AFS Announces the Lone Star Slate—A New Virtual Screening Library of Texas Films

(Image from Caballerango)

Brady Dyer |

Austin Film Society Announces the Lone Star Slate—A New Virtual Screening Library of Texas Films

May 21, 2020 (Austin, TX)— Austin Film Society is excited to announce the launch of the Lone Star Slate, a new virtual screening library of Texas films by AFS-supported filmmakers. The screenings will be a part of AFS’ Virtual Cinema, an initiative developed to connect audiences with important films during the Cinema’s temporary closure. With the Lone Star Slate, AFS establishes a new online catalog of independent, Texas-made, AFS-supported titles, and a gateway for audiences to discover these important regional stories and filmmakers.

“The options available to us via streaming these days are overwhelming. Finding independent and regional stories can be like looking for a needle in the haystack on the corporate streaming services,” says Holly Herrick, Head of Film & Creative Media. “AFS is positioned to champion Texas filmmakers, and connect them with audiences. In the past, the AFS Cinema was our primary strategy for this, but the current crisis pushed us to explore other avenues for engagement. Advances in VOD technology allow us to partner with our filmmakers, creating an opportunity for them and for our audiences.”

The Lone Star Slate is not a replacement for a filmmaker’s distribution deal. The catalog was put together working with filmmakers who were already exploiting their own rights on VOD or partnering with the filmmakers’ distributors to make the films available via this new platform. AFS aims to amplify these filmmakers’ marketing efforts with inclusion in the Lone Star Slate.

The series will kick off with a diverse slate of eleven titles from Texas artists, featuring comedic and dramatic narratives alongside experimental, environmental and social issue documentaries. Notably, the slate features the world premiere of Ben and Bo Powell’s documentary Nothin’ No Better, a rich observational portrait of small-town Rosedale, Mississippi. The film was intended to release at festivals in spring 2020, a plan derailed by Covid-19, and is now available nationally on VOD. Nothin’ No Better includes a pre-recorded virtual Q&A with the directors.

The other ten films feature recent award winners and festival favorites. All of the films are available for VOD purchase and can be accessed by visiting the Lone Star Slate portal on the AFS website.

Available today, the initial lineup of Lone Star Slate includes: Above All Else (2014, SXSW, directed by John Fiege); Bull (2019, Cannes, Un Certain Regard, directed by Annie Silverstein); Caballerango (2018, IDFA, True/False, directed by Juan Pablo González—only available through August 15, 2020); Call Her Ganda (2018, winner, Outfest, directed by PJ Raval); Canine Soldiers (2016, PBS, directed by Nancy Schiesari); Nothin’ No Better (2020, directed by Ben and Bo Powell); Now, Forager (2012, Independent Spirit Award Nominee, directed by Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin); Pahokee (2019, directed by Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas); Petting Zoo (2015, Berlinale, winner, Premiers Plans, directed by Micah Magee); Slash (2016, SXSW, directed by Clay Liford); and Sombras de Azul (2013, Austin Film Festival, directed by Kelly Daniela Norris).

Ticket prices for each film are shared on a sliding scale between the filmmaker and AFS, except for NOW, FORAGER, for which all proceeds are being donated by the filmmakers to benefit the AFS Cinema. As with in-person screenings at the AFS Cinema, we will also be coordinating with filmmakers on virtual introductions and Q&As for several of the films.

Please contact if interested in a screener. Download film stills here.

Lone Star Slate Lineup:

Documentary Feature, John Fiege, 2014, 95 min.
In this dramatic, firsthand account of activists on the front line of the climate fight, one man risks it all to stop the tar sands of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from crossing his land. Shot in the forests, pastures, and living rooms of rural East Texas, Above All Else follows David Daniel, a retired stunt man and high-wire artist, as he rallies neighbors and activists to join him in a final act of brinkmanship: a tree-top blockade of the controversial pipeline. What begins as a stand against corporate encroachments on one man’s land becomes a rallying cry for climate protesters nationwide.

Narrative Feature, Annie Silverstein, 2019, 108 min.
Kris, a headstrong teenager from a rural neighborhood on the outskirts of Houston, is destined to follow her mother to the state penitentiary, until she’s forced to work for her equally willful neighbor, Abe, an aging bull rider struggling to keep a foothold in the rodeo circuit. Drawing consolation from an unlikely bond, Kris and Abe both attempt to right their paths, before it’s too late.

Documentary Feature, Juan Pablo González, 2018, 61 min.
In the Mexican village of Milpillas, a family remembers the last day they saw their youngest child, Nando, a lifelong horse wrangler. Exploring a rural community’s daily rituals, Caballerango evokes the presence of those who have parted. This title is available through August 15.

Documentary Feature, PJ Raval, 2018, 97 min.
When Jennifer Laude, a Filipina transwoman, is brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine, three women intimately invested in the case an activist attorney (Virgie Suarez), a transgender journalist (Meredith Talusan), and Jennifer’s mother (Julita Nanay Laude) galvanize a political uprising, pursuing justice and taking on hardened histories of U.S. imperialism. BONUS FEATURES: BBC Talking Movies with Director PJ Raval at Tribeca 2018, Call Her Ganda at Frameline 42, Who is Jennifer Laude?

Documentary Feature, Nancy Schiesari, 2016, 75 min.
Canine Soldiers explores the intimate bond between Military Working Dogs and their handlers—combat soldiers who make life-and-death decisions based on the instincts and behavior of the dogs who lead their patrols. In wars where the rules of engagement have shifted from traditional combat to the unforeseen and the invisible, these highly trained dogs are saving soldiers’ lives and giving them comfort, hope and protection.

Documentary Feature, Ben and Bo Powell, 2020, 70 min.
Meet the people of Rosedale, Mississippi, in this gently composed peek at life in a fading but beloved Delta town. All sorts of people make their homes in this quintessential and iconic American community. Despite a painful past and an uncertain future, Rosedale’s still hanging on. Features a pre-recorded Q&A with Directors Ben and Bo Powell.

Narrative Feature, Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin, 2012, 94 min.
Lucien and Regina are foragers – they gather wild mushrooms and sell them to New York restaurants. Their lifestyle is simple, their income unstable. As Regina seeks more stability and Lucien wants to devote himself to full-time nomadic foraging, their individual desires put the marriage to a test. A food lovers’ film.

Documentary Feature, Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas, 2019, 110 min.
Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan create a portrait of Pahokee, a small rural town located in the Florida Everglades, a community tightly knit together that struggles with financial insecurities and a bleak future. Through an extremely precise observational approach, the film manages to capture the daily life of the town with a great wealth of nuanced details. From sports events to school beauty contests, the filmmakers observe how, through social and collective rituals, the ideas of gender and identity are publicly displayed while creating new narratives. Moving past the crucial Wiseman lesson, which Lucas and Bresnan have fully absorbed, the film possesses the distinct feel of a Gil Scott Heron song, with its deep streak of rural blues tinged with urban echoes. A complex and multi-layered work that recalls also both the gritty social realism of the new American cinema as well as the neorealist touch. Pahokee is a powerful portrait of a forgotten America absent from the current political discourse.

Narrative Feature, Micah Magee, 2015, 92 min.
A story of love, sex and teen pregnancy in San Antonio, Texas. Petting Zoo is the portrait of a young woman coming into her own, in an environment that does not always present ideal circumstances.

Narrative Feature, Clay Liford, 2016, 100 min.
Neil is a questioning teen who secretly writes erotic fan fiction about a popular SciFi hero. When his classmate Julia discovers this, she leads him on an adventure of self-discovery.

Narrative Feature, Kelly Daniela Norris, 2013, 98 min.
In the wake of her brother’s suicide, a young Mexican woman (Seedne Bujaidar) journeys to the place he’d always dreamt of going – Cuba – where, through tortured ruminations and the guidance of a devoted stranger, she searches for answers, and must decide whether to open herself up to love and loss once again. Sombras de Azul is something of a film elegy; a poetic re-imagining of the director’s own experience of bereavement following the death of her brother.

About Austin Film Society
Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, AFS creates life-changing opportunities for filmmakers, catalyzes Austin and Texas as a creative hub, and brings the community together around great film. AFS supports filmmakers towards career leaps, encouraging exceptional artistic projects with grants and support services. AFS operates Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility, to attract and grow the creative media ecosystem. Austin Public, a space for our city’s diverse mediamakers to train and collaborate, provides many points of access to filmmaking and film careers. The AFS Cinema is an ambitiously programmed repertory and first run arthouse with broad community engagement. By hosting premieres, local and international industry events, and the Texas Film Awards, AFS shines the national spotlight on Texas filmmakers while connecting Austin and Texas to the wider film community. AFS is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.