04.16.14 | Liz, Erin, Harrison
To complement last week’s blog post from Chris Lowell and Mo Narag and their seven lessons for up-and-coming filmmakers, the film department has assembled an additional seven reasons to submit your film to this year’s competition. Creative Director, Erin Hallagan, Senior Programmer, Liz Mims, and Film Program Coordinator, Harrison Glaser, share just some of what makes AFF a unique and valuable experience for any filmmaker. Be sure to submit during this Early Bird period before entry fees go up on May 1st!
1. A Modest Entry Fee Packed with Worth.
Yes, an entry fee is required to submit your film, but it’s worth it. But don’t just take it from us. This year Moviemaker Magazine named us one of the Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee. Not only that, but until May 1, you can submit your film for our Early Bird price—just $50. And then you can take an EXTRA five dollars off of that by submitting directly through our website. We hope you can find it in your budget to share your film with us.
2. Sweet, Southern Hospitality.
One of the most imaginative and fresh-thinking cities in the United States, Austin has a booming film community whose energy infuses AFF. Perhaps one of the only cities where you can eat authentic BBQ, go to chicken shit bingo and try vegan ice cream in the same night, it is rich with culture and renowned for its hospitality. Austin is also the live music capital of the world, so in-between events and films you can catch great music any night of the week. Jump into Barton Springs to experience the cheapest thrill in town or howl at the moon with night swimmers. The fun and lively spirit of Austin is something that everyone should experience. If you submit, you might have a darn good reason to visit.
As a filmmaker you would join the ranks of the close knit family that is Austin Film Festival. While some festivals have VIP parties, green rooms, and exclusive events, we consider all guests worthy of having a great time.
3. I get to screen my film where???
The Festival & Conference takes place downtown in grand historic buildings and hip new spaces, and the city’s personality enhances AFF. If your film is selected into our program, don’t expect it to screen in an impromptu convention center room. Just like our city and our Festival, our theaters are weird, awesome, and majestic. Your film could screen at the famous Paramount Theatre, a gorgeous venue built in 1915, complete with box seats and ceiling murals. You can almost taste the history. Or maybe your film will screen at the world renowned Alamo Drafthouse, a pride and joy of Austinites and movie-lovers alike. We can guarantee that your screening will be even more fun when everyone in the audience is enjoying a cold beer. And don’t forget our IMAX theater. Can you imagine your film playing in high definition on a 62 foot tall screen? It’s a sight to behold, we assure you.
No matter where your film plays at our Festival, we try to make sure the location is just as memorable as the experience.
4. We treat every film like an event
This year, the creative programming from both the Conference and Film Departments has been combined in hopes to produce an even stronger platform for great storytelling. The inviting, inspirational, and organic atmosphere of the Screenwriters Conference will continue to be implemented in the post-screening Q&A’s, with carefully selected moderators that share our passion for the stories behind the stories. Each film is treated like an event at Austin Film Festival, and the opportunity to explore the filmmakers journey a staple to the Festival experience.
5. Panels, Parties, and Unrivaled Industry Networking
The Screenwriters Conference is truly one-of-a-kind. Because AFF is so interactive, the incoming screenwriters and filmmakers are not just names on a list but artists you get to know during the week. From a script-revising workshop in the morning to an industry-packed BBQ Supper party in the evening, this Festival is designed for contact, for catalyzing ideas, and collaboration. AFF is continuing the highly-popular guest-programmed Retrospectives Screenings, like 2013’s screenings of The French Connection presented by Vince Gilligan, or My Man Godfrey presented by Shane Black. There will be more independent filmmaking panels, featuring filmmakers from this year’s competition dissecting their own learned experiences on and off set – including everything from assembling your crew to navigating the Festival circuit. Sit down to have your indie film questions answered, and then see films helmed by the very panelists later that day.
Parties are a cornerstone to Austin Film Festival & Conference, from the Late Night Welcome Party to the Hair of the Dog Brunch and the Film Texas BBQ Supper. These laidback yet boisterous get-togethers allow newcomers, veterans, film lovers and icons to talk shop over brisket and margaritas. Think of these festivities as an antidote to the high walls and velvet ropes of Hollywood.
6. When you win here, you really win
Our competition is about much more than the cash prize. Not only do you get our unique and beautiful bronze typewriter statue—five pounds of prestige you can hold in your hands—but you also get to win it alongside some legendary and influential figures in film and television as part of our annual Awards Luncheon ceremony. Last year, our winning filmmakers received their awards next to Jonathan Demme, Vince Gilligan, Callie Khouri and Susan Sarandon. Expect more of the same this year.
In case that’s not enough, also keep in mind that the Jury Award winners of our Narrative, Documentary and Animated Short categories officially qualify for an Academy Award. In 2012 our awards sent Timothy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, Bryan Buckley and Mina Jarjoura to the Oscars when their films Head over Heels and Asad were nominated. And in 2011 our Animated Short Jury Award winner The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore actually won the Oscar.
With big name Jurors attached to the competition, your films are given the attention, consideration, and deliberation they deserve.
Big things happen when you win our bronze typewriter, but if you want to win, you have to submit first!
7. Life after Austin Film Festival
We work actively to stay in constant touch with our alumni. It is our goal not only to support their film, but also their place as a filmmaker in the industry.
Every year, the number and caliber of film submissions rises, pushing AFF further into the center of the ring for film festivals. Our 2013 festival featured 28 world premieres and several US premieres, and included narrative, documentary, and animated films, running the spectrum from low-budget stunners to Hollywood breakouts. Five of our features were picked up for distribution during the week of the festival and many others have been picked up since.
And again, the Jury Award winners for Narrative Shorts, Animated Shorts and Documentary Shorts are eligible to be nominated for an Academy Award®. Additionally, short films have the opportunity to be included in our television show, On Story, a half-hour PBS-affiliated series that features a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process of the most beloved movies and television shows, comprised of past AFF panels and screenings coupled with a short film that screened during the Festival.
So what are you waiting for? Submit today before the prices go up on May 1st!