Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Faves

Kat's Top Ten Favorites of 2009
(in alphabetical order)

Bright Star
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Drag Me To Hell
Fantastic Mr. Fox
House of the Devil
Private Eye
A Town Called Panic
Where the Wild Things Are

Other 2009 Favorites
17 Again
I Love You, Man
Stingray Sam
St. Nick
Trick r Treat

Favorite 2009 Shorts
10 Steps
My Mom Smokes Weed
Next Floor
Pigeon Impossible
True Beauty This Night

Things I Didn't Get to See That I Wish I Had
An Education
Fish Story
The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
The White Ribbon

Favorite Performances
Jake Gyllenhaal - Brothers
Monique - Precious
James Gandolfini - Where the Wild Things Are
Abbie Cornish and Ben Wishaw - Bright Star
Sam Rockwell - Moon and Gentleman Broncos
Matt Damon - The Informant!
Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci - Julie and Julia
Jackie Earle Haley - Watchmen

Things I Discovered This Year on Video that I LOVED
A Tale of Two Sisters
The Verdict
The Warriors (Director's Cut)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ju On - The Grudge (2000)

I can't say I'm a fan. And I had no idea how many Ju Ons there were. How many times did Takashi Shimizu make this film? Between two Japanese versions and one American version, and sequels galore, you'd think he'd want to move on to new stories. But maybe not. I'm sure he's made a killing off the franchise. It wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Give me A Tale of Two Sisters over this any day. Give me heart and emotion over little boys doused in white powder and too much eyeliner and completely confusing sequences of events. What?

I'm psyched to see Ji woon Kim's The Good, The Bad, The Weird next. But tonight, I'm being brave and watching Battle Royale. Finally. After having just read The Hunger Games I felt it was only appropriate.

The Bangles - Hazy Shade of Winter

Sunday, December 20, 2009


After a fun lunch date with Ben and Leslie last week, I was telling them the story of the first time I ever said a curse word. Mind you, I grew up in a pretty strict Catholic household where we went to church and CCD every week. I knew how to stand, kneel, sit, kneel, stand and sit and recite the whole mass like the back of my hand. God and I were pretty good friends up until then. And when I went to confession, usually it was about pinching my brother or not eating my green beans. Pretty minor stuff. Y'see, I was always teacher's pet. The goody tooshoes. Never ever thought about being the bad seed or doing anything that would give me real reason to tell a priest to forgive me father for I had sinned.

I remember that defining moment in my childhood like it was yesterday. And truly it was a defining moment. I was standing on the sidewalk about a mile from my elementary school on my way home. It was maybe a block from my best friend, Christine Carangian's house. I don't remember what brought it up but I'd been thinking long and hard about cursing and what it meant to say something so bad, so horrible, so worth going to confession for. All the logic of a fifth grader was going through my head. "It's just a word", I thought. "Just a word. How can one word be bad? Why would you go to hell for saying a word."

I remember stopping on the sidewalk and putting my backpack and lunchbox on the ground. Standing there for a few moments I gathered the guts up and clenched my fists. And then finally, I took a super deep breath and it barely came out ... "shit". I waited for lightning to strike me down. I looked up at the clear blue sky. I looked all around, up and down the street. But nothing. Nothing happened. No lighting bolts. No ground opening up and swallowing me whole. Nothing. "Huh", I thought. And so I said it again but a little louder this time. "Shit." I looked up. I looked around. I waited. And still, nothing. All of a sudden, it was like I was given this power. This gift.

I remember saying it the whole way home. "Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit". And if James Lipton asked me today, I'd tell him it's my favorite curse word. And yes, I did go to confession for it. In fact, I was telling Leslie and Ben, it was the last time I went to confession.

What's funny is if you know me, I don't look like I would, but I have the mouth of a sailor. I can curse with the best of them. I love to curse. In certain situations, of course. I'm not super into sitting at the Thanksgiving table and saying, "These are the best motherfucking sweet potatoes goddamnit!" Although it would be funny. But my mom might stuff my mouth with a bar of soap.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Writing

Things are looking good for the new year. Or at least I feel like things are in motion. It looks like Love Me will be optioned by the end of January. Yay! Probably first things first is to change that terrible title. It makes me cringe. Mark was asking what fun thing we would get for this option. Last time we got a Blu Ray Player. I said, "This time we can pay our car insurance! How fun is that?"

And it looks like the teen romance treatments will be getting a round of notes in early January. From there I'll do second drafts before finding out if I get the job. Crazy enough, the film would go into production fall of 2010. Uh, that's a fast turnaround for a script. It's a film that already has a director set up.

I've been working kind of non-stop on a ghost story project tentatively titled The Child Thief. I'm totally digging it. I've got about a 15 page outline going. I've been watching lots of ghost story films for inspiration ... The Others, The Orphanage, Don't Look Now, Lady in White, Wishing Stairs, A Tale of Two Sisters ... I'm a sucker for ghost stories that leave me a weeping mess. Anything with mothers and children, like the original version of Dark Water or a few of the aforementioned ... ugh. As the credits roll in those films, I sob. Yes, they're scary and creepy but man, they can also be an emotional punch in the face. That's what I'd love to do. Or at least try to do. Punch someone in the face. Metaphorically speaking.

Two outlines moving with Toddy. It's nice to balance out the horror/thriller/romance stuff that I've been doing on my own with the crazy, slapstick adventures with Toddy. They make me giggle. And giggling is GOOD!

Oh yeah, Captain Dynamo is "kind of" out there. Not so much. Only two people/companies have it. It's a bigger/studio size project so my contacts in that world are very, very limited.

Ok, back to writing!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Runaways

I'm totally excited!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Babble Babble and Mo Babble

I think I've watched more movies in the last seven days than I've watched in like ... forever. All in all, it's probably been about 30 or so. That's not counting 30 - 40 short films I've been watching at UT every night. Both in the theater and on DVD. Just in the last 24 hours ... The Blind Side, The Girl Next Door, A Tale of Two Sisters ... My god, I should get sick more often. Really. Even though I feel much, much better now, does that mean less movies in the upcoming weeks? God, I hope not.

Although now I should be worrying about making more movies. Seriously.

At least I've been writing ... I'll give myself that. Working with Toddy on another possible writing assignment. We pitched another 20 ideas, they picked one, now we outline it. Then hopefully we wow them and they go, "You ladies should write this one. Here's a wad of cash and all the creative freedom you want. Make it big, make it fun."

I started outlining my own new project. I'm trying my hand at horror. I've tried once before and failed. Not completely, just mostly. We'll see how this one goes. I'm taking more care on the front end before diving in. This way I don't get lost in the muckity muck like I did with the last one. I'm using all of the new tools in my writing toolbox with this one. That's what studying does. It helps you get "A"s. Or just write better scripts.

Off to bed before our UT screening in the morning. I'm totally nervous for my kids. In a good way.

I Heart Mason and Madison!

I first met Mason and Madison in 2005 when they were extras on jumping off bridges. Long, long ago. And then in the spring of 2007, they were in my first teen film class at The Austin School of Film. We've kept in touch over the years and we even started a pretty awesome project together a year and a half ago that we never finished. And of course, I couldn't be more proud of Madison and her role in Friday Night Lights. Even if I have yet to see an episode because I don't have Direct TV. But I've been waiting anxiously and reading all of the amazing reviews.

So I couldn't help giggle all through this video, missing these guys. On the eve of yet another UT student screening, I'm feeling all kinds of proud for all of the students I've had over the years and watching them shine. Not to mention Mason just cracks me up. Nice dorks. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Paramount Goes Indie? - LA Times

Fresh off its stunning "Paranormal Activity" success -- a $15,000 thriller that has grossed more than $107 million in its domestic release with little paid advertising -- Paramount Pictures is set to launch a new production business for movies budgeted at less than $100,000.
For more of the article ...

A TOWN CALLED PANIC - Stop Motion Contest

A Town Called Panic, one of my favorite films at this years Fantastic Fest (and probably of the year) is sponsoring a stop motion filmmaking contest.

A) You should make a film for the contest.
B) You should go see A Town Called Panic when it opens at the Alamo!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

UT Class Screening - Saturday, 10am, Alamo South

Green But Growing

Can It

As I wrap up student evaluations and upload grades, I must say, I'm very very very proud of my UT kids this semester. They have five strong festival ready films to show for all the hard work they put in. If you're around or curious what the UT film kids are up to these days, come check out their work.

UT Advanced Narrative Digital Production Screening
Saturday, December 12th, 10am
Alamo South Lamar
Free to the Public
Films Include:
Green But Growing
Broken Heart Boy
Can It
In the Clear
Kevin and the Snake

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Media Marathon for the Sick

Since Saturday I've been sick, sick, sick. I want my sickness to die. I want to kill it and bury it . I'm over being sick. I've missed out on friend hang outs, baby showers, classes and work and it's getting old and annoying. This morning I freaked out and looked up swine flu symptoms. I came to the conclusion that I have almost all of them minus a high fever. So if in three days (as suggested) I'm not feeling better, to the doctor I will go.

One thing I have been doing is watching a ton of films and reading.

Revolutionary Road

Double Indemnity

The Haunting Hour
The Wicker Man
(Nicolas Cage Version)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (again)
The Black Hole

The Hunger Games
(midway through)

Zellners and Clay hit Park City

My Mom Smokes Weed (Clay Liford)

Fiddlestix (Zellner Brothers)

Another round of congrats go to Clay Liford and the Zellner Bros for short films at Sundance!

Ola Podrida - Mohawk, Friday

Friday, 12/11/09
The Mohawk, Austin

Doors @ 8:00
9:00 - Martin Crane
10:00 - Ola Podrida
11:00 - Balmorhea

Monday, December 07, 2009

Little Ripper Audience Award

Love Bug wins again! Yay Turtle and Maddy!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Sick Day

The best thing about sick days ... being forced to say home and watch movies. I think I caught some sort of sore throat, runny nose, cough thing from one of my niece's kindergarten friends on Friday. Cause I woke up this morning feeling pretty craptastic. So me and my couch have been BFF all day long. I love you couch. I love you Advil.

My day of movies:
Snow Angels
Terminator Salvation

2 Episodes of Hannah Montana (for real)
Nothing Like the Holidays
What About Bob?

(first time to see it)

And now it's time for SNL!

Friday, December 04, 2009

LOVE BUG - Little Ripper Film Festival

If you're in Melbourne, Australia tonight (not sure how the time difference works there), you can see Love Bug at the Little Ripper Film Festival.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Sundance Congrats!!!

A huge huge huge congratulations to Bryan Poyser and his team (Chris Ohlson, Megan Gilbride, David Lowery, Vicky Boone ...) for their film Lovers of Hate and Ryan Williams for The Dry Land both in the 2010 Sundance narrative competition. And more friends to be unveiled as the Sundance roll out begins ...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I Am A Rock Star

Chrissie Hynde = Badass

I used to pretend to be a rock star in junior high with my hair brush and full length mirror. I'd lip sync all the words and sing seductively to my pimply faced, badly permed reflection. I still use a hair brush, but I never did figure out how to put a full length mirror in my current bedroom. I jump around a lot more now. And I have way slicker moves. Years of practice from being in a band in college. My downstairs neighbor probably thinks I'm a freak. That's ok. I'm just a rock star.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

End of the Semester at UT

It's the last week of classes at UT. Yay!!! And Kat doesn't give finals in her class so she won't be there next week. Yay!!!

We had a great panel of filmmakers, Jeff Nichols, Chris Mass, Ron Pippin and Todd Rohal come visit class Monday to inspire and offer nuggets of wisdom to my students. Tomorrow we'll wrap it up with a visit from Jarod Neece from SXSW and an afternoon of extra credit scripts, films and drinks at The Hole in the Wall. I don't drink, but I can be found at a bar once or twice a week. True.

So yeah, it's been a pretty awesome semester. Everyone got along famously (from where I'm standing) and we have some tight projects coming out of this class. So I'm proud. I'm proud of the work that they've put in and that their hearts are all over that screen. They've done a fantastic job.

With that said, here's the screening info for our class. Come see the next Tim Burtons, Judd Apatows and Steven Spielbergs before they make it big.

Advanced Narrative Digital Production UT Class Film Screening
Saturday, December 12th
10am - 11:30am
Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar
Free to the Public