The annual Austin Film Festival (AFF) returns October 21–28, 2021 with the renowned writers conference and a full week of film premieres. For the past 28 years, the conference has focused on the craft of filmmaking, with a who’s who of Hollywood talent speaking on panels about screenwriting, production and navigating the industry. The hybrid 2021 festival has lots of great screenings and sessions in store for in-person visitors; and it's also offering a virtual format, so you can enjoy almost everything that the festival has to offer from the comfort of home!
Awards & Films
This year’s AFF will honor Scott Frank ("Out of Sight" and "The Queen’s Gambit") with the Bill Wittliff Award for Screenwriting, Michael Schur ("Parks and Recreation" and "The Good Place") with the Outstanding Television Writer Award and Stephanie Allain ("Dear White People" and "Hustle & Flow") with the Polly Platt Award for Producing.
Headlining this year’s film slate are Oscar hopefuls, including Wes Anderson's newsroom comedy "The French Dispatch"; "C'Mon C'Mon," Mike Mills' follow-up to "20th Century Women," starring Joaquin Phoenix; festival circuit hit "The Same Storm"; and Joanna Hogg’s highly anticipated "The Souvenir: Part II." And don't miss "Petite Maman," Céline Sciamma's follow up to "Portrait of a Lady on Fire," or Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s "Memoria," in the stellar lineup. Learn more about the conference and see the full lineup here.
Made in Austin Films
There are a number of premieres for locally-made films, as well as a handful of films with Austin connections. Lane Michael Stanley’s "Addict Named Hal" was filmed in Austin in 2019. The film explores the everyday lives of a group of addicts in a halfway house, through the lens of a young woman who enters treatment for the first time. Ben Epstein’s "Buck Alamo," filmed in Austin prior to the pandemic with Bruce Dern and local legend Sonny Carl Davis who capture the spirit of Austin through the story of ailing musician Buck, who spends his final days trying to reconnect with his estranged family while dueling with death. "Ranch Water," from University of Texas at Austin alum Sophie Miller, follows a group of friends on the verge of graduation. And Greg Kwedar’s "Jockey" tells the story of an aging jockey on the verge of retirement. Austin native Chad Werner’s "The One You're With," tells the story of a couple whose relationship is forged during COVID-19 quarantine. On the documentary side, "Commissioner of Power" explores Austin's Stark Center, telling the story of Olympic weightlifter Terry Todd. Shorts Program 9: Everything's Shorter in Texas 1 and Shorts Program 10: Everything's Shorter in Texas 2 also feature a number of locally made short films to check out.
There is something for everyone at this year's Austin Film Festival, and we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg for what’s playing on the big screen. Check out the full schedule here. Learn about the art of creating film and television through the conference panels or just watch great films—either in-person or from home! View the festival's latest COVID-19 policies before you attend, and be sure to purchase your pass online at austinfilmfestival.com.