I Don't Feel at Home Wins Best Austin Film

Macon Blair's debut lauded by Austin Film Critics Association

I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore starring Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey: the film, directed by Macon Blair, was just given the Austin Film Award by the Austin Film Critics Association. (Image courtesy of Netflix)

With performances in Blue Ruin and Green Room, Macon Blair has become an fixture in front of the camera. Now the Austin Film Critics Association has honored his work behind the lens by giving his directorial debut, I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore, the Austin Film Award for 2017.

Blair's first film as writer and director stars Melanie Lynskey as Ruth, a nursing assistant who ends up on a nihilist-tinged search for her grandmother's silverware. The offbeat but moving comedy-drama features two of Blair's fellow Austin transplants, Scratch Acid founder David Yow and up-and-coming actor Elijah Wood.

This honor wraps up a remarkable year for the Netflix movie, which won the grand jury prize at Sundance in January and has appeared on several end-of-year top 10 lists (including that of Chronicle critic Josh Kupecki). Additionally, there will be a special screening on Jan. 6 at AFS Cinema, two days before the AFCA releases its complete awards list on Jan. 8.

With this win, Blair joins a list of alumni that includes four-time winner Richard Linklater, three-time winner Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino for Grindhouse, and, most recently, Keith Maitland for Tower. Under AFCA rules, to be eligible the film must have been made by a director residing in Austin at the time of shooting.

Blair's directorial debut beat out four other short-listed films:

Barracuda (D: Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin)
Infinity Baby (D: Bob Byington)
Last Flag Flying (D: Richard Linklater)
Shot Caller (D: Ric Roman Waugh)

However, that's just the tip of the iceberg of qualifying movies: in total, 25 eligible films by Austin-resident directors were released in 2017: from comedies like Amanda and Jack Go Glamping, Lazer Team 2, and Mustang Island (coincidentally starring Blair), to horrors like Found Footage 3D and Camera Obscura, through documentaries including Dealt and Look & See, and big studio productions such as Song to Song and Stronger.

The AFCA was founded in 2005 to represent the local critical community. A volunteer committee creates the short list for the Best Austin Film award, and the final winner is selected by the entire membership. Chronicle critics Marjorie Baumgarten, Kim Jones, Josh Kupecki, Marc Savlov, and Richard Whittaker are all members.

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