Louis Black

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We’re catching up with one of our favorite guests this week, Louis Black.

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Louis Black & Ethan Hawke, Sundance 2018

Louis Black is a journalist, editor and film producer. He has written extensively on film, music, and politics.

Louis co-founded The Austin Chronicle, where he was the editor for thirty-six years.   He is a director of South by Southwest, the iconic festival he co-founded in 1985. He was one of the founding board members of the Austin Film Society. Working with the Austin Film Society, Louis and Texas Tribune CEO, Editor Evan Smith established the Texas Film Hall of Fame.

Louis received an MFA from the University of Texas with a concentration in film studies. He is currently working on his doctorate in Media Studies from the department of Radio, Television, Film at the University of Texas.

Louis was a producer on the Peabody Award winning film, The Order of Myths (2008). He was executive producer of Be Here to Love Me, A Film About Townes Van Zandt (2004). He founded the independent film consultation company, Production For Use in 2015, focusing on scripts, documentaries, and film distribution and marketing.  Louis and Karen Bernstein directed the documentary Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny, which made its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was the initial screening of PBS’s American Masters 2017 Fall season.

Louis served as an Executive Producer of the new film, BLAZE with Sandy K. Boone, his partner in Black/Boone ProductionsBlaze is a music biopic based on singer and songwriter Blaze Foley. Directed, produced and co-written by Ethan Hawke, Blaze was named one of the 10 best films of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. In the title role of Blaze Foley, musician Ben Dickey took home the Sundance best actor award.  

Louis serves as Executive Producer on the upcoming biopic Slacking Towards Bethlehem: J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius, produced and directed by Sandy K. Boone.

Louis and Sandy K. Boone are also executive producers on The Newspaperman and Road Angel, both still in production. Louis and Sandy K. Boone were Executive Producers on Keith Maitland’s critically acclaimed Tower and Karen Skloss’ The Honor Farm, which premiered at SXSW.

Louis works on the accumulation of Texas independent film history in many different formats via Louis Black Productions.  Louis Black Productions performs in-depth book projects and curates retrospectives of Austin filmmakers, as well as those who have made important Texas independent films. Film projects include  Eagle Pennell’s Whole Shootin’ Match (1978) and Last Night at the Alamo (1984); 1981’s Jonathan Demme Presents: Made in Texas, six short films from Austin; and Tobe Hooper’s 1969 film Eggshells

Current book projects include the soon to be released, Cinematexas Program Notes Vol. 1 The Early Days of Austin Film Culture, Edited by Louis Black, with Collins Swords (University of Texas Press, February 2018).  Louis’ other current book projects include the Page Two book, a collection of his Austin Chronicle columns, and a biography of Eagle Pennell. 

ABOUT Cinematexas Program Notes Vol. 1 The Early Days of Austin Film Culture, Edited by Louis Black, with Collins Swords (University of Texas Press, February 2018)

Written to accompany movies screened by the Radio-Television-Film Department at the University of Texas, the CinemaTexas Notes open a fascinating window on the early Austin film scene and the rise of film studies.

Austin’s thriving film culture, renowned for international events such as SXSW and the Austin Film Festival, extends back to the early 1970s when students in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin ran a film programming unit that screened movies for students and the public. Dubbed CinemaTexas, the program offered viewers a wide variety of films—old and new, mainstream, classic, and cult—at a time when finding and watching films after their first run was very difficult and prohibitively expensive. For each film, RTF graduate students wrote program notes that included production details, a sampling of critical reactions, and an original essay that placed the film and its director within context and explained the movie’s historical significance. Over time, CinemaTexas Program Notes became more ambitious and were distributed around the world, including to luminaries such as film critic Pauline Kael.

This anthology gathers a sampling of CinemaTexas Program Notes, organized into four sections: “USA Film History,” “Hollywood Auteurs,” “Cinema-Fist: Renegade Talents,” and “America’s Shadow Cinema.” Many of the note writers have become prominent film studies scholars, as well as leading figures in the film, TV, music, and video game industries. As a collection, CinemaTexas Notes strongly contradicts the notion of an effortlessly formed American film canon, showing instead how local film cultures—whether in Austin, New York, or Europe—have forwarded the development of film studies as a discipline.– University of Texas Press

For more information, please see Louis Black Productions or Production For Use. You’ll also find plenty of his articles on The Austin Chronicle website, and you can keep up with him on Twitter and Facebook. On Twitter, you might also see @subgeniusmovie.

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