The Austin Film Festival (AFF) emerges onto the city every year in October, bringing filmmakers and screenwriters to the masses. AFF is a screenwriting festival, and focuses on the writers that create worlds through words and the filmmakers that make them a reality. During the eight days of the festival, attendees are able to watch a multitude of films and participate in industry panels. What sets AFF apart from the other festivals is the comfort and ease that exudes from its heart.
At this year’s AFF, Austin Fusion was able to interview some wonderful filmmakers, watch some amazing films, and the film section of the magazine is packed with a weeks worth of coverage, complete with in-depth interviews. While it would be an injustice to rank the films viewed, below is a recap of the events experienced at this years 19th Annual Austin Film Festival.
Each year the festival brings a plethora of wonderful films into the theaters around town. As a film fan, it’s important to see a wide range of movies, from the obscure foreign films to the indies made on a shoestring budget, so that you can continue to replenish your film library and experiences.
“Bad Parents” A humorous look at the obsessive compulsive behavior parents experience when their children participate in club sports.
“Congratulations” The emotional roller coaster of when societal pressures end up being too much for one couple in love.
“The Rep” A documentary about a repertory theater in Toronto, and what films means to all of us.
“The Missing Piece: The Truth About The Man Who Stole The Mona Lisa” The story about the man who stole the Mona Lisa in 1911.
“Come Morning” A thriller about a hunting accident and the consequences a grandfather and his grandson must incur during the night.
“I Do” A love story about two people who have to battle immigration issues.
“The Kitchen“ A coming of age film that centers on all the drama and humor that passes through a kitchen during a party.
“Murt Ramirez Wants to Kick My Ass“ A comic look at a middle schooler and the ordeals he goes through to try to prevent an epic battle by the school’s bully at the end of the school day.
“Stakeout” A short film showcasing what it means to be a teenager and how one can overcome their self-made barriers.
“Ex-Girlfriends” The interwoven threads of city dating and how sometimes these lines cross in unexpected ways.
“Last Day at Lambeau” A documentary that focuses on a generation of Green Bay fans as the only quarterback they have ever known, Bret Favre, leaves the team.
AFF also hosts four days of panels with industry heavy-weights. For 90 minutes, they talk about their career and the road they traveled to get where they are today. These professionals aren’t bragging about what they’ve done and who they’ve worked with, instead they pass on their knowledge to the future filmmakers.
Chicks With Bics: This panel focused on five women writers and proved that it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female but that the material you produce is stellar.
Showrunners: It may not be well known, but televisions writers have one head honcho they report to, the one who created the show. This panel provided insight on what it is like to run a show, and have the fate of said show on your shoulders.
You’re Lucky You’re Funny
This is a relatively new event in AFF history, but one that is loved by many each year. The festival will put together a cast, usually of actors who are either apart of the festival itself or are in town filming, and have them read an unmade script (or in the case of this year, and episode of a television show). The hours that follow is a wonderful look at words truly being brought to life by the actors that play these characters in this world.
(Editor’s Note: In 2010, the script for “The Hand Job” was read and received outstanding reviews. A little over a year later, it was released that the script will be turned into a movie, called “The To Do List,” and will be in theaters in February of 2013.)
If you read the interviews with the attending filmmakers of this year’s festival, you are aware of how down to earth they all were. Being Austin Fusion’s first official year as press, everyone was accommodating and friendly. The interviews, while not time consuming, opened up the opportunity for conversation and a sense of affinity. Keep an eye out for more from the profiled filmmakers in the months to come, for we have established a bond of friendship.
It’s difficult to whittle down the Austin Film Festival into one film or panel, instead it’s the whole 8 days that plays into the atmosphere. While you will see a few famous celebrities and filmmakers as they participate in the festivities, the festival itself is more than that. Since it’s a screenwriting festival, let’s use a writing analogy. AFF is like a screenplay. Without a solid backbone, full of depth and emotion, the filmmakers (films) and actors (panels) can not bring to life the story at hand.
Don’t miss the 20th annual Austin Film Festival, Oct. 24-31 2013.