Honky Tonk Heaven

Filmmakers: Brenda Greene Mitchell, Sam Wainwright Douglas

AFS Representative: Sam Wainwright Douglas (Co-Director)

Runtime: 74 min

George Strait, Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb, Bob Wills, George Jones and Roy Acuff have all been regulars on stage at the world famous honky tonk, The Broken Spoke. With fifty years under its belt buckle “the last of the true Texas dance halls” has endured rapid urban growth and skyrocketing rents due to the passion and hard work of its charismatic, tenacious owners. More than a history of who played and when at this landmark venue, the film reveals a universal story about what it takes to maintain a family business in our increasingly corporate-driven society. Interviews include Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Dale Watson, James Hand, Jesse Dayton, the Waco Brothers and Alvin Crow.

About The Filmmakers

Brenda Greene Mitchell
Brenda Greene Mitchell (Co-Director) is a small town native Texan who grew up in Central Texas dance halls, which became an integral part of her social upbringing. In 1982, she and husband Scott Mitchell bought and restored the historic 1902 Wunsche Bros. Cafe in Spring, where she booked and hosted countless Texas folk/country musicians including Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Clint Back. She founded and co-produced the Spring Music Festival from 1988-1992, which showcased Texas musicians and drew up to 5,000 attendees. In 1993, Brenda and her family moved to Austin. She co-produced her first short Redemption and managed extras casting on the indie film Flushed. She was an executive producer on Somebody Up There Likes Me, which premiered at SXSW in 2012 and Icebreaker, currently in post-production. Her deep desire to preserve the story of the legendary Broken Spoke dance hall inspired her to document it through the film. Honky Tonk Heaven is her directorial debut.

Sam Wainwright Douglas
Sam Wainwright Douglas (Co-Director/Editor) is a director and editor working in Austin, TX. Sam recently completed HOT GREASE, which premiered on the Discovery Channel last year. In 2017 Sam also directed and edited THROUGH THE REPELLENT FENCE, which premiered at the MoMA Doc Fortnight 2017 and then went on to South By Southwest and Full Frame. In 2016 Sam’s film HONKY TONK HEAVEN premiered and won an audience award at South by Southwest 2016 before continuing on to International Documentary Festival Amsterdam. Sam edited and co-produced No No: A Documentary, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, screened theatrically and was broadcast on Showtime.  Sam also edited and produced the PBS documentary Ladonna Harris: Indian 101, which was executive produced by Johnny Depp and broadcast on PBS in 2014. He directed Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee And The Spirit Of The Rural Studio in 2010, which was broadcast nationwide on PBS.  He co-directed music documentary The Holy Modal Rounders… Bound To Lose (2006) with Paul Lovelace and has edited and produced other feature documentaries such as Along Came Kinky: Texas Jewboy For Governor, which had its premiere at South By Southwest in 2009.