Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Showalter vs. Black

AFF 06 Panelist Michael Ian Black guests on fellow 06 Panelist Michael Showalter's online show on CollegeHumor.com, The Micheal Showalter Showalter. In this very funny episode, the two discuss Sierra Mist, how bad the interview is going and what it was like working with each other...

04 Doc Short winner's first feature opens

2004 AFF Documentary Short Jury Winner (Parents of the Year) winner James Scurlock's feature film, Maxed Out, opens in Austin and other select cities March 9th. The doc opens eyes on the financial industry in America. Here is the official synopsis...

Maxed Out takes viewers on a journey deep inside the American style of debt, where things seem fine as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. With coverage that spans from small American towns all the way to the White House, the film shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of "preferred customer" and tells us why the poor are getting poorer while the rich keep getting richer. Hilarious, shocking and incisive, Maxed Out paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for most of us."

Helena Durst, granddaughter of Seymour Durst, the creator of the National Debt Clock which now resides above the IRS office near Times Square. (from the film Maxed Out)

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Jeannie Tate Show

AFF Alum Maggie Carey (Dance Club - '02, Jenny Clone - '06) has a new short, The Jeannie Tate Show, starring Liz Cackowski as a soccer mom who hosts a talk show from her mini-van. This week's guest, SNL's Bill Hader...

You can find even more funny shorts from Maggie at headintheoven.net!

Apatow on fake musicals

Speaking of Judd Apatow, he recently wrote a column for MTV News where he talks about producing Jake Kasdan's new film, Walk Hard, a parody of music bio pics starring John C. Reily, Tim Meadows and Kristen Wiig. He also discusses his favorite musicals and the great Loudon Wainwright (who co-wrote the score to Apatow's Knocked Up and also starred in Undeclared).

Apatow and Harold Ramis chat at the AFF 05 Awards Luncheon while Oscar nominee Jackie Earl Haley watches on

The Oscar musical number

Looks like this Sunday's Oscar musical number might actually be enjoyable, Marc Shaiman - who wrote the traditional Billy Crystal hosted opening numbers - is teaming up with the new comedy guard and writing it with Adam McKay (AFF 04 panelist) and Judd Apatow (AFF 05 panelist). No doubt it will involve special guests... hopefully.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Herschel Weingrod confirmed panelist for 2007 AFF Conference

We are excited to announce Herschel Weingrod (far right) who was recently in Austin for the Writers Ranch will be coming back in October to join us for the 2007 Austin Film Festival and Conference. Some of Mr. Weingrods credits include Trading Places, Twins and my personal favorite Kindergarten Cops!
(pictured above- Dwayne McKenzie, Mary P Hansell and Herschel Weingrod)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Winners announced for WGA Awards

The WGA handed out their awards this last Sunday and film awards went to...


Little Miss Sunshine, Written by Michael Arndt


The Departed, Screenplay by William Monahan, Based on the Motion Picture Infernal Affairs, Written by Alan Mak and Felix Chong


Deliver Us from Evil, Written by Amy Berg

Awards also went to such television shows as Ugly Betty, The Office, The Sopranos, Saturday Night Live and more. For a complete list of all the winners, click here.

Jake Kasdan's new film rounds out cast

2006 AFF filmmaker Jake Kasdan rolls into production this month on his follow-up to The TV Set with Walk Hard, a parody of music bio pictures like Walk the Line and Ray. John C. Reilly is on board to play the lead character, Dewey Cox, and The Office's Jenna Fisher will play the love interest. And it was recently announced that SNL's Kristen Wiig has joined the cast as well. Long time Kasdan collaborator, Judd Apatow, is producing what should be a kick ass comedy.

Terry George confirmed panelist for 2007

Writer/Director Terry George will attend this years AFF as a panelist ( scheduling permitting). Terry George co-wrote and directed Hotel Rowanda. His other writing credits include In the Name of the Father, Some Mother's Son, A Bright and Shining Lie, The Boxer, starring Daniel Day Lewis, and Hart's War, starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell. He also created and produced the CBS drama series The District.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Moments You Might Have Missed: Sorry, Haters

In 2005, AFF hosted the US premiere of Jeff Stanzler's (pictured) film Sorry, Haters. The film earned two well deserved Independent Spirit Award Nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Female Lead (Robin Wright Penn) this year. Spirit Award winners will be announced on Feb. 24th, the day before the Oscars are given out.

Thomas Schlamme confirmed as panelist for 2007 AFF

Director/Producer Thomas Schlamme will attend this year's AFF as a panelist (schedule permitting, of course). Thomas is the guy behind such great shows as The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Sports Night, Jack & Bobby and Tracy Takes On. He also directed several episodes of those shows as well as The Larry Sanders Show, Mad About You and ER, in addition to the films Miss Firecracker and So I Married an Axe Murder. Thomas Schlamme attended the festival in 2004 when he presented the award for Outstanding Television Writer to Garry Shandling. Below, from left, Garry Shandling, Thomas Schlamme and Barry Levinson.

Photos from Trading Places screening

AFF screened a print of the 80s classic Trading Places last Thursday at the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek. Screenwriter Herchel Weingrod was there to introduce the film and answer a few questions.

Herschel talks to audience members after the screening

Herschel with AFF Writers Ranch participants

The film was the first in the "Austin Film Festival Presents" screening series at the Lake Creek, upcoming films include...

March 1st - Pirate Radio, USA
April 5th - Military Intelligence and You!

All films in the series are FREE for AFF members and $4 for non-members. Check back for more films and more information!

Austin named as one of the top movie cities

The latest issue of MovieMaker Magazine features their Top Ten Movie Cities list and Austin was ranked #3 - right behind Philadelphia and New York.

The newest issue is out now and also features a report on the 06 AFF in the "Festival Beat" section, seriously, see for yourself on page 112.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Don't Forget to Vote!

There is still time to vote for Austin Film Festival for best film festival in Austin on the Austin 360: Austin Movie Awards. Winners will be announced the day of the Oscars, Feb. 25th, in the Austin America-Stateman's Sunday Edition. Remember you can vote for AFF once every hour.

Also, if you haven't already, please vote for 2006 AFF alumni Mark Potts and Cole Selix (For the Love of Family ) who are up for an IFC Independent Spirit Award on the IFC website. Their short, Building Imagination, is one of five finalists in the IFC Media Lab competition and the winning film will be screened live during Independent Spirit Awards later this month. The winner is based on audience voting on the IFC site, so, please take a minute to watch this great short and vote for these talented filmmakers.

Bill Witliff honored by Texas Cultural Trust

It was announced today that Austin Film Festival board member Bill Witliff will be honored by The Texas Cultural Trust. Congratulations Bill!

From the press release:

The Texas Cultural Trust, (www.txculturaltrust.org) announced today the recipients of its bi-annual Texas Medal of Arts Awards (TMAA), celebrating the states legendary artists, entertainers, and art patrons. The Trust will pay tribute to honorees in a series of events April 2-3 culminating in a ceremony and show at Austins historic Paramount Theatre the evening of April 3. Governor Rick and Anita Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker of the House Tom and Nadine Craddick will serve as Honorary Chairs. CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent and Moderator of Face the Nation Bob Schieffer will emcee.

Bill Wittliff, Media/Multi-Media

Bill Wittliffs accomplishments in the fields of art, literature and film making are truly breathtaking. Born in Taft and based in Austin, he has had a distinguished career as photographer, film producer, director, publisher and screenwriter. Mr. Wittliff is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, a past board member of the Sundance Institute, a board member of the Austin Film Festival and member of the Texas Philosophical Society. In the late 1980s, Wittliff wrote the teleplay and served as executive producer for the Emmy award-winning TV mini-series Lonesome Dove (1989). Previously, he had written scripts for the westerns Barbarosa (1982) and Red Headed Stranger (1986). His other film credits include The Black Stallion (1979), Country (1984), Legends of the Fall (1994), and The Perfect Storm (2000). As a photographer, Wittliff is best known for his photographs made on the set of Lonesome Dove. As filming began in March 1988 in Austin, he photographed cast members Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Urich, Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, and Diane Lane in their various roles. One of Mr. Wittliffs photographs from the series, titled Gus on the Porch, remains the best-selling, single original photograph of the period. Mr. Wittliffs photographic relationship with Mexico began in 1969 when he made numerous trips to the vast El Rancho Tule in northern Mexico to photograph the vanishing culture of Mexican vaqueros as they worked cattle and horses. He continues to divide his time between Texas and Mexico and is intimately familiar with the history, culture, geography and spiritual beliefs on both sides of the border. More than 100 photographs appear in his recent book, La Vida Brinca (Life Jumps), published by UT Press in 2006.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Moments You Might Have Missed: Catch and Release

Writer/director Susannah Grant was at the 2006 festival not only as a panelist, but as a presenting filmmaker with her film Catch and Release. The film screened at the Paramount Theatre after the annual Texas Film Commission Bar-b-q. Catch and Release starring Jennifer Garner is currently in theaters.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Gus Van Sant recognizes AFF finalist's script

AFF alum Paul Johnson has made it into the top 10 of the 4th Annual American Zoetrope Screenplay Awards. Director Gus van Sant this week named Johnson's screenplay, The Last Marine, one of the Top Ten screenplays in this year’s line-up.

From the article:
Since last year's Austin Film Festival, Paul has been flooded with offers from local and international producers - and has now written three movies, four one-hour TV dramas and two international radio dramas. "Things have taken off faster than I expected but the key is to keep writing - strengthening local and international industry experience of me as a reliable, versatile screenwriter, comfortable in any genre."
Full article

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Trading Places Screening this Thursday

On Thursday, February 8th, 2007, the Austin Film Festival will screen the narrative film TRADING PLACES in partnership with the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek as part of the Austin Film Festival screening series at the Alamo Lake Creek. Screenwriter Herschel Weingrod will introduce the film. The screening will be held at the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek at 7:30 PM and will feature a “prince and pauper” style menu.

Admission is FREE for Austin Film Festival members and just $4 for non-members.

About the Film: Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) is a successful Philadelphia commodity broker with mansion, manservant and girlfriend to match. Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) is a hustling beggar. Winthrope's employers, the elderly Duke brothers, make a bet that by switching the lifestyle of the two Billy Ray will make good and their man will take to a life of crime. Suddenly Louis finds himself uncomprehendingly with no job, no home and only a new acquaintance, glamorous hooker Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis), prepared to help him! . So at least in one way things could actually be worse.

Released in 1983 and directed by John Landis (National Lampoon's Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Coming To America).

About the Screenwriter: Herschel Weingrod has been a professional screenwriter for over 20 years, writing such films as Trading Places, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Brewster's Millions, Space Jam and more. He also produced Falling Down starring Michael Douglas.

Current AFF members are invited to join the screenwriter for a reception and get reserved seating, to find out more about the AFF membership program, click here.

TRADING PLACES kicks off a new monthly screening series at th e Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek. Each month the series will feature either an audience favorite from the festival, local premieres, shorts collections or retrospectives of great films.

Vote for AFF Filmmaker Mark Potts!

2006 AFF alumni Mark Potts and Cole Selix (For the Love of Family ) are up for an IFC Independent Spirit Award on the IFC website. Their short, Building Imagination, is one of five finalists in the IFC Media Lab competition and the winning film will be screened live during Independent Spirit Awards later this month. The winner is based on audience voting on the IFC site, so, please take a minute to watch this great short and vote for these talented filmmakers from Oklahoma.

You can view and vote by going here.

David Wain on The Ten

ComingSoon.net recently did an interview with 2006 AFF panelist David Wain, along with co-writer Ken Marino and producer/co-star Paul Rudd, about their new film, the much anticipated The Ten after the film's world premiere at Sundance. The interview can be found here.

(Picture: David Wain at the 06 festival)

Journey from the Fall

2006 AFF selection Journey from the Fall recently found distribution and
will be released nation-wide starting in March. If this amazing films comes
to your town, be sure to check it out.
Below is more information from the filmmaker...

journey from the fall

MySpace Journey from the fall