Highlights include awardees Michael Schur and Stephanie Allain along with anticipated screenings of MEMORIA and THE HUMANS.
Austin, TX (August 24, 2021) – The Austin Film Festival (AFF) announced today the first wave of films and award honorees for its 28th-anniversary festival program. Alongside the first ten films of its upcoming slate, AFF will award the Outstanding Television Writer Award to Emmy award-winning writer and producer Michael Schur and the Polly Platt Award for Producing to the prolific producer of film and television, Stephanie Allain. The premier film festival recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film, television, and new media will run from October 21-28, 2021.
In anticipation of the October festival, AFF is proud to present the first ten films of this year’s extraordinary lineup. Featuring seven world premieres and highlighting films by talented first-time feature filmmakers, this year’s lineup celebrates diverse storytellers. Highlights include Stephen Karam’s haunting debut THE HUMANS from A24, a chilling Icelandic horror IT HATCHED by first-time writer/director and filmmaker to watch Elvar Gunnarsson, and the cautionary drama EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED TO TELL MY DAUGHTER ABOUT MEN which was helmed by an impressive seventeen female directors.
The first ten films of the 2021 AFF lineup can be found below:
- EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED TO TELL MY DAUGHTER ABOUT MEN (Directed by an ensemble of 17 women, Written by Lorien Hayes) – World Premiere
- GHOSTS OF THE OZARKS (Directed by Jordan Wayne Long and Matt Glass, Written by Tara Perry, Jordan Wayne Long, Sean Anthony Davis) – World Premiere
- IT HATCHED (Directed/Written Elvar Gunnarsson) – World Premiere
- MEMORIA (Directed/Written by Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – Texas Premiere
- PETITE MAMAN (Directed/Written by Céline Sciamma) – Texas Premiere
- RAGGED HEART (Directed by Evan McNary, Written by Evan McNary and Debrah McNary) – World Premiere
- SWAMP LION (Directed/Written by Torben Bech) – World Premiere
- THE BIG BEND (Directed/Written by Brett Wagner) – World Premiere
- THE HUMANS (Directed/Written Stephen Karam) – Texas Premiere
- WITH THIS BREATH I FLY (Directed by Sam French and Clementine Malpas) – World Premiere
This year’s lineup features breakthrough talent and pivotal narratives that challenge traditional storytelling. Explore the woods through a child’s eyes in NEON’s acclaimed French drama PETITE MAMAN from Céline Sciamma (AFF 2019 selection PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE) which explores the connection between mother and daughter in the wake of their grandmother’s death. In RAGGED HEART, first-time filmmakers Evan McNary and Debrah McNary explore loss and love as the film follows a washed-up musician who is haunted by his estranged daughter’s ghost to finish the last song she wrote.
Incredibly timely and important documentary WITH THIS BREATH I FLY follows two women in Afghanistan as they courageously fight for their freedom against a patriarchal Afghan society that imprisons them for “moral crimes.”
Although AFF is dedicated to fostering new talent, it is pleased to welcome back AFF alumni and Texas filmmakers with their latest films. THE BIG BEND stars Jason Butler Harner (“Ozark”), Virginia Kull (“Big Little Lies”), Erica Ash (SURVIVOR’S REMORSE), and David Sullivan (ARGO) in a West Texas-set drama where two families meet for a reunion that doesn’t go as planned. Faced with mountains of debt from his son’s cancer treatment, director Torben Bech shows how far a father will go to save his son in SWAMP LION, one of Michael Ray Escamilla’s (FRONTERA, THE LAND) final films.
Go back in time to post-Civil War Arkansas with GHOSTS OF THE OZARKS starring Tim Blake Nelson (THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS), David Arquette (NEVER BEEN KISSED) and Phil Morris (ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE) where a black doctor is summoned to a remote town in the Ozarks only to discover that the utopian paradise is not all it seems to be. Audiences can also immerse themselves in Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s meditative and complex MEMORIA starring Tilda Swinton as a woman attempting to discover the cause of a sound only she can hear.
In the drama EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED TO TELL MY DAUGHTER ABOUT MEN, a mother recounts her past relationships in hopes her daughter won’t make the same mistakes. Written by Lorien Hayes, the film was directed by an ensemble of fifteen women – including Talia Balsam, Saffron Burrows, and Fuschia Sumner among others – all bringing their unique viewpoints and experience to the film.
In addition to teasing the 2021 film lineup, AFF is pleased to announce Michael Schur as the recipient of the Outstanding Television Writer Award and Stephanie Allain as the recipient of the Polly Platt Award for Producing. Schur and Allain join the previously announced recipient of the Bill Wittliff Award for Screenwriting, Scott Frank.
Getting his start at “Saturday Night Live,” Schur is known for creating the critically acclaimed NBC comedy “The Good Place” and co-creating “Parks and Recreation”, “Brooklyn 99”, and the Peacock series “Rutherford Falls.” Allain is one of the most prolific African American producers working today. Known for launching the careers of many first-time directors, including John Singleton, Craig Brewer, Justin Simien and Gerard McMurray, her award-winning films shape the cultural landscape. A longtime advocate for inclusion, she is the only Black woman to produce the Oscars, for which she was Emmy nominated. Previous recipients of the Outstanding Television Writer Award include Benioff & Weiss, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Marta Kauffman, and Norman Lear. The previous recipient of the Polly Platt Award for Producing was Sarah Green.
The complete list of programming, including hundreds of films and panels, will be announced in September. Tickets and passes are currently on sale at www.austinfilmfestival.com
Press accreditation is now open through October 8, 2021. Press can apply at https://austinfilmfestival.com/contact/press-inquiries/
The health and safety of the Austin Film Festival’s patrons is its top priority and all in-person events will comply with local and state COVID guidelines. Details on specific protocols will be distributed closer to the event.
ABOUT AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL:
Austin Film Festival (AFF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the art, craft and business of writers and filmmakers and recognizing their contributions to film, television and new media. AFF champions the work of aspiring and established writers and filmmakers by providing unique cultural events and services, enhancing public awareness and participation, and encouraging dynamic and long-lasting community partnerships. AFF is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and the Texas Commission on the Arts. Badges and passes are available for purchase online at www.austinfilmfestival.com or by phone at 1-800-310-FEST.