Austin Film Festival Announces Conference Slate

Panelists include Jenji Kohan, Rian Johnson, and more

Vince Gilligan
Vince Gilligan
Photo via Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Half the fun of any film festival is the, you know, films, but never forget that a strong conference slate can really make or break the event too.

The Austin Film Festival, this year celebrating its 20th anniversary, announced today the lineup of panelists slated to be included in this year's conference. From writers to producers and directors, this list includes several huge names from Hollywood, several of whom will be honored with awards during this year's festival, Oct. 24-31.

Vince Gilligan, the mastermind behind Breaking Bad, is set to receive an award as Outstanding Television Writer, and Jonathan Demme will be honored for his Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking. (Consider: Philadelphia, The Silence of the Lambs, Rachel Getting Married, and The Manchurian Candidate all are attributable to his direction.) In addition, Callie Khouri will receive the Distinguished Screenwriter Award; her screenwriting debut, Thelma and Louise raked in half a dozen Academy Award nominations, and she hasn't slowed down since. Her directorial debut was Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and she's currently the executive producer of Nashville.

AFF is known for its enlightening discussions on every facet of filmmaking, and its panels are no exception this year: Robert Rodriguez on his new cable network, Jenji Kohan (Weeds, Orange Is the New Black) and David Shore (House) as part of a Scribble-to-Screen series including Terri Edda Miller and Andrew Marlowe, Dan Rather and Anne Rapp on their forthcoming Horton Foote documentary. The list goes on.

Check out some of the other panelists below:

• Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
• Leslie Dixon (The Thomas Crown Affair)
• Brian Helgeland (42)
• Rian Johnson (Brick)
• Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko)
• Chris Lowell (Veronica Mars)
• David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints)
• Ray McKinnon (Rectify)
• Jeff Nichols (Mud)
• Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia)
• Roberto Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness)
• Norman Steinberg (Blazing Saddles)
• Jim Taylor (Sideways)
• Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars)
• Beau Willimon (House of Cards)

Stay tuned to the Screens blog for more info from the festival as it becomes available.

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