The 26th annual Austin Film Festival (AFF) will present Just Mercy as its Closing Night film on October 31, 2019, with screenwriter Andrew Lanham, UT Michener Graduate and 2016 AFF Screenwriter to watch in attendance. Lanham has also been recognized by AFF previously as 2010’s Drama Screenplay Competition winner for The Jumper of Maine.
Directed and co-written by Destin Daniel Cretton, Just Mercy tells the true story of attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his fight to defend Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a man wrongfully sentenced to death. The film made its World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in September and will be theatrically released by Warner Bros. Pictures, beginning December 25, 2019. Cast member Tim Blake Nelson will also attend with the screening, joining Lanham for a post-film Q&A.
Additionally, Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Big Chill, The Force Awakens) is set to return to AFF’s Conference for a conversation about the necessities for writing a successful screenplay. He and Meg Kasdan (Grand Canyon, Darling Companion) will co-present the World Premiere of Last Night at Ed’s alongside Kasdan, documenting the personal story of a beloved Hollywood establishment’s final days. The film will screen Saturday October 26, 2019 at 2pm at the State Theatre, and Kasdan’s Conversation will take place Saturday October 26, 2019 at 4:45pm at the Central Presbyterian Church.
AFF will also be presenting Scandalous, an investigation into the sordid and larger-than-life history of the National Enquirer. Under the direction of Texas filmmaker Mark Landsman, the film dives into the infamous tabloid’s sensational coverage that captivated readers for decades. Scandalous screens October 27, 2019 at the Alamo Drafthouse Village.
LAST WEEK AT ED’S (World Premiere)
Director: Meg Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
For years, filmmakers Lawrence and Meg Kasdan ate at a 60-year-old diner in West Hollywood called Ed’s Coffee Shop. When Ada, the diner’s manager and daughter of its original owners, announced that she was closing the place, her large circle of regulars was crushed. LAST WEEK AT ED’S is a film the Kasdans made about the final days of the diner, its eccentric characters, and the depth of feeling a beloved business can generate in a close-knit community.
(USA, 96 min)
Director: Mark Landsman
Sex! Gossip! Scandal! For over 60 years, the National Enquirer has pumped out salacious, shocking stories, stretching the limits of journalism and blurring the lines between truth and fiction. Scandalous is the sensational true story of the most infamous tabloid in US history, a wild, probing look at how one newspaper’s prescient grasp of its readers darkest curiosities led it to massive profits and influence. From its coverage of Elvis’s death, to Monica Lewinsky and the O.J. Simpson murder trial, the National Enquirer rattled the foundations of American culture and politics, sometimes allegedly using payoffs and blackmail to get its scoops. With rare archival footage and revelations as wild as National Enquirer headlines themselves, Scandalous examines our obsession with the rich, famous and powerful, and the tabloid that has fed those obsessions for generations of Americans.
JUST MERCY – CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Writer(s): Destin Daniel Cretton (screenplay); Andrew Lanham (screenplay)(in attendance); Bryan Stevenson (book)
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson (in attendance), Rafe Spall, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Brie Larson
A powerful and thought-provoking true story, “Just Mercy” follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.