There are so many amazing movies that were made in Austin, Texas! It’s high time we start featuring them. And we’re kicking things off with one you may not have seen. Bandslam is a solid teen flick and it just so happens to have Mr. David Bowie in his final film appearance. It also features Bobby Bones, back in the day way before he was a household name.
Filmed in 2008, the story is supposed to take place in Jersey but the majority of the filming took place in the ATX.
The film stars a variety of unknown actors mixed in with some names you may recognize including Aly Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens, Lisa Kudrow and Scott Porter (aka Jason Street from Friday Night Lights). The plot involves a couple of teens names Will and Charlotte, who form an unlikely bond through their shared love of music. Assembling a like-minded crew of misfits, the friends form a rock group and perform in a battle of the bands competition called “Bandslam,” which Hudgens character describes as “Texas high school football big!
Let’s talk Bandslam filming locations.
Bandslam’s high school scenes were shot at A.N. McCallum High School and Fine Arts Academy, as well as the School for the Deaf, according to IMBD. Though they say that the two schools are blocks from each other which they are most definitely not. Though the School for the Blind is nearby so perhaps there was some confusion on the part of whomever entered the filming location into the system.
The diner style restaurant where Charlotte works is Jim’s Restaurant, located at 183 and Spicewood Springs.
In the climax on the film, the actual Bandslam is held at Hogg Memorial Auditorium on the UT campus. But when the band steps into the alley behind the auditorium, it looks a lot like they’re in an alley in the Warehouse District.
There are a couple of scenes shot in a mall and while I’m not sure which mall they filmed in, I’m going to assume it’s Barton Square – especially since Will and his mom are eating California Pizza Kitchen in a later scene.
The old school Austin skyline is visible a few times throughout the film when the characters gaze upon it from what looks to be the location of Hope Gallery, before it became Hope Gallery.
When the film was released, MTV spoke with the stars about their time filming in Austin. Here’s how Aly Michalka said they spent their time.
“We went and we, like, saw movies and ate dinner together and went shopping and went to [the clothing store] Free People all the time,” Michalka told MTV News. “[We] saw Willie Nelson. I went laser-tagging with the cast a lot. We had a blast. It was very much like a summer-camp experience.”
You can read about a red carpet premiere that was held in Austin in 2009 here.
None of the stars were able to attend but Bobby Bones was there! As were local bands Joker and The Daze which were both featured in the film. Members of Joker played the backing band for one of the main characters, and The Daze were seen as themselves in the Bandslam battle of the bands competition.
Bandslam is currently available to stream on Hulu and Showtime and can be purchased or rented on Amazon Prime, Youtube and iTunes.