Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Linklater, a native Texan, was working on an oil rig when he decided he wanted to be a filmmaker. He began by founding the Austin Film Society, with the original aim of bringing obscure films to the area for viewers, but which has evolved into a cornerstone of the independent film production movement in the Austin area.
At the same time, Linklater was working on building his own budding film career. He tasted his first bit of success with the 1991 film Slacker, which drew favorable reviews and grossed over $1 million at the box office despite a limited release (and a production budget of only $23,000). The film follows an eclectic cast of characters over the course of a single day in Austin. It opened the door for a number of independent filmmakers in the ‘90s, most notably Kevin Smith, who cites Slacker as the inspiration for his first film, Clerks.
It was just the beginning for Linklater, though, who followed Slacker with the 1993 film Dazed and Confused, which brought in $8 million at the box office before coming a cult classic on VHS and DVD. The film details the exploits of a group of high school students on the last day of school in 1976 and stars such up-and-coming names as Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, and Parker Posey. With classic rock featuring heavily throughout, the film’s soundtrack (and its follow-up) is nearly as notable as the film itself.
Linklater continued toiling throughout the 1990s before becoming even more widely known for a pair of mainstream comedies in the 2000s. In 2003, he directed the Jack Black feature School of Rock, about a down-on-his-luck guitarist who cons his way into a substitute teaching gig at a prep school and teaches his young charges how to rock. Then in 2005 he helmed the production of Bad News Bears, a remake of the 1976 classic about an inept little league baseball team.
Throughout it all, Linklater has continued to write and create his own brand of offbeat independent film. In 2011 he reteamed with Black and McConaughey for Bernie, a film about a mortician accused of murder and yet still venerated by the members of his community. His most recent film is this year’s Before Midnight, the conclusion to a romantic trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, which began with Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.
This is just a sampling of the films made by this talented and varied filmmaker, who has certainly earned the accolade from the Gotham Awards. Be sure to SmartBrowse Richard Linklater on our homepage to introduce your patrons to all he has to offer.