Austin Film Festival Snags Chappaquiddick as Closing Night Film

Full lineup includes Call Me by Your Name, Three Billboards


The Toronto Film Festival may be the first stop for many of the fall film calendar’s biggest, most award-baity releases, but for local audiences, the Austin Film Festival is your best bet for an early look at your future Oscar pool picks. Today’s full lineup announcement includes plenty of bold-faced names, as well as under-the-radar indies.

If festival lineups follow a three-act structure – something surely appreciated at the screenwriter-centric Austin Film Festival – then the full lineup announcement offers a thumping conclusion to the previously announced Opening Night Film Lady Bird (writer/director Greta Gerwig’s autobiographically close coming-of-age film starring Saoirse Ronan) and mid-fest Centerpiece Film The Current War (an Edison vs. Westinghouse biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon): Capping off the festival as Closing Night Film will be director John Curran’s Chappaquiddick, a narrative retelling of the tragic – and criminal – 1969 car accident that ended one woman’s life and almost derailed Sen. Ted Kennedy’s political career.

A few more standouts from the lineup:

• The regional premiere of Call Me by Your Name, the much-buzzed-about adaptation from director Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash) about a summer romance between a twentysomething academic studying in Italy and a teenager exploring his sexuality. (The film inspired a recent Twitter spat over age, consent, and hypocrisy, itself a perfect précis of the three-act structure.)
• The regional premiere of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a black comedy from Irish writer/director Martin McDonagh starring Frances McDormand, an early front-runner for awards season. Notably, Three Billboards was set to open Fantastic Fest but was pulled by the distributor in the wake of widespread outrage over Drafthouse owner Tim League’s rehiring of a disgraced former employee accused (but not charged) of sexual assault.
• A retrospective screening of Jack Fisk’s 1981 film Raggedy Man in tribute to the late actor and playwright Sam Shepard, presented by writer Bill Wittliff in partnership with the Wittliff Collections.
• Dan Rather in attendance for the world premiere of the documentary Fail State, chronicling the rise of predatory for-profit colleges.
• A special presentation by Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt of Endings: The Good, the Bad, and the Insanely Great – The Movie, which we can only presume is a film rendering of his regular standing-room-only, nuts & bolts & bonkers-entertaining screenwriting session at the AFF conference.

The Austin Film Festival and Conference runs Oct. 26-Nov. 2. Find more information at

Full film lineup below.

Lady Bird

Marquee Features

Lady Bird – Opening Night Film
Writer/Director: Greta Gerwig

The Current War – Centerpiece Film
Writer: Michael Mitnick
Director: Alfonso Gomez

Chappaquiddick – Closing Night Film
Writers: Taylor Allen, Andrew Logan
Director: John Curran

24 Hours to Live
Writers: Zach Dean, Jim McClain, Ron Mita
Director: Brian Smrz

42 Grams
Director: Jack C. Newell

An Ordinary Man
Writer/Director: Brad Silberling

The Boy Downstairs
Writer/Director: Sophie Brooks

Writers: Laurie Shephard, Quinn Shephard
Director: Quinn Shephard

Writers: James Ivory, Andre Aciman
Director: Luca Guadagnino

Writer: Anthony McCarten
Director: Joe Wright

Endings: The Good, the Bad, and the Insanely Great – The Movie
Special Presentation by Michael Arndt

Into the Night; Portraits of Life and Death
Director: Helen Whitney

Please Stand By
Writer: Michael Golamco
Director: Ben Lewin

Writer/Director: Colette Burson

Mansfield 66/67
Directors: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri **REGIONAL PREMIERE
Writer/Director: Martin McDonagh

Writers: Jon Hartmere
Director: Neil Burger

Marquee-TV Programming

HBO’s The Deuce Season Finale
Writers: George Pelecanos, David Simon, Chris Yakaitis
Director: Michelle MacLaren

YouTube Red’s Do You Want to See a Dead Body?
Creator: Rob Huebel

Hulu’s Shut Eye
Season 2 Premiere Episode: “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” (Season Premiere)
Executive Producer/Showrunner: John Shiban
Executive Producers: Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein
Writer: Amy Berg

New Form Original Premieres
Small Talk
Creator: Becca Gleason
Love Me Do
Creator: Gaby Dunn
Press Start
Creators: Evan Beamer and Dave Childs

Retrospective Programming

Confessions of a Serial Killer (1985) – Presented by Mark Blair
Writer/Director: Mark Blair

Predator (1987) – Presented by Shane Black
Writers: Jim Thomas, John Thomas
Director: John McTiernan

Raggedy Man (1981) – Presented by William D. Wittliff
Writer: William D. Wittliff
Director: Jack Fisk

The Seven-Ups (1973) – Presented by George Pelecanos and David Simon
Writers: Albert Ruben, Alexander Jacobs, Sonny Grosso
Director: Philip D’Antoni

The Warriors (1979) – Presented by Walter Hill
Writers: Walter Hill, David Shaber, Sol Yurick (novel)
Director: Walter Hill

Narrative Features

Amanda and Jack Go Glamping
Writer/Director: Brandon Dickerson

An American in Texas
Writers: Anthony Pedone, Stephen Floyd
Director: Anthony Pedone

Beauty Mark
Writer/Director: Harris Doran
Cast: Laura Bell Bundy, Jeff Kober, Madison Iseman

Bleed. Scream. Beat!
Writers: Aldo Miyashiro, Ãrika Villalobos, Abril Cardenas
Director: Aldo Miyashiro

Writer/Director: Darren Curtis

Writer/Director: Bryan Buckley

Flock of Four
Writer: Gregory Caruso, Michael Nader
Director: Gregory Caruso

Here We Are
Writer/Director: David Bellarosa

High & Outside: a baseball noir
Writer: Dan O'Dair
Director: Evald Johnson

Hollow in the Land
Writer/Director: Scooter Corkle

In Blue
Writers: Jan-Willem den Bok & Jaap van Heusden
Director: Jaap van Heusden

Writers: Jasmuel Andri, Bruno Mourral, Gilbert Mirambeau
Director: Bruno Mourral

Writer/Director: Yaghoob Keshavarz Sarkar

Meerkat Moonship
Writer/Director: Hanneke Schutte

Quality Problems
Writer/Director: Brooke Purdy

Writers: Santiago Rizzo & Darren Anderson
Director: Santiago Rizzo

Southern Tale
Writer/Director: Tel Royal

Space & Time
Writer/Director: Shawn Gerrard

Sun Dogs
Writer: Jennifer Morrison
Director: Anthony Tambakis

Writer: Stacey Miller
Director: James Franco

House of Tomorrow
Writer/Director: Peter Livolsi

Time Trap
Writer: Mark Dennis
Directors: Mark Dennis, Ben Foster

Comedy Vanguard Features

Chasing the Blues
Writer: Scott Smith, Kevin Guilfoile
Director: Scott Smith

Don't Talk To Irene *US PREMIERE
Writer/Director: Pat Mills

Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks
Writer: Josh Crockett, Jonathan Pappas
Director: Josh Crockett

The Great Unwashed
Writer: Louis Fonseca, Nick Horseman
Director: Louis Fonseca

The Outdoorsman
Writer: Ryan Gilmour
Director: David Haskell

Shop of Little Pleasures
Writer: Julia Frick, Alice Frick
Director: Julia Frick

Wild Honey
Writer/Director: Francis Stokes

Dark Matters Features

Writer: Joseph Baker
Director: Tom Large

Bullitt County
Writer/Director: David McCracken

Writer/Director: Tini Tüllmann

Ruin Me
Writer: Trysta A. Bissett, Preston DeFrancis
Director: Preston DeFrancis

The Landing
Writers/Directors: David Dodson and Mark Dodson

Writer/Director: Karl R. Hearne

Documentary Feature

Director: James Keach

Beauty and Ruin
Writer/Director: Marc de Guerre

Coming to My Senses
Director: Dominic Gill

Writers: Alexander Shebanow, Regina Sobel, Nicholas Adams
Director: Alexander Shebanow

Writer: Valerie Red-horse Mohl, Gale Anne Hurd
Director: Valerie Red-horse Mohl

Mr. Fish: Cartooning From the Deep End
Director: Pablo Bryant

Shot in the Dark
Director: Dustin Nakao Haider

Writer/Director: Michael Del Monte

Triumph: The Untold Story of Perry Wallace
Writers: Rich Gentile, Eli Spielman, Bruce Johnson

What Haunts Us
Writer: Mark Monroe
Director: Paige Goldberg Tolmach

Family Series

Earth: One Amazing Day
Writers: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Richard Dale, Geling Yan
Directors: Richard Dale, Lixin Fan, Peter Webber

Into the Who Knows!
Writers: Micah Barber, Tony Faia
Director: Micah Barber

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More Austin Film Festival 2017
Austin Film Festival Review: <i>Ruin Me</i>
AFF Review: Ruin Me
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Richard Whittaker, Nov. 2, 2017

AFF Interview: <i>Here We Are</i>
Here We Are
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Richard Whittaker, Oct. 27, 2017

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Austin Film Festival 2017, AFF 2017, Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig, Chappaquiddick, Call Me by Your Name, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Raggedy Man, Jack Fisk, Michael Arndt

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