Run time: 88 min. | USA
Directed by Nathan Christ (Austin filmmaker)
Featuring: The Apeshits, Belaire, The Black Angels, Dana Falconberry,
The Octopus Project, The Pity Party, Sound Team, Sunset,
Ghostland Observatory, Ume, The White White Lights, Black Joe Lewis
Internationally known as ‘The Live Music Capital of the World,’ Austin’s music culture has led it to become one of the world’s most sought-after destinations. As nearly two dozen high-rise buildings pop up throughout the city amidst economic downfall, how does the working musician get along? Following artists like rising star soul revivalist Black Joe Lewis (who is selling out concert halls by night and delivering fish by day), the film interweaves the tales of young artists to form a mosaic illustrating the universal struggle many contemporary fringe cultures are experiencing. Directed by AFF Alum Nathan Christ and beautifully photographed by Robert Garza, Echotone is a cultural portrait of the modern American city examined through the lyrics and lens of its creative class.
1:00 PM Sat, Oct 23 Alamo Ritz 2
10:00 PM Tue, Oct 26 Texas Spirit Theater
Run time: 75 min. | USA
Directed by Shan Nicholson
Institutional change comes in many forms. Rubble Kings, directed by AFF alum Nicholson, documents the courageous movements that combated the widespread gang scene in New York during the late sixties and early seventies and provided the inspiration for Walter Hill’s cult classic The Warriors. Outside of the civil rights movement, people fought for their rights in the street. From the eventual end of these violent times came the birth of a new cultural movement, hip-hop. Nicholson delicately documents a world-changing era that spread a beat from the streets of New York around the globe and brought the city out of an era of gang violence.
8:15 PM Sat, Oct 23 Rollins Theatre
10:00 PM Mon, Oct 25 Alamo Lake Creek
Run time: 93 min. | USA
Directed by Eric Hueber (Austin filmmaker)
A documentary feature that feels like a narrative, Rainbows End is all adventure, albeit humorously so. In their bus, “Green Hell,” a gaggle of East Texan natives set out on a journey to California to achieve their dreams! Country Willie is a talented musician who is invited to record with the Legendary Stardust Cowboy in San Jose. This prompts the group’s ramshackle journey. The group includes “austintatious” Audrey Dean, Brian “Birdman” Birdwell, a cock-fighting entrepreneur who wants to expand his business, and Peter Guzzino, a high school valedictorian who is more character than musical talent. This somewhat chaotic journey has a bittersweet ending that brings out the voyager in all of us.
5:15 PM Sat, Oct 23 Convention Center
10:00 PM Wed, Oct 27 Texas Spirit Theater
Run time: 80 min. | USA
Written and Directed by Stephen Belyeu (Austin filmmaker)
Music by the Austin-based band Hotel, Hotel
Set against the backdrop of rural South Texas, Dig is the story of a young man’s search for answers following the untimely death of his father. Returning to his small hometown, Mike finds himself once again rooted in his surroundings. Numb to his father’s passing, Mike is left with only his grandparents and the desolate countryside of his youth for solace. Here, he hopes time will begin to heal the pain of his recent loss, however, something seems to linger in the back of Mike’s mind. Upon returning, Mike is inevitably forced to come face to face with a secret he ran away from three years ago; a secret he has carried with him all these years. Now, with his return, pieces of a new puzzle begin to rise to the surface, and Mike unknowingly embarks on a journey for answers. Pushed to his limit, Mike begins to uncover the truth, one that threatens to tear at the bond of his family. There’s only one question left for Mike; is he ready to face it?
9:30 PM Fri, Oct 22 Convention Center
7:00 PM Mon, Oct 25 Rollins Theatre
Pickin’ & Grinnin’
Directed by Jon Gries
Run time: 106 min. | USA
There aren’t too many hit songs written about corndogs. Unfortunately, that’s what music-loving brothers, Johnny and Milo Johnson, have to do to make a living. As they begin to grow tired of playing music in small towns, being ridiculed for being losers, and playing shows in small hick towns, they hear about a sing-a-long contest in Nashville. From that setting, the film Pickin’ & Grinnin’ is born. As their Winnebago makes its way across the country, the boys learn about music and brotherhood. Writers Johnny Dowers and Garrett Mathany accurately capture the quick quips of two men who have known each other their whole lives, but find out they still don’t know everything.
3:45 PM Sat, Oct 23 Alamo Ritz 2
7:00 PM Wed, Oct 27 Alamo Lake Creek
Run time: 105 min. | USA
Directed by Shane Dax Taylor, Written by W. Earl Brown
Starring: Dwight Yoakam - in attendance, Val Kilmer, Kris Kristofferson, W. Earl Brown, Frances Conroy
The Bloodworth family is disjointed and disgruntled. The patriarch, E. F. Bloodworth, has wandered the world forty years, after leaving behind a wife and three sons. When he finally returns to Tennessee, he finds his wife aged and his sons full of rage. Despite his sons’ stagnating development due to anger and vengeance, E. F.’s grandson treats his grandfather with respect. Fleming sees what his family has become and is determined not to let the emotion that his driven his family to bitterness and distance define him. Bloodworth, adapted by W. Earl Brown (who plays one of the three sons along with Yoakam and Kilmer), shows that no one has to be defined by limitations set by a family name and a heritage of resentment.
The Secret to a Happy Ending
Featuring The Drive-By Truckers
Run time: 101 min. | USA
Filmmaker Barr Weissman compiled footage from three years in the career of the Drive By Truckers, an alternative southern rock group that channels the emotions of the deep south into their music. The band members are as close as family; vocalist Jason Isbell and bassist Shannon Trucker are married. Patterson Hood, lead singer and songwriter, comes from a musical family. His father is David Hood, a bass player. This closeness translates into emotional performances that draw audiences in. Their pasts, troubles, and experiences on the road become intertwined in their music and in this documentary. The Drive by Truckers work tirelessly for success and musical creativity, leading to a story of not just a band, but also a true family
8:30 PM Sun, Oct 24 Convention Center
7:00 PM Thu, Oct 28 Alamo Lake Creek
We Are the Sea
Run time: 112 min. | USA
Written and Directed by Neil Truglio
Featuring music by Iron & Wine
Recovering from the near fatal consequences of a life in conflict, Sean and his family, uniquely vulnerable, learn who they are for each other. Quietly drifting through a seemingly aimless life, Sean cannot seem to make sense of things. As an English teacher working at the same high school he attended, Sean’s distracted and as a father, he’s mostly absent. Sean tries to find a path to redemption while moving beyond a life full of mistakes. Truglio has scored the entire film with the music of artist Sam Beam, otherwise known as Iron & Wine.
5:45 PM Sun, Oct 24 Convention Center
7:00 PM Thu, Oct 28 Regal Arbor
Music and Sound in Film
Driskill Hotel, Hogg Room
A conversation on how to direct story and guide emotion in film through the use of music and sound. The panel will include examples, discuss how music has been effectively used in film, and talk about its potential in the future, with new digital technology becoming more easily accessible and affordable.
Tom Hammond, Graham Reynolds, Neil Truglio
Music Licensing for Film
Driskill Hotel, Maximilian Room
Since copyright terms keep getting extended, now is a good time to figure out what is legal and what is not. A discussion on licensing music for your film, including how to keep costs down - cost of the song against its value for your film, and checking out what’s in public domain - and figuring out who to contact for that perfect song.
Andrew Halbreich, Dominique Preyer
Moderated by Aadip Desai