What: Texas Film Awards 20th anniversary
Where: Austin Studios
The lowdown: Surreal was the word most often uttered on March 12 as partygoers gathered in Austin Studios to celebrate Austin Film Society's 20th annual Texas Film Awards. What is traditionally the unofficial kickoff to SXSW instead felt more like a last hurrah amid increasing concerns about the coronavirus, a tumbling stock market, and an uncertain future. Despite the news, the mood was still celebratory, a testament to Austin's ability to make a party out of almost anything, and the vibe was undeniably "We're all in this together."
Following a cocktail hour, guests including Parker Posey and Richard Linklater headed into the former airport hangar turned Stage 7, where Grammy Award winner/Black Puma Adrien Quesada led a band of Austin all-stars. A live auction kicked off, with star-stuffed packages up for grabs, including catching a Broadway show with Ethan Hawke, dinner with Linklater, and a visit to a Robert Rodriguez film set.
As the evening's emcee, the delightful Posey led the crowd through the proper hand-washing technique before introducing this year's rising star winner, Kaitlyn Dever. Though the Booksmart star wasn't on-hand to receive her award, she sent in a video thanking the Austin Film Society for its work promoting Texas' motion picture arts. Also honored was Brewster McCloud, the Houston-shot film starring Shelley Duval and Michael Murphy.
But perhaps the real winner of the evening was Erykah Badu, who won the soundtrack award — and our unofficial best outfit award. The star wore a custom Louis Vuitton hazmat suit to accept her award, bringing some much needed levity during a great moment of uncertainty.
Who: Erykah Badu, Parker Posey, Richard Linklater, Jeff Nichols, Rebecca Campbell, Holly Herrick, Adrian Quesada, Janet Pierson, Louis Black, Danielle Thomas, Lisa Hickey, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Michael Fojtasek, Kathy Blackwell, and Steve Scheibel.