IndieWIRE has a nice, brief essay by Richard Linklater today in celebration of the Austin Film Society's 20th Anniversary. Austin's reputation for being a model regional film scene has to do with so many factors: the early 90s successes of El Mariachi and Slacker, the willingness of its successful filmmakers to continue to work locally, and the presence of a large film school, among others. The Austin Film Society, which was around before either Linklater or Robert Rodriguez made their first features, has been an essential part of that equation. (What shape might Slacker have taken if Linklater -- a co-founder of the Society -- hadn't seen Bresson's L'Argent at the Austin Film Society? To consider all the possibilites would be, well, like Linklater's opening monologue in that very film.)
Anyway, favorite quote from the essay :
When I say the film society was a success from the get-go, it's important to remember that the key element in this equation was our definition of success. It was simple: if we could show movies and somehow pay for the rentals, shipping and phone calls, then get to do it again, that would be great. Like in so many areas of life, once you remove the profit motive and just want to make something cool happen because life would simply be better or more fun, it's amazing what you can do and who will jump in and help you do it.