August 16th, 2019

carole lombard 05
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Next month, 'Stand Tall!' in Texas after dark

Carole Lombard and Clark Gable get lots of love at Love Field in Dallas in December 1939 (that's MGM publicist Otto Winkler next to Carole) as they make a stopover en route to Atlanta for the "Gone With The Wind" world premiere. For Carole -- who looks a bit perturbed by it all -- it's a far cry from her previous visit to the airport in early 1935, as she and Madalynne Fields stopped while returning from Florida and Cuba in relative anonymity.

We know the saying about how everything's bigger in Texas. Next month, the Lone Star state gets a visit from another "big" personality, whose destination won't be the Metroplex, but rather the state capital of Austin:

Yep, it's lovable Colleen Cossitt, all 16-foot-1 1/8 of her, as she prepares to travel by truck from her Las Vegas home (what other means of transport can she fit in?) so she can headline my romantic comedy "Stand Tall!" at this event...

What is the Austin After Dark Film Festival, you ask? Now in its second year, the event celebrates "films that are created for a mature audience," hence the "dark" description. (Many of the 41 films to be presented are shorts between three and seven minutes in length.) There's also a screenplay competition, involving both feature and short scripts, and that's where "Stand Tall!" comes in.

Sixty-five screenplays, in the top 25 percent of those submitted, are official selections in four categories: comedy, dark comedy, horror and science fiction. (I'm presuming "Stand Tall!" will be part of the comedy group, though participating scripts have yet to be categorized.)

The event's host is the Alamo Cinema Drafthouse Lakeline (an Alamo Drafthouse recently opened in downtown Los Angeles, and I hope to visit that venue soon):

This drafthouse has 50 beers on tap (someone get me a chelada!) as well as full restaurant fare.

Austin -- home to the huge flagship branch of the University of Texas, whose library contains all sorts of classic film material for researchers to examine -- has a deserved great reputation as a movie town, especially for indie fare. I'm crossing my fingers that "Stand Tall!", with its blend of old-school romance, charming retro-feminist mindset and vintage sci-fi fun in a contemporary setting (as gentle giant Colleen tells a press conference, "I'm here to entertain people, not attack them") registers with the judges.

Award winners will be announced from 8 to 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, with the first group of films shown from 9:30 to 12:30 a.m. and the second batch from 6 to 9:30 p.m. the following evening. Tickets are not required for the awards and filmmakers' mixer, but they are for the films. An all-access pass is available for $15; go to to order.

For additional information on the festival -- including nine trailers from nominated films -- visit
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