Austin Film Festival

Austin Film Festival
7:30 am
Thu October 23, 2014

TV, Marquee Screenings and Performing Animals at This Year's Austin Film Fest

Jon Stewart's "Rosewater" shows Oct. 30 at the Austin Film Festival.
"Rosewater"

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The 21st Annual Austin Film Festival Starts today. The fest celebrates screenwriting and is equal parts conference, competition and screenings.

AFF Executive Director Barbara Morgan sat down with KUT's Laura Rice to talk about what's exciting to her about this year's fest.

On Television at the Fest:

"We have been doing television for a long time at the festival and, like everybody I think, I too, have become quite obsessed with a lot of different TV shows. We've really done a lot this year with marrying that television into both the conference and the festival. We've got panels with Noah Hawley, who created this year 'Fargo' for television - which was a really cool show. And then, of course, Cary Fukunaga of 'True Detective.'

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Austin Film Festival
10:02 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Immigration Theme Gets Strong Role in Austin Film Festival

"With '120 Days', I'm trying to challenge people to take a moment at the end of the documentary…and open their mind and heart and try to understand the immigrants perspective.", says Ted Roach.
120daysmovie.com

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival. 

Although it's featured through different film genres, the topic of immigration has a solid presence in the lineup of this year's Austin Film Festival. 

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Austin Film Festival Interview
12:27 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

At Austin Film Festival: 'Heaven' a Harrowing Look at Sex Trafficking

Ya'Ke Smith believes there room for his films as well as those made by filmmakers such as Tyler Perry.
Derrick Terrell Williams

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

There are plenty of funny and flashy films at this year's Austin Film Festival but also many that deal with what you might call "big issues."

A documentary about abortion was honored at the festival. Other documentaries track issues like immigration, obesity and a Jewish person converting to Islam. Some narrative films are also highlighting "big issues."

Ya'Ke Smith is the writer of the upcoming film "Heaven." It's a follow-up to Smith's critically-praised film "Wolf." It's part of a trilogy dealing with children and sexuality. "Wolf" is about a child who is molested by his pastor. "Heaven" is about a young woman who is manipulated into sex trafficking.

KUT's Laura Rice talked with Smith before a cast reading of that script on Wednesday.

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Austin Film Festival
8:54 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Slideshow: Famous Faces at the 20th Annual Austin Film Festival (Update)

Actor Paul Sorvino on the red carpet for the Texas premiere of "Last I Heard."
Jorge Corona for KUT

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The Austin Film Festival is underway. Many famous actors and filmmakers are in town for the event.

Update: If actor Paul Sorvino looks like a mobster to you, there's good reason. He's played those types of roles in movies such as "Goodfellas" and "Romeo + Juliet."

Sorvino was in Austin for the Texas Premiere of "Last I Heard." In the new film, he plays another mafia-type. But this story follows his exit from prison and his entrance back into modern life and into the lives of family and friends.

Update (Oct. 29, 7:20 a.m.): The new film by Joel & Ethan Coen had its Texas Premiere last night at the Austin Film Festival. The star of "Inside Llewyn Davis" – Oscar Isaac – was on hand to walk the red carpet. Music producer T-Bone Burnett also walked the red carpet outside of the Paramount Theatre. He's won multiple Grammy and Academy Awards for his work.

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Roundtable Discussion
7:00 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Big Screen or Small: In TV's New Golden Age, Does Size Still Matter?

Alex Smith, David Brown, Rob Thomas and Barb Morgan. The panel discussed the popularity of television vs. feature films.
Mose Buchele, KUT News

In a recent editorial in the entertainment industry magazine Variety, the headline seemed to say what a lot of people have been thinking recently: TV needs to get over its inferiority complex. 

"Breaking Bad." "House of Cards." "Mad Men." "Homeland." Those are just a few recent series made for the small screen which may be giving the big screen a run for its money and for critical acclaim.

KUT's David Brown sat down with industry experts to find an answer to the following question: does size still matter?

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Austin Film Festival
6:00 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

New Documentary: 'Dog Days' for Vendors Missing Food Truck Boom (VIDEO)

Food vendor Siyone at her cart in a still from "Dog Days," premiering at the Austin Film Festival.
Credit dogdaysthemovie.com

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

Food trucks are white hot in Austin – and the story’s similar across the country.

Mobile restaurants feed a trend of quickly-served, affordably-priced gourmet food – perfect whether you’re at the bar, or barely have time to leave your office for lunch. 

But for those in the traditional world of street vending – old school hot dog carts parked on street corners – this new wave of mobile food vendors is a major disruption.

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Austin Film Festival Interview
11:11 am
Tue October 29, 2013

MacGruber No More? Will Forte Takes Dramatic Turn in 'Nebraska'

Forte on the red carpet for the Texas Premiere of "Nebraska" at the Austin Film Festival.
Jorge Corona for KUT News

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

Will Forte of Saturday Night Live fame is probably best known for his character and film "MacGruber" – a mullet-sporting, inept version of MacGyver.

But the comedian takes on a serious role in “Nebraska” – a black and white film from director Alexander Payne about a father-son road trip. Forte is David Grant – a stereo salesman from Montana with a lackluster love life and a rocky relationship with his family.

Forte’s Grant is not only the straight-man through much of the movie but, in many scenes, seems to be the only sane-man.

KUT's Laura Rice talked with Forte before the movie's Texas Premiere at the Austin Film Festival.

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Austin Film Festival
7:24 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Interview: Susan Sarandon on Her Career, Family and New Phase of Life

Sarandon shared a picture of herself at Austin's Mexic-Arte Museum.
@SusanSarandon

Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon has a storied career of longer than four decades. She was in Austin this weekend to receive yet another accolade.

The Austin Film Festival honored Sarandon for her “extraordinary contribution to filmmaking.”

KUT’s Laura Rice talked with Sarandon shortly after she accepted her award.

On Being Honored for Her Overall Achievements:

"I would like it to be a mid-life achievement award because I get nervous getting on a plane after a life achievement award."

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Entertainment
9:27 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Weekend Festival Road Closures and Free Parking Locations

It's festival season, y'all!
Photo by KUT News

It’s festival season, y’all – and with autumn weather cooling the city, it’s the perfect time to get outside and enjoy a good book, film, or concert.

There are a number of exciting events this weekend, including the Texas Book Festival, the Austin Film Festival, a Halloween Children's Concert by the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Run for the Water 5K and 10-mile race, and the 5th Annual Pittie Pride parade and festival ("pittie" is apparently short for pitbull dogs).

While this means that this weekend will be a great opportunity to pack up the family and head out for some quality fun, it also means that thousands of people will be pouring into the city. You can expect ample road closures in and around the Capitol and Congress Avenue area.

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Austin Film Festival
7:35 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Hundreds of Volunteers Take a Starring Role at the Austin Film Festival

Adolfo Bernal puts his computer skills to work in registration for the Austin Film Festival.
Laura Rice, KUT News

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

Actors, writers and directors will be making their way to Central Texas over the next week for the Austin Film Festival.

The 20th annual festival will screen more than 180 films and feature more than 80 panels with industry pros.

About a dozen staffers work year-round to make it all happen. But the Austin Film Festival also relies on hundreds of volunteers. A contingent of those volunteers have been doing this for years – and donate countless hours to the fest.

Sara Ricke has been volunteering with the Austin Film Festival for the past seven years. And it’s safe to say, she loves it.

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Austin Film Festival
10:34 am
Tue October 22, 2013

AFF Celebrates 20 Years in the Austin Film Community

Image courtesy the Austin Film Festival

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The Austin Film Festival will kick off tomorrow tomorrow night. And, while this year's festival will screen some of the year's most talked-about films, such as the Coen Brothers' 'Inside Llewyn Davis,' Steve McQueen's '12 Years a Slave' and the star-studded 'August: Osage County,' the festival had humble beginnings. 

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Austin Film Festival
10:30 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Austin Film Fest: Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan Teams with Will Ferrell

“Breaking Bad” showrunner Vince Gilligan is bringing an unproduced script of his to the Austin Film Festival.
flickr.com/tomdog

Where has “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan chosen to take a post-finale victory lap? Here in Austin – resurrecting his feature-length screenplay “2 FACE” with none other than Will Ferrell reading the lead role.

In honor of its 20th anniversary this year, the Austin Film Festival has pulled out all the stops. Besides the staged reading of Gilligan’s “2 FACE,” the eight-day festival also recently announced feature appearances by director Jonathan Demme, “Freaks and Geeks” and “Mad Men” actor Linda Cardellini, and this year’s Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Actor awardee, Susan Sarandon

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Austin Film Festival
4:45 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Video: Behind the Scenes at the Austin Film Festival

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Austin Film Festival – one of the first fests to focus on screenplays and writers’ contributions to film. 

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Austin Film Fest
1:06 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Austin Film Festival 20th Anniversary Lineup Features More Premieres Than Ever

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in "12 Years a Slave," one of this year's Austin Film Festival features.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Austin Film Festival has released the full lineup of films slated for this year's event. AFF says this 20th anniversary lineup features more world and U.S. premieres than ever before in the festival's history.

At the top of the lineup is "Inside Llewyn Davis." The new film by Joel and Ethan Coen won the Grand Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It stars Oscar Isaac as the title character. Isaac will be in Austin for the festival. Academy and Grammy Award-winning music producer T-Bone Burnett will also be in attendance.

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Arts and Culture
4:30 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Writer/Director Maggie Carey's To Do List For 'The To Do List'

Aubrey Plaza (L) and Alia Shawkat in "The To Do List," which opens July 26 nationwide.
CBS Films

For writer-director Maggie Carey, having the "The To Do List" in theaters nationwide is the last box she has to check off on her own To Do list.

The movie takes places in Idaho, but has roots in Austin. Carey is a graduate of UT's School of Radio, Television and Film, and the movie's script got off the ground at the Austin Film Festival in 2010. 

Here's Carey's own To Do List to make the "The To Do List," based on her interview with KUT News.

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Austin Film Festival
12:57 pm
Sun October 21, 2012

String Quartets, Brett Favre and Bodyslams: Art and Sport at the Austin Film Festival

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken star in "The Last Quartet," playing at the Austin Film Festival.

Disclaimer: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The Austin Film Festival is underway, and KUT News is featuring guest blogs from festival staffers. Today we hear from Stephen Jannise, AFF film program director. “Every year when the Austin Film Festival rolls around, my passion for film pretty much overwhelms all the other interests in my life,” Jannise says. “That's why I'm so excited that we are presenting several films related to sports and fine arts, two of my ’second loves.’"

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling – The year is 1986, and Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) is about to burst onto the scene as the first ever all-female wrestling show on television. GLOW was a prime-time wrestling series, complete with elaborate costumes, skits, personalized raps, and, most importantly, incredible characters like Mountain Fiji, the Samoan giant with a heart of gold, and Matilda the Hun, the evil German with a taste for raw meat, battling it out for the GLOW crown. By 1989, the GLOW girls were an international phenomenon, attracting over seven million viewers worldwide, touring the nation, and making big bank for the show's producers. One year later, GLOW was gone. This remarkably well-researched documentary chronicles the rise and fall of this once-successful television show through the stories of those who lived it. Playing Sunday, Oct. 21, 3:45 p.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz.

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Austin Film Festival
12:42 pm
Sat October 20, 2012

Three Writer/Director Movies at the Austin Film Festival

Bullied middle school kids band together in "Murt Ramirez Wants to Kick My Ass," playing at the Austin Film Festival.
facebook.com/MurtRamirezWantsToKickMyAss

Disclaimer: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The 19th annual Austin Film Festival is underway, and KUT is bringing you guest blogs from fest staffers highlighting personal picks. Today, assistant programmer Bears Fonté points to films from three auteurs playing the fest. “These writer/directors draw the audience into their own world with a confidence seldom seen in seasoned veterans,” Fonté says.

If you want your mind blown, make sure you make it to “Idol is Dead”, especially on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 10:15 p.m. at the Bob Bullock's Texas Spirit Theater. Writer/director Yukihiro Kato will be in attendance, direct from Japan. In the grand tradition of “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park,” and “Spice World,” “Idol is Dead” showcases the talents of J-Pop stars Brand-new Idol Society (BiS in Japanese shorthand). A fantastical origin tale involving murder, mad scientists, and a killer soundtrack, “Idol is Dead” is full of humor, hand-to-hand combat and horror. It’s a bit bizarre, a bit sexy, and a bit disgusting. This will be its one and only U.S. theatrical screening before its release with BiS’s new CD. You can check out the trailer on the AFF website.

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Austin Film Festival
3:14 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

'The Muslims Are Coming' to the Austin Film Festival

Looking for love (in all the wrong places): Director Negin Farsad (left) and a friend in a still from "The Muslims Are Coming," premiering at the Austin Film Festival.
themuslimsarecoming.com

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The Muslims are Coming” is a documentary that follows a group of Muslim comedians as they travel through small towns in the South. Their goal is to foster a dialogue about Muslim-Americans through humor.

“We go to places like Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia … you know, places where they love 'the Muzzies,'” says comedian Negin Farsad, the film’s director and star.

Even before the jokes start, as a viewer it’s difficult not to think, “what are they doing?” Early on, Farsad stands in front of a retirement-aged crowd in a sterile church community room, starting her set by detailing what the New York City club scene is like for a Muslim woman. It’s only when the crowd breaks into laughter the audience can take a breath, as tension begins to melt through Farsad’s self-effacing charms.

In a similar manner, vignettes like “Name That Religion” – hosted in town squares by Farsad and his troupe, in a booth labeled “Ask a Muslim” –may cause viewers to cringe a little in anticipation of any controversy. Our stomachs take a rollercoaster ride through the routines.

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Austin Film Festival
4:01 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Making Sense of the Austin Film Festival, One Panel and One Screening at a Time

James Franco stars in the meat-documentary "Francophenia" at this year's Austin Film Festival.
Austin Film Festival

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The Austin Film Festival kicks off today. Over the course of the festival, KUT News is featuring guest blogs from AFF staffers pointing to festival highlights. Today, Conference Director Erin Hallagan delivers her take on the festival, which she says is like convincing mom to stop at the candy store AND ice cream parlor all in one day.”

The crossover participation of those involved in the festival and conference this year is remarkable. Panelists are presenting films; filmmakers are speaking on panels; and of course registrants do their fair share of double-dipping as well.  And that’s what it’s all about.  The blend of the overall experience and its accessible interactivity is what makes Austin Film Festival truly unique. With a platter of incredibly active screenwriters and filmmakers, there is something for everyone and plenty of room for ideas to blossom.

Here’s some events and speakers that I wouldn’t miss:

SCREENING: Eric Roth presents “The Insider”

Friday, October 19th at 8:15 p.m.

Texas Spirit Theater

PANEL: A Conversation with Eric Roth

Saturday, October 20th at 9:00 a.m.

Driskill Hotel, Ballroom

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Austin Film Festival
4:00 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Four ‘Family’ Flicks for Grown-Ups at the Austin Film Festival

Character actor Lance Henriksen stars in "It's In the Blood," playing at the Austin Film Festival.
facebook.com/pages/Its-In-The-Blood

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The Austin Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, and KUT News is featuring guest blogs from AFF staffers pointing to several festival highlights. Today we hear from festival founder and Executive Director Barbara Morgan on “family” themed films at the festival. But we’re not talking CGI pandas here - these films explore the bonds of family and community in a decidedly adult way:

As the Executive Director and founder of the Austin Film Festival, I have had the joy of “discovering” many films over the last nineteen years. The excitement that emanates from the perspective of these fresh voices is what makes my job unique. Anticipating the new talent which we get to introduce to the public is the inspiration that makes my job so thrilling. One of the themes which jumped out from this year’s crop of films was the idea of “family.” Each of these films is infused with the spirit of the most elemental aspect of the human existence.  Enjoy!

Liars, Fires and Bears

Nine year-old Eve, hardened by years of neglect as a foster child, never misses an opportunity. 

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