With its unique mix of Hollywood prestige films and Texas projects, the Austin Film Festival is already a can’t-miss event for any local movie buff. But for its silver anniversary, the fest is pulling out all the stops with some of the most anticipated releases of the year.
On September 25, AFF announced the full lineup for its 25th season, taking place October 25-November 1. Among the highlights are festival circuit favorites, independent features from homegrown talent, and the season debuts of two popular television series.
This year, addiction drama Ben is Back takes the spotlight as the AFF Centerpiece Film. The movie, starring Julia Roberts and up-and-comer Lucas Hedges, details a tumultuous Christmas Day after a son returns home following a stint in rehab. Writer/director (and Lucas’ father) Peter Hedges will be in attendance.
Marquee films include early Oscar favorite Widows, a gritty thriller starring Viola Davis and Michelle Rodriguez, and director Steve McQueen’s first feature since winning the Academy Award for Best Picture for 12 Years a Slave. Other highlights include Peter Farrelly’s ‘60s dramedy Green Book; 2018 Cannes Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters; and actor Paul Dano’s directorial debut, Wildlife. Mike Leigh historical drama Peterloo and Mickey Rourke vehicle Tiger are also on the bill.
The Lone Star State is well represented with a slate of five films from Texas directors. Among the buzzy titles are Also Starring Austin, Mike Blizzard’s ode to Austin filmmaking, and Waiting for the Miracle to Come, starring Charlotte Rampling and Willie Nelson.
Rounding out the cinematic offerings will be three special retrospective screenings presented by their screenwriters including Stephen King adaptation Dolores Claiborne, action classic Speed, and Halloween mainstay Hocus Pocus.
Not just content to bring the best of the silver screen to Austin, AFF will also help you get a head start on your fall binge watching. Netflix comedy Friends From College and Starz sci-fi series Counterpart both introduce their second seasons at the fest. Creator Justin Marks and executive producer Jordan Horowitz will be on hand to present the latter.
Prices range from a film pass for $75 to an all-inclusive producers badge for $695. Score tickets and see the full lineup here.