We have been working year-round to develop our Diversity Focus program, with the goal of bringing greater recognition to underrepresented storytellers in the industry. Though statistics point to inadequate opportunities for women and minorities, AFF set out to usurp these trends and traditions by inspiring and showcasing a burgeoning community of talented and passionate voices, committed to challenging the story of who makes up the storytellers of today.
We are committed to carrying on our responsibility of challenging the status quo. In addition to serving up a program steeped with diverse viewpoints and approaches, the Diversity Focus Program also provides a platform for underrepresented artists from all over the world to be heard, to have access, and to add their voices to the fabric of the industry’s future.”
– Barbara Morgan, Exectuive Director
Austin Film Festival
To help cultivate this initiative, AFF partnered with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to challenge the narrative of who makes up the storytellers of today.
Thanks to these joint efforts, AFF is pleased to present a Conference roster that plays host to approximately:
-50% women & minorities
-Almost 80% of panels featuring an diverse slate
Furthermore, the program offers a number of panels that directly address inclusivity in the industry, such as: The Women in the Room & Speaking Truth to Power: How Entertainment Can Tackle the Thorniest Social Issues (and Change the World), along with many more!
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.
In addition, we’re proud to feature a film slate chock full of diverse voices, faces, and viewpoints. Greta Gerwig kicked off the Festival with the highly anticipated Lady Bird, about the coming of age of an artistic seventeen year-old girl in Sacramento, California & Michael Del Monte came with Transformer, which follows the strongest man on the planet for nearly two years as he struggles to become a woman.
AFF is excited to feature and champion diverse voices behind the camera as well. Highlights include Helen Whitney’s documentary Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death, Colette Burson’s comedy Permanent and Virgil Williams’ Mudbound.
Our Screenplay Competition made great strides toward these diversity efforts as well:
-44% of Finalist scripts include a female writer
-International entries include writers from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, and Spain
-48% of the industry judges and 60% of the readers for the Competition are female
ABOUT THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES
Austin Film Festival utilizes the grant provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to support its Diversity Focus Program, which fosters increased representation for marginalized voices. The Diversity Focus Program showcases underrepresented voices like those of women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community through a series of panels and screenings. The grant allows AFF to expand its support of this initiative by funding travel and accommodation for screenwriters and filmmakers, augmenting event spaces, and implementing targeted marketing material for underserved demographics.