Austin Film Society honors legends and newcomers

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Film Society held its 15th annual Texas Film Awards Thursday night, and the list of those honored and acknowledged spanned film industry legends and independent newcomers who are making their mark.

Among the honorees were acclaimed director Guillermo Del Toro, actor Luke Wilson and film icon Tommy Lee Jones. It had reportedly taken years and some convincing for Jones to accept this spotlight. He did but he was having no part of the red carpet press row, posing for a few pictures and then moving on.

Less shy was actress Patricia Arquette, recent winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in the honored film “Boyhood.”

“It was something I never anticipated in my life so it was a beautiful surprise,” Arquette said of winning the award. “In other people’s minds it might elevate you in some way, but I feel the same inside.”

Richard Linklater, the director of “Boyhood,” the 12 year project honored in the U.S. and abroad, was asked if he was still enjoying the afterglow of it’s success. “I’ve sort of moved on, I am in post-production of my next film now, a college comedy called “That’s What I Am Talking About”. But “Boyhood” certainly had a long tail and it’s been wonderful.”

Also acknowledged at the awards was Alan Berg, president of Arts and Labor, an Austin independent film production company. It has grown in a decade to 28 employees and another three dozen freelancers. The company has five feature films being shown this week at South By Southwest.

“It’s tremendously exciting,” Berg said. “We have lots of people working lots of years honing their craft and for them to get this recognition, even though we are in Austin, South By is one of the top festivals in the world and it is hard to get in to.”

The film society’s afterglow party continued into the night, with music provided by an unusual deejay, Frodo, the Hobbit himself, Elijah Wood. He says he loves playing music and especially loves coming to Austin.

Film Incentives

Across the board, the Texas Film Commission says they are seeing more productions in Texas. The number of feature films made in 2014 and so far in 2015 is up 47 percent from the previous two years.

Television production is up 25 percent and there are 26 percent more commercials made in Texas.

The commission also reports a 6 percent increase in the number of video games made here.

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