Fall is the season to see and be seen in Austin. This year, the Austin Film Festival (AFF) and Conference celebrates its 20th anniversary, so this time around, it is going to be bigger and better than ever. From October 24 through 31, Austin will showcase the best and brightest in the film industry. The conference focuses on screenwriters’ contributions to the art of filmmaking while presenting once-in-a-lifetime panels and iconic panelists: producers, agents, managers, development executives, screenwriters and filmmakers.
The festival highlights Austin’s sense of community and creativity, presenting outstanding premieres, advanced screenings and independent films. AFF is the place to get cinematic, providing an outstanding program of narrative, animation and documentary features and shorts for viewers. A huge bonus is the entertaining and informative Q&A sessions with cast members and filmmakers that follow many of the screenings.
This year, Jonathan Demme—director of Philadelphia, The Silence of the Lambs and Rachel Getting Married—will be receiving the Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking award. Vince Gilligan— creator of Breaking Bad and writer/producer for The X-Files—will receive the Outstanding Television Writer award. The stellar list of panelists reads like a who’s who of film, including Stephen Falk, Kirk Ellis, Steve Faber, Noah Hawley, Blake Masters, Jeff Nichols, Roberto Orci, Peter Mehlman, Jenji Kohan, Zac Penn, Alvaro Rodriguez, Phil Rosenthal, Terry Rossio, Jim Taylor, John Turman, Scott Rosenberg, Beau Willimon and more. If their names aren’t familiar to you, they are some of the people behind the most successful television shows and films in the business, and the AFF panels provide the perfect opportunity to learn from the masters.
Entry to AFF varies, beginning with the entry level $65 film pass and ranging to the Producers’ Badge at $625. The pass gets you into the opening night, centerpiece and closing-night premieres, as well as a special party, while various levels of badges (starting at $100 for the Lone Star Badge) earn you all those privileges plus daytime panels, insider access and entry to the exclusive late-night parties. Prices and privileges for each of the four badges—Lone Star, Weekend, Conference and Producers—vary. Splurge on the fest, as the special occasion it will be, with the AFF 20th Anniversary Package ($1,500) and all its perks.
This year’s special events are a don’t-miss rendezvous. Network and dine like a celebrity Oct. 26 at the Awards Luncheon ($60 to add on) or at the Film & Food Party with no badge needed Oct. 23 ($80 and up). The festival broke its record with 8,648 entries for the 2013 Screenplay & Teleplay Competition. Currently, only the short film selections have been released; the full film lineup will be announced closer to the festival opening and can be found here.
With four days of panels and workshops and eight nights of films and parties , AFF is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Since 1993, AFF has encouraged Austinites to support local organizations, business and the arts. For more information call 512.478.4795 or visit the Austin Film Festival website. —Jennifer Morgan
Oct. 26–27, Texas State Capitol and grounds, free and open to the public
The Texas Book Festival, founded by Laura Bush in 1995, is arguably the premier book event in the U.S., with more than 200 authors at book readings, signings and panel discussions, as well as children’s entertainment, live music, cooking demonstrations and more than 80 booths and food vendors. The lineup will be announced Sept. 10, and we will have full coverage in the October issue of Austin Woman. Here is a sneak peek at some of ATX Man’s favorite authors participating in the festival this year:
Stephen Harrigan, author of The Eye of the Mammoth
Lawrence Wright, author of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief
HW Brands, author of The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace
Manuel Gonzalez, author of The Miniature Wife
Jarrod Neece, author of Austin Breakfast Tacos
For schedule and more information, visit the Texas Book Festival website. —Erin Gray