Austin Film Festival 2019 has selected Waves as the fest’s Centerpiece selection on October 28. The Centerpiece screening will include the Texas homecoming for native Trey Edward Shults, whose previous writer- director credits include Krisha and It Comes at Night. Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family— led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness, and coming together in the aftermath of a loss.
Also joining this year’s slate is Netflix’s feature Rattlesnake, which will be having its World Premiere at the Festival. Rattlesnake is a pulse-pounding, psychological horror film written/directed by Zak Hilditch (1922, These Final Hours), who will participate in AFF’s Writers Conference with producer Ross Dinerstein. Enderby Entertainment will also unveil the World Premiere of Peace, the feature debut of Oscar winner & writer/director Robert Port which follows four American soldiers ascending the Italian mountainside in the closing days of World War II.
AFF’s second wave announcement of films also includes Clemency, written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu, which follows prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodward) as she deals with the toll of carrying out death row executions, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire, winner of the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes. Portrait of a Lady on Fire stars Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel, who turn the subtle act of looking, into a dangerous, engrossing thrill, crafting the most breathtaking and elegant performances of the year. Also announced today is The Kill Team from writer-director Dan Krauss, which is based on the same events that inspired his award-winning 2013 documentary of the same name. It is an urgent and explosive recounting of one of the darkest incidents in the not-so-distant history of American military exploits. Local director Matt Patterson will present the World Premiere of Apartment 413, a cerebral domestic thriller. This Austin-made film portrays a man’s deteriorating grip on his relationship and reality.
Oscar-and Emmy-nominated producer Sarah Green will be honored at the Festival’s annual Awards Luncheon on Saturday October 26 and participate in additional programming at the Festival’s Writers Conference. Green is a prolific film producer known for powerful auteur-driven independent films. Her past productions include Jeff Nichols’ Loving, Midnight Special, and Mud and Terrence Malick’s The New World, Knight of Cups, Song to Song, and the Academy Award Best Picture nominated The Tree of Life. Most recently, she produced HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 written and directed by Ramin Bahrani, which earned Green the PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Streamed or Televised Motion Pictures.
A staple of the Festival, AFF’s retrospective series this year will feature Ronald Bass presenting his 1998 film What Dreams May Come, and horror auteur Daniel Myrick presenting a 20th Anniversary screening of his found footage film The Blair Witch Project. Daniel Myrick will also present the World Premiere of his film Skyman with producer Joseph Restaino. The film follows Carl Merryweather, who claims he was visited by an alien as a child. Now, thirty years later, he’s convinced that same alien is returning for a reunion.
AFF Second Wave
Writer: Ronald Maede
Director: Matt Patterson
Starring: Nicholas Saenz, Brea Grant
Reality blurs with paranoia and delusion as deadbeat Marco receives signs that his pregnant girlfriend could be hiding something from him.
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)Presented by Daniel Myrick
Writer(s): Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick
Director(s): Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick
Starring: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard, Bob Griffith, Jim King
Three filmmakers disappear in a forest.
Writer/Director: Chinonye Chukwu
Starring: Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge, Wendell Price, Richard Schiff, Danielle Brooks
Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden, Bernadine Williams. The emotional wedge in her marriage grows. Memories of a recently botched execution plague her daily. As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
Writer/Director: Céline Sciamma
Starring: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel
France, 1760. Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Because she is a reluctant bride-to-be, Marianne arrives under the guise of companionship, observing Héloïse by day and secretly painting her by firelight at night. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share Héloïse’s first moments of freedom. Héloïse’s portrait soon becomes a collaborative act of and testament to their love.
PEACE (World Premiere)
Writer/Director: Robert Port
Starring: Alexander Ludwig, Sam Keeley, Chris Brochu, Franco Nero, Lochlyn Munro, Tyler Hynes, RJ Fetherstonhaugh
A thriller set in the mountains of Italy at the close of the Second World War. Adapted from the critically acclaimed New York Times best seller by famed author Richard Bausch, and based on a true event – PEACE tells the story of four American soldiers in WW2, who after they witness a vicious murder of an innocent civilian at the hands of their platoon Sergeant, are sent on a reconnaissance/suicide mission lead by a local partisan, an elderly man whose indeterminate loyalties add to the terror and confusion that engulfs the Americans as they are hunted by an unseen enemy.
RATTLESNAKE (World Premiere)
Writer/Director: Zak Hilditch (in attendance)
Starring: Carmen Ejogo, Theo Rossi, Emma Greenwell
Katrina (Carmen Ejogo) is a single mother driving cross country to start a new life with her young daughter Clara (Apollina Pratt) when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. As Katrina changes the tire, Clara wanders off the desert road and is bitten by a venomous rattlesnake. Desperate to save her daughter’s life, Katrina accepts the help of a mysterious woman, but after she miraculously heals Clara, Katrina is asked to repay the good deed by killing a stranger in exchange for the life saved. Without time to lose, she must wrestle with the morality of who deserves to live and who should die, before her daughter’s life is once again put in peril at sundown.
SKYMAN (World Premiere)
Writer/Director: Daniel Myrick (in attendance)
Starring: Michael Selle, Nicholette Sweeny, Faleolo Alailima
Is self-proclaimed alien “experiencer”, Carl Merryweather, on the path to filming his own alien abduction? Or, is he just another crackpot looking for fame and fortune? Carl himself may not be completely sure, but he is determined to take us on a journey in search of the answer. And that journey ends at the very spot in the desert where it all began almost 30 years ago…a chance meeting with an alien he calls the “Skyman”.
THE KILL TEAM
Writer/Director: Dan Krauss
Starring: Nat Wolff, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Long, Jonathan Whitesell, Brian “Sene” Marc, Rob Morrow
When Andrew Briggman (Nat Wolff), a young soldier in the US invasion of Afghanistan, witnesses other recruits killing innocent civilians under the direction of a sadistic leader, Sergeant Deeks (Alexander Skarsgård), he considers reporting them to higher-ups — but the heavily-armed, increasingly violent platoon becomes suspicious that someone in their ranks has turned on them, and Andrew begins to fear that he’ll be the next target.
Writer/Director: Trey Edward Shults (in attendance)
Starring: Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie, Neal Huff, Clifton Collins, Jr., with Renée Elise Goldsberry and Sterling K. Brown
Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family— led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. From acclaimed director Trey Edward Shults, Waves is a heartrending story about the universal capacity for compassion and growth even in the darkest of times.
WHAT DREAMS MAY COME (1998) PRESENTED BY RONALD BASS
Writer: Ronald Bass
Director: Vincent Ward
Starring: Max Von Sydow, Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorra , Cuba Gooding Jr., Jessica Brooks Grant, Josh Paddock
A Doctor dies in a car accident and ends up in the afterlife which is very beautiful. His wife, overcome with grief at his death and the previous deaths of their two children, commits suicide. An adventurous search for his wife ensues.