Austin Film Critics Pick Top Five Austin Films

Oscar winners and indie faves, but which will be the top ATX film of 2019?

Every year, the Austin Film Critics Association selects its top film made in Austin or by a local director as its Austin Film, and the association has just announced its short list of the five finalists in this year's poll.

The short list was selected by a special jury of association members, and the final winner will be selected by the entire body, to be announced on Jan. 6, 2020. And keep your calendar clear for Jan. 22: there will be a special screening for the winner at AFS Cinema, courtesy of the Austin Film Society. Now here are this year's nominees:


Frances Ferguson

Frances Ferguson
D: Bob Byington
A tale of a small-town scandal, developed in Austin and shot in Nebraska. Read all about its production in our interview with director Bob Byington and star Kaley Wheless, "Small-Town Sins," March 8.


A Hidden Life

A Hidden Life
D: Terrence Malick
The highly-anticipated life story of conscience objector Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl), an Austrian farmer who refused to fight for the Nazi Third Reich, has been called a return to form for Malick. Find out yourselves when it opens in Austin next week.


The River and the Wall

The River and the Walls
D: Ben Masters
Everyone knows that the border wall would be a catastrophe for the environment and communities, but this documentary hiking, biking, canoeing and riding its stretch through Texas could change the conversation. Read our four-star review right here, and also our interview with director Ben Masters and producer Hillary Pierce, "A Wilderness Without Divisions," May 3.


Running with Beto

D: David Modigliani
Talk about right place, right time: Documentarian David Modigliani managed to get in the car with Beto O'Rourke just as his vital 2018 U.S. Senate campaign was starting to get traction. Read our review here, and our interview with Modigliani, "In Beto O'Rourke's Passenger Seat," March 8.


Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, Bernadette
D: Richard Linklater
The Oscar-winning filmmaker goes even deeper with his newest theme – the perils and possibilities of late middle-age – with his story of a genius trying to find herself again. Read our review here and our interview with Linklater about his literary adaptation and personal fascination with architecture, "Brick by Brick, Frame by Frame," Aug. 16.

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