If you look at tonight's schedule for the Dallas International Film Festival, you'll notice there's a "secret screening" scheduled for 10:30 p.m. at the Magnolia. The producers have asked we not reveal the title of the documentary for, well, let's say pragmatic purposes: By keeping the name of the movie out of the programming guide, they can "maintain its premiere status" as it works its way through the fest circuit. "We want to make sure it plays as many places as possible," says producer Nicholas Jayanty, who also produced the dazed-and-confused-in-the-'80s Skateland, which screens again tonight at 7 at the Angelika.
But I can say this: It's being marketed as the "Nathan Christ's directorial debut." So ... go to Christ's Web site, where, simple enough, you'll find another link that'll take you to the movie's official Web site. (Oh, and the trailer's after the jump.) Which seems rather, um, "circuitous," as Jayanty calls it, but there you have it. All 'round, a rather smart way to market a film that'll be self-released later this year -- with its Official Premiere occurring on The Onion's A.V. Club site, no kidding.
I know, I know: Get to it. What's the film about?
The Austin music scene. There. I said it. But it's far from the obligatory informercial about the self-proclaimed "live music capital of the world." Christ (pronounced, so's you know, "krist") instead follows a handful of musicians -- among them the great Black Joe Lewis, Belaire, Sunset (especially frontman Bill Baird, ex of Sound Team) -- as they struggle to define success. For Lewis, that means delivering fish for a wholesaler while awaiting his major-label record release; for Baird, it means starting all over again after his Capitol Records crash; for Belaire, it means deliberately staying the secret people have to work to find.
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At the same time, it's also about Austin itself and the ever-exploding downtown -- a skyscape of cranes, sound familiar? -- and a fight over a proposed city ordinance that would brand music nothing more than intrusive "noise." This, in the live music capital of the world. The place where Liberty Lunch was torn down to make way for condos and retail.
Says Jayanty, the movie's about "integrity and economic development, and it focuses on the small details to reveal larger truths. People in San Francisco can relate to it, people in Boston can related to it, in Brooklyn, in Dallas." Indeed: The movie feels awfully familiar -- it could have been made here, about this city and this, you know, "scene." So go see it. It's beautifully shot. It's loud. It's terrific. Tickets are available.