Texas filmmakers revel in global exposure at SXSW

AUSTIN, Texas — “It’s cool to be in your own city doing something like this,” Alea Erickson said.

After seven years of collaborative works, local filmmakers Haley Alea Erickson and Taylor Washington have finally made it to the official screenings at SXSW.

“All of our friends and so much of our family are here,” Alea Erickson said. “It’s a hometown feel at a global festival —  and how lucky are we?”

The two are co-directors of the comedic short film “Call Me Mommy,” one of the first to premiere at this year’s event. The Austin residents hope this long-awaited debut is just the beginning.

Movie poster for the film “Call Me Mommy.” (Spectrum News 1/Dylan Scott)

“We want to turn it into a feature because it’s a proof-of-concept for a feature film,” Washington said. “Try to get it made. That’s our hope.”

Martin Jones, the studio director of the Austin Film Society, is among those urging the state to invest $200 million in Texas cinema. With 140 communities dedicated to the industry, the Austin Studios’ executive says there shouldn’t be any reason for those in the business to be filming in New Mexico, Louisiana or Oklahoma.

Martin Jones, the studio director of the Austin Film Society is pictured in this file image. (Spectrum News 1/Dylan Scott)

“We’ve had over a thousand projects at our studio, a $2.6 billion impact just from those projects, and over 25,000 jobs. That should be welcomed news for any legislator in the state,” Jones said.

For Alea Erickson, who starred in the comedy, and Washington, who studied at the University of Texas in Austin, there’s no place they’d rather continue to grow their artistic vision.

“The cast, crew, the locations, everyone that has to come together. This is a great place to be doing it,” Washington said.

There is maybe one exception, however: a shot at the West Coast and bright lights of Hollywood.

“That’s the plan; we’re on the big wave,” Alea Erickson said. “I’m not a surfer but I think that’s the right metaphor.”