Hollywood, meet Texas

Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards creates star-struck event to raise funds for filmmaking grants

By Jake Gaines

The Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards is one of the best nights in Texas, hands down. Especially from our table’s vantage point, thanks to Robert and Kate Hersch of Mastodon Ventures and Carla and Jack McDonald. The event always gathers the film and creative community of Texas, mixes in Hollywood and New York, making it a great evening of fun. Recently, all these swells gathered for it at the Austin Film Studios while movie stars mixed with tycoons and socialites, and the Four Seasons Hotel kept everyone fueled and happy with its catering expertise.

Honorees this year included Rip Torn and Renée Zellweger and the event was deftly co-chaired by society powerhouses Suzanne Deal Booth and Virginia Lebermann. Academy Award winning actress Sissy Spacek presented via video presentation to her cousin Rip Torn. The Star of Texas Award was awarded to NBC’s Friday Night Lights and accepted by Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler with Brad Leland, Jesse Plemons and Dana Wheeler-Nicholson. Emcee Wyatt Cenac kept the crowd laughing in between themoving speeches while the hijinks of visiting dignitaries included Thomas Haden Church, Catherine Hardwicke, Richard Linklater, Luke Wilson, Joey Lauren Adams, CSI star Gary Dourdan and Ted Nugent.

After a seated dinner and the Awards show, this year’s after party included eye candy by wig stylist Coco Coquette and the Texas Rollergirls, the music stylings of el john Selector of Thievery Corporation, DJ Chicken George and Grammy Award winner Adrian Quesada of Grupo Fantasma.

Since 2001, the Awards have raised $2.5 million to support the programs and services of AFS, including the Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund, which has given over $1 million in grants to emerging Texas filmmakers and the AFS Film Club, which provides free filmmaking workshops in 8 underserved Austin schools. The 2011 TFHOF Awards will be remembered as one of the best years ever and we are already looking forward to next years.

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