Austin community supports local filmmakers

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SXSW co-founder Louis Black discusses Richard Linklater and how he’s helped Austin’s film scene grow and develop into one of the most extraordinary in the country.
Photo Credit: Mike McGraw | Daily Texan Staff

For South By Southwest co-founder Louis Black, everything that’s happened in Austin’s film scene began the moment filmmaker Richard Linklater decided to stay in Austin. 

“[Linklater] is totally committed to the film society [and] to supporting local filmmakers,” Black said. “He easily could’ve moved to L.A. after ‘Slacker’ and been the next hotshot director, but he decided to stay. He’s very much the lighthouse that guided our ships to shore.” 

It’s been 25 years since Linklater released “Slacker.” At this year’s SXSW, fans are anticipating the release of the spiritual sequel to “Dazed and Confused” — “Everybody Wants Some.”

Black, who’s known Linklater for decades, said he originally didn’t think much of “Slacker.”

“I had known graduate students who didn’t finish their films, and he wasn’t even a student,” Black said. “When he gave me the VHS tape, I fast-forwarded through it. It wasn’t until I watched ‘Dazed’ that I began to appreciate it. I began to see what a brilliant filmmaker he was.”

To celebrate the iconic filmmaker’s career, Black will also be releasing his film “Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny,” a look at Linklater’s career that features archival footage and interviews with actors from Matthew McCounaughey to
Patricia Arquette. 

“[The movie] is all about filmmaking,” Black said. “I didn’t ask personal questions, I never thought about whether people would like it or not. I just made a film I was comfortable with and, to my surprise, it’s been proven to be very meaningful to a lot of people.”

Rebecca Campbell, UT alumna and executive director of the Austin Film Society, said Austin has always attracted emerging filmmakers. Robert Rodriguez, Linklater and the Duplass Brothers have all called the city their home. 

“From ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ to ‘Slacker,’ there’s always been these filmmakers who have found Austin to be a great place to be independent with their artistic projects,” Campbell said. 

Campbell credits the strength of Austin’s film scene to the sense of community between the tight-knit group of local filmmakers. 

“The filmmakers here support each other rather than being in constant competition,” Campbell said. “They’re looking to have each other’s back on crew and creative. Their goal is getting enough money to make their next film.”

Partially because of Linklater, Black said Austin has developed one of the most extraordinary film scenes in the world. 

“There’s something very sacred here,” Black said. “If what you care about is making big blockbusters, you’re not going to be in Austin. The dynamic is kind of pure, we’re a community driven by passion and collaboration.”