OCTOBER 15, 2019 – AUSTIN, TX – The 26th annual Austin Film Festival (AFF), the premier film festival recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film, television, theatre and new media, announced its Opening Night feature, The Obituary of Tunde Johnson, taking place October 24, 2019. Director Ali LeRoi will present the film alongside screenwriter Stanley Kalu. The film is Ali LeRoi’s feature directorial debut, and Kalu’s first produced feature screenplay. Kalu won The LAUNCH: Million Dollar Screenplay Competition in 2018, co-founded by Zachary Green and Jason Shuman. Along with receiving a $50,000 education grant and literary representation, Kalu’s film was produced by Zachary Green, Jason Shuman and philanthropists Chuck and Marni Bond.
The Obituary of Tunde Johnson follows Tunde Johnson (portrayed by Steven Silver), a gay, black teenager trapped in a time loop that forces him to relive his own brutal murder at the hands of a police officer on duty. The film made its World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival last month. LeRoi and Kalu will participate in a post-film Q&A following the screening and will also take part in programming as panelists at the AFF Writers Conference.
AFF also proudly announces additional Marquee feature Atlantics. Atlantics, a haunting romance set in Senegal, is the feature directorial debut of Mati Diop. The film was awarded the Sutherland Award at the BFI London Film Festival as well as the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The film will screen Sunday October 27, 2019 at 2:30pm at the Alamo Drafthouse Village. Atlantics will premiere in theaters November 15, 2019 and on Netflix November 29, 2019.
The Festival’s shorts programming blocks include Wanted: Strong Woman, in which a woman finds a new passion, Black Goat, the story of a girl’s dark coming of age ritual, Robu, a young man’s journey through Japan to recover a special manga, and Digital Series Brothers from the Suburbs, a comedy centered on three black high schoolers. The Festival is also screening short films The Shabbos Goy, a comedy from Paul Feig, Laura Fischer’s Powderkeg Fuse incubator, Bye Bye Body, an introspective look at body positivity, and family drama Jane. Other mentionable shorts include the University of Texas filmmakers’ Femenina, which tells the story of a wrestler’s grappling with his own sexuality, and Super Sonic, a romance cultivated beyond one man’s hearing-impairment.
AFF’s highly competitive and Oscar®-qualifying short film competition has helped boost the career of filmmakers like Jason Reitman and Maggie Carey and led to numerous Academy Award® nominations, including One Small Step, Negative Space, and Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405, which took home the Oscar® after premiering at AFF.
ATLANTICS (US Premiere)
(France, Senegal, Begium, 105 min)
Writer: Mati Diop, Olivier Demangel
Director: Mati Diop
Cast: Mama Sané, Amadou Mbow, Ibrahima Traoré, Nicole Sougou, Amina Kane, Mariama Gassama, Coumba Dieng, Ibrahima Mbaye, Diankou Sembene
Along the Atlantic coast, a soon-to-be-inaugurated futuristic tower looms over a suburb of Dakar. Ada, 17, is in love with Souleiman, a young construction worker. But she has been promised to another man. One night, Souleiman and his co-workers leave the country by sea, in hope of a better future. Several days later, a fire ruins Ada’s wedding and a mysterious fever starts to spread. Little does Ada know that Souleiman has returned.
THE OBITUARY OF TUNDE JOHNSON- OPENING NIGHT FILM
(USA, 104 min)
Writer: Stanley Kalu
Director: Ali LeRoi
Cast: Steven Silver, Spencer Neville, Nicola Peltz
Tunde Johnson should be happy, but there is emptiness, a sorrow inside of him he just can’t shake. He is adored by his wealthy, artist/intellectual Nigerian parents, his childhood best friend Marley and is also deeply in love with Soren, his closeted boyfriend who is the captain of the Lacrosse team. Tunde lives day in, day out with Soren’s dark secret, as he is forced to deceive Marley and live in the shadows of her relationship with Soren. Prescription pills are his only way to cope and get through the day. After coming out to his own parents, Tunde makes his way to Soren’s birthday party, with the goal of convincing Soren to finally come out to his conservative pundit father. However, before he arrives, Tunde is pulled over by the police and shot to death. He immediately awakens and is forced to live in a brutal time loop.
Original Series 1
BROTHERS FROM THE SUBURBS (USA, 35 min)
Creator: Patrick Wimp
Brothers from the Suburbs is a short-form digital comedy series that chronicles the highs and lows of three black teenagers coming of age in an affluent, suburban, white private school community.
Shorts Program 2- Escapades
ROBU (USA, 19 MIN)
Writer: Kai Hasson, Josh Hallman
Director: Kai Hasson
The story of an American teenager in Tokyo on a quest to find a lost manga and a connection with his father.
WANTED: STRONG WOMAN (Canada, 15 MIN)
Writer/Director: Marilyn Cooke
Nadege lacks the confidence to get what she wants from life… until the day she discovers a new passion that awakens the beast inside her.
Shorts Program 3- To Freedom!
BYE BYE BODY (USA, 10 MIN)
Writer/Director: Charlotte Benbeniste
When Nina fails to meet her goal at weight loss camp, she makes a deal with the devil, only to discover a new understanding of her body.
Shorts Program 6 – Getting Old
BLACK GOAT (USA, 12 MIN)
Writer/Director: Yi Tang
Pasang has her first period after hearing a late-night ghost story. She believes that she has been cursed and needs to sacrifice a black goat to avoid misfortune.
Shorts Program 7: The Kids are Alright
SUPER SONIC (USA, 16 MIN)
Writer/Director: Saleem Nasir Gondal
Wahid’s hearing-impairment has made adjusting to the chaotic pace of New York difficult to navigate… until he meets Samar at a dance party.
Shorts Program 10: Everything’s Shorts in Texas 1
FEMENINA (USA, 13 MIN)
Writer/Director: Ilana Garcia-Mittleman
A dedicated boxer is forced to confront his sexuality after he begins training with and falling for a transgender woman.
Shorts Program 8: Family Matters
THE SHABBOS GOY (USA, 7 MIN)
Writer/Director: Talia Osteen
God literally forbids she turn off a vibrator gone rogue, so an Orthodox Jew sets out on a quest to find someone who can.
JANE (USA, 16 MIN)
Writer/Director: Kathryn Prescott
A young woman suffering from heroin addiction and living in one of downtown Los Angeles’ many Single Room Occupancy hotels receives an invite to her estranged four-year-old daughter’s birthday party.
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. All attendees and events are based on permitting schedules and are subject to change and/or cancellation without notice. For media credentials, please contact Lauren Kelcher Stevenson at email@example.com. Badges and passes are available for purchase online at www.austinfilmfestival.com or by phone at 1-800-310-FEST.
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