Austin Film Festival Announces (Almost) Full Slate

Opening and closing night films still to come

With its prime perch in late October, the Austin Film Festival traditionally has gifted local audiences with their first shot at seeing the year’s Oscar bait.

Escobar: Paradise Lost

AFF 2014’s just-announced slate includes films with some of the season’s buzziest performances so far, including Wild, which stars Reese Witherspoon in an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir, Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and writer/director Andrea Di Stefano’s debut feature Escobar: Paradise Lost, starring Benicio del Toro.

Other highlights include the world premiere of documentary 21 Years: Richard Linklater, a first look at the new Bravo hourlong series Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, starring House’s Lisa Edelstein and executive produced by Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mad Men), and the promising-looking Disney animated feature Big Hero 6, about an inflatable robot and his human boy best friend.

Big Hero 6

Of course, AFF isn’t only about bright shiny new things – its retrospective sidebar is an annual treat. This year’s offering include Mad Men mastermind Matthew Weiner presenting episodes from The Twilight Zone; Jim Sheridan and Terry George presenting In the Name of the Father; Jenny Lumet presenting dad Sidney’s Network; and writer Randall Wallace presenting Braveheart.

Also slated to attend the fest includes Rita Wilson, Jason Ritter, Maz Jobrani, Jeff Duplass, and Scott Eastwood.

The Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference runs Oct. 23-30. More info on the Marquee Films below.


MARQUEE FILMS

Black and White (Centerpiece Film)
Writer/Director: Mike Binder*
Cast in attendance: Jillian Estell
A widowed grandfather (Kevin Costner) is left to raise his bi-racial granddaughter and finds himself in a bitter legal battle when the paternal grandmother (Octavia Spencer) seeks custody.

Black and White

21 Years: Richard Linklater (World Premiere)
Director: Michael Dunaway,* Tara Wood*
Cast in attendance: Jay Duplass
A spirited look at the first 21 years of writer/director Richard Linklater's remarkable career, featuring interviews with collaborators Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Billy Bob Thornton, Keanu Reeves, Jack Black, and more.

Big Hero 6
Writer: Robert Baird, Paul Briggs, Don Hall, Jordan Roberts
Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams
From Walt Disney Animation Studios, an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax, a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada.

Dawn Patrol (World Premiere)
Writer: Rachel Long,* Brian Pittman*
Director: Daniel Petrie Jr*
Cast in attendance: Scott Eastwood, Rita Wilson, Jeff Fahey, Chris Brochu, Kim Matula, Dendrie Taylor, Matt Meola
A surfer-turned-Marine (Eastwood) held at gunpoint tells his tragic story of revenge-gone-wrong to stall his execution.

Escobar: Paradise Lost
Writer/Director: Andrea Di Stefano
An American surfer (Josh Hutcherson) meets the girl of his dreams — but gets a brutal reality check when he meets her uncle, Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Benicio del Toro).

Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce (World Premiere)
Creator/Executive Producer: Marti Noxon*
Bravo’s first original scripted series, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, follows Abby (Lisa Edelstein, “House”), a self-help book author who hides the fact that she’s separated from her husband, as she starts to navigate her life as a single woman in her early 40s in Los Angeles.

Red Army
Director: Gabe Polsky
Following the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, Red Army tells the story of the nation's famed Red Army hockey team through the eyes of its captain Slava Fetisov. Whether he was pitted against enemies in the political arena or on the ice, Fetisov's story provides a rare glimpse behind the Iron Curtain of the 1970s and '80s by mirroring the social and political forces at work in the world around him. While helping pave the way for his nation to cross over into the next century, this one man demonstrated how sports could not only be an avenue for creative expression in a world determined to suppress it, but also be something so inextricably intertwined with a nation's cultural and political identity.

The Homesman
Writer: Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Oliver, Kieran Fitzgerald
Director: Tommy Lee Jones
A pious, independent-minded pioneer (Hilary Swank) employs a drifter (Jones) to help escort three women on the brink of insanity across the harsh Nebraska Territories to refuge in Iowa.

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game
Writer: Graham Moore
Director: Morten Tyldum
Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), the British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist, leads the charge to crack the German Enigma Code, helping the Allies win WWII.

The Sound and the Fury
Writer: Matt Rager, William Faulkner (Novel)
Director: James Franco
A look at the lives of the Compsons, a once proud Southern family caught in a tragic spiral of loss and misfortune.

The Texas Promise (World Premiere)
Director: Vanessa Roth*
From Academy-Award® winning documentarian, a look at issues of equity and opportunity by following the effects of the state’s $5.4 billion cuts to education on the 5 million students in Texas public schools.

Wild
Writer: Nick Hornby, Cheryl Strayed (author)
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
In attendance: W. Earl Brown
After years of reckless behavior, and haunted by memories of her mother, a woman (Reese Witherspoon) sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own. 

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Austin Film Festival, Austin Film Festival 2014, aff 2014, Wild, Cheryl Strayed, The Imitation Game, Escobar: Paradise Lost, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benicio Del Toro, A Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce, 21 Years: Richard Linklater, Big Hero 6, Matthew Weiner

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