Home / Austin Film Festival: Sleeping Dogs Lie, The Book of the Dead, and Awards Announced

Austin Film Festival: Sleeping Dogs Lie, The Book of the Dead, and Awards Announced

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The work week has slowed things a little at the 13th Austin Film Festival. Basically it means the venues are hosting two screenings in the evenings instead of all day long. People have to work or something. But the slightly slowed pace hasn’t stopped guests from attending screenings of the films, nor does it mean the films being shown are any less spectacular.

Bobcat Goldthwait’s newest project, Sleeping Dogs Lie, was the start to my evening. If you haven’t heard, it’s the bestiality movie. John and Amy get engaged and he wants them to share their deepest secrets with each other. But when her secret turns out to be more than he can handle, things sort of blow up.

I was expecting Sleeping Dogs Lie to be a dark, crude comedy about fucking dogs. I mean, this is the comedian Bobcat Goldthwait that wrote and directed the film. Prior to the screening, Bobcat announced that he made it for $40,000 and never intended it to be projected on an IMAX screen like it was tonight – it was supposed to be a “fucked up movie [he] could show at home to friends.”

Melinda Page Hamilton plays Amy and does a fantastic job. In fact, she was just nominated for the New York Film Critics Awards for her performance in the movie –- a fact Bobcat Goldthwait announced right before Sleeping Dogs Lie started. Jack Plotnick is a convincing drug addict brother and is the source of many laughs throughout the film.

While the acting was good and some laughs sprinkled throughout Sleeping Dogs Lie, there are also elements of a family drama that I wasn’t expecting. The film actually takes a decent look at family, courage, honesty, and ultimately, forgiveness. It has a lot more charm to it than I would have ever guessed. It isn’t the best movie I have ever seen, but Bobcat Goldthwait wasn’t trying to make the best movie ever seen.

Next was the Japanese stop motion puppet animation, The Book of the Dead. It is the story of a young noblewoman who falls into a trance after copying Buddhist sutras. In her trance, she walks into a temple forbidden for women to enter. While atoning for this sin, she stirs the ghost of an executed Prince.

The Book of the Dead is an interesting film and pretty to watch. Unfortunately I think something may have been lost in translation. That or knowledge of the ancient Japanese poetry on which it is based is required, making my understanding pretty limited. There were English subtitles but I am confused about the ending of the film as the young girl just walks out of the building. Maybe my need for a resolution or conclusion is to blame for my confusion, who knows. Either way, it is still a pretty film to watch.

The 2006 Austin Film Festival Film Competition winners have been announced. The awards, as well as guidelines, are available on the AFF website. The winning Narrative Feature is Chalk, written by Chris Mass and Mike Akel and directed by Mike Akel. The winning Narrative Short is When Elvis Came To Visit, written and directed by Andreas Tibblin. Hope Dickson Leach wrote and directed the winning Narrative Student Short, The Dawn Chorus, and Neil Jay wrote and directed the winning Animated Short, Ujbaz Izbeneki Has Lost His Soul. The winning Documentary Feature is Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story, directed by Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim, with Vanessa Roth’s The Third Monday In October receiving an Honorable Mention. The Documentary Short Winner is A Taste of Nate, directed by Jim McGorman.

The Winners in the Screenplay Competition have also been announced and the information on what the awards are on the Austin Film Festival website. The Adult/Family Category winner is Andrew Pagana and Justin Thomas’s The Man in the Rearview Mirror. John Morning won the Comedy Category with What Would Fabio Do?, which also won the Burnt Orange Category. Graverobbers by Brian McDonald won the Sci-Fi Category. Jill Weinberger won the Drama Teleplay Category with her House, M.D. “Reunion” script and the Sitcom Teleplay Category was won by Todd Linden’s script for My Name Is Earl, “Tied Gil to a See-Saw.”

Perhaps we will see some of those screenplay winners in future Austin Film Festivals.

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About Cara

  • Great festival coverage — I enjoyed it so much that I included it in this week’s AFF-focused Film Blog Group Hug on Cinematical.