Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference (AFF) announced the full schedule of films and panels for the 28th edition of the festival taking place October 21-28. Opening Night Film is The Same Storm by Academy Award Nominee Peter Hedges starring Noma Dumezweni, Mary-Louise Parker, Sandra Oh, Elaine May, Raúl Castillo, Ato Blankson-Wood, Corey Michael Smith, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ron Livingston, and Alison Pill.
AFF’s feature film slate includes the World Premiere of Dark Star Pictures’ Time Now written/directed by Spencer King and starring Eleanor Lambert, Claudia Black, Xavier Polk, Paige Kendrick, and Dwele; as well as the US Premiere of CICADA, distributed by South Korean powerhouse Contents Panda and written/directed by Chung-ryoul Lee.
Other marquee titles include Academy Award Nominee Wes Anderson’s love letter to journalists The French Dispatch, starring Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson; Cambodian Sci-Fi title Karmalink from XYZ Films, by writers Jake Wachtel and Christopher Larsen; and Captains of Za’atari by writer/director Ali El Arabi which chronicles friends in a Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan chasing an undying dream of becoming professional football players.
A24 expands their partnership with the Festival through the Mike Mills tour de force C’MON C’MON starring Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffmann, Scoot Mcnairy, Molly Webster, Jaboukie Young-White, and Woody Norman; alongside Joanna Hogg’s shimmering story of love and a young woman’s formative years The Souvenir Part II, starring Honor Swinton Byrne, Tilda Swinton, Ariane Labed, Jaygann Ayeh, and Richard Ayoade.
NEON also returns with a slew of titles, including the Joachim Trier rom-com stunner The Worst Person in the World, starring Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum, and Hans Olav Brenner; while the previously announced Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman brings a whimsical wonder to the slate this October. Additional World Premieres include The Grand Bolero (a middle-aged pipe organ restorer struggles to control her obsessive attraction to her new 20-year-old mute assistant), and I Can Feel You Walking (two people who are losing their internal battles against depression and addiction, find solace in each other one night when they start to stray from their comfort zones). Also joining them will be The Time of the Fireflies (separated by thousands of miles and during a pandemic, Miguel tries to stay connected to his family in Mexico while fulfilling his life goals), and TORAO (while conducting research for her project, a college student stumbles upon an old detective and she decides to help him solve a decades-old cold case).
In addition to its film lineup, the Writers Conference features a roster of prominent screenwriters in film and television, including conversations with Academy Award nominee Will Berson, co-writer of Judas and the Black Messiah; and Brad Ingelsby, Emmy Award-nominated creator of Mare of Easttown. Lisa Joy, Emmy Award-nominated co-creator of HBO’s Westworld and writer/director of 2021’s Reminiscence; and Linda Yvette Chavez, co-creator of Netflix’s popular series Gentefied will also be joining.
Blazing a new path forward for screenwriters, the Festival also announced the inaugural Writing for Video Games Track scheduled for this years’ Writers Conference. Headlined by panelists representing local development studios and institutions such as Airship Syndicate, Wolfeye Studios, FarBridge, and University of Texas at Austin, the Track aims to demystify the style, scope, substance, and functionality of storytelling within the medium. Conversations this year will include creators Susan O’Connor, Lucas Loredo, Evan Narcisse, Erin Firestine, Donald Harris, and Frank Barbiere.
This year’s Writers Conference will also feature programming with previously announced Austin Film Festival’s 2021 Awardees; Stephanie Allain, recipient of 2021’s Polly Platt Award for Producing, Scott Frank, recipient of 2021’s Bill Wittliff Award for Screenwriting, and Michael Schur, the Outstanding Television Writer Award recipient.