Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A Letter from Shane Black


My lucky decision to check out the Austin Film Festival back in its inaugural year has rendered me a long-standing fan and (lately) an enthused board member. I've kept a date with this remarkable festival for 16-odd Octobers; and with each passing year, been ever more blissful as I packed my bags - I'd soon be in provocative, subversive and (without fail) thrilling company.

My credentials are adequate; you can see KISS KISS, BANG BANG (which I brought to AFF) or go back in time, to those first LETHAL WEAPON pictures; or skip to my first big-budget bomb, the THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT; or join the midnight-movie line for MONSTER SQUAD and THE LAST BOY SCOUT. There are a lot of stories behind these movies (and still others which languish unproduced) and AFF gives me the privilege of relating those stories, every October, to young, hungry filmmakers. I can speak to them of tricks and traps, wax poetic about structure and such, until that most wonderful of things happens: in lecturing others, I without warning blurt out something I didn't know I knew. I come to realize, through them, what I've truly learned.

My credits. Ha. I feel them dwindle as here come James L. Brooks, Lawrence Kasdan, and Jim Sheridan, brushing past me on the way to dinner at the Driskill Hotel. Simple fact is, Austin routinely features a lineup that qualifies as once-in-a-lifetime; it's a known fact in Hollywood that Austin is the festival to beat. Filmmakers go there because they WANT to. Because it's the only festival they like, or trust. Because they know they'll learn as much as the students.

I was with my buddy Terry Rossio (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, SHREK) at 3:00 a.m., coming back to our hotel. We stopped in the lobby for a snack, and a film argument broke out. Soon students gathered, and joined in. Huge writers, walking by, leaned in to briefly opine.

The audience grew. Soon the lobby was overwhelmed with students, AFF, and industry pros, all dissecting craft. This event was not scheduled. People walking by simply dropped what they were doing, and joined in.

We got to bed around 5:00.

This is the best show in town, folks. AFF walks the walk, knowledge-wise, and that's all there is to it. I have dropped what I'm currently doing to fire off this note and heartily endorse what to me is both a yearly passion and a home away from home. Barbara Morgan and the Austin staff are my extended family.

Godspeed -

Shane Black

Join Shane and other amazing panelists at the 17th Annual Austin Film Festival & Conference!

Register now for unparalleled access to screenwriters and filmmakers like Shane Black, David Peoples, Robert Rodriguez, David Simon, Michael Arndt, Jennifer Salt, Allan Loeb, Jon Lucas & Scott Moore, Nancy Pimental, Noah Hawley, John August, Simon Kinberg, Daniel Petrie, Jr., Michael Brandt & Derek Haas, Pamela Ribon and Diane Drake. Representatives from UTA, WME, Pixar Animation Studios, Fortis Films, Josephson Entertainment, Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox Animation, Vox3 Films, di Bonaventura Pictures, Mosaic Media, and more.

October 21 - 28, 2010
4 days of panels.
8 nights of film.
Late night parties.
Countless networking opportunities.
And did somebody say tequila?

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