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Things You Need to Know About the 2015 Austin Film Festival

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Things You Need to Know About the 2015 Austin Film Festival

Hey, Screenwriters Need Love, Too!

“Rosewater” screening with Jon Stewart on the closing night of the Austin Film Festival in Austin, Texas on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (Photo by Jack Plunkett)

According to Fernando Martinez, Austin Film Festival (AFF) Director of Marketing, the AFF is unique because “it champions the art of storytelling, with focus on the writer.” The 8 day festival, spanning Oct. 29 – Nov. 5, 2015, is celebrating its 22nd year, and is actually made up of film screenings, conferences, and parties. The conference portion of the festival offers over 175 different workshops, panels, and roundtable discussions with both nationally and internationally known experts focusing on all aspects of the business and art of screenwriting. All levels of participants are welcome from beginners to the most seasoned writers.

Things You Need to Know About the 2015 Austin Film Festival

Conferences run through the entire 8 days, with film screenings taking place at various locations mostly in the evenings. If noshing with celebs is your thing, then plan to attend the 2015 Awards Luncheon to be held at the Austin Club. According to an AFF press release, 2015 honorees include Academy Award nominee John Singleton (writer/director – Boyz ‘n the Hood, Poetic Justice) for Extraordinary Contribution to Film and Academy Award Winner Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity, Capote, The Horse Whisperer) for the Acting Award. Norman Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons) will receive the award for Outstanding Television Writer, and Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) for Distinguished Screenwriter.

But What About the Flicks, Man?

Things You Need to Know About the 2015 Austin Film Festival

Never fear my cinephiles, there are plenty of motion pictures for your viewing pleasure. Covering every genre a filmgoer could imagine including documentaries, featured length films, short films, and comedies, the Austin Film Festival has it all.

Interestingly, it seems the popularity of “binge watching television” is affecting film submissions this year. Martinez commented that different in 2015 than in years past is “the shift away from short film submissions to the increasingly popular web episodes/series.” This festival truly has something for everyone.

Here are a few feature length films creating buzz.

Things You Need to Know About the 2015 Austin Film Festival

Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, is based on Patsy Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt. Store clerk (Rooney Mara) and customer (Cate Blanchett) both dissatisfied with their lives find solace in each other, but then must deal with the consequences that arise because of their relationship.

On Martinez personal “not to be missed list” is a biopic on singer Hank Williams. Starring Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams and Elizabeth Olsen as Williams’s wife Audrey Mae Williams, I Saw the Light directed by Marc Abraham tells the story of the singer’s rise to fame and the tragic effects it has on his relationships and ultimately, his life.

And finally, The Program directed by Academy Award nominated Stephen Frears (Philomena, The Queen) is another biopic depicting Austin’s own Lance Armstrong (Ben Foster) and how one of the most admired athletes in the world became another fallen star.

Things You Need to Know About the 2015 Austin Film Festival

What’s the Skinny on Tickets?

$65 gets you an Austin Film Festival Pass, an amazing value offering access to all 8 days of films. $12 buys an individual ticket to a screening, but get to the venue at least 20 minutes in advance to purchase your ticket. Varying levels of badges are also available for hard core festival attendees and include access to conferences and parties, as well as films. Some events, such as the Awards Luncheon, require individual ticket purchase. Be aware that badges and pass holders are given priority access to film showings, however, don’t let that deter you from attending. Martinez expects “90% of individual ticket holders will be able to get into the films they want to see.”

For all you need to know about the 2015 Austin Film Festival, hit up the website at