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JAMES IVORY AND RON BASS HONORED AT THE 26TH ANNUAL AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL & WRITERS CONFERENCE
First Look at Conference Programming Revealed, Including Conversations on The Farewell, Empire, and More
Austin, TX – September 4, 2019 – Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference (AFF), the premier film festival that champions the writers’ contribution to film, television, and new media, is thrilled to announce two more honorees set to receive awards at the 26th Annual Austin Film Festival, October 24-31, 2019. James Ivory will receive the “Extraordinary Contribution to Film” Award alongside screenwriter Ron Bass, who is set to receive the “Distinguished Screenwriter” Award.
James Ivory is a multiple Academy Award® nominated filmmaker and prolific director, writer, and producer. During his career, Ivory maintained a decades-long partnership with producer Ismail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, producing dozens of films under the banner of their film company—Merchant Ivory Productions. Ivory received Best Director Oscar® nominations for three films which were also nominated for Best Picture— A Room with a View, Howards End, and The Remains of the Day. Most recently, he wrote the screenplay for Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of André Aciman’s novel Call Me by Your Name for which he was awarded the 2018 Oscar® for Best Adapted Screenplay and the BAFTA and the Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Ron Bass is an Academy Award® winning screenwriter with over two dozen produced screenplays. A few of his produced credits as a writer include My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Joy Luck Club, Stepmom, Waiting to Exhale, and Rain Man, for which he won the 1989 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Other credits include What Dreams May Come, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and Before We Go.
Ivory and Bass will accept their awards on Saturday, October 26 during the annual Awards Luncheon, and participate in Conference programming at the 26th Annual Writers Conference alongside fellow honorees David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (Game of Thrones). In addition to announcing their attendance, the Festival has also announced the first round of Conference programming that will feature writers and creators from both film and television.
Lulu Wang will sit down for a conversation on writing and directing The Farewell, a film that follows a Chinese family who decide to keep their ailing grandmother in the dark about her own terminal illness and instead plan a wedding to say their final goodbyes. Wang was named one of Variety’s Top Ten Directors to Watch in 2019.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before writer Sofia Alvarez will join the Conference for a conversation on adapting the YA novel for the screen and how the film has revitalized the teen romance genre. In a recent announcement, Netflix has confirmed two sequels to follow the film. Alvarez was listed as one of Variety’s 10 Screenwriters to Watch for 2018.
AFF will also host an Inside the Writers Room: Empire panel with writers Joshua Allen, Eric Haywood, Attica Locke, and Malcolm Spellman. The conversation will discuss their time writing the popular Fox drama series that follows a family power struggle. Empire will return to Fox this fall for its sixth and final season.
In addition, the Conference is set to host a panel titled Telling True Crime Stories, an exploration of the burgeoning true crime genre that has brought retellings of horrific true crime events to both the big and small screen. Panelists in this conversation will include Michelle Dean (co-creator of Hulu’s The Act), Guinevere Turner (writer of the 2018 film Charlie Says), and Michael Werwie (writer of Netflix’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile).
The conference will also feature a conversation with Golden Globe nominated writer/producer Liz Hannah. In 2017 Hannah’s original spec script, The Post, was produced/directed by Steven Spielberg and subsequently nominated for Best Picture at the 2018 Academy Awards®. Following that success, Hannah wrote the recently released romantic comedy Long Shot starring Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron and was a writer/producer on season two of the Netflix true crime series Mindhunter that premiered on August 16. Her next film All The Bright Places, starring Elle Fanning and Justice Smith, will be released by Netflix in 2020.
Alec Berg will be in attendance for a conversation on writing, directing, and producing two HBO hit comedies—Barry, which Berg co-created with series star Bill Hader, and Silicon Valley, a collaboration with series co-creator Mike Judge, which will premiere its sixth and final season on Sunday October 27.
Veep showrunner David Mandel will also join the Festival for a conversation on his role at the helm of the critically acclaimed HBO series and his journey in bringing the politics-driven comedy to a close this past May. Veep’s final season has earned Emmy nominations for both Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.
As a continuation of AFF’s retrospective series and its 19-year commitment to TV programming, Berg and Mandel will also present a screening of back to back Seinfeld episodes from their tenure as series writers. Following the screening, the two will sit down for a Q&A to discuss their experience writing for the acclaimed series that celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.
The 2019 Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference will once again present over 150 panels on the art and craft of storytelling, featuring a slate of prominent industry professionals working in film, television, and new media. Other confirmed panelists for this year’s Festival include Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Ben Cory Jones (Boomerang), Dave Kajganich (Suspiria), Nicole Perlman (Captain Marvel), and Alex Tse (Wu-Tang: An American Saga). The 26th Annual Austin Film Festival & Conference takes place October 24 through 31, 2019, with more panelist announcements to come.
All speakers and events are based on permitting schedules and subject to change and/or cancellation without notice.
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. This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and the Texas Commission on the Arts. www.austinfilmfestival.com