Thursday, August 28, 2008

Just Confirmed Panelist, Twilight and Showtime series Dexter writer, Melissa Rosenberg

The Austin Film Festival is delighted to announce Melissa Rosenberg as a confirmed panelist for the 2008 Festival and Conference, Oct. 16th-23rd.

Seamlessly transitioning from television to the silver screen, Melissa Rosenberg is proving to be one of Hollywood’s most versatile and sought-after writers.

Rosenberg wrote the screenplay for the highly-anticipated vampire romance "Twilight." Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, and based on the best-selling novel by Stephenie Meyer, "Twilight" tells the story of a high school girl named Bella (Kristen Stewart) who finds her soul mate in the stunning vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson). The film will be released by Summit Entertainment in December 2008.

With her extensive background in teen-related drama, Rosenberg seemed a natural fit for the adaptation of "Twilight", a task she was given only six weeks to complete. She was more than happy to sign on. “You get to be inventive with these pieces,” Rosenberg said. “I can live the high school experience I never had, because on film, anything can happen.”

The novel is currently #1 on the New York Times Bestselling series and has built a huge fanbase with over 100 websites dedicated to "Twilight". The novel has also won many acclaim honors, including: New York Times Editors Choice, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, Teen Peoples Hot List Pick, The Library Associations Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults and has been translated to over 20 languages.

Entertainment Weekly did a cover story in the July 14th issue about this cultural phenomenon and it's transistion into film. "Not since Harry Potter has a book-to-film journey inspired so much enthusiasm — or so much anxiety," according to the article and it also explains that the adaptation follows the book closely and pleases the fans. Read the whole article here.

More about Rosenberg:
Rosenberg is set to return to television as both head writer and co-executive producer of the Showtime original series "Dexter", which begins its third season this September. Her work on the show helped earn it the prestigious Peabody Award, an Emmy nomination, and a Writer’s Guild of America award nomination. “On this show, I’m allowed to take risks, with the character development, as well as the story,” said Rosenberg. “When you’re doing 22 episodes a year for network, you may not get the time you need to do your best work. On a cable show, doing 12 episodes, I have the time to develop my thoughts, to connect all the dots and make a strong, well-rounded story.”

Rosenberg launched her screenwriting career with the box-office smash "Step Up". A trained dancer herself, Rosenberg was perfect to the write the film, an urban romance between a naturally gifted troublemaker (Channing Tatum) and an upper-class ballerina (Jenna Dewan). Released in 2006, the film has earned over $114 million worldwide and launched Tatum into Hollywood heartthrob status. Rosenberg was no stranger to writing for the teenaged set; before signing on to write "Step Up", Rosenberg wrote several episodes of Fox’s series "The O.C."

Inspired by character-driven projects, Rosenberg’s other credits include "Ally McBeal", "Party of Five", "Boston Public", "The Outer Limits" and "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman". Although she appreciates her start in network television, she feels she has found a comfortable niche in cable programming.

Rosenberg earned her B.A. in dance and theatre from Bennington College in Vermont, with a goal toward becoming a choreographer. When Rosenberg moved to Los Angeles, she pursued a different avenue: writing. While working as an assistant to a television producer, Rosenberg went on to earn an MFA at the University of Southern California, through the Peter Stark Producing Program at the School of Cinematic Arts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Screenplay Letters are in the mail!!

The Screenplay Notification letters were put in the mail yesterday. Please be patient. Because of the number of letters, sometimes they can take several days to be delivered. Please give them through the weekend and by next Tuesday (September 2), if you haven't received any notification feel free to contact me at that point.

Thanks and I hope to see you all in October.

Alex McPhail
Screenplay/Teleplay Competition Director
Austin Film Festival

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Free Advance Screening | The Little Red Truck

Spend Labor Day weekend at the movies with free family fun!


The Little Red Truck
Sunday, August 31 2PM
Regal Arbor Cinema, 9828 Great Hills Trail (map)

Seating is first-come, first-serve so arrive early!

In this uplifting documentary, filmmakers capture the excitement when THE LITTLE RED TRUCK arrives in a small town. The vehicle arrives bearing two theater pros who have a mission: with dozens of kids and just six days, put on a one-hour musical. From auditions to performance, this film shines the spotlight on productions from five towns as hundreds of children take the stage. Features an appearance from JUNO favorite J.K. Simmons.

2008 Best Feature Documentary, International Family Film Festival, Hollywood , CA
2008 Dove Foundation Family Approved Seal for All Ages
2008 Parents Television Council Seal of Approval
2008 Best Documentary, Idaho Film & Television Institute Spudfest

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"The House Bunny" Opens on Friday!

Friends of the Festival, Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz, have their new movie The House Bunny opening this Friday, August 22. Set to be released everywhere, this current project will be another movie topic added to their discussions and future "meet and greets" at the AFF Conference.

The plot plays off of every Playboy Bunny’s fear: moving on from the mansion. The hilarious Anna Faris plays the distraught, wandering Playboy Bunny who stumbles upon the “clueless” Zeta Alpha Zeta girls who are about to lose their house. Through Shelly’s bubbly personality and experiences the girls learn “the ways of makeup and men” and realize they need to stop pretending and be themselves.


You might remember Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz from the 2005 Austin Film Festival in their “Meet & Greet” where they discussed writing scripts like Ella Enchanted, Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You and She's the Man. (See their story in the LA Times)

We are excited to have Kirsten return to Austin this year as a panelist for the 2008 Austin Film Festival Conference. See her at the festival! Badges start at just $95 and include all movie screenings and select panels and parties. Learn more about the Saturday Lonestar Badge or other badges.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Funniest Filmmaker in Austin Finalists Announced!

Join us and former "Funniest Person in Austin" Matt Bearden this Monday, August 18th at 8PM in the Cap City Comedy Club (NO COVER!) to see the following short comedy films - competing to crown their maker the Funniest Filmmaker in Austin!

2008 Funniest Filmmaker in Austin Finalists

A New Toy Creator: Byron Brown
Young Dorian receives a new toy from a generous, overly cautious man.

Beep. Beep. Dig. Creator: Dan Vest
Docu-comedy on metal-detecting.

Blaster Burger Creators: Will Elliott/Kirk Johnson
Unfortunately for Judd, a day at the office means serving up fried gizzard globs to ingrates at Bert's Bigger Burger.

Friend Creators: The P! Company

fwd: if you love someone watch this Creator: Michael Charron
A modern day Romeo & Juliet tragedy by the way of the internet.

Getting' Rich - Home Prisons Creators: Ken Lewin/Dan French
Our prisons are running out of space, so why not rent your home to the system? Getting Rich shows you how to make some fat skrilla from housing vicious killas.

Karl's Semen-Free Ad Reel Creators: Jeremy Cohen/Gopal Bidari
A reel of ads for Karl's various semen-free services

le squirrel Creator: Christopher Allen
A dubbed-over foreign film about an inquisitive robot attempting to collect data about squirrels.

Mrs. Marcus Nutty Bar Creator: Chris Osborn
A young woman fantasizes about the potential future of marrying one of Little Debbie's most popular snack items.

Platypus Rex in: Hymenoplasty Creator: Bob Ray
Who wants to be deflowered…again? Rex looks into it.

Sal Monella Episode 1 Creators: Heath Allyn/Larry Soileau
Two kids learn the dangers of salmonella from everyone's favorite spokesman, Sal Monella!

Serial Killer Movie Preview Creator: Dan Hedges
Preview for an action-packed thriller about a rogue cop's one-man battle against a notorious serial murderer.

The Job Interview Creator: Wayne Cheong
A job applicant tries to impress his interviewer at an ad agency by showcasing his samples. Hilarity ensues.

Uncle Terry Creators: Chris Trew/Brock Baldwin
Uncle Terry's gonna show you how to do it.

Warning Todd Merriman
A young filmmaker struggles to protect his intellectual property while maintaining his artistic integrity.

Wrestling with Avon Creators: Craig Matthew Staggs/Chris Sharpe
Capt'n Avon Conrad-Shirley is the greatest bear fighter to ever live, thanks to his lucky ear.

Bring your friends and we'll see you there!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Free Preview! LONGSHOTS | Aug. 17, 2PM

Austin Film Festival Target Family Film Series Presents:

Sunday, August 17
2PM Regal Arbor Cinema (9828 Great Hills Trail)
Based on a true story, a poor Illinois town comes together behind the local Pop Warner football team and their unlikely quarterback, Jasmine Plummer (Keke Palmer), the first female in Pop Warner's history. Under the tutelage of her uncle Curtis (Ice Cube), a former high school football star, Jasmine leads her team, the Minden Browns to the Pop Warner Super Bowl and inspires the town of Minden, Illinois to reclaim some of its former glory.


Seating is not guaranteed and is first-come, first-served until capacity is reached. Arrive early!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Blast from the Past: Archived Anne Rapp Article from 1999

Here is a article way back from 1999 about Conversation in Film Speaker, Anne Rapp. Article is courtesy of the Austin Chronicle, October 8,1999.

Anne Rapp's Fortune
Austin Heart of Film Festival: Robert Altman Takes a Chance on a Screenwriter
By: Marjorie Baumgarten
Photo By: Kevin Braun

Anne Rapp must live a charmed life. Sure, this screenwriter's talent is unmistakable, and there's no doubt that her success is appropriate and well-deserved. But how many writers can honestly claim that the first screenplay they ever wrote was not only commissioned, but also produced and directed by cinema legend Robert Altman? Rapp's screenplay was "Cookie's Fortune," the critically well-received movie that played in theatres earlier this year. It was the beginning of a working relationship, as Altman also contracted with Rapp to pen his next movie, "Dr. T and the Women", which is scheduled to begin filming in Dallas in November with Richard Gere in the title role. Currently, Rapp is spending the fall semester as a visiting professor at the Michener Center for Writers on the University of Texas campus. A born-and-bred Texan, Rapp spent most of the Eighties and Nineties working in the film industry as a script supervisor. Beginning with Tender Mercies and Places in the Heart, Rapp's credits also include such films as "The Color Purple", "True Stories", "The Accidental Tourist", and "The American President". Here, too, Rapp's credits are none too shabby.

How does one go from script supervising to writing one of the best American screenplays of the year? On the eve of her participation in the Austin Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference and Film Festival (where she will be partaking in a variety of panels, including one with fellow panelist Robert Altman), we sat down with Anne Rapp in her office at the Michener Center to discuss her meteoric trajectory.

Austin Chronicle: So how does one get their first script produced by Robert Altman?
Anne Rapp: Robert Altman called me because he read a short story I wrote that was published in a little literary journal in New York called The Quarterly. I had known him socially but not real closely (my ex-husband had worked with him many years ago), so I had been to dinner and to the track with him. My ex-husband and Bob would go to the racetrack a lot together. Probably the first time I met him was at the racetrack. I always thought it was fitting. There's something about both of us ... I think that one of our common sensibilities is the risk we take in our work -- we're both real gamblers in life. I never put it together, but when I think back about it I probably met him at a racetrack, and he took a real risk in hiring me. I certainly had been a script supervisor -- but that had nothing to do with writing, and he had no indication that I would be able to be a successful screenwriter for him -- other than a hunch. So we both sort of have this risk-blood running through us that somehow brought us together. Both of us use it a lot in our work. So I think that's the fate of that.

AC: When Cookie's Fortune came out this year, a lot of the commentary focused on the noticeable change that was evident in Altman's tone. The general feeling seemed to be that the movie demonstrated a new warmth and geniality among Altman characters and that there seemed to be a perceptible softening of Altman's cynicism. Do you think that was a quality he saw in your writing?
AR: Yes. If there is one thing that is different about Bob and myself, it's that I'm a whole lot more cynical than I admit and he's a lot softer than he admits. But that's one place our differences come together in a nice place and complement each other. Sometimes I'll write something that's too far "out there" for him but, for the most part (and I've said this many times before), I soften his hard edges a little bit and he sharpens mine a little bit when they're too rounded. I feel like we met in the middle somewhere with Cookie's Fortune. But I felt like the tone of it was right what it should be and he preserved it in that way. And I was thrilled with what happened. It was material we both connected to from different sides. And what came out of it I believe is a real nice combination of both of us.

AC: What were your working methods like? Did he give feedback along the way?
AR: Oh yeah. I got the first draft of the script written and wrote it pretty much myself in a matter of two or three months while he was away (he was actually cutting The Gingerbread Man), so I did a first draft pretty much myself. Then, once I got a first draft to him, he started making some notes and I made some changes based on his notes before we even sent it out. And then we got a script that he felt was good enough to send out to actors and investors or whatever. That's sort of your selling script, per se. Then, man, once you start casting, then the faces of everything change. You start choosing locations and then things change even more. Every time he'd cast somebody new, some rewrite would come up based on that. So I was rewriting up to when we started shooting. And then I was there with them on the set rewriting. And the ending of the movie was tricky, and I was rewriting the ending in Holly Springs, Mississippi, before we shot it. We also kept having to rewrite because of actors' schedules -- who could be in a scene or not. It's a never-ending process. And then you're sitting there rewriting in editing. That's rewriting. There was a scene that we actually played around with and looked at on paper before recutting to see what we could take out and still make the pieces work. It never ends. I'm still rewriting it now. Every time I see it now I go, "Wait! No. This is what she should say." I see these moments where I go, "Oh, man, if I just saw this previously." I'll always be rewriting it probably.
Altman makes a lot of amazing suggestions. He has this wild imagination. He and I think alike in that way that we'll come up with something completely absurd, that sounds absurd but we'll let ourselves live with it for a short period of time. Half the time it's absurd and we go, "What were we thinking?" But another half the time we go, "Oooh." And he came up with two of my very favorite things in the movie. One was putting Scrabble in that scene in the jail. My first thought was "Scrabble? Aren't they a little too concerned to be playing Scrabble at this point?" -- which is what the actors end up saying in the scene. But then I went, "Wait minute. It's a brilliant idea." That's the most special point in the movie for me because not only is it wonderfully good and funny, it's a turning point in the movie. In watching the movie with audiences I always see that this is when the audience really get on this train and start having fun.
And the other thing was eating the suicide note was his idea. That one only took me about a 10-second pause. I went: "Eating the suicide note?" And I thought about it. And it wasn't 10 seconds before I went, "That's a great idea." Because in the original script, it was supposed to be Thanksgiving. We were hoping to shoot in the fall, and it was written around Thanksgiving weekend as opposed to Easter, and it ended up getting pushed till the spring, and I had done it with fire in the fireplace and she burned the suicide note. Well, it kind of worked okay but then we couldn't do that for Easter. And now, when I think about the idea of having her burn the suicide note -- "How boring! How completely boring would that have been?" Altman came up with that. It was his idea to have her eat it. That movie is a big combination of the two of us in more ways than most people think. I put the words on the pages but, I tell you, a lot of it was totally inspired by things Robert said. It's a good combination of the two of us.

AC: One of the things that your work and Altman's seem to have in common is their focus on constellations of characters. From what I understand of Dr. T that seems the thrust there as well.
AR: I hadn't really thought about it too much, but that probably is another thing that kind of put us in the same corner, keeps it in sync a little bit. I think it's kind of a natural thing that happens in my work. But the key to doing that is to make the characters all real. They all have to be interesting. What I have a tendency to do is -- even when I think about my short stories -- is create a world and a bunch of people and have some event that's going to carry me through the story. I have a hard time just saying, "The waiter came over and put two glasses of water on the table and walked off." The next thing I know, I have a whole life for that waiter and the waiter's a big character. I can't just let someone be a piece of furniture or let someone be a vehicle.

AC: You've done a lot of short story writing?
AR: Not a lot, but some. That's what got me into all this. I was a script supervisor in Hollywood for about 15 years.

AC: On quite a number of interesting movies.
AR: Yeah, I was really, really fortunate that I worked with a number of amazing directors.

AC: And on nearly all the interesting projects that came through Texas.
AR: My career started in Dallas. The two guys who really started my career in Dallas were Robert Benton and Bruce Beresford. My very first film was with Bruce Beresford in Tender Mercies. And then I did Places in the Heart with Robert Benton. And those two set my career on tap and then I was off and running. I was able to do a lot of great films with great directors and see what goes on. You know, you have a script in your lap all day long. That's your bible. And to be able to see that process first-hand. You're right in there every single shot. But after 15 years, I just felt like, "Okay. I've done this." I had never before written anything formally besides letters. I decided I wanted to get away and just try writing some stories. I had a little two- to three-month break. I was about to go do Sydney Pollack's film The Firm in Memphis. But he ended up pushing it back a few months, and rather than jump onto something else, I looked at my bank account and said, "I can hold out. Why don't I spend this time just trying to write some stories?" And I sat down and started writing. The first thing you do is family and childhood stories because that's what you know best. And there was some good stuff in them and I knew there was something of a voice there, but it was just all over the map. I said, "I know if I'm going to do this right I need a bit of instruction to get me started." So I went on to do The Firm, and during the course of that shoot I had some friends from Mississippi who said you have to go down to Oxford and check out this little town. It's only an hour south of Memphis. It was Faulkner's hometown. And there's an absolutely terrific bookstore there called Square Books. It's the best bookstore in the world, and you can put that in your article -- with a big exclamation point. There's no way you can walk in this bookstore and not be inspired to read. I swear. I'd go hang out in this bookstore, and I started reading Southern writers, and met a lot of people in Oxford who were really, really nice. And it just hit me. This might be the place for me to come for a year. And I started reading a wonderful short story writer named Barry Hannah, and I found out he lived there and taught there. And that was it. I went, somebody's telling me something. The light. I finished The Firm, did one more movie that put enough money in the bank to live here in this little town because I can live pretty cheaply. And I took a year off and went to Oxford, and I did nothing but write short stories and take Barry Hannah's class. And that's what started it.
But as far as writing a lot since then ... after that I went to work and then I'd go back and I'd write and I'd go back to work. And I wrote a few more after I finished that year but most of the stories I've written were written for that class. And I was just starting to send them around to see if I could get something published. And I did get that one published and I had a couple of other stories published in a small thing. But other than that, I am not really a published short story writer. I was just getting to the point where I was going to start that process of sending stories off and getting them back and the rejection of all that, and I was prepared. In my mind, I had forgotten that I had ever even worked in the movie business. I just thought, one day if I can have a short story collection out, I'll be a writer. So I was just going back and doing script supervising jobs to put money in the bank so I could go back and write. And I did two or three. I even stayed based in Mississippi. And then Altman, by total accident, saw the story, read it, and called me. It was a big day for me. It was like, "Wow, Robert Altman called me." And he wanted to talk to me about how much he liked the story ... We had a long conversation I vividly remember, and there was a real connection there. So I sent him one more that I had just finished and he liked that and he said, "I want to read everything you've written." I then started hedging, because I didn't want to give him the other things. I said, "Let me write a new one." And he was on my butt about it. And finally, I figured out later, that he was kind of looking for a writer. So I got off my can and sat down one weekend and spent a whole weekend just revising four or five stories he hadn't read and sent those to him and within a week he hired me to write for him for the movies. And now he's kept me so busy, I haven't written any short stories since.
So I feel I was just getting to that point where I was just getting the knack of the short story. I think if I stopped everything right now and went back and started writing short stories and sending them in, I'd be right back where I was the year I was in class. Ninety percent of them would be rejected. Every once in a while maybe somebody would grab on to one and it would be a big, huge deal and I'd go have beer with my friends over it. I still feel like I never quite even got where I wanted to there but, hey, there's still more life to live. The time will come when I go back and put everything else on the back burner and try to write some new stories. Because quite honestly again, it's all fate when you look at this journey ... that just about everything I've written -- practically everything -- has been based on either a short story I wrote for that class or a story in progress. So what can I say but write honestly? That's what it's about. This is all storytelling. A movie is nothing but storytelling. You put people in a room, turn the light out, and say, "Shut up for two hours, I'm going to tell you a story." And that's what a movie is. Storytelling with a little visual aid.

AC: How involved are you in casting decisions? Clearly part of what makes Cookie's Fortune so great is what the actors bring to the roles.
AR: That's Bob's total forte. Bob is brilliant at casting. So I'm not really directly involved. But I do have to say Bob will call me up and say, "What do you think about this person or that person?" And I have to say I was probably more involved on Cookies' Fortune than I am in Dr. T.
But all the lines are wiggly. None of it is an exact science. The richer I can make characters on the page, then the richer the actors can make them in reality. So it's not a matter of I did a foot and they did two inches on top. If I can do a foot, they can do a foot. If I only do two inches, they might only be able to do two inches. And Bob does his two feet on top of that. The more I give him, the more I've done my work well, the more they can add. That's one of the things that I've learned a lot with Altman, and I'm so happy I've started my career with him for that reason, because I have a real sense of reality about the way moviemaking works. And my script supervising career certainly doesn't hurt either, having watched it for 15 years. But one of the things you can't be as a screenwriter is a real purist about your words and the way you see everything. Because no matter how brilliantly you put something on a page, to those guys in some ways it's a blueprint for them to interpret and add and change and re-order. The way I feel about it is that if I've done a good enough job for an actor to come up with some really wonderful workable stuff that's not in my script then we've all done our jobs really well. And I'm as proud of what they've done on camera that I didn't write as I am of something on camera that I did write. It gets to a point that you're not even conscious of what you did or didn't do. You don't think, "Gosh, I wish I had written that line." It's almost as though all of it is everybody's work. I don't divide lines and say this is my work, and this is their work, and this is Bob's work. It's all of ours. If you can work that way it's so much more fulfilling. And I think you make better movies.

AC: What are your plans for the future?
AR: The unknown doesn't really scare me. What really scares me really is the known -- for lack of a more eloquent way to put it. My biggest fear would be that this is the only place I'm going to know, this is the only thing I'm going to do, this is what my life is. That's the biggest fear I have. I've always been that way. So again, I have to shake my life up and go find what I don't know. Altman said in an interview I read -- I don't know if I'll get these words right but he said it in reference to gambling -- "For me the gamble is to not take the gamble." The worst thing an artist can do is not gamble. To gamble is to not take the risk. That's the way I see it as well because you can go out there in any endeavor and just screw up royally. But if you don't get out there to screw it up, what good is it? I always want to know what's behind the thing that's behind the thing that's behind the thing. You never get to it. Because when you get to that thing there are three things behind that thing. You've got to push the envelope, even though every so often you get a paper cut.

Get to know more about Anne Rapp at...
AFF Presents:"Write What You Know, Then Make the Rest Up", Conversations in Film w/ screenwriter Anne Rapp
WHEN: Sunday, August 24 Discussion, 3PM Movie screening, 5PM
WHERE: Renaissance Hotel 9721 Arboretum Blvd, Austin, TX 78759; Alamo Lakecreek (13729 Research Blvd) screening of "Cookie's Fortune"
COST: $12/AFF, $17/General Public Click here to purchase tickets!
INFO: 512.478.4795

Join Rapp for an intimate conversation about the art of screenwriting and how to utilize memory as a writing tool. As Anne explains, "I draw stories from observing the world and people around me--using both current observations and memories from childhood and the past--and attempt to find a balance between real life experiences and my imagination to create movies that are very human and honest." Immediately following the seminar, we'll move to the Alamo Drafthouse Lakecreek where Anne will host a "Cookie's Fortune" screening complete with a special Southern menu! Conversations in Film is sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Only 3 Days Left till American Airlines Offer Expires!

Want to come to the Austin Film Festival but low on cash? Here is a great deal from American Airlines, the official carrier of AFF, to come to the conference on a budget!

Purchase your tickets by this Friday, August 8, 2008, and you can receive great deals such as one-way tickets from Austin to Los Angeles for only $71 and Austin to St. Louis for $96 one-way.
Restrictions include:
  • Travel is valid through November 20, 2008
  • Fares are each way, based on round-trip Economy class travel.
  • A Friday-night, Saturday-night or 3-day minimum stay may be required, based on destination.
  • Taxes, fees and other considerations apply.

For more information and to puchase tickets, visit American Airlines Fall Airfare Sale.

Other flight deals can be found on search engines such as:,,,, and

For example: has a great deal from LA to Austin for only $183 round-trip and has an offer for $177 round-trip. Rates apply for flights booked from October 16th to October 22nd.

For more information on cheap flights, hotels, or to book your reservations, call 1.800.310.FEST

Monday, August 04, 2008

Just Confirmed Panelist Matthew Weiner

AFF is excited to announce Matthew Weiner, the Golden Globe, Peabody, and Emmy Award-winning screenwriter, producer and director is coming to this year's 15th annual Austin Film Festival and Conference! Weiner, the"Mad Men" creator, executive producer and writer, is one of the most talked about writers today!

Matthew Weiner is the series creator and executive producer for the award-winning AMC drama "Mad Men" now entering its second season. In its first season, the series has garnered a Golden Globe® Award for Best Television Drama Series, a Peabody Award, a Writers Guild Award for New Series, an AFI award as one of the top 10 Outstanding Television Programs of 2007, and a Satellite Award for Best Television Ensemble. The series also landed on the top of many TV critics’ end-of-the-year lists as one of the top TV programs of 2007.

Weiner was an executive producer and writer on "The Sopranos", the critically acclaimed drama series on HBO. Along with the other executive producers, "The Sopranos" won the 2004 Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series and garnered Weiner an Emmy® nomination with co-writer Terence Winter for outstanding writing in the episode “Unidentified Black Males.” Weiner earned a 2007 Writers Guild Award (TV) for the series and a 2005 PGA Golden Laurel Award for Television Producer of the Year in Episodic.

Before working on "The Sopranos", Weiner produced various television series, including "The Naked Truth", "Becker", and "Andy Richter Controls the Universe". He also wrote and directed the independent feature, "What Do You Do All Day?"

Born in Los Angeles, Weiner studied Philosophy, Literature, and History at Wesleyan University. He also earned his MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television. Weiner currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and four sons.

  • Distinguished Screenwriter Awardee: Sam Shepard
  • 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)
  • Craig Baumgarten, Baumgarten Management
  • Shane Black (Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Lethal Weapon 1 & 2)
  • David Boxerbaum, APA Agency
  • Curtis Burch, Latitude Productions
  • Michael Connolly, Mad Hatter Entertainment
  • Aadip Desai, Northwest Screenwriters’ Guild
  • Andrew Dignan, Your Half Media Group
  • Channing Dungey, ABC Studios
  • Warren Etheredge, The Warren Report
  • Juliana Farrell, Groundswell Productions
  • Bob Fisher, Wedding Crashers
  • Andrew Form, Platinum Dunes
  • Mary John Frank, Paramount Vantage
  • Mickey Freiberg, ACME Talent & Literary Agency
  • Dan French (“Dennis Miller”, “The Late Late Show”, “The Best Damn Sports Show Period”)
  • Brad Fuller, Platinum Dunes
  • Matthew Gross, ABC Studios
  • John Lee Hancock (writer The Blindside, 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
  • Jake Kasdan (Walk Hard, The TV Set, Orange County, Zero Effect)
  • Chris Keane, screenwriter and author of Romancing the A-List
  • Lauren Levy, Miramax
  • Chris Mass, Chalk 2006 Austin Film Festival Narrative Feature and Audience Award Winner
  • Michael McDonald, ABC Studios
  • Brian McGreevy, The Fury -2010
  • Jimmy Miller, Slugger - 2007 AFF Adult Family Winner
  • Rachel Miller, Tom Sawyer Productions
  • Jeff Nathanson (story credit - Indiana Jones 4, 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)
  • Gayla Nethercott, Don Buchwald and Associates, Inc
  • Susan O’Connor, videogame writer (Gears of War and Bioshock)
  • Dan Petrie Jr. (Beverly Hills Cop, The Big Easy, Shoot to Kill, Turner & Hooch, Toy Soldiers)
  • Steven Puri, Kurtzman/ Orci Productions
  • PJ Raval (filmmaker/cinematographer The Cassidy Kids, Gretchen, Wake, Lead Role: Father, Trouble the Water, Trinidad, The Two Bobs)
  • Eric Red (100 Feet, The Hitcher, Near Dark)
  • Scott Richter, 2007 Austin Film Festival Drama Teleplay Winner
  • Phil Rosenthal- Everybody Loves Raymond, Coach, Man in the Family, A Family For Joe)
  • Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Dead Man’s chest, The Curse of the Black Pearl, Déjà vu, Shrek, The Mask of Zorro, Aladdin)
  • Andrew Shea, Filmmaker (The Corndog Man, Santa Fe), Associate Professor UT Radio-Television-Film Department
  • Chuck Sklar (Everybody Hates Chris, The Chris Rock Show)
  • Alex Smith, Creative Director UTFI (writer/director The Slaughter Ruler, Son of the Gun)
  • Andrew Smith
  • Kirsten Smith (The House Bunny, She's the Man, Ella Enchanted, Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You)
  • Yaphet Smith, Screenwriter
  • Bob Soderstrom, screenwriter, 2002 AFF Screenplay Competition Winner
  • Shana Stern, screenwriter
  • Keith Sweitzer, Fort Hill Productions/Warner Brothers Studios
  • Robert Townsend (Phantom Punch (2008), Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy (2008), Black Listed, The Meteor Man, The Five Heartbeats,Hollywood Shuffle)
  • Mark Vahradian, Di Bonaventura Pictures
  • Herschel Weingrod (Trading Places, Kindergarten Cop, Twins)
  • Karl Williams (Punctured, 2005 AFF Comedy Winner and Sci-Fi Winner, Super Ego, 2005 Burnt Orange Winner)

MAN ON WIRE (And Why It's Like The Dark Knight Only Better)

Read NYC's film-centered Spout Blog to see why MAN ON WIRE is like "The Dark Knight", only better!


[ watch the trailer here ]

Directed by James Marsh
Stephen Holden - New York Times

Sara Cardace - New York Magazine

Regal Arbor Cinema (9828 Great Hills Trail)

|| Winner, Audience Award & Grand Jury Prize for World Documentary || - Sundance Film Festival, 2008

|| Winner, Audience Award & Special Jury Prize || - Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, 2008

On August 7th 1974, a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire illegally rigged between New York's twin towers, then the world’s tallest buildings. After nearly an hour dancing on the wire, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released.

James Marsh’s documentary brings Petit’s extraordinary adventure to life through the testimony of Philippe himself, and some of the co-conspirators who helped him create the unique and magnificent spectacle that became known as “the artistic crime of the century.”


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