AFF Is Bringing Us Writers All Year Long


AFF LogoAwards season is in full swing, and the Austin Film Festival, known for its recognition of screenwriters, announced last week that Academy Award-winning writer/director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot) will receive this year's Distinguished Screenwriter Award, joining past award recipients Harold Ramis and Robert Altman, among others. Sheridan will accept the award at the fest's annual awards luncheon on Oct. 25 and will also speak on panels during the 2014 conference. 

Other confirmed panelists at the 21st annual AFF and Screenwriters Conference, which will take place Oct. 23-30, 2014, include writers and producers from such television series as Breaking Bad, Girls and Seinfeld and movies like Fight Club and Donnie Darko. Some of these industry insiders will be present for meet and greets and roundtables during the conference, as well. Read the full list of 2014 panelists at the bottom of this article.

But you don't have to wait until October to stay up to date on the movie industry. This Saturday, Beau Willimon -- creator of the Netflix Original Series House of Cards -- will discuss the show's creative process at 2 pm at the Harry Ransom Center through AFF's Conversation in Film Series

AFF continues the conversation on Sunday, March 2 with the executive producer and co-showrunner of the Fox comedy Bob's Burgers, Jim Dauterive, at 2 pm at the Harry Ransom Center. Dauterive will discuss the various roles of a television series writer. The native Texan previously served as one of the original writers for King of the Hill

On Monday, March 3, last year's AFF Audience and Jury Award-winner Beside Still Waters will screen at 7 pm at the Alamo Drafthouse Village. The screening is in anticipation of a live script reading of the movie's co-writer/director Chris Lowell's and co-writer Mohit Narang's sophomore feature, Isolation/Tribes on Tuesday, March 4 at 7 pm at Clay Pit.

Austinite Bastian Gunther's Houston, about an alcoholic on the hunt for a top CEO in Houston, makes its Austin premiere through AFF at 7 pm on March 26 at Galaxy Highland. The film premiered at Sundance in 2013.

And finally, join Texan short filmmakers Kat Candler, David Lowery and Miguel Alvarez as they discuss the creative process and how to overcome the hurdles of this medium as part of AFF's On Story event series at 2 pm on March 30 at the Harry Ransom Center. 

If you're unable to attend these events but are still interested in screenwriting, the advice of screenwriters who have appeared on AFF's weekly public television and podcast series On Story and who have spoken at AFF have been compiled in the book On Story: Screenwriters and Their Craft.

In AFF alumni news, last year's Official Selection The Great Chicken Wing Hunt, about a man's search for the world's best Buffalo chicken wing, is now available on Hulu. The documentary was mentioned on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer as part of the television show's coverage of this year's Super Bowl. 

Here's the list of confirmed panelists -- so far -- for AFF 2014:

  • Michelle Ashford: creator, Masters of Sex
  • Elie Attie: writer/executive producer, Mind Games; writer/co-executive producer, House MD; and writer/supervising producer, The West Wing
  • William Broyles: writer, Cast Away, Apollo 13, Jarhead, The Polar Express, Unfaithful, Entrapment and China Beach
  • Cary Fukunaga: director, True Detective and Jane Eyre; writer/director, Sin Nombre
  • Terry George: writer/director, Hotel Rwanda, Some Mother's Son and Reservation Road; writer, The Boxer and In The Name of the Father
  • Peter Gould: writer/producer/director, Breaking Bad; creator, Better Call Saul
  • John Hamburg: writer/director, I Love You, Man; writer, Meet The Parents and Zoolander
  • Richard Kelly: writer/director, Donnie Darko, Southland Tales and The Box; writer, Domino
  • Brian Koppelman: writer, Rounders, Ocean's Thirteen and Runaway Jury; writer/director, Solitary Man
  • Franklin Leonard: creator, The Black List
  • Kelly Marcel: writer, Saving Mr. Banks and Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Craig Mazin: writer, Identity Thief and The Hangover part two and three; cohost, ScriptNotes
  • Peter Mehlman: writer/co-executive producer, Seinfeld
  • Scott Myers: host, Go Into The Story; writer, K-9, Alaska and Trojan War
  • Alvaro Rodriguez: writer, Machete, Shorts, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
  • Dan Sterling: producer, Girls, The Office and The Daily Show with John Stewart; writer/producer, The Sarah Silverman Program; writer, King of the Hill and South Park
  • Whit Stillman: writer/director, Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco and Damsels in Distress
  • Jim Uhls: writer, Fight Club, Jumper and Semper Fi