Briefly: Your typical outdoor summer screening series is a cavalcade of well-known hits; there’ll be a Spielberg film, a musical or comedy classic or two, maybe Gone With the Wind or Lawrence of Arabia. CinemaEast, which kicks off its 2013 program in Austin this weekend, is appealingly different. The program features films like the documentary Cutie and the Boxer, a really tremendous film that was one of the best entries at Sundance this year, and Zero Charisma, the great geek culture entry from SXSW.
Screenings are cheap ($2-5, with a loose “pay what you want” scheme) and set for Sunday nights at the lovely French Legation Museum in East Austin. All will be preceded by a short film, and many will have filmmakers in attendance for Q&A sessions. The screenings are BYOB, and Austin360 notes that “food and drink are sold on premises by The Hot Dog King, Cool Haus, Juiceland and Cornucopia.”
The schedule is at cinemaeastaustin.com, and the fest has a new Twitter account, too.
“What does Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons do when he goes home at night?” At a post-film Q&A for the role playing game dramedy Zero Charisma, co-director Katie Graham suggested that question, which is wrapped in so much potential comedy and tragedy, as a perfect description of the film. She couldn’t be more right.
Written and co-directed by Andrew Matthews, Zero Charisma premiered at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival this week. It stars Sam Eidson as Scott, an overweight nerd who prides himself on being the Game Master of his weekly tabletop role playing game. The game isn’t Dungeons and Dragons, however, it’s a game of his own design. Scott focuses almost all his energy on it. So much so, that the game stands in for any semblance of a social life or career.
That scenario could have been played strictly for laughs or strictly for tears. Yet Matthews’ script and the performances he and Graham get from the actors help the film expertly tiptoe the line between the two. Scott’s story creates moments of hilarity and pathos, resulting in a relatable, complex film that explores what it means to be uncool. Read More »
All you may need to hear about Zero Charisma is that it follows a tabletop RPG dungeon master who isn’t well-adjusted enough to deal with real life in any fashion. But the film has a great pedigree: Best Worst Movie and The American Scream director and Troll 2 actor Michael Paul Stephenson is the exec producer, and this one was co-directed by Best Worst Movie and The American Scream cinematographer Katie Graham and editor Andrew Matthews.
And then there’s the general approach of the film, which was just programmed as part of SXSW.
Fittingly for the team that brought us the two aforementioned docs, this looks like a film that in many ways provides an insider’s take on games such as Dungeons & Dragons, even as it accepts that the stereotypical vision of adult players is rooted in some sort of reality. From there, it gets a little bit crazy, and the trailer outlines a movie that starts off as a big nerd love letter before turning into something that be more suited to play alongside Big Fan. Read More »