Austin Film Festival Witnesses The Obituary of Tunde Johnson

Time travel thriller will be opening night film

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson will be the opening night film at Austin Film Festival 2019

Austin Film Festival is only a week away, but that's still time (ad time again) for the fest to have added sci fi social commentary The Obituary of Tunde Johnson as its opening night film.

Combining time travel and contemporary fears of racist police brutality, The Obituary of Tunde Johnson is the debut feature of director Ali LeRoi. It follows a gay black teenager (Steven Silver) who is murdered by a cop, but goes through the horrific experience again and again and again. LeRoi and screenwriter Stanley Kalu will present the film, and also join the festival's loaded lineup of panelists.

However, that's not the only feature added today. Atlantics is another directorial debut, this time from filmmaker Mati Diop who takes the next steps on a path trodden by her uncle, Senegalese cinema pioneer Djibril Diop Mambéty.

Those two titles, as well as a several new shorts and episodics, join a heavy roster of previously announced titles at the festival – many of which will be on screens and award lists later this year, including Terrence Malick's A Hidden Life, racing drama Ford v Ferrari, and the local debut of the latest film from UT alum Trey Edward Shults, Waves.

Austin Film Festival 2019 runs Oct. 24-31: passes and info at Plus, don't forget that you can follow all our coverage at Now here are those final additions:


D: Mati Diop
France, Senegal, Begium, 105 min, U.S. Premiere
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. Cast: Mama Sané, Amadou Mbow, Ibrahima Traoré, Nicole Sougou, Amina Kane, Mariama Gassama, Coumba Dieng, Ibrahima Mbaye, Diankou Sembene

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson

D: Ali LeRoi
USA, 104 min, U.S. Premiere
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. Cast: Steven Silver, Spencer Neville, Nicola Peltz

Original Series 1

Brothers from the Suburbs
Creator: Patrick Wimp
USA, 35 min
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

D: Kai Hasson
USA, 19 min
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"
D: Marilyn Cooke
Canada, 15 min
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"
D: Charlotte Benbeniste
USA, 10 min
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"
D: Yi Tang
USA, 12 min
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"
D: Saleem Nasir Gondal
USA, 16 min
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

D: Ilana Garcia-Mittleman
USA, 13 min
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 Boys"
D: Talia Osteen
USA, 7 min
God literally forbids she turn off a vibrator gone rogue, so an Orthodox Jew sets out on a quest to find someone who can.

D: Kathryn Prescott
USA, 16 min
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.

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Austin Film festival, Austin Film Festival 2019, The Obituary of Tunde Johnson, Atlantics, Mati Diop, Ali LeRoi

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