Alumni: Anthony Burns

Texas State graduate directed,
produced and wrote ‘Skateland’

By Britney Munguia

A new-age film with a vintage feel, Skateland is directed by Anthony Burns, a Texas State University graduate who studied English and mass communication.

Anthony Burns

The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2010, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the drama category. The film later played at SXSW, Dallas, Seattle, Indianapolis and Edmonton Film Festivals, and isscheduled for a limited release in theaters this spring.

Set during the 1980s, Skateland follows a group of kids whose lives change dramatically when the local roller rink shuts down. Rink manager Ritchie Wheeler is a 19-year-old mess, trying to find the motivation to get his life in order before it’s too late.

Skateland stars Ashley Greene from Twilight, Shiloh Fernandez from Deadgirl and Heath Freeman, a long-time friend of Burns, who also is co-producer and co-writer of the film.

Heath Freeman co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Brandon. Both attended the University of Texas at Austin.

Burns originally wanted to shoot the film in Austin but wound up in Shreveport, La., for aesthetic reasons. The script was written entirely at Spider House Café, a coffee shop in Austin.

“I found it to have the perfect vibe to be creative and write — just enough noise, quiet and comfort to keep you focused,” Burns told the Austin American-Statesman in a Q&A in 2010.

Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Say Anything were major influences,” said Burns. “They all captured the zeitgeist in their storytelling, and I feel that’s a major factor why they’re continually celebrated.”

Before his directing debut in Skateland, Burns co-wrote and produced The Smoking Compartment, starring Jaime King, Maury Sterling and Phillip Rhys.

Skateland will premiere in select U.S. theaters March 25. For more information, visit the film’s official website and Facebook page. Watch the trailer here.

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