senior film programmer,
Austin Film Festival and Writers Conference
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Austin Film Festival runs Oct. 26-Nov. 2 at various venues. The Writers Conference runs Oct. 26-29. The festival opens Oct. 26 with writer/director Emerald Fennell’s British class warfare satire Saltburn and closes Nov. 2 with writer/director Jack Huston’s boxing drama The Day of the Fight. Austin-based director Jeff Nichols’ The Bikeriders and The Trap, marking the directorial debut of 300 star Lena Headey, serve as the festival’s Centerpiece Films. Marquee titles include such awards season contenders as Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers, Cord Jefferson’s American Fiction, Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Monster, and the Mads Mikkelsen drama The Promised Land as well as the David Duchovny-directed Bucky F---ing Dent, the Tommy Lee Jones-Jenna Ortega crime drama Finestkind, the Jessie Buckley, Riz Ahmed techno-drama Fingernails, the RZA drama Not an Artist, the Paul Reiser comedy The Problem with People, Chestnut, The Disappearance of Shere Hite, Last Straw, Robot Dreams, Scab Vendor, Smoking Tigers, and the pilot episode of the new western series Lawmen: Bass Reeves, starring David Oyelowo and Dennis Quaid. Narrative features include Autumn, The Battle, Bolt from the Blue, Christmess, Grapefruit, The Highest Brasil, Invaders from Proxima B, Midnight at the Paradise, Re:Uniting, Secret Art of Human Flight, Summer of Violence, and Sunlight. Documentaries include Aitamaako'Tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun, Born to Fly, First We Bombed New Mexico, Home is a Hotel, The Philadelphia Eleven, Studio One Forever, Susan Feniger. FORKED, and This is Not Financial Advice. The Dark Matters program is comprised of Cannibal Mukbang, The Hidden Web, Inhabitants, Jonah, Unfinished Business from Beyond, The Veil, and Wild Eyed and Wicked. The Comedy Vanguard program features All the Wrong Ingredients, Don’t Tell Larry, Egghead & Twinkie, For When You Get Lost, Sour Party, Soweto Blaze, and Villains, Inc. Selections out of Austin include director Andrew Shea’s I’ll Be There and Aaron Brown’s Home Free. Film with Texas ties include ImPossible and The Stars at Night. Retrospective screenings include 1971’s Shaft, presented by BlacKkKlansman screenwriter Kevin Willmott; Peter Bogdanovich’s 1972 comedy What’s Up Doc, presented by Ed Wood screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski;, 1986’s Aliens, presented by the Fargo and Alien television series creator Noah Hawley; 2000’s X-Men, presented by its producer, Lauren Shuler Donner; 2013’s Iron Man 3, presented by its writer and director, Shane Black; and the True Detective Season 3 episode “The Great War and Modern Memory,” presented by its creator Nic Pizzolatto. The Writers Conference, which runs Oct. 26-29, will feature individual and group conversations with this year’s Austin Film Festival honorees: the Bill Wittliff Award for Screenwriting recipients Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, Heart of Film Award recipient James V. Hart, the Writer's Writer Award recipient Cord Jefferson, New Voice Award recipient So Young Shelly Yo, the Polly Platt Award for Producing recipient Lauren Shuler Donner, and Outstanding Television Writer Award Damon Lindelof. The conference will also include conversations with actor Paul Reiser, filmmaker Whit Stillman, Saltburn writer/director Emerald Fennell, The Trap director Lena Headey, Past Lives writer/director Celine Song, MonsterVerse screenwriter Max Borenstein, Venom screenwriter Scott Rosenberg, Warrior director Gavin O’Connor, Has Fallen franchise screenwriter Katrin Benedikt, Fargo creator Noah Hawley, Severance creator Dan Erickson, True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto, The Bear writer/director Joanna Calo, and Jury Duty co-creator Lee Eisenberg. The conference also include an On Writing panel on Yellowjackets; film and television roundtables; James V. Hart’s “HartChart” session on The Last of Us; and opening remarks by The Rookie: Feds writer/producer Wendy Calhoun and closing remarks by The Nice Guys and Iron Man 3’s writer/director Shane Black.
Aired: Oct. 11, 2023