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Austin Film Festival (AFF),  will honor  Norman Lear with the “Outstanding Television Writer” Award at the 22nd Annual Austin Film Festival, taking place October 29-November 5, 2015.

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film, and as a political and social activist and philanthropist.

Mr. Lear began his television writing career in 1950 when he and his partner, Ed Simmons, were signed to write forThe Ford Star Revue, starring Jack Haley. After only four shows, they were hired away by Jerry Lewis to write for him and Dean Martin on The Colgate Comedy Hour, where they worked until the end of 1953. They then spent two years on The Martha Raye Show, after which Mr. Lear worked on his own for The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show and The George Gobel Show.

In 1958, Mr. Lear teamed with director Bud Yorkin to form Tandem Productions. Together they produced several feature films, with Mr. Lear taking on roles as executive producer, writer, and director. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1967 for his script for Divorce American Style. In 1970, CBS signed with Tandem to produce All in the Family, which first aired on January 12, 1971 and ran for nine seasons. It earned four Emmy Awards for Best Comedy series as well as the Peabody Award in 1977. All in the Family was followed by a succession of other television hit shows including Maude, Sanford and Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

Mr. Lear’s memoir, Even This I Get to Experience, was published in October 2014 by The Penguin Press.

Austin Film Festival annually recognizes an Outstanding Television Writer for their collective body of work that has elevated and heavily contributed to the culture of television. Previous Award recipients have been Chris Carter, David Chase, Vince Gilligan, Mitch Hurwitz, Mike Judge, David Milch, Garry Shandling, David Simon, and Matthew Weiner, among others.

Lear joins a strong roundup of Panelists confirmed to speak at the 22nd Annual Austin Film Festival & Screenwriters Conference, including:

Andrea Berloff, writer World Trade Center

Shane Black, writer/director Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; writer Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero

Michael Botti, Manager at Industry Entertainment

VJ Boyd, writer/producer Justified

Jack Burditt, creator Last Man Standing; writer/executive producer The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Mindy Project, 30 Rock; writer/co-producer Fraiser

Katie Dippold, writer The Heat, Parks and Recreation, MADtv

Seth Grahame-Smith, writer Dark Shadows, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Matthew Gross, President, EuropaCorp TV Studios; producer Sons of Liberty, Body of Proof, Across the Universe

James V. Hart, writer Hook, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Contact, Muppet Treasure Island, August Rush, Epic

Jason Headley, writer/director It’s Not About the Nail, At The Bar, To Say Goodbye

Barry Josephson, Josephson Entertainment; producer Enchanted, Hide and Seek, The Last Boy Scout, Someone Marry Barry; executive producer Turn, Bones

Aaron Kaplan, Manager at Kapital Entertainment, Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment

Casper Kelly, creator/writer/director Too Many Cooks, Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell; writer Squidbillies

Todd Kessler, co-creator Bloodline

Craig Kestel, Agent at WME Entertainment

Adam Kolbrenner, Co-founder Madhouse Entertainment

Gary Lennon, producer Black Box, Orange is the New Black, Justified, The Shield

David Lowery, writer/director Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pioneer, Pete’s Dragon (2016), writer Pit Stop

Jenny Lumet, writer Rachel Getting Married

Maggie Malone, Head of Creative Affairs at Disney Animation Studios

Kelly Marcel, writer Saving Mr. Banks, Fifty Shades of Grey; writer/executive producer Terra Nova

George Pelecanos, writer/producer Treme, The Pacific, The Wire, novelist

Nicole Perlman, writer Guardians of the Galaxy

Chris Provenzano, co-executive producer/writer Justified; writer Mad Men

Pamela Ribon, writer at Walt Disney Animation Studios; writer Romantically Challenged, Samantha Who?

Phil Rosenthal, creator Everybody Loves Raymond; writer/director Exporting Raymond

Terry Rossio, writer Shrek, Aladdin, The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, The Mask of Zorro

John Swetnam, writer Step Up: All In, Evidence, Into the Storm, Breaking Through

David Wain, creator Stella, Wainy Days; writer/director Wet Hot American Summer; director Role Models

Ron Yerxa, producer Bona Fide Productions, Nebraska, Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks, Election, Cold Mountain, The Ice Harvest, executive producer The Leftovers


The 2015 Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference will once again present over 150 panels on the art and craft of storytelling featuring a slate comprised entirely of working film, television, and new media industry professionals. In addition to over a dozen parties and nearly 200 film premieres, AFF is adding more networking opportunities this year, including a “Screenwriters Lounge” which will serve as a dedicated space to set meetings and write. The 22nd Annual Austin Film Festival and Conference takes place October 29th through November 5th, 2015.

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