Wednesday, May 28, 2008

3 Quick FAQ’s for the 2008 Screenplay Competition:

What is the Latitude Award anyway?

The Latitude Award is an additional award category that we offer in conjunction with the Drama and Comedy categories. It is sponsored by Latitude Productions and offers a $2500 prize. It is open to any Adult themed Drama or Comedy with a projected budget of under $10 million.

The postmark deadline (June 1) is on a Sunday. How do you expect me to mail it on a Sunday?

I don’t. We are going to accept entries postmarked June 2. Sorry for the oversight. This only happens every six or seven years.

When do you contact the winners?

The First Rounders and Second Rounders will be sent letters by August 29. All Semifinalists will be called by the 29th as well. We will re-call all of the Semifinalists to notify them if they advanced to the Finals or not by September 19. The winners will be announced at the festival on October 18 during the Awards Luncheon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Early Registration Ending Friday!

Purchase an AFF Producers Badge by May 30 and be entered to win a free one night's stay at the Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental Hotel during the AFF Conference (Oct. 16-19).

Only four more days to purchase a Producers Badge or Conference Badge at the lowest prices of the year. If you purchase the Producers Badge by May 30, you will have the opportunity to win a free night's stay the Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel!

You can buy a Producers Badge at the AFF Shopify Store or call 1-800-310-FEST.

The Producers Badge gets you into:

  • Access to all four days of the AFF Conference (Oct. 16-19)
  • Access to all AFF films (Oct 16-23)
  • ACVB Reception Part ( Oct 16)
  • Late Night Welcome Party (Oct 16)
  • Film Texas BBQ Supper (Oct 17)
  • Filmmakers' Happy Hour (Oct 17)
  • Pitch Finale & Conference Wrap Party (Oct 18)
  • Hair of the Dog Brunch (Oct 19)
  • Closing Night Premiere Party (Oct 23)

You can also purchase a Conference Badge for a discounted price by May 30.

The Conference Badge gets you:

  • Access to all AFF films (Oct 16-23)
  • Access to all fours days of the AFF Conference (Oct 16-19)
  • Late Night Welcome Party (Oct 16)
  • Pitch Finale & Conference Wrap Party (Oct 18)

The InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Austin on historic Congress Street. Only steps away from movie screenings, panel discussions and parties - the SFA has its foundation on the pulse of exciting festival energy and inspiration - not to mention it is home to Citysearch's 'Best Bar-2007' . You never know who you'll run into! And now you have a chance to stay there for free!

Discount Rate & Contest expire May 30, 2008.

Winner will be announced on June 4, 2008.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Screenplay Alumni Stories

Being a finalist at the Austin Film Festival in 2007 was a whirlwind of panels, round tables, seminars and parties. Since I was only there for the weekend that focused on screenwriting, I was not able to see any films.

After winning the Adult/Family category, I realized that sitting at the same table with me at the awards luncheon was Jayce Bartok, the writer of the only film I had been really determined to see, The Cake Eaters. It was co-starring one of my favorite young actresses, Kristen Stewart.

He and his agent Gayla Nethercott approached me after the luncheon and invited me to their screening that evening. What I hadn't known, was that it was directed by Mary Stuart Masterson. So I decided maybe I should bag a few of the last seminars and go see the film.

After watching The Cake Eaters, I turned to a friend next to me and said "she should direct Slugger." The sensibility in the story telling just fit what I had always wanted for Slugger. Unbeknownst to me, Gayla also represented Mary Stuart. She introduced me to Mary Stuart briefly at the screening, but I did not mention Slugger at the time.

But what did happen, is that Gayla asked me to send her Slugger at Buchwald. And not long after Austin we were able to meet, and she signed on as my agent. And the first thing she did, was get Slugger to Mary Stuart.

And after the writer's strike was finally out of the way, we got word back that Mary Stuart loved the script, and wanted it to be her next film.

Gayla arranged a phone call between myself and Mary Stuart, and the first thing she asked me was "do you want this to be a real story, or more of a fantasy?" It was the perfect question for her to ask, because even though I was incredibly gratified by the response of readers to Slugger so far -- I really felt the script could be better. And I wanted it to be more real.

It was clear Mary Stuart and I were on the exact same page creatively. She was passionate about the script and wanted to make it as soon as she could.

So it was a very easy decision to agree to option Slugger to her.

And I feel pretty spoiled by Mary Stuart with the way she handled the re-writing phase. She could not have been more respectful or open. She let me take her notes and solve them in my own way. She was open to discusssion, new ideas, and changes that even she did not originally forsee.

As a new writer, it was a great experience to learn how a director looks at the practical application of every written word as it moves to a motion picture. It really opened my eyes to the larger process, and I know I'm a better writer for the experience with Mary Stuart.

She helped take the script to a new level, and I think we are both very proud of it. Mary Stuart has now started the process of finding financing for Slugger, and we are hopeful and optimistic that we will find supporters who are as passionate and excited about the project as we are.

Jimmy is such a talented and diligent writer, as well as a great collaborator. I got chills when I read the first draft. We have had a ball developing the script together and are ready send it out in the coming weeks.
--Mary Stuart Masterson

Just Confirmed Panelist: Robert Townsend

AFF is excited to announce Robert Townsend as a confirmed panelist (schedule permitting) for the 2008 Austin Film Festival. Townsend is known for his film Hollywood Shuffle, the 1987 film about struggling actors in Hollywood, as well as directing Eddie Murphy: Raw. For more of Robert Townsend's credits check out

Robert previously attended the Austin Film Festival and Conference in 1996. This photo is from the panel Directors Who Write and Vice Versa. Other panelist pictured: Whit Stillman.

Reminder: Only 8 days left till the early registration deadline! Order your Conference or Producer Badge now to save the most money and have the best time at the 2008 Austin Film Festival (October 16-23).

Teleplay Success Story - Scott Richter

Scott Richter // 2007 Teleplay Winner // Success Story
May 8, 2008

LA-based Scott Richter has had a year of ups (winning the Teleplay Competition) and downs (WGA Writer's Strike). I recently had the opportunity to connect with him and learn more about what lies ahead for this talented writer on the verge of some very big advancements.

Q. How did you hear about the Austin Film Festival Teleplay Competition?

A. Through friends. I had not submitted work before, but decided to enter two scripts. One advanced me to become a second-rounder (Boston Legal - "Don't Call Me Constance") and landed me my first agent. The other (Grey's Anatomy – "Reality Bites") ended up winning the competition!

Q. What was it like attending AFF's Awards Luncheon?

A. The experience overall was fantastic. Obviously, winning was a great thrill. Being at the luncheon with Oliver Stone, Glenn Gordon Caron, John Milius and many other industry professionals was one of the highlights of my life.

Q. Were you involved in the Pitch Competition that is also going on during the Conference?

A. Yes, I was also a finalist in the pitch competition, having made it into the top five. The pitch that I did was for a law school "dramedy" TV pilot, which went over well and everyone liked. It turns out Terry Rossio was a judge in that round. He really loved it. His assistant came up afterwards and said Terry was interested in reading the script and having me talk to him more about it. Right now it's a teleplay so they thought about rewriting it into film script. We couldn't talk because of writer's strike and I began working on other pilots, but we are keeping in touch.

Q. How has winning the competition helped your network?

A. Even though it was bad timing because of strike, I made some great contacts. The fact that I won Austin was very helpful to getting my foot in the door and meeting with agents after the strike. For example, Channing Dungey, an executive for ABC, was at the Awards Lunechon and came up to congratulate me afterwards. I told her I was having a meeting with Greg Berlanti (Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, Brothers & Sisters). She wanted me to call her after I met with Greg to go out for coffee. So I've been in touch with her. That was great. When I finally did get to meet Greg, he was interested in reading my script that won Austin and my two new original pilots.

Another person I met was Will Bigham ("On the Lot" winner). We met in Austin and he told me he had a first-look TV deal at Dreamworks Television. We had lunch when we both got back in LA and he was interested in a couple original pilots I had written. One which was a supernatural small town drama and the other a procedural drama. He was interested in both and thought the procedural drama was a good fit for Dreamworks. It is currently being pitched.

Q. What projects are you currently working on and what advice do you have to other writers?

A. Right now I'm collaborating with someone to write a screenplay and I'm very excited about it. The advice I have to give is simple - Network. Network. Network.


Entry Form & Details Here
Questions? 1-800-310-FEST - Ask for Alex

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Script-to-Stage / "Shards" Now Showing at the Rollins Theatre!

The Austin Film Festival is proud to be a host organization to the play "Shards" - part of the cycle of plays in The Love Sonatas series put on by the HBMG Foundation - the first locally produced series of shows unveiled at the new Long Center for the Performing Arts!

The Love Sonatas is a series of five, full length plays:
FourSquare, Sonata Escondida, Shards, Stroke, and Kuka.
Composed of snapshots of twenty people’s lives, these plays share characters, but more importantly, they share the common struggle of connecting and
answering the question, “What is love?”

AFF was founded with the belief storytelling is the heart of film. We support the art of making a script come alive to the screen, so it was only fitting to partner with an organization which helps playwrights bring their scripts to the stage!

Saturday, May 24, 2PM - Rollins Theatre - More Information
Thursday, May 29, 8PM - Rollins Theatre - More Information
Saturday, May 31, 8PM - Rollins Theatre - More Information
**Mention "AFF" when purchasing a ticket to "Shards" or any other The Love Sonatas play and a portion of the ticket price will be donated back to the Austin Film Festival.

"Shards" Synopsis:
"How you remember things doesn't mean that's how they happened. Nothing is as unpredictable as the past."
Directed by Paula Russell.
This is the story of Morgan who loves Karen who loves David who loves Anna who thinks she still loves Rodolfo. All the rules have been thrown out in this twisted tango, save one. Find true love. But as they cope with the fallout from their mounting betrayals, the truth might not be enough to set these lovers free.

See you there!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Already Confirmed for the 2008 Conference

Early registration deadlines are quickly approaching. You have 17 days to purchase your Producers or Conference badge at the lowest offered rate. To find out more about the Conference check out the Conference Section of the website.

CONFIRMED PANELIST (schedule permitting)

John August (writer/director The Nines, writer Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Go, Big Fish, Titan A.E., Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle)

Curtis Burch, Latitude Productions

Channing Dungey, ABC Studios

Matthew Gross, ABC Studios

Juliana Farrell, Groundswell Productions

Mickey Freiberg, ACME Talent & Literary Agency

John Lee Hancock (writer A Perfect World, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, The Alamo, director The Alamo, The Rookie)

Patrick Hegarty- 2007 AFF Latitude Award Winner, videogame writer on Ghostbusters, Eragon and Rataouille

Buck Henry (writer To Die For, Protocol, What's Up, Doc?, The Owl and the Pussycat, Catch-22, The Graduate)

Jake Kasdan (Walk Hard, The TV Set, Orange County, Zero Effect)

Michael McDonald, ABC Studios

Rachel Miller, Tom Sawyer Productions

Jeff Nathanson (story credit - Indiana Jones 4, writer New York, I Love You, Rush Hour (2& 3), The Terminal, Catch Me if You Can, Speed 2, and writer/director of The Last Shot)

Susan O’Connor, videogame writer (Gears of War and Bioshock)

Dan Petrie Jr. (Beverly Hills Cops, The Big Easy, Shoot to Kill, Turner & Hooch, Toy Soldiers)

Chuck Sklar (Everybody Hates Chris, The Chris Rock Show)

Bob Soderstrom, screenwriter, 2002 AFF Screenplay Competition Winner

Yaphet Smith, Screenwriter

Eric Red (100 Feet, The Hitcher, Near Dark)

Mark Vahradian, Di Bonaventura Pictures

More panelist are being confirmed everyday! Start planning your trip to Austin now.
Buy your badge before May 30th and be entered into a drawing for a free nights stay at the InterContintial Stephen F. Austin Hotel in Downtown Austin, TX.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Summer Film Camp On the News!

See our news articles on News 8 and KVUE!

Four-time camp attendee Elizabeth Breazile, who is now going on to study Radio, Television and Film at UT as a freshman in the fall, shares her reflections on her experiences at the AFF Summer Film Camp...

"I have attended the film camp for 4 years every summer, and I can confidently say that it was what made me want to be a filmmaker. The first year I went, I was 13 and incredibly naive to the whole process of film making. Just during those 2 weeks I learned techniques such as editing, lighting, and the importance of sound that completely revolutionized my views on how to make a movie. Learning under the supervision of actual filmmakers made me confident to go out and start experimenting on my own, and eventually to start making my own movies.

I would tell anyone with even the slightest interest in film making to go, the experience is completely worth it."

For more information and to enroll - click here or call 512.478.4795.

The Austin Film Festival and its Young Filmmakers Program is proud to present the 6th Summer Film Camp - taking place June 9 - August 8 at McCallum High School with classes in claymation, screenwriting + filmmaking, special effects, music videos and more!

WHEN: June 9 - August 8, 2008
WHERE: McCallum High School5600 Sunshine Drive, Austin TX, 78756 (2222 & Lamar)TIME: Sessions are held 9AM-12PM, 1PM-4PM, or 9AM-4PM
NOTE: Discounts available for Austin Film Festival members, AISD Faculty & Staff, and parents with currently enrolled McCallum HS students.


June 9 - 13, 9AM-12PM
July 7 - 11, 1PM-4PM
July 21-25, 9AM-12PM

Work with three-dimensional media and live-action, stop-motion animation to bring otherwise inanimate characters and objects to life. At the end of the class you will receive a copy of your movie on DVD.

July 14-25, 1PM-4PM

Learn how to write, produce, act and direct - all in one place! Hands-on class teaches the basics of production as students collaborate on a 5-10 minute digital video project over a two-week period. At the end of the class students receive copies of their movies on DVD.

July 14-25, 1PM-4PM

For every raging blizzard, Old West showdown or battle in space, there's a team of special effects technicians doing their best to make sure audiences beleive the danger and thrills are real. Learn the ins and outs of special effects in this fun and exciting class!


June 9-20, 1PM-4PM
July 7-18, 9AM-12PM
July 28-August 1, 9AM-4PM (Advanced Full-Day Class)

Learn how to write, produce, act and direct - all in one place! Hands-on class teaches the basics of production as students collaborate on a 5-10 minute digital video project over a two-week period. At the end of the class students receive copies of their movies on DVD.

August 4-8, 9AM-4PM (Advanced Full-Day Class)

In this class students will examine the special skills it takes to make funny movies. From Shakespeare to Will Ferrell, you will learn about how comedy works and why. Then students will work on their own short films and figure out how making people laugh can be hard work and a lot of fun at the same time.

June 23-27, 9AM-4PM (Advanced Full-Day Class)

Nowadays most music videos are actually short films set to a soundtrack. In this fun class students will be able to develop, plan and execute ideas for a professional looking music video.

To register online or for more information: Visit The Summer Camp Website

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Steel City on DVD!

Good news everyone! AFF screenplay finalist turned Official Selection Steel City has made it to DVD today after a successful theatrical run.

Steel City was a hit at AFF in 2006, and is a great family drama incredibly well acted by a fantastic cast. If you haven't seen it, it is definitely worth picking up!