4 days of panels and workshops.
8 nights of films and parties.
Festival & Conference > Conference


Built around one of the most prestigious screenwriting contests in the country, the Conference attracts groundbreaking producers, agents, managers, and development execs, as well as countless working screenwriters and filmmakers.

Austin Film Festival & Conference didn’t attract such a fierce and faithful following by accident. Hitting its 23rd anniversary this year, AFF is as devoted as ever to nurturing creativity in a rough-and-tumble business, serving as a greenhouse for projects and a clubhouse for the most discussed, prolific, outlaw, and legendary filmmakers and screenwriters in entertainment.

Founded in 1993 as the only organization of its kind to celebrate and investigate the writer’s role in filmmaking, AFF is famous for stirring up interaction between icons and newcomers-including producers, agents, managers, development executives, filmmakers, screenwriters, and registrants. Practically every first-time AFF participant has walked away saying: That’s unlike anything I’ve experienced or heard about.

Many conferences are footnotes to festivals; the AFF Conference is worth the trip alone. The lineup is interactive, raw, and fun – you’re destined to leave with a notebook full of strategies. Panelists and awardees will serve as guest film programmers, sharing insight on films that have inspired them and helped shape their careers.

The Conference covers basics like: researching and editing your story, creating and funding your film while somehow paying the rent, working with a writing partner, facing a blank page on a bad day, or risking a new direction after established success. Newcomers learn from veterans, and professionals trade war stories and get rejuvenated by fresh thinking. You’ll go from writing workshops led by your creative heroes during the day to late nights at the Driskill Bar where you’ll drink and eat side by side with those same panelists, the conversation practically uninterrupted.

Party Like It’s 1993!

It’s been a wild ride! Since 1993, AFF has been ahead of the game, presciently including television writers in the roster since day one, spotlighting pioneers and screenwriters, and building an idea-exchange refuge in a commercial industry. As writers and creators become more visible now, AFF – who supported them from the beginning – has the most loyal and generous panelist roster of any festival or conference.

When Executive Director Barbara Morgan co-founded AFF, uncertain the mission would catch fire, it was Frank Pierson who reassured her that Austin Film Festival was filling a crucial gap. Ever since, AFF has grown exponentially, continuing to serve and champion the screenwriter. Participants have included this era’s most important thinkers and artists, including Sydney Pollack, Joel and Ethan Coen,  Horton Foote. Jr., Robert Altman David Simon, Steven Zaillian, Caroline Thompson, Lawrence Kasdan, Buck Henry, Robert Rodriguez, Ron Howard, John Lasseter, and David Chase.

Austin Film Festival & Conference is like its host city, with a kinetic culture, big heart and no pretensions. The week is packed full of BBQ-and-champagne parties and a deliberate lack of velvet rope. Panelists have called it a vacation for writers, a place to let loose and celebrate the imagination.

Born and raised for festivity, Austin is home to many huge cultural events. The city has the grand venues for premieres, intimate spaces for indie films, and ballrooms and backyards where you can drink margaritas and shoot the breeze with legends and rising stars and film lovers.  This round-the-clock party inevitably leads to projects, alliances, and possibilities. If you’re a writer, filmmaker, or fan, expect a transformative experience at Austin Film Festival & Conference.

It’s never too early to start planning. Visit our Travel & Lodging page to book your trip to Austin in October!

Download the 2015 Conference Brochure:


Important Information

*Important: Badge holders and Film Pass holders MUST be in line no later than 25 minutes prior to scheduled start time. Priority admission is given to all Badge holders. Film Pass holders will be seated after all Badge holders have entered the theater. Once General Admission tickets have gone on sale, Badge holders and Film Pass holders will no longer have priority admittance. Neither Badge holders nor Film Pass holders are guaranteed a seat in a particular theater, only admission up to capacity. General Admission tickets will go on sale 25 minutes prior to each screening. Badge holders and Film Pass holders arriving AFTER the 25 minute mark must go to the back of the General Admission line. ALL theater seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. No one will be admitted to the theater 15 minutes after start time. Thank you for your cooperation. **All speakers and events are based on permitting schedules and subject to change and/or cancellation without notice. ***Special events may require purchase of a separate ticket for entry. If you have any questions about the Festival or your membership or badge purchases, please contact info@austinfilmfestival.com or call 1-800-310-3378. Austin Film Festival strives to be accessible to all patrons of the arts. While all of our Conference and Festival venues are wheelchair accessible, it is important to request accessible seating for a particular screening at least one day before the screening. As there are a limited number of available seats, waiting until walk-up or the day of the screening does not guarantee an accessible seat will be available. These requests can be made by calling Austin Film Festival at 1-800-310-FEST(3378). Sign language interpreters can be made available for the Conference. Interpreted panels are subject to the availability of an interpreter. Please call Austin Film Festival at 1-800-310-FEST(3378) to request.