Indie Films

Death Rattle

Austin premiere of DEATH RATTLE at Cine las Americas

Cine las Americas - The Metropolitan

Description

DEATH RATTLE (see the trailer at Amparo's Facebook page) Hecho en Tejas Shorts Showcase Regal Metropolitan - Sat. April 24 NOON 12:00 PM

USA, Coming of Age Drama, 2009 22 min, MiniDV, Black & White English

In a small southern Texas town, a young man must face the consequences of his actions and the uncertainty of his future. Austin Premiere Cineoptima.com

Producer: Amparo Garcia Crow, A.J. Garces

Production Companies: Cineoptima

Screenwriter: Amparo Garcia Crow

Cinematographer: A.J. Garces

Editor: A.J. Garces

Sound Design: A.J. Garces

Music: A.J. Garces

Cast: Alejandro Rose Garcia, Amanda Vaez Phillips

Between Worlds

Cine las Americas Festival of New Latin American Cinema

"Loaves and Fishes" screenwriter (and star) Amparo Garcia Crow "is not afraid to tell it like it is when greed, jealousy, or lust get the better of our human instincts," says the short film's director, Nancy Schiesari.

Loaves and Fishes: On the Fringes

Before South Congress' San José Motel was renovated, it served as the backdrop for Nancy Schiesari's delicately realized short film, "Loaves and Fishes." Written by Austin actress, writer, and director Amparo Garcia Crow (who also stars in the film), the 30-minute narrative features strong performances from Garcia Crow, St. Edward's University theatre professor Melba Martinez, and Eduardo Garza.

"Loaves and Fishes" is a film about people engulfed by the ruins of their broken lives. Garcia Crow's Maria Elena is a pregnant mother of two whose husband has left her, forcing her to live under the thumb of her father's imperious new wife Socorro (Martinez). Garza plays one of the hotel's last tenants, Ignacio, an undocumented worker whose wife and children were killed in Chiapas. He seeks work at the day labor camp, offering sweat and muscle mortar for the boom-town houses that he'll never set foot in. Maria Elena and Ignacio innocently become friends until Socorro intervenes.

"Amparo is not afraid to tell it like it is when greed, jealousy, or lust get the better of our human instincts," Schiesari says of Garcia Crow's script. "That is what attracted me to the story. Most of my work in the past focused on the external reasons for people's oppression: class, religious conflict, racism, and women's oppression. Amparo is interested in those themes, too, but handles it through the poetic."

Schiesari's past work is mainly in documentary filmmaking. She was the U.S. cinematographer for the 1999 Academy Award-nominated documentary Regret to Inform. A faculty member of UT's Radio-Television-Film department, she was introduced to the script while taking an acting class taught by Garcia Crow (a faculty member in UT's Department of Theatre & Dance).

"I was so excited about the story," she remembers. "I proposed a production class in the RTF department, inviting students to read the script and sign up for production positions." Industry professionals like photographer Ian Ellis, designer John Frick, and editors Sandra Adair and Kip Wood gave student workshops on their craft in conjunction with their work on the film.

"The remarkable thing is that we all rose to the challenge of making a good film in a very short amount of time because the old San José Motel was coming down. We all had to think on our feet."

Whatever the harried background was behind the scenes, it is not evident in "Loaves and Fishes," which offers a bittersweet glimpse into the lives of those not featured front-and-center in the glossy images of Austin's boomtown skyline.

Fall to Grace

Year Released: 2005

DirectedBy: Mari Marchbanks

Starring: Kira Pozehl, Jessica Roque, Gabriel Luna, Bhagirit Crow, Julia Polozova, David Stokey, Bill Johnson, René Alvarado, Amparo Garcia, Cassidy Rose Johnson

(NR, 87 min.)

You may need a flow chart to keep track of all the various characters and their twining relationships in this debut feature from Austin director Marchbanks, but the end result is well worth the effort. Shot in town with a mostly local cast and buoyed by a fine, evocative score from Jonathan Meiburg and Travis Weller (as well as a who's who of Austin bands spanning everyone from Zykos to Moonlight Towers), Fall to Grace is one of those quiet little ensemble films that tend to get lost in the shuffle.

Thanks to top-notch performances from the entire cast (the luminous Pozehl turns in a knockout performance in every sense of the word) and some of the best cinematography Austin's ever produced (courtesy of Jay P. Lipa), this is one sleeper that leaves you anything but drowsy. Pozehl plays Sarah, the emotionally drifting teenage daughter of struggling diner owner Leo (Stokey) and his druggy harridan of a wife Audrey (Garcia-Crow). Spending her days between school and scoring drugs from her uncle Auggie (Johnson, Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), she's a character in search of a reason. She finds one in the form of classmate Kristopher (Luna), the son of Georgian immigrants Alexei (Crow) and Helena (Polozova), whose innate goodness (and soulful eyes) engage her in ways she's only just discovering. Alexei, the son of a famous circus clown, works day-labor jobs to provide for his family, but the snaky tendrils of Auggie intrude even here.

There's much more to the story, almost too much, but at its heart, Marchbanks' film is about the bonds that exist in small neighborhoods, where territoriality isn't neccessarily a bad word (think Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing minus the racial showboating) and people's lives are unconsciously connected. Fall to Grace's only problem arises from the borderline melodrama of Auggie's garish thuggery and a third-act tragedy that, while convincingly shot and acted, still feels forced. As the saintly paterfamilias Alexei, Crow turns in a performance that's both subtle and fully formed, which is a pretty good description of Fall to Grace itself. Like a real neighborhood, it pulses with its own unique heartbeat, and it's one that deserves to be heard.

Film Description:

“Beautifully acted…Pozehl’s magnetism is extraordinary, the Austin-tinged soundtrack hits just the right highs and lows…This modestly produced feature represents all that’s good and right in the indie-film movement.” - Denver Westword

“…a promising amount of raw talent…the film leaves you optimistic.” - Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Fall to Grace" offers further proof that excellent films can be made on a shoestring." - Seattle Post Intelligencer

"Marchbanks captures a hopeful perspective on the immigrant experience that consistently rings true."- The Seattle Times

"Thanks to top-notch performances from the entire cast and some of the best cinematography Austin's ever produced, this is one sleeper that leaves you anything but drowsy."- The Austin Chronicle

"Filled with wonderful performances, an ear-grabbing soundtrack...Fall to Grace is a sweet indie slice of suburban apple pie." "...this is the real deal." - Film Threat

"Fall to Grace" joins the ranks of great low- budget, independent, Austin-based films like "Cicadas," "Slacker," "The Slow Business of Going," and "Dear Pillow." - File Thirteen

"Marchbanks' debut film is sure to join the ranks of great family dramas." - The Daily Texan

"Heartfelt all the way." - The Charlotte Observe

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