Name: Kestrin Pantera
SXSW project: Director of “Pretty Problems”
Notable past credits: Pantera directed “Mother’s Little Helpers,” which premiered at SXSW in 2019.
Favorite Austin haunts: “Torchy’s Tacos’ fried avocado taco and queso. Taco Xpress — everything revolves around bowls of cheese, all my favorite things. But it’s also the art outside in yards, large yards with hippie art made out of pipes. My father-in-law was a south Austin hippie who lived here for many years and was instrumental in the culture and the underground scene.”
Pantera was celebrating the premiere of her feature film “Pretty Problems” at Austin wine bar House Wine on Monday afternoon.
“I’m so delighted with the audience response. I was really nervous because it’s a huge theater of over 400 people, Monday morning after the first weekend of South By — it seemed like it could be bleak if we didn’t get lucky. And it was a packed house and people laughed,” the director says.
The comedy follows a couple who end up on a highfalutin Sonoma getaway with a group of affluent acquaintances and strangers.
“I love whimsy and comedy and making fun of assholes. And I love drugs and alcohol and sex. That’s my lane, so it felt like an effortless, seamless match content-wise,” Pantera says of her affinity for the film’s premise, written by Michael Tennant.
Also, she loves a party. “I have a background in throwing all night karaoke parties at South by Southwest. For years, I would do these partnerships on this Burning Man art car,” she adds. “And it had a real established fan base and community that ran very deep for many, many years and lives to this day. So I love shooting party scenes for that reason, I have a lot of experience doing it.”
The film, which features improvised performances, is also steeped in Burning Man culture.
“I’ve gone to Burning Man for many, many years. I met my husband there — old school Burning Man, not rich billionaire Burning Man,” she adds. “So I’m used to absurdist things, and the characters in this movie were a later evolution of that culture.”
Next, Pantera is working on a TV series with Renée Wilson, as well as a sci-fi action comedy and biopic about “a bunch of heavily armed artists who go out to the desert and build their own society.” And, in an effort of manifestation, Pantera offers up her ultimate creative dream: “To direct the live-action reboot of ‘The Aristocats,'” she says. “Disney doesn’t know this, but that is my life’s wish.”
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