Watch AFS’s Episode of “Art-House America” by the Criterion Channel
On May 1, we finally got to share our episode of Art-House America with the world, and before we geek out about how cool this thing is, a little background.
The Criterion Channel has been publishing the docushorts in this series for a while now, each one profiling a different independent cinema, some for their interesting histories and others because of their unexpected locations (like the Gold Town Nickelodeon in Juneau, AK). So when they reached out to us asking if we’d like to be included, we thought “Hey, we’d fit right in,” and responded with a resounding yes. Back to geeking out about our episode.
To us, there are two aspects of this video that make it so special. First, it really dives into our origin story, going all the way back to before we were a nonprofit and Richard Linklater was still showing midnight movies at the Dobie Theater. Second, it shows off how unique the AFS community is. There are few places in the world where filmmakers and film lovers can come together and discuss a movie over a negroni, but our cinema lobby is one of them, and Art-House America celebrates that.
Our collaboration with the Criterion Channel doesn’t end there, though. We also co-curated a collection of films with them to go along with our episode, so if you’re a subscriber to the channel, you can watch those here.
We’ve also dedicated some space in this article to contextualizing why each film in the series was chosen to represent AFS. (Slacker hopefully doesn’t need too much explanation, but Singapore Sling might if you’re not a regular of AFS Lates.) We’ve screened a lot of these titles too, so read to the end of this page for a playlist of “bonus features” AKA recorded intros and filmmaker Q&As from the films in this list. You can also keep track of the ones you’ve watched on Letterboxd by clicking here or on the image below.
FILMS IN THE AFS COLLECTION ON THE CRITERION CHANNEL
ATTENBERG (Tsangari, 2010)
Athina Rachel Tsangari is the exact type of filmmaker we champion at AFS. While she’s originally from Greece, she’s based in Austin, she’s an AFS Grant-supported director, and she’s been a mentor in our Artist Intensive program.
CHOCOLATE BABIES (Winter, 1996)
Representing guest-programmer, filmmaker, and archivist Elizabeth Purchell’s series Queer Cinema: Lost & Found is CHOCOLATE BABIES, which she screened in 2022 followed by a virtual Q&A with director Steven Winter.
COLD WATER (Assayas, 1994)
A piece of AFS programming history, this early film by Olivier Assayas (IRMA VEP, PERSONAL SHOPPER) used to be hard to watch in the US due to usage rights around its soundtrack. However, with help from the Criterion Collection, the Austin Film Society was able to screen its US premiere/re-release in 2018 at SXSW.
COMPUTER CHESS (Bujalski, 2013)
This is an endearingly weird Austin movie three times over. First, because director Andrew Bujalski (FUNNY HA HA, SUPPORT THE GIRLS) now lives here, second, because he is an AFS-supported filmmaker, and third, scenes of COMPUTER CHESS were shot in the same neighborhood as our Cinema.
GOOD MORNING (Ozu, 1959)
Director Yasujirō Ozu is one of AFS founder Richard Linkater’s favorite filmmakers, and we’ve been showing this flatulent-forward classic since the beginning. Seriously, though, this is one of the best cinematic tributes to farting children.
NO HOME MOVIE (Akerman, 2015)
We hold the experimental and avant-garde close to our hearts, and this final film by Chantal Akerman is both of those things. That’s why we screened it in 2016 and her Sight and Sound poll-topping JEANNE DIELMAN, 23 QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES earlier this year.
SINGAPORE SLING (Nikolaidis, 1990)
Those familiar with the AFS Lates series won’t be surprised to learn that we showed this Greek weird-wave film by Nikos Nikolaidis in 2021 (and his earlier film MORNING PATROL earlier this year). The subtitle is “The Man Who Loved a Corpse,” just so you know what you’re getting into.
SLACKER (Linklater, 1991)
How could we not include Richard Linklater’s first film, what might be the most “Austin” movie ever? Keep an eye out for a shot of “Texas Media Arts” (shown in our Art-House America episode), which was an early HQ for AFS.
WORKING GIRLS (Borden, 1986)
Lizzie Borden takes viewers into the world of a Manhattan brothel. It’s the kind of cinematic perspective we don’t see too often, which is why it’s exactly the kind of thing we try to share with our audiences. Plus, it won the Sundance Special Jury Prize.
CARNE SECA (Diaz, 2015)
Jazmin Diaz was still a senior in UT Austin’s RTF program when she premiered this AFS-supported short at SXSW in 2015.
PIONEER (Lowery, 2011)
Before David Lowery made THE GREEN KNIGHT and PETER PAN & WENDY, he received an AFS Grant, which he now helps support through the North Texas Pioneer Film Grant.
THE RABBIT HUNT (Bresnan and Lucas, 2017)
This AFS-supported piece by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan (PAHOKEE) won best short documentary at New York’s Cinema Eye Honors and top jury awards at SXSW and the San Francisco Film Festival. If you want to see more from them, their latest film together, NAKED GARDENS, is screening during AFS’s Doc Days 2023.
RAT PACK RAT (Rohal, 2014)
Another piece made by an AFS-supported filmmaker, Todd Rohal (THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE). RAT PACK RAT screened at SXSW the year it came out and won the Jury Award at Sundance.