Film Festival. Also, host Robert Sims will review Draft Day and Under the Skin. Thursday, 4/10, 2-3 p.m.

Director Diego Luna’s Cesar Chavez chronicles the late Mexican-American labor leader and civil rights activist’s efforts in the 1960s and 1970s to unionize California grape pickers and fight against low wages and poor working conditions. World Trade Center and End of Watch’s Michael Peña stars as Chavez, who at one point in the film goes on a hunger strike in order to unify dissenting factions of his union that are conflicted over the use of non-violent tactics to advance their cause. The cast also includes America Ferrera as Chavez’s wife Helen, Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta, who co-founded with Chavez the National Farm Workers Association, which would later become the United Farm Workers. Producer John Malkovich also plays a fictional version of a industrial grape grower Chavez takes on. Cesar Chavez, which marks actor Diego Luna’s second film as a director following 2010’s Abel, premiered locally at this year’s SXSW Film Festival and opened March 28 in theaters on the eve of March 31's Cesar Chavez Day. I was among several members of the media during this month’s SXSW Film Festival to attend a Cesar Chavez press conference with director Diego Luna, stars Michael Peña and Rosario Dawson, and labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. Aired: March 27, 2014. Listen now to the interview segment: 

Lights, Camera, Austin talks with the Hill Country Film Festival executive director Chad Mathews (pictured) about this year's program, which includes two films with Austin ties, Intramural and Lord Montagu. The festival runs May 1-4 in Fredericksburg. Afflicted stars/directors Derek Lee and Clif Prowse discuss their found-footage horror film, which will be available April 4 on VOD after premiering locally at last year's Fantastic Fest. Also, host Robert Sims will review Captain America: The Winter Soldier2-3 p.m. CST Thursday, April 3.

November 20, 2013


Contact: Jette Kernion, AFCA President,


Austin, Texas -- The Austin Film Critics Association is pleased to announce its selection of seven finalists for the 2013 Austin Film Award: Before Midnight, Before You Know It, Mud, Prince Avalanche, The Retrieval, Somebody Up There Likes Me, and Zero Charisma.

The finalists were selected by a committee of AFCA members from 28 eligible contenders that were released theatrically or screened at an Austin film festival in 2013. The AFCA defines an eligible film as one that is made in Austin, or has a credited director and/or screenwriter whose primary residence is Austin during the time of filming.

The AFCA's full membership will vote for the Austin Film Award along with its other annual awards, and will announce all winners onDecember 17.



Director: Richard Linklater

Genre: Narrative feature

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Web site:

Official Synopsis: An American father, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is seeing off his son Hank (Seamus Davey–Fitzpatrick) at the Kalamata Airport in Greece. Hank’s returning to his mother and life in the U.S. after spending the “best summer ever” with Jesse and his family. The middle–schooler is more composed than his fortyish father, who hovers anxiously as their separation draws near. Geography weighs heavily on Jesse. Outside the airport, he rejoins his family: Celine (Julie Delpy) and their young twin daughters Ella and Nina (Jennifer and Charlotte Prior). As they drive through the austerely beautiful rocky hillsides of Messinia, Jesse and Celine talk—about living so far from Hank, about her career as an environmentalist and hopes for a new job, about the swirl of ancient and modern Greece around them. Jesse hints at wanting to move back to America from their home in Paris, but Celine has done her U.S. time—they lived in New York for a spell—and has no wish to return. Their long history together bubbles between them. Jesse and Celine first met in their twenties in Before Sunrise (1995), reunited in their thirties in Before Sunset (2004), and now, in Before Midnight, they face the past, present and future; family, romance, and love. Before the clock strikes midnight, their story again unfolds.


Director: PJ Raval

Genre: Documentary

Distributor: N/A

Web site:

Official Synopsis: The subjects of Before You Know It are no ordinary senior citizens. They are go-go booted bar-hoppers, love struck activists, troublemaking baton twirlers, late night Internet cruisers, seasoned renegades and bold adventurers. They are also among the estimated 2.4 million lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans over the age of 55 in the United States, many of whom face heightened levels of discrimination, neglect and exclusion. But Before is not a film about cold statistics and gloomy realities, it’s a film about generational trailblazers who have surmounted prejudice and defied expectation to form communities of strength, renewal and camaraderie—whether these communities be affable senior living facilities, lively activist enclaves or wacky queer bars brimming with glittered trinkets and colorful drag queens.


Director: Jeff Nichols

Genre: Narrative feature

Distributor: Roadside Attractions

Web site:

Official Synopsis: Mud is an adventure about two boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and his friend Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), who find a man named Mud (Matthew McConaughey) hiding out on an island in the Mississippi. Mud describes fantastic scenarios—he killed a man in Texas and vengeful bounty hunters are coming to get him. He says he is planning to meet and escape with the love of his life, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), who is waiting for him in town. Skeptical but intrigued, Ellis and Neckbone agree to help him. It isn’t long until Mud’s visions come true and their small town is besieged by a beautiful girl with a line of bounty hunters in tow.


Director: David Gordon Green

Genre: Narrative feature

Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

Web site:

Official Synopsis: An odd couple of sorts, introspective and stern Alvin (Paul Rudd) and his girlfriend’s brother, Lance (Emile Hirsch), dopey and insecure, leave the city behind to spend the summer of 1988 repainting the traffic lines on a desolate country highway where the surrounding areas have been ravaged by wildfire. In this solitary backdrop, the two bicker and joke with each other as they reflect on their relationships with women, resulting in a clumsy fall headfirst into an unlikely friendship.


Director: Chris Eska

Genre: Narrative feature

Distributor: N/A

Web site:

Official Synopsis: Set during the Civil War, The Retrieval follows a fatherless 13-year-old boy (Ashton Sanders) sent north by his bounty hunter gang on a dangerous mission to retrieve a wanted man (Tishaun Scott) under false pretense. During their journey towards the unwitting wanted man’s reckoning, the initially distant pair develops unexpected emotional bonds, forming a surrogate father-son relationship. As his feelings grow, the boy is consumed by conflicting emotions and a gut-wrenching ultimate decision: betray the father figure he’s finally found or risk being killed by his gang for insubordination.


Director: Bob Byington

Genre: Narrative feature

Distributor: Tribeca Film

Web site:

Official Synopsis: Bob Byington’s smart, subversive comedy skips through 35 years in the life of Max Youngman (Keith Poulson), his best (and only) friend Sal (Nick Offerman) and the woman they both adore (Jess Weixler). As they stumble in and out of hilariously misguided relationships — strung together with animated vignettes by Bob Sabiston (A Scanner Darkly) and an original score by Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio — Max never ages, holding on to a mysterious briefcase that may or may not contain the secret to life.


Directors: Katie Graham, Andrew Matthews

Genre: Narrative feature

Distributor: Tribeca Film

Web site:

Official Synopsis: As the strict Game Master of a fantasy role-playing game, Scott (Sam Eidson) leads his friends in a weekly quest through mysterious lands from the safety of his grandmother’s kitchen. But his mastery of his own domain starts to slip — along with everything else in his life — when neo-nerd hipster Miles (Garrett Graham) joins the game, winning over the group with his confident charm and dethroning Scott with an unexpected coup. Caught in delusions of grandeur, Scott must roll the dice and risk everything to expose Miles as the fraud he believes him to be. A darkly comedic fable of epic proportions, Zero Charisma is an ode to nerds from every realm.


Founded in 2005 by Cole Dabney and Bobby McCurdy, the AFCA has seen its membership grow to over two dozen members with a diverse roster of professional film critics who regularly review movies for national television stations, daily newspapers, weekly alternatives, local radio, monthly magazines, and websites with international prominence. Each December, AFCA members vote on the year's best in film, celebrating excellence on both sides of the camera.

The outlets AFCA members represent include Ain't It Cool News, the Austin American-Statesman, the Austin Chronicle, Badass Digest, The Daily Texan, DVDActive, Fandango,, Film School Rejects, Hill Country News, Horror's Not Dead, KOOP Radio,, Paste, ScreenCrush, Slackerwood, Smells Like Screen Spirit,, Twitch, and YNN Austin.

More information about the AFCA may be found at and on Twitter at @ATXFilmCritics.

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