In the Blue Corner: Austin Film Festival

The festival dedicated to every part of storytelling on screen is back for its 20th anniversary

Inside Llewyn Davis
Inside Llewyn Davis

There's plenty to celebrate in any given year of the annual Austin Film Festival, but seeing as this year marks the fest's 20th anniversary, there's an extra whiff of celebration in the air. For the past two decades, AFF has dedicated itself to exploring every facet of the filmmaking process – and it's ultimately about the best stories, onscreen and off. And in the interest of getting the full story, we have to admit: We've built a sizable chunk of preview coverage in the pages that follow, but we stuck to films, for the most part; there's plenty more fun in the conference side of things that you simply won't want to miss. Check out our 10 event picks below, from both halves of the fest, and then head over to the rest of our preview package through the links at right. Follow along with all our AFF coverage from the streets at

1) Vince Gilligan Presents: A Special Staged Script Reading of 2 Face: Wondering what Gilligan is scheming for his next project? Here's a hint: It involves Linda Cardellini and Will Ferrell in one room. Not to be missed. (Sunday, 2pm, Stateside at the Paramount)

2) Script-to-Screen: Brick: We loved Rian Johnson long before he directed some of the most harrowing episodes of Breaking Bad, and his debut feature (starring a youngish Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has always been one of our favorites. (Friday, 10:45am, InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Ballroom)

3) The Heroine's Journey: With Dexter and Breaking Bad all wrapped up, is it time for the hero's journey to get a makeover? Callie Khouri (Nashville) and Jenji Kohan (Orange Is the New Black) discuss the role of a strong female presence on both sides of the lens. (Saturday, 3:45pm, Driskill Ballroom)

4) The Writers Guild Foundation Presents: Scribble-to-Screen Exhibit: AFF has long hosted Script-to-Screen discussions about filmmakers' path of getting from first drafts to final cut, but what about the first first drafts ... like, on cocktail napkins? Look for early production stuffs from The Empire Strikes Back, The Sopranos, and more. (Saturday, Driskill Citadel Club)

5) From Contest to Can: AFF Case Studies: Two of this year's feature films have origin stories dating back to AFF's Screenplay Competition: Coffee, Kill Boss and Caveman. (Sunday, 3:15pm, Driskill Crystal Room)

6) Susan Sarandon Presents: Romance & Cigarettes: Though we heartily recommend any and all of the panels this year's awardees are participating in (and there are plenty), our very own Arts Editor Robert Faires will be leading the Q&A with this Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking awardee after the screening of John Turturro's "down-and-dirty musical." (Friday, 3:15pm, Rollins Theatre)

7) On Story: Screenwriters and Their Craft: In celebration of their 20th anniversary, AFF released a book, and we can't think of a more fitting tribute to process. (Saturday, 4pm, Capitol Extension Rm. E2.028)

8) A Conversation With Ray McKinnon: If you didn't catch Rectify's first season on Sundance, you've got work to do. Mainline the miniseries, then hit this event. (Sunday, Oct. 27, noon, Driskill Crystal Room)

9) A Conversation With Jeff Nichols: We caught up with the indie writer/director just before the theatrical release of Mud in April, but we're certain he'll have more to say here, especially with forthcoming feature Midnight Special ramping up. (Thursday, Oct. 24, 1pm, St. David's Bethell Hall)

10) Veronica Mars: From Small Screen to Silver Screen: Couldn't you tell from our coverage of the Kickstarter campaign back in the spring? We're a little obsessed. (Saturday, 12:45pm, Driskill Ballroom)

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Austin Film Festival, Jeff Nichols, Austin Film Festival 2013, Rian Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Veronica Mars, Callie Khouri, Jenji Kohan, Vince Gilligan, Ray McKinnon

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