Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Taking a Look at Confirmed Panelist Jeff Nathanson

The Austin Film Festival is excited to announce Jeff Nathanson as one of our confirmed panelist for the 2008 Festival and Conference!

A little about Mr. Nathanson:

Jeff has been a professional screenwriter for over 16 years. His credits include Catch Me If You Can, Rush Hour 2, The Terminal, Rush Hour 3, and The Last Shot, which he also directed. He earned a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Catch Me If You Can, and he teamed with Steven Spielberg for a third time in 2008 when he wrote the story for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull with George Lucas. In 2007 his production company Invisible Ink Entertainment signed a first-look deal at Dreamworks Studios.

Check out all the confirmed panelist on

Shane Black Confirmed for 2008 Festival

Austin Film Festival is excited to have Shane Black, 2006's Distinguished Screenwriter Awardee, at the 15th annual Austin Film Festival.

In 2006, Shane was honored alongside Sydney Pollack and David Milch. All three are pictured above with AFF founder and executive director, Barbara Morgan.

Shane Black made his mark as a screenwriter after his action/buddy script Lethal Weapon became a runaway hit at the box-office with stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a pair of mismatched cops. Not only did Black’s storytelling redefine the “buddy” movie genre, but it also gave birth to one of the more successful movie franchises in film history.

With his tongue-in-cheek sensibility, Black immediately became known as a writer who could create memorable and complex characters not normally associated with the action genre. His follow up screenplay The Last Boy Scout, starred Bruce Willis as a down-on-his-luck private-eye whose penchant for booze was offset by his strict code of ethics. Thereafter came The Long Kiss Goodnight, starring Geena Davis as a suburban homemaker with amnesia who discovers she was once a kick-ass top-secret agent.

With his distinct cinematic voice, Black returned in 2005 not only as the writer, but also director of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, a film-noir-esque action/comedy about a petty thief from New York who finds himself embroiled in a Hollywood mystery.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

AFF Presents...@ the Alamo Lakecreek

UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections

Thursday, July 31 | 7:30PM
FREE for Austin Film Festival Members, $4 Public


UNCOUNTED is an explosive new documentary that shows how the election fraud that changed the outcome of the 2004 election led to even greater fraud in 2006 - and now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election.

This controversial feature length film by Emmy award-winning director David Earnhardt examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S. Noted computer programmers, statisticians, journalists, and experienced election officials provide the irrefutable proof.

When you have a membership with the Austin Film Festival, you not only enjoy discounts at the 2008 Conference & Festival - but free movies all year long! For more information on events, benefits (including free Film Passes or special invitations to festival parties ) and membership levels visit our membership page.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Audience Award Winner KABLUEY Opens Today!

Winner of the 2007 Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival, KABLUEY opens TODAY at the Landmark Dobie Theatre in Austin, TX! (map)

KABLUEY is a heartfelt comedy about an oddball and his harried sister-in-law who are forced to spend time together under difficult circumstances. Leslie (played by Lisa Kudrow), a mother of two rambunctious young boys, is barely holding things together while her husband’s National Guard unit is off fighting in Iraq. Desperate for some help, she agrees to let her husband's brother, Salman (played by Scott Prendergast), come to act as a make-shift nanny. But Salman’s parenting skills are questionable at best and soon all hell has broken loose.
In order to keep the family afloat, Salman must take a job as a corporate mascot for a failing Internet company. He spends his days baking in the heat of an enormous blue costume, pointlessly trying to hand out flyers to passing cars, he has hit rock bottom. But then things start to turn around for Salman inside his big, blue suit. Anonymity offers him a fresh start and surprising new opportunities. And when he accidentally stumbles upon his sister-in-law’s secret, Salman and his alter ego “KABLUEY” must struggle to make things right and to keep the family together. DIRECTED BY Scott Prendergast RT: 86 Minutes

See the reviews for this "little blue gem" of a film!
“The result, shot in Austin in the summer of 2006, is a film that is funny, tragic, and human. Bottom Line: This charming, pointed comedy is a genuine discovery." -Stephen Farber
"Thanks mostly to Kudrow’s stunning performance — the Austin-shot movie catches the nation’s mood of economic anxiety and workplace exploitation more pungently than anything else in theaters." - Jim Ridley
“The movie’s hilarious...Prendergast is clearly a force to be reckoned with -- his fearless performance as Salman/Kabluey is a thing of beauty, and his sense of story and humor are note-perfect.” - Joe O’Connell

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2008 Distinguished Screenwriter Awardee: Sam Shepard

The Austin Film Festival is honored to announce screenwriter, actor, director and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard will accept the Distinguished Screenwriter Award at the 2008 Austin Film Festival.

Sam Shepard began his career by writing for Off-Off Broadway. His major Broadway playwrights include "Angel City," "Curse of the Starving Class," "The Mad Dog Blues," "Cowboy Mouth," and "The God of Hell." Shepard wrote his first screenplays, "Me and My Brother" (1968) and Antonioni's "Zabriskie Point" (1970).

In 1979 he received the Pulitzer Prize, the ultimate writing honor, for his three-act play "Buried Child." Shepard later wrote and directed the Pulitzer-nominated and Obie-winning play "Fool for Love," which he also adapted for Robert Altman to direct in the 1983 screen version starring Shepard himself and actress Kim Basinger.

In 1984, Shepard collaborated with Wim Weinder's and wrote the highly acclaimed film "Paris, Texas." He also wrote and directed the features "Far North" and "Silent Tongue."

Shepard's memorable screen performances began in 1978 in Bob Dylan’s "Renaldo and Clara" and went on to impress critics in Terrence Malick’s "Days of Heaven." A number of strong appearances followed including "Resurrection," "Raggedy Man," "Frances," opposite Jessica Lange, and most notably his role as Chuck Yeager in Philip Kaufman’s "The Right Stuff," which earned him an Academy Award® nomination. Shepard also wrote and stared in "Don’t Come Knocking." Other film credits include: "Baby Boom," "Steel Magnolias," "Voyager," "The Pelican Brief," "Snow Falling on Cedars," "Hamlet," "All the Pretty Horses," "The Pledge," "Black Hawk Down," "The Notebook," "Stealth," "Bandidas," "The Return" and "Walker Payne." Shepard’s television films and miniseries include Larry McMurtry’s "Streets of Laredo," "Lily Dale," "Purgatory," “Dash and Lilly," which brought him both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for his performance as writer Dashiell Hammett; "One Kill," "Wild Geese," and "Ruffian."

Shepard's recent credits include "Felon" and Jim Sheridan’s "Brothers". His one man play "Kicking a Dead Horse" just opened on July 14th at The Public in New York.

The Distinguish Screenwriter Award will be presented at the Awards Luncheon, presented by AT&T, on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008 at the Austin Club. Tickets available for purchase from badge-holders only by calling 1.800.310.FEST (3378). To purchase your badge, click here. The award luncheon sells out every year, so call and reserve your seat today!

Friday, July 18, 2008

3rd Funniest Filmmaker in Austin competition!

Submission deadline 8/11 :: Live show 8/18

Download the 2008 entry form here

It's back! Austin Film Festival, Cap City Comedy Club and The Onion are proud to announce The Third Annual Funniest Filmmaker in Austin contest! Enter by August 11th, 2008 and on Monday August 18th, join host and former Funniest Person in Austin winner Matt Bearden to see who wins the contest.

Hit us with your best shot. It's free to enter and the winner will play the Austin Film Festival this October.

The winner gets two all access producers badges valued at $1300 to the 15th Annual Austin Film Festival where his or her film will play as an official selection of the fest!

Rules: Films must be under 5 minutes long and delivered by August 11th. All films must be on DVD. Free to enter. You must be a current Austin resident to enter.

Entries may be dropped off or mailed to:

Austin Film Festival
attn: Funniest Filmmaker in Austin
1145 W 5th St, Suite 210,
Austin, TX 78703

Questions? Visit the Funniest Filmmaker site, call 512.478.4795 during business hours or email john [at] with the subject line: FFIA Question

Add Funniest Filmmaker to your MySpace for updates and videos!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Just Confirmed Panelist: Phil Rosenthal

Austin Film Festival is happy to announce the just confirmed panelist, Phil Rosenthal for the 2008 Festival. Rosenthal is co-creator and executive producer of the hit CBS comedy, "Everybody Loves Raymond.".

The series was nominated for the Best Comedy Emmy 7 times. Rosenthal was nominated for a Best Writing Emmy with Ray Romano in 2000 and again in 2002 for his script, “The Angry Family” and in 2005 for “Finale”. Over the nine season run, “Everybody Loves Raymond” was nominated for over 70 Emmy awards, and won 15 times, including Best Comedy Series in 2003 and 2005.

Rosenthal won the 2002 Writers Guild Award for Excellence in Television Writing for his script, “Italy.”

You might also recognize him from "Spanglish" as Adam Sandler's sous chef or from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and Jake Kasdan's feature, "The TV Set."

A little more about Phil Rosenthal:
  • Phil Rosenthal was born in Queens, raised in Rockland, N.Y., and attended Hofstra University on Long Island.
  • He actually started out as an actor in New York, but he also wrote and directed before relocating to Los Angeles in search of more acting opportunities.
  • Rosenthal’s early writing credits include series “Man In The Family” and “A Family for Joe.”
  • He was a supervising producer on “Down the Shore” and “Coach.” He also directed a “Coach” episode.
  • Rosenthal has the distinction of having directed President Bill Clinton in the White House Correspondents Dinner video, which was shown to wide acclaim at the April, 2000 event.
  • He co-wrote the “America: A Tribute to Heroes”, the 9/11 telethon which aired on all four networks, won a Peabody Award and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing.
  • Rosenthal is the author of “You’re Lucky You’re Funny: How Life Becomes a Sitcom"
  • He currently lives in Los Angeles, with his wife, actress Monica Horan (who played Amy on “Everybody Loves Raymond”), and their two children.

Its not to late to make plans for the fall and come to Austin for the 2008 Conference and Festival. Find out which pass suites you best! Click here to find out more about the Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Saturday badge now!

Very Late Postmark Deadline - Today!





2. Download, fill out, and mail in the AFF ENTRY FORM


3. Submit through

Don't miss your chance to be a part of the 2008 Film Competition! Today is the last day to postmark your film and send it on its way for consideration in the festival.

Each year the Austin Film Festival holds film competitions in 6 categories: including Narrative Feature, Narrative Short, Narrative Student Short, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short. Last year over 175 movies were screened over the 8 day event.

The 15th annual Austin Film Festival will take place October 16-23, 2008 at various venues in and around downtown Austin.

Questions? Contact Jesse Trussell at 1-800-310-FEST (3378).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Summer To Talk About | Two Conversations in Film Events!

Beat the heat this summer by joining celebrated and award-winning screenwriters and producers during the Austin Film Festival's Conversation in Film series, sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

THE LAST PICTURE SHOW w/ Polly Platt & Tom Schatz | COOKIE'S FORTUNE w/ Anne Rapp

Each event is $12 for AFF Members & $17 for Non-AFF Members
CALL 512.478.4795 (for discount) or visit to reserve tickets

It all kicks off THIS Sunday, July 13!

Limited tickets are still available for the intimate discussion with screenwriter/producer Polly Platt & historian Tom Schatz which takes place in the Driskill Hotel Victorian Room
at 3PM. After the discussion, there will be a break for dinner before everyone will rendezvous and head to the Paramount Theatre for the 6PM screening of "THE LAST PICTURE SHOW" (nominated for 8 Academy-awards, ranked one of the 100 Greatest American Films of All Time by the American Film Institute, and selected for preservation by the National Film Registry).


More about Polly Platt:
She earned her first executive producer credit on James Brooks’ “Broadcast News” (1987), which she also designed, and went on to produce “Say Anything” (1989), “I’ll Do Anything” (1994), and “Bottle Rocket” (1996) which launched the careers of Wes Anderson, Owen and Luke Wilson.

More about Tom Schatz:
Tom Schatz is the Mary Gibbs Jones Centennial Chair (and former Chair) of the Department of Radio-Television-Film at The University of Texas at Austin, where he has been on the faculty since 1976, and is currently the Executive Director of the UT Film Institute.

Then on Sunday, August 24th we will be hosting Anne Rapp and her film "Cookie's Fortune"! The event will start at 3PM and be followed by a screening of the movie at 5PM at the Alamo Drafthouse Lakecreek (13729 Research Blvd).

“Cookie’s Fortune” is a 1999 comedy film directed by Robert Altman and starring an ensemble cast, including Patricia Neal, Charles S. Dutton, Julianne Moore, Glenn Close, Liv Tyler and Chris O’Donnell. It portrays small town Southern life in Holly Springs, Mississippi, where the movie was mostly filmed.

"Cookie’s Fortune has no ragged edges or bothersome detours, and flows from surprise to delight. At the end, when just desserts are handed out, it arrives at a kind of perfection.” – Roger Ebert

“Robert Altman finds his Paul McCartney in screenwriter Anne Rapp… Rapp’s script for Cookie’s Fortune is a marvelous contraption” - Salon


More About Anne Rapp:

The screenplay for Cookie’s Fortune earned Anne an Independent Spirit Award nomination in 1999, as well as an Edgar Allen Poe nomination. Anne currently lives in Austin, Texas, where she has twice served as a visiting professor of screenwriting at the Michener Center for Writers. Anne has also been the script supervisor on many films, most recently alongside Jake Kasdan & Judd Apatow in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007).

Questions about any events? Contact the AFF office at 512.478.4795, M-F, 10AM-6PM CT.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Fall Film Event You Can't Afford to Miss!

"Aspiring and professional writers and filmmakers get their day in the sun at this 15-year-old festival held in Texas' dynamic arts capital."- Hollywood Reporter June 26, 2008

Join us for the 15th Annual Austin Film Festival, October 16-23, 2008 - deep in the heart of Texas' capital!

Newly noted on Hollywood Reporter's list of "can't-miss events on every filmmaker, distributor, buyer and cinephile's fall calendar" the Austin Film Festival offers something for everyone.

Whether it's screening ground-breaking competition ("Shotgun Stories", "Kabluey") and non-competition films ("Juno", "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead", "The Diving Bell & The Butterly", "Chicago 10") to hosting intimate panels with influential and award-winning screenwriters and directors (newly confirmed for '08 - Robert Townsend, Terry Rossio, and Kirsten Smith) - 8 days doesn't seem like enough to fully experience all the fest has to offer with its films, workshops and parties.

(Director Jason Reitman & screenwriter Diablo Cody, Juno)

Already home to a thriving culture of music, film and art - attending the festival is the perfect way to enjoy the town everyone is already talking about - in a laid back, friendly atmosphere where writers, filmmakers and movie lovers rendezvous over the same thing - their love for storytelling.

You can experience it all - at a discounted rate if you reserve your badge before prices increase Sept. 22.

Ready for 8 days of networking and experiencing all Austin has to offer?
Producer Badge - $585 Conference Badge - $350

Can you only get away for a long weekend? Don't miss parties, panels, and priority entry to films.
Weekend Badge - $225

Here for the films, but want a taste of the Saturday panels? This badge lets you have priority entrance to all the films and access to Saturday panels at an incredible price!
Saturday Badge - $95

Movies. Over 175 in 8 days. Are you ready?
Film Pass - $42

See you in October.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Screenplay Competition Notification Dates

First Round and Second Round notification letters will be sent out by August 29.

Semifinalists will be contacted by phone by August 29.

Finalists will be notified by phone by September 19.

Winners will be announced October 18, 2008 at the Awards Luncheon during the Austin Film Festival.

Young Filmmakers Competition Call For Entries!

Calling all teens!

The Austin Film Festival looks forward to showcasing the works of teen filmmakers from around the country during the 15th Annual Austin Film Festival as part of the Young Filmmakers Competition! Students ages 13-18 are encouraged to submit their film, free of charge, for a chance to win extraordinary prizes.

The winning film will be screened at the Festival, and the winner will be recognized during the Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 18th. The winners will be in the company of other awardees who, in the past, have included such names as Oliver Stone (Alexander, World Trade Center, Any Given Sunday), Glenn Gordon Caron ("Moonlighting", "Medium"), and John Milius (Apocalypse Now).

The competition is free, so start submitting your films now!

Students from around the country are welcome to submit their original works and entry form by July 15th to:

Young Filmmakers Competition
Austin Film Festival
1145 W 5th St, Ste 210
Austin, TX 78703

Don't forget to check out Austin Film Festival and Schlotzsky's "Sandwich Your Story" Competition! Details coming soon.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New Panelists Just Confirmed!

AFF is excited to announce Terry Rossio and Kirsten Smith as confirmed panelists for the 2008 Festival and Conference.

Terry is the writer of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Small Soldiers, and the classic Disney film Aladdin. In 2002, he was nominated for an Academy Award with co-writer Ted Elliott for Shrek, the first ever Oscar winner for Best Animated Film. Upcoming projects include Jingle, due out in 2009, and The Lone Ranger, out in 2010. Along with all these accomplishments he is also the co-creator of Wordplay, an online resource for aspiring and professional screenwriters. Terry has attended the festival in 2004 and 2007, and AFF is thrilled to have him back for our 15th year.

The above picture is Terry at the 2007 Tell Your Story Panel, where registrants grab a seat on the couch, and ask Terry about his experiences as a writer.

Kirsten is the co-writer for the comedies Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, Ella Enchanted and She’s the Man. Her latest projects include The House Bunny and The Ugly Truth. Recently, Kirsten and her co-writer Karen Lutz, were featured in the LA Times that draws attention to their laid back style of writing. Kirsten has been a Conference Panelist in 2002 and 2005, and we are excited to have her back.

Here is Kirsten (left) with Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, from Friday Night Lights, back in 2005 at the AFF BBQ.

To see other confirmed panelists click here!