Austin Film Festival to Celebrate Lost's Damon Lindelof With Outstanding TV Writer Award
Fall fest also adds All of Us Strangers, The Holdovers
By Kimberley Jones,
12:56PM, Thu. Sep. 14, 2023
It’s been a year of highs and lows for super-scribe Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers, Watchmen).
Mrs. Davis, his big-swing sci-fi for Peacock (co-created with Tara Hernandez), had its world premiere at SXSW 2023 and earned admiring reviews for its ambition and originality. Then June exposé Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood included damning testimonials from Lost cast and crew detailing a toxic work environment under his leadership. The ongoing writers strike definitely isn’t good for business... but at least there's a bright spot courtesy of the Austin Film Festival, which will bestow on him the Outstanding Television Writer Award its upcoming fall fest.
That news came bundled with nine more titles added to the lineup, including award season catnip All of Us Strangers, a relationship drama written and directed by Andrew Haigh (45 Years, Weekend) and starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal. Keep reading for Austin Film Festival’s writeups of the expanded film slate.
The 30th annual Austin Film Festival takes place October 26-November 2.
THE HOLDOVERS (USA) – Focus Features
Written by: David Hemingson
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Cast: Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dominic Sessa
Synopsis: From acclaimed director Alexander Payne, The Holdovers follows a curmudgeonly instructor (Paul Giamatti) at a New England prep school who is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit the handful of students with nowhere to go. Eventually he forms an unlikely bond with one of them — a damaged, brainy troublemaker (newcomer Dominic Sessa) — and with the school’s head cook, who has just lost a son in Vietnam (Da’Vine Joy Randolph).
ALL OF US STRANGERS (USA) – Searchlight Pictures
Written/Directed by: Andrew Haigh
Cast: Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell, Claire Foy
Synopsis: One night in his near-empty tower block in contemporary London, Adam has a chance encounter with a mysterious neighbor Harry, which punctures the rhythm of his everyday life. As a relationship develops between them, Adam is preoccupied with memories of the past and finds himself drawn back to the suburban town where he grew up, and the childhood home where his parents, appear to be living, just as they were on the day they died, 30 years before.
FINGERNAILS (USA) – Apple Original Films
Written/Directed by: Christos Nikou
Cast: Jessie Buckley, Riz Ahmed, Jeremy Allen White, Luke Wilson, Annie Murphy
Synopsis: Anna and Ryan have found true love. It’s been proven by a controversial new technology. There’s just one problem: Anna still isn’t sure. Then she takes a position at a love testing institute, and meets Amir.
WILD EYED AND WICKED (USA)
Written/Directed by: Gordon Shoemaker Foxwood
Synopsis: Lily Pierce is sick of being haunted. She decides to reconnect with her estranged father, a disgraced history professor, and learn how to draw upon a time of steel and blade when armor-clad knights rode out and dueled their monsters to the death.
Written/Directed by: Heath Davis
Synopsis: Fresh out of rehab, a washed up actor -Chris Flint (Steve Le Marquand) – takes a job as a suburban strip mall Santa Claus where he encounters his long estranged daughter. With the support of his kind and caring sponsor – Nick (Darren Gilshenan) – and a young, sharp tongued, musician in recovery named Joy (Hannah Joy of indie rock darlings Middle Kids) Chris sets about staying sober in order to win his daughter’s forgiveness for Christmas.
SOUR PARTY (USA)
Written/Directed by: Amanda Drexton, Michael A. Drexton
Synopsis: Sour Party follows Gwen and James, two broke 30-something Angelenos, on a quest to scrounge money from a collection of low lives and failed artists in order to show up to Gwen’s sister’s baby shower with a proper gift…from the registry.
VILLAINS INC (USA)
Written/Directed by: Jeremy Warner
Synopsis: After the death of their villainous boss, low-level hench people Beatrix, Cain, and Harold are left destitute living in an abandoned grocery store. Not content with the situation they find themselves in, Beatrix is determined for them to strike out on their own and take over the world by any means necessary.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS FROM BEYOND (Mexico)
Written by: Eduardo Espindola
Directed by: Ian Martin
Synopsis: In a haunted apartment building, a once-successful investigator has to reunite with his daughter to solve a paranormal mystery and regain his credibility as a writer and a parent. All this, while they try to escape from the terrible creature that haunts the place, killing the tenants one by one…
North American Premiere
FIRST WE BOMBED NEW MEXICO (USA)
Directed by: Lois Lipman
Synopsis: A formidable Hispanic cancer survivor bangs on the corridors of power to fight for compensation and an apology for Native and Hispanic communities in New Mexico whose land and water was radiated by the Trinity Bomb… The story that Oppenheimer leaves out.