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News > Austin Film Festival Announces Exceptional 20th Anniversary Conference Slate

Austin Film Festival Announces Exceptional 20th Anniversary Conference Slate




AUSTIN, TX (September 3rd) –Austin Film Festival (AFF) proudly announces the 2013 lineup of Panelists at this year’s Conference and the strongest brain trust of writers and filmmakers ever assembled in the twenty year history of the Festival. Attendees include Shane Black, Jonathan Demme, Leslie Dixon, Vince Gilligan, Brian Helgeland, Rian Johnson, Richard Kelly, Jenji Kohan, Chris Lowell, David Lowery, Ray McKinnon, Jeff Nichols, Ron Nyswaner, Roberto Orci, Dan Rather, Robert Rodriguez, David Shore, Norman Steinberg, Jim Taylor, Rob Thomas, Beau Willimon, and more.

AFF is thrilled to award Callie Khouri the Distinguished Screenwriter Award.  Khouri galvanized women and sparked nationwide debate in 1991 with the hit movie Thelma and Louise, her screenwriting debut, which was nominated for six Academy Awards®. She received the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the Writers Guild of America Award and a PEN Literary Award for Best Original Screenplay. Her second picture, Something to Talk About, starred Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid and Robert Duvall. Her directorial debut, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, starred Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd, which she also adapted for the screen. In 2006 Khouri collaborated with legendary television producer Steven Bochco and wrote and directed the television drama, Hollis and Rae. She is currently the creator and executive producer of the TV show Nashville starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere.  Khouri will accept the award at the Festival’s annual Awards Luncheon held on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at the Austin Club. Past Distinguished Screenwriter Honorees include Lawrence Kasdan, David Peoples, Frank Pierson, Eric Roth, Paul Schrader, Caroline Thompson, Bill Wittliff, and Steven Zaillian.

Scheduled Panelists for the 20th Anniversary  Conference are Robert Rodriguez (director/producer Sin City, Machete, Machete Kills) and Roberto Orci (creator Fringe, writer Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness), who will discuss their recent collaboration on El Rey, Rodriguez’s owned and operated cable network, which will host their upcoming original scripted series.

Jenji Kohan (creator Weeds, Orange is the New Black, joins and David Shore (creator House), Terri Edda Miller, and Andrew Marlowe (creators Castle) by way of the Writers Guild Foundation as part of the Scribble-to-Screen panel series, complimented by an extensive exhibit showcasing the Foundation’s renowned traveling script library.

AFF will feature a staged script reading of Vince Gilligan’s unproduced feature screenplay “2 FACE”, directed by Rian Johnson. The script follows a man with a split personality disorder who finds himself taking opposite sides of the political spectrum

Dan Rather (journalist, producer, news anchor CBS Evening News) joins writer/director Anne Rapp for a discussion on their upcoming documentary on playwright Horton Foote, using their research and production process as one of the Conference’s many case studies for aspiring filmmakers.

Additional Conference case studies include:

  • A conversation on launching a television show, and the creator/executive producer relationship using Ray McKinnon and Mark Johnson’s Sundance original series Rectify as a blueprint.
  • An in-depth look at adapting the Veronica Mars television series into a feature film, with creator Rob Thomas and actor Chris Lowell.
  • Script-to-screen panels on the writing and directing processes that went into Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Shane Black and Brick with Rian Johnson.

AFF’s continuing ‘Conversation in Film’ series will highlight the craft and career of leaders in the film and television industry, including Beau Willimon (creator House of Cards), Ron Nyswaner (writer Philadelphia, The Painted Veil), Leslie Dixon (writer Overboard, Limitless, The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)), Jim Taylor (writer Sideways, About Schmidt ), and more.

Indie film favorites, David Lowery (writer/director Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pioneer), Jeff Nichols (writer/director Mud, Take Shelter), and Richard Kelly (writer/director Donnie Darko, The Box) will speak to the state of independent filmmaking within an ever-changing industry.

Brian Helgeland (writer/director 42, A Knight’s Tale, writer L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) will present a retrospective screening of Cool Hand Luke. He joins the compilation of special retrospective screenings guest programmed by this year’s Conference panelists.  Guest programmers include: Jonathan Demme presenting Greaser’s Palace; Vince Gilligan presenting The French Connection; Shane Black presenting My Man Godfrey; Jim Taylor presenting his own Election; and Norman Steinberg presenting Blazing Saddles which he co-wrote with Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor.

For a list of confirmed 2013 AFF Panelists, visit Hear these Panelists at the 20th Anniversary Austin Film Festival and Conference, taking place from October 24th to 31st, 2013. Badges and Passes are available for purchase online 24 hours a day at or by phone at 1-800-310-FEST from 10am to 6pm CST.

About Austin Film Festival:

Austin Film Festival (AFF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the art, craft, and business of filmmakers and screenwriters. In addition to a robust list of year-round events, AFF is producing its 20th Annual Film Festival & Conference in 2013. AFF is known as a uniquely pro-artist and interactive idea exchange. Its uncommonly loyal following is due to the fact that the organization has spotlighted the minds and imaginations behind projects for two decades—a trend now picking up steam in the industry.  As director and producer Ron Howard said, Austin Film Festival “is really about creativity, about trying to help people find their voice. You sense it. There’s a spirit of camaraderie that’s palpable.” AFF is a greenhouse for projects and a clubhouse for legendary and emerging artists.

Austin Film Festival is funded and supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, City of Austin Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Additional support is provided by KUT, KVUE, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®, Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, and Shweiki Media.