From heart-wrenching dramas to quirky comedy, there’s something for everybody at Austin Film Festival 2015. Known in movie circles as the “Writers Festival,” this year’s festival will feature more than 100 films over the course of eight days.
To help you navigate the jam-packed schedule, keep reading for one film pick each day during your week of cinematic magic. I’m even giving back-up options–just in case.
NOTE: Some trailers may be NSFW. All main picks are playing at Paramount Theatre unless otherwise specified.
Thursday, Oct. 29
When: 7 p.m.
About: The festival’s opening and highest profile film, Legend, is the true story of Reggie and Ronnie Kray, two of London’s most notorious gangsters. Tom Hardy (Mad Max, Warrior) stars as both brothers. Think Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, but more intimidating. Director Brian Helgeland will be in attendance.
Back-up plan: If the line for Legend is around the block, check out 3rd Street Blackout, an off-color and quirky hipster comedy about New York relationships in the midst of a Hurricane Sandy blackout.
Friday, Oct. 30
When: 5:30 p.m.
About: Until 20 is a documentary about James Regan, a teenager suffering from incurable bone cancer. Knowing he’ll probably be dead by 20, James chooses to spread positivity and optimism with his limited time on Earth.
UNTIL 20 is a must see inspiring movie! Hope you add this one on your list of films to see at #AFF2015 pic.twitter.com/CMoB5stLYV
— Austin Film Festival (@austinfilmfest) October 10, 2015
Back-up plan: Either Headfirst, an intense story of a teenager in the midst of a downward spiral, or 1996’s Lone Star, presented by Chris Cooper.
Saturday, Oct. 31
Go With Me
When: 6:30 p.m.
About: When Lillian (Julia Stiles) returns to her roughneck hometown, she finds herself being stalked by Blackway, a sociopathic ex-cop turned gang leader. This film features a rock-solid cast, including Anthony Hopkins and Ray Liotta. Julia Stiles will be in attendance.
We're excited to announce that #AFF2015 is screening GO WITH ME with the talented @MissJuliaStiles in attendance! pic.twitter.com/Mo2aTRR6bd
— Austin Film Festival (@austinfilmfest) October 2, 2015
Back-up plan: Both the post-apocalyptic thriller, Tear Me Apart, and the classic Boyz n’ the Hood (presented by John Singleton) are solid options.
Sunday, Nov. 1
When: 8:30 p.m.
About: A group of high school friends reunite in their home town after one of their own passes unexpectedly. Lessons about life, death and dealing with pain soon follow. Starring Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) and Virginia Madsen (Sideways). Kaley Cuoco will be in attendance.
Back-up plan: Either check out the documentary, Zen and the Art of Dying, or Everything’s Shorter in Texas, a series of eight short films shot in the Lone Star State.
Monday, Nov. 2
When: 7:30 p.m.
About: Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Way Back) plays Eilis, a young Irish immigrant working her way through 1950’s Brooklyn. Quickly enamored with the city and a whirlwind romance, Eilis is confronted by her past and the lives she left behind. Written by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, An Education).
We're pleased to announce that BROOKLYN will be at #AFF2015! Keep a look out for it on Nov. 2nd! pic.twitter.com/2xXiceHf7E
— Austin Film Festival (@austinfilmfest) October 9, 2015
Back-up plan: Half traditional narrative, half documentary, Booger Red tells the true story of a journalist’s quest to uncover the hidden secrets underneath the town of Mineola, Texas.
Tuesday, Nov. 3
When: 7 p.m.
About: Academy Award-winner Christopher Plummer plays Zev, a 90 year old survivor of Auschwitz. After receiving a mysterious package, Zev and a fellow survivor set off on a cross-continental trip of vengeance to confront the sadistic guard who punished them all those years ago.
Back-up plan: With an all-star cast that includes Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano, Youth is the poignant tale of two friends pondering retirement while vacationing in the Swiss Alps.
Wednesday, Nov. 4
I Saw the Light
When: 7 p.m.
About: I Saw the Light tracks the life and career of Hank Williams as he revolutionizes country music. Tom Hiddleston (Thor) plays the musical legend in this classically-shot biopic.
Tom Hiddleston. Photographed by John Shearer at the #ISawTheLight press day in Nashville. Via Torrilla. pic.twitter.com/NoWiq6wiMB
— I Saw The Light Fans (@ISawTheLightFan) October 23, 2015
Back-up plan: Alan Arkin leads an all-star cast in Love the Coopers, a heartfelt comedy about a family coming together during the holiday season.
Thursday, Nov. 5
When: 8:30 p.m.
About: The final film of the festival, The Program portrays the true story of Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall as one of America’s most iconic sports figures. Ben Foster (3:10 To Yuma, Lone Survivor) plays the controversial bicyclist in what promises to be an intense, thrilling biopic.
Stephen Frears’ Lance Armstrong film, THE PROGRAM, has been selected as the closing night film for #AFF2015! pic.twitter.com/pvn6j1GwU5
— Austin Film Festival (@austinfilmfest) October 13, 2015
Back-up plan: The Jury Award Winning Shorts is a great second choice if you can’t get into The Program. The best shorts of the festival, screened at one showing.
Austin Film Festival Tips and Tricks
- Austin Film Festival works just like SXSW. Badge holders get in first, followed by wristbands, followed by day-of tickets.
- As a result, treat Austin Film Festival like Alamo Drafthouse. Get in line at least 30 minutes early for low-profile films and an hour early for the biggies.
- Part of the fun of these festivals is closing your eyes and picking randomly from the board. Be sure to do so at least once during the week.
All marquee films are being screened at Paramount Theatre unless otherwise noted. “All you can watch” wristbands are still available. The full screening list can be found at austinfilmfestival.com.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
What screening are you most looking forward to during Austin Film Festival 2015?