The Austin Chronicle

Austin Film Festival Picks

Local flavor and Texas ties

By Josh Kupecki, October 27, 2017, Screens

Sure, you could jockey for a spot in some of the big releases hitting town this weekend for AFF (perhaps not as intense as those Astros World Series tickets, and nowhere near as expensive), but there are so many films that, in general, get lost in any given film festival, that it's always helpful to have a road map. Here are a few local and worthwhile signposts to light your way, but as anyone with experience in navigating the wilderness of film festivals knows, usually the best sights are the ones you stumble upon.

Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death

Mon., Oct. 30, 6:30pm, Stateside
This intriguing new doc from Helen Whitney chronicles a number of people's relationship with mortality. Among them: a mortician, a cryonicist, a religious historian, and a heart surgeon. Dripping Springs native and world-famous photographer Rocky Schenck's photographs complement Whitney's investigation of the great beyond.

Here We Are

Sat., Oct. 28, 4:45pm, Galaxy
Wed., Nov. 1, 6:30pm, Stateside
David Bellarosa was kicking around Austin, working on films with Andrew Bujalski and Bryan Poyser, when he came up with this story of a writer who takes a drug study and falls in love with a fellow lab rat. At least, that's what I think probably happened. Either way, Alex Dobrenko should be a household name.

Amanda & Jack Go Glamping

Sun., Oct. 29, 8pm, Stateside
Tue., Oct. 31, 8:45pm, Rollins Theatre
Perhaps there is more to the premise than meets the eye: A struggling writer (David Arquette!) with marital problems goes "glamorous camping" to reconnect with his wife on a retreat only to meet a cast of quirky characters and learn a thing or two. Said glamping was shot at Green Acres, a real-life Elgin retreat.

Time Trap

Sat., Oct. 28, 2pm, Galaxy
Wed., Nov. 1, 3pm, Rollins Theatre
Partially shot in Texas, this mindtrip finds archaeology students stuck in a cave that seems to shift time and space at will, as they search for a lost commune of hippies who disappeared almost 40 years earlier. Time crimes and rock climbing ensue.

Three More for the Road

Mansfield 66/67

Fri., Oct. 27, 8:45pm, Galaxy
When Anton LaVey met Jayne Mansfield: This doc serves as a delirious examination of fame, satanism, and car crashes.


Sat., Oct. 28, 6:45pm, St. David’s Episcopal Church
Mon., Oct. 30, 9pm, Rollins Theatre
Do not miss this amazing doc about a former U.S. Marine and bodybuilder who was outed as being transgender, and the journey she goes on to claim a new life.

Don't Talk to Irene

Sun., Oct. 29, 5pm, Stateside
Mon., Oct. 30, 7pm, Alamo Village
Pat Mills' follow-up to 2014 festival favorite Guidance is another whip-smart look at outcasts, in this case, high school recluse Irene, who wants desperately to join the cheerleading squad.

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