The first panel announcements for the 18th Annual Austin Film Festival (AFF) were made Tuesday, and they're like pop culture cocaine, they're so good.
Fight Club screenwriter Jim Uhls, The Graduate screenwriter Buck Henry and Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas will participate in the Script-to-Screen panel conversations which allow writers to expand upon the creative process behind our favorite movies and TV shows as well as the obstacles the writers overcame in order to get their scripts approved and eventually produced.
Panel attendees will hear about the real-life process from the experts themselves who miraculously triumphed over the industry that loves to edit, enhance and sometimes shut down new ideas altogether. So really, this is like a Hollywood special episode of "I Shouldn't Be Alive..." from Animal Planet.
Uhls has amazing stories to share about adapting Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, a book considered too controversial and perfectly unadaptable for mainstream audiences. Laura Ziskin, who ran Fox 2000, combined Uhls with director David Fincher, and they ended up making the film (and, in turn, the novel) a cult classic. Edward Norton and frat boys across America can all high-five over that one.
Oscar-nominated Henry (also Liz Lemon's dad on 30 Rock!) co-wrote one of the all-time best movies according to... everyone, but especially by AFI who ranked it 7th on their "100 Years...100 Movies" list. The Graduate is a classic, but not everyone thought it was okay to include Mrs. Robinson's advances of sweet, fumbling Dustin Hoffman. Henry's take on the editing process is sure to open a few eyes about the changes in film ratings and censorship since 1967.
The tragically short run of UPN's teen sleuth comedy Veronica Mars was the brainchild of Austin favorite Rob Thomas, who later brought us the Starz sleeper Party Down. (That's why everyone from Veronica Mars makes cameo appearances!) Thomas will dissect the pilot episode of VM, how the ideas came about and the staff's research and writing process.
Other panelists confirmed to appear throughout AFF include: Laeta Kalogridis (executive producer of Avatar), Alec Berg (writer for Curb Your Enthusiasm), Rhett Reese (writer of Zombieland) and Lawrence Kasdan (writer of Radiers of the Lost Ark AND Return of the Jedi AND The Big Chill)!
The panels take place throughout the week-long AFF (Oct 20-27) along with more than 170 screenings and film-related events throughout the city. The complete schedule will be posted soon with event details to help map out your week-long itinerary.
To purchase one-time passes to any of the events or a badge to get into all of them, visit the Austin Film Festival website before they all sell out.