Kat Candler

SXSW 2014: Kat Candler’s ‘Hellion’

By Jordan Gass-Poore’

Hellion Movie Still

Hellion, the first feature-length movie, based on the 2012 award-winning short of the same name, by Austin-based filmmaker Kat Candler made its Texas premiere at this year’s SXSW. The drama centers around a father, played by Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame (starring alongside Juliette Lewis — listen to KTSW’s SXSW 2014 interview with Lewis about her other movie Kelly & Cal), who must deal with his problematic son after his wife’s recent unexpected death. Candler, a UT Austin lecturer, received a special mention SXSW Gamechanger Award this year. Candler’s devotion to her craft and to her “kids,” her students at the university, was evident when I spoke with her in The Driskill Hotel. I’ve written quite a bit about her and her accomplishments for the movie blog, Slackerwood, even speaking with her briefly on the phone once for an article about a documentary made by one of her former students, but this was our first meeting. I’m kicking myself now for not taking her introduction to screenwriting class, which she taught at Texas State in 2011.

Since 2008, Candler has worked at UT, teaching an advanced video production class, and during the filming of Hellion she took 15 students through the movie’s development process in the developing an indie feature class. These students were involved in the movie’s casting and some served as location scouts. Candler says close to half of these students eventually ended up working on Hellion outside of the classroom, some even going on to work for other local movie projects.

Up next for Hellion, its screenings at the Dallas Film Festival on April 9 and 10 with some of the movie’s cast and crew in attendance and the Sarasota Film Festival on April 12 and 13. The movie is also scheduled for a theatrical and VOD release later this year.

Other Texas connections: Hellion was executive produced by Austinites Jeff Nichols and Sarah Green.

Listen to my interview with Candler and watch the opening sequence from Hellion below:

KTSW: Where are you from?

Kat Candler: 

KTSW: Why Austin?


KTSW: Why do you think some Austin filmmakers have been getting noticed in the last five, six years? Why now?


KTSW: Is the Austin film community really tight knit?


KTSW: How important do you think it is for someone to go to film school?


KTSW: How did you balance teaching and working on “Hellion”?


KTSW: How do you balance family and work?


KTSW: Did you go into the (“Hellion”) short expecting to make a feature?


KTSW: What was the importance of keeping local actors in the feature (version of “Hellion”)?


KTSW: How did Aaron Paul become involved (with “Hellion”)?


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