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Antonia Bogdanovich Opens Up About Her Famous Family and Her First Feature Film

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

Antonia Bogdanovich is filmmaking royalty.

Her dad is Peter Bogdanovich – the director of films including “Paper Moon” and “The Last Picture Show.” Antonia’s mother – the late Polly Platt – also worked on that film among many others. She produced “Bottle Rocket” – the movie that launched Wes Anderson's award winning career.

But while Antonia Bogdanovich has worked in and around the film business for decades – it took her a while to get behind the camera.

She's making her feature directorial debut at the Austin Film Festival with “Phantom Halo.”

She describes her film as an L.A. noir. It follows two brothers as they struggle to make ends meet while their father fritters away money in a gambling addiction.

Credit "Phantom Halo"
Luke Kleintank and Rebecca Romijn in "Phantom Halo."

The film doesn't appear to reflect Bogdanovich’s Hollywood upbringing at all – but she says it's actually very personal.

“I didn’t really have a life like that but there was a lot of similar circumstances. So to go really deep was difficult for me," Bogdanovich says.

She’s been open about her less-than-perfect childhood.

“My parents split up when I was three and I was very close to my dad and he left the home," Bogdanovich says. "And he wasn’t around a lot because he was busy and he had a new girlfriend, Cybil Shepherd. So I felt like, in a way, I lost my dad even though he was around quite a bit and we were very close. And then my mother was working a lot. Always away.”

The storyline in “Phantom Halo” is layered with Shakespeare references and also makes more than a few nods to the comic book world. Bogdanovich says this was another very personal writing choice.

“We all use what we love, an art, whether it be a comic book or a film, or a painting or a book – or a film – to transport ourselves to another place, another reality that’s not our own, that’s not our own life," Bogdanovich says.

But, for her, escaping from the world behind the camera was not enticing, until recently.

“As I got older, I just felt like anything I tried to do was going to be crap – for lack of a better word – not good enough because my family was so successful and my father had great success," Bogdanovich says.

She directed her first short in 2011. It’s what “Phantom Halo” is based on.

“I found a home after all these years because I’d been refusing to admit that how could I do what my dad did – such great success and such great failures," Bogdanovich says. "That was hard, you know, I was afraid that the same thing was going to happen to me.”

She found a home in directing and she felt it was right to have her film’s world premiere in Austin. Her parents worked on successful films both together and separately in Texas – and her mother was at the first ever Austin Film Festival.

“She came every year, religiously, she was a huge supporter," Bogdanovich says. "When I found out that I had gotten in, I said what more perfect place than Texas. And when I called my father he said, ‘Texas has been very good to our family.’”

It’s one more sentiment that’s also in her film.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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