The Humans directed by Stephen Karam)
The Humans directed by Stephen Karam

Austin Film Festival (AFF) announced the first wave of ten films along with the award honorees for its 28th-anniversary festival program taking place October 21-28, 2021.

AFF will award the Outstanding Television Writer Award to Emmy award-winning writer and producer Michael Schur and the Polly Platt Award for Producing to the prolific producer of film and television, Stephanie Allain.

Film highlights include Stephen Karam’s haunting debut The Humans from A24, a chilling Icelandic horror It Hatched by first-time writer/director and filmmaker to watch Elvar Gunnarsson, and the cautionary drama Everything I Ever Wanted to Tell My Daughter About Men which was helmed by an impressive fifteen female directors.

The first ten films of the 2021 Austin Film Festival lineup:

Everything I Ever Wanted to Tell My Daughter About Men (Directed by an ensemble of 15 women, Written by Lorien Hayes) – World Premiere

Ghosts of the Ozarks (Directed by Jordan Wayne Long and Matt Glass, Written by Tara Perry, Jordan Wayne Long, Sean Anthony Davis) – World Premiere

It Hatched (Directed/Written Elvar Gunnarsson) – World Premiere

Memoria (Directed/Written by Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – Texas Premiere

Petite Maman (Directed/Written by Céline Sciamma) – Texas Premiere

Ragged Heart (Directed by Evan McNary, Written by Evan McNary and Debrah McNary) – World Premiere

Swamp Lion (Directed/Written by Torben Bech) – World Premiere

The Big Bend (Directed/Written by Brett Wagner) – World Premiere

The Humans (Directed/Written Stephen Karam) – Texas Premiere

With This Breath I Fly (Directed by Sam French and Clementine Malpas) – World Premiere

Petite Maman from Céline Sciamma (AFF 2019 selection Portrait of the Young Lady on Fire) explores the connection between mother and daughter in the wake of their grandmother’s death.

In Ragged Heart, first-time filmmakers Evan McNary and Debrah McNary explore loss and love as the film follows a washed-up musician who is haunted by his estranged daughter’s ghost to finish the last song she wrote.

Incredibly timely and important documentary With This Breath I Fly follows two women in Afghanistan as they courageously fight for their freedom against a patriarchal Afghan society that imprisons them for “moral crimes.”

AFF welcomes back AFF alumni and Texas filmmakers with their latest films. The Big Bend stars Jason Butler Harner (“Ozark”), Virginia Kull (“Big Little Lies”), Erica Ash (Survivor’s Remorse), and David Sullivan (Argo) in a West Texas-set drama where two families meet for a reunion that doesn’t go as planned. Faced with mountains of debt from his son’s cancer treatment, director Torben Bech shows how far a father will go to save his son in Swamp Lion, one of Michael Ray Escamilla’s (Frontera, The Land) final films.

Ghosts of the Ozarks starring Tim Blake Nelson (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), David Arquette (Never Been Kissed) and Phil Morris (Atlantis: The Lost Empire) where a black doctor is summoned to a remote town in the Ozarks only to discover that the utopian paradise is not all it seems to be. Audiences can also immerse themselves in Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s meditative and complex Memoria starring Tilda Swinton as a woman attempting to discover the cause of a sound only she can hear.

In the drama Everything I Ever Wanted to Tell My Daughter About Men, a mother recounts her past relationships in hopes her daughter won’t make the same mistakes. Written by Lorien Hayes, the film was directed by an ensemble of fifteen women – including Talia Balsam, Saffron Burrows, and Fuschia Sumner among others – all bringing their unique viewpoints and experience to the film.

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