The Austin Chronicle's Culture Editor,
Austin 2022 Year in Film Review
Three years into the pandemic and Austin’s film scene and community remains in a state of recovery. The Regal Arbor closed its doors for good, leaving the city without a true arthouse theater. The Alamo Drafthouse celebrated its 25th anniversary by selling its collectibles arm Mondo to Funko while dealing with workers attempting to unionize at its South Lamar location. The Other Worlds Film Festival came to an end in December after an illustrious nine years of bringing independent sci-fi and horror to Austin. Variety parent company Penske Media Corp. purchased ATX TV, which operates the ATX TV Festival, just one year after acquiring a majority stake in SXSW. At SXSW, V.P. and director of film Janet Pierson moved into the role of director emeritus, allowing her longtime deputy Claudette Godfrey to assume the role of the film festival programming director in advance of the 2023’s event. Rooster Teeth, a subsidiary of the cost-cutting Warner Bros. Discovery, endured a public relations nightmare as a result of accusations of “hate and mistreatment” by a former employee. I Luv Video, a victim of the pandemic, inched closer to resurrection as the non-profit library and community space We Luv Video thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign. The Austin-based genre boutique label Paper Street Pictures enjoyed the fruits of its COVID-era labor with multiple releases, including founder Aaron B. Koontz’s high-profile sequel Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge. Richard Linklater turned to Netflix for his latest trip down memory lane, the rotoscoped Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood, which along with Top Gun: Maverick and Devotion cemented Austin native Glen Powell’s movie star status. Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood featured animation by Austin-based rotoscope specialist Minnow Mountain, which also earned great acclaim for its contribution to the Prime Video series Undone. Acclaimed documentaries made by Austin-based filmmakers included Margaret Brown’s Descendant, Iliana Sosa’s What We Leave Behind, Gretchen Stoeltje’s Shouting Down Midnight, and Ben Masters’ Deep in the Heart: A Texas Wildlife Story. Over at Netflix, Austin-based director David Blue Garcia successfully revived the Texas Chain Massacre franchise even though it required shooting in Bulgaria instead of the Lone Star State. Meanwhile, the short-term future of film and TV production in both Austin and Texas will rest in the hands of state legislators, who will decide in 2023 on an increase or decrease in appropriation for The Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (TMIIIP), which dropped from $50 million for 2020-21 to $45 million for 2022-23.
Aired: Jan. 3, 2023.