Austin, Dan 1971(?)–
Austin, Dan 1971(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1971; son of Dennis and Ann Austin. Education: Brigham Young University, earned film degree.
CAREER: During early career, worked as an advertising broadcast producer; currently a freelance filmmaker; director and producer of The Pilgrimage of the True Jazz Fans, 1997, and True Fans, 1999.
AWARDS, HONORS: People's Choice Award, Banff Film Festival, 1999, for True Fans.
(And director, editor, and producer) The Pilgrimage of the True Jazz Fans (screenplay), 1997.
Fourth Witness: The Mary Whitmer Story (screenplay), 1997.
The Strongest of Them All (screenplay), 1998.
(And director, editor, and producer) True Fans (screenplay), 1999.
True Fans: A Basketball Odyssey (based on Austin's screenplay), Lyon's Press (Guilford, CT), 2003.
Also creator of film Last Game.
WORK IN PROGRESS: True Fans Forever.
SIDELIGHTS: Dan Austin is a young filmmaker who first gained wide attention with his short documentary True Fans, a film he wrote, edited, directed, produced, and, with his brother and one of his friends, starred in. The film, which won an award at the 1999 Banff Film Festival, is about the three young men's bicycle trip from Venice, California, to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. It is a kind of sequel to Austin's earlier film The Pilgrimage of the True Jazz Fans, his senior movie project at Brigham Young University that is about traveling to see the Utah Jazz play the Seattle Supersonics for a spot in the NBA playoffs. Taking a one-hundred-dollar professional ball with them, the companions traveled across the country on their bikes for ten dollars a day while filming True Fans. Along the way, they explained their mission to people who offered them assistance, such as room and board, to keep their expenses down. Austin asked those who helped them to sign their basketball, and by the time they reached Springfield the ball was covered with signatures. The ball is now kept at the Hall of Fame, and Austin took the footage they shot along the way and edited it down into a film.
Austin later adapted his experience into the book True Fans: A Basketball Odyssey. Some reviewers who enjoyed the movie were somewhat less enthusiastic about the book version. Noting how Austin often compares his experience to Jack Kerouac's—the author of the classic On the Road—critics felt this went too far. A Publishers Weekly contributor, for one, wrote that the author "doesn't quite succeed" in reaching the Kerouac standard, producing instead a "ho-hum travel journal." On the other hand, Library Journal contributor Boyd Childress commented that although "Austin may not rival Jack Kerouac … [True Fans] is a modern-day classic." Warning that this is not a sports book about basketball, Wes Lukowsky concluded in Booklist that "if one is out for laughs and a revealing look at average Americans, this is the right book."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2005, Wes Lukowsky, review of True Fans: A Basketball Odyssey, p. 50.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2005, review of True Fans, p. 823.
Library Journal, September 1, 2005, Boyd Childress, review of True Fans, p. 150.
Publishers Weekly, August 1, 2005, review of True Fans, p. 57.
Lavin Agency Web site, http://www.thelavinagency.com/ (March 2, 2006), biographical information on Dan Austin.
True Fans Web site, http://www.truefans.net (March 2, 2006), biographical information on Dan Austin.