Conference

Thursday, October 24, 2019

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Opening Remarks
Ed Solomon
Ed Solomon
writer HBO’s Mosaic, Men in Black, Untitled Steven Soderbergh feature; co-writer Bill & Ted Face the Music, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Now You See Me 1 & 2, It's Garry Shandling's Show, Untitled David O Russell feature

Austin Film Festival welcomes you to its 26th annual celebration of storytelling through film, television, theatre, and new media. Bringing together industry icons, independent filmmakers, aspiring storytellers, and everyone in between. This year’s Festival will once again feature intimate discussions, workshops, premieres, retrospectives, parties, and countless networking opportunities. Join AFF staff and special guests for Opening Remarks to discover more about the week ahead and learn last-minute additions, schedule changes, and special announcements about this year’s Festival & Conference.

Must have an AFF Producers or Conference Badge for entry.

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The Writer/Manager Relationship

You hear it from everyone—finding representation is the key to opening the doors of Hollywood. So what should you be looking for in a manager, and what can you expect from that relationship once you’ve found one? Join screenwriter and former AFF winner Henry Jones alongside his literary manager Ryan Cunningham for an in-depth exploration of the writer/manager relationship and how to make the most of this working partnership.

Must have an AFF Producers or Conference Badge to attend.

Friday, October 25, 2019

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We Are Austin Live Show

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Creators, filmmakers, panels, films, parties and more! We are excited to welcome We Are Austin on Friday, October 25 for a live show at Stephen F's Bar! Be a member of the LIVE audience as Trevor Scott & Taylor Ellison interview special guests: Hannah Leder (writer/director The Planters), Zak Hilditch (writer/director Rattlesnake), and Jon Cozart (filmmaker/musician/content creator PAINT) from the Festival & Conference!

Open to all badge levels!
There will be a bag check since the show is live!

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Student Empowerment through Filmmaking and Storytelling presented by Macmillan Learning and Cinema Ed

Can making a film also make you a better student? Experiential data and practical experience support the notion that filmmaking and storytelling help connect students to their studies and to future success in the workplace. Come listen as we discuss how the process of writing and shooting a student film helps lift up educational pursuits and prepares our next generation of innovative and creative thinkers. A panelist from Macmillan Learning, who facilitate teaching and learning opportunities, will join film and education experts and a student filmmaker to get to the heart of how storytelling can empower students in all their studies.

This panel is presented by Macmillan Learning and Cinema Ed.

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UCLA Story Break Live

Panelists from the Festival will break a feature story in front of an audience. They won't know the story idea beforehand. It will be a high pressure (but fun) situation in which the writers must have the entire story ready to pitch to the studio by the panel's end. One random Second Rounder in attendance will be chosen to participate. Come have a drink on us and watch the creativity unfold.

This panel is presented by UCLA Professional Programs.

Must have an AFF Producers or Conference Badge to attend. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

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A Conversation with Virgil Williams

Join us for a conversation with Academy Award-nominated writer Virgil Williams. In this panel, we’ll explore Williams’ career in film and television, from his time as a writer/producer on TV series like 24, ER, and Criminal Minds, to his Netflix original film Mudbound, co-written with director Dee Rees, which screened at the 2017 Austin Film Festival and earned him an Oscar nomination for best Adapted Screenplay.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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Diversity and Inclusion in the Writers Room

With more diverse voices come more opportunities to tell authentic stories that have yet to be seen on the screen. Join panelists for a conversation on the importance of inclusivity and the value in diverse representations of race, ethnicity, and identity in film and television in front of and behind the camera.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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Getting Started

What kind or preparation do you need to do before you start a project? Where's the line between "researching" and procrastinating? Join a group of writers as they discuss various processes before tackling the blank page.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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Indie Film Track: Working with a Composer

A good musical score is key for setting the tone of your film—and finding the right composer can be tricky. In this panel, we’ll hear from indie filmmakers and film composers on how they work together to set the scene and what it takes to compose a killer film score.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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On Writing Sci-Fi

With the resurgence of mega hits and big-budget adventure films continuing to dominate at the box office, Sci-Fi has taken the lead as one of the industry’s most popular and lucrative genres. So how do these incredibly visual projects read on the page before they make it to the big screen, and what steps does it take to get there? Panelists will share their experiences writing for science fiction, and give their advice for crafting stories that are truly out of this world.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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The Business of New Media

The world of new media is drastically changing the landscape of the entertainment industry, offering new and unique opportunities to break in and share your stories. Join these digital media executives, producers, managers, and creators for a discussion on the future of online storytelling and get hard-earned advice for using new media platforms to help launch your career in film and television.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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The Psychology of Storytelling

Back by popular demand, producer Lindsay Doran will explore what the field of Positive Psychology has to teach us about the secrets of creating a satisfying script.

THIS IS AN EXTENDED PANEL WITH AN EARLY START TIME OF 10:30AM.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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Breaking into TV

The writers room is full of opportunities for new and aspiring writers. So how do you get staffed, and what kind of writing samples do you need to break into the room? This panel of new TV hires will discuss how they broke in along with their advice for getting your foot in the door—and working your way up the ladder.

Must have an AFF Producers or Conference Badge to attend.

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Inside the Writers Room: Empire

Join us as we go inside the writers room of Empire with a few of the series’ original writers – Joshua Allen, Eric Haywood, Attica Locke, and Malcolm Spellman. In this conversation, they’ll discuss their experience in the writers room of the popular Fox drama series when the show first burst onto the scene, and what it was like to suddenly find themselves writing for a hit series.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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Playwriting Track: From Stage to Page – Screenwriting as a Playwright

Sit down for a conversation that ventures off the screen, onto the stage, and then back again. Featuring a panel of writers who have worked in both theatre, film, and television, this discussion will pull back the curtain on ways their experiences as playwrights have positively affected their craft as screenwriters.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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Podcast Track: Script to Sound

Want to know what it takes to bring a fiction podcast to life? Join audio fiction creator Lauren Shippen and sound designer Mischa Stanton as they take us through the process of developing an episode and the podcast's journey from script to sound.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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The Art of Storytelling with David Benioff, Sarah Green, Catherine Reitman, and D.B. Weiss

In this panel, Awardees David Benioff, Sarah Green, Catherine Reitman, and D.B. Weiss will come together for a conversation on their different approaches to finding, developing, and maintaining your voice in the industry and how establishing that voice can improve and inform your craft as a storyteller.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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The Hardest Scene: Overcoming Common Challenges

Difficult subject matter, impossible studio asks, and the infamous wrath of writers block…Panelists will discuss the scenes that were the hardest for them to tackle, and their best advice for overcoming obstacles and finding the inspiration you need to power through.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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The Screenwriters Toolbox: Action & Description

Character development and dialogue can only take you so far. It’s action that drives your story forward, and as the most visual component of any screenplay, it can be a daunting task to put it into words. Panelists will discuss writing action and description for a script and give their advice for writing scenes that translate seamlessly from script to screen.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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The Writer's Team
Adam Kolbrenner
Adam Kolbrenner
producer Prisoners, Deadfall; Literary Manager, Lit Entertainment
Tim Albaugh
Tim Albaugh
moderator; Producer; Director, Hollins University Graduate Screenwriting Program, Co-Founder ProPath Screenwriting
David Boxerbaum
David Boxerbaum
Partner, Verve Talent & Literary Agency

What does the writer/manager/agent relationship look like, and how these different representatives work together to help get your career off the ground? Lit Entertainment manager Adam Kolbrenner and Verve partner David Boxerbaum will sit down for discussion on building your writers team, what to expect from an agent versus a manger, and how these reps can help take your writing career to the next level.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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Writing to Direct: Big Budget Blockbusters

Directing your own script gives you more creative freedom and more responsibilities, especially in the world of big blockbuster films, which seem to go hand in hand with even bigger budget expectations. Hear from experienced writer/directors of Hollywood hits on how the two roles inform and affect one another and how responsibilities shift once you’re in the director’s chair.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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WORK IN PROGRESS: Structure to Scenes
Ed Solomon
Ed Solomon
writer HBO’s Mosaic, Men in Black, Untitled Steven Soderbergh feature; co-writer Bill & Ted Face the Music, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Now You See Me 1 & 2, It's Garry Shandling's Show, Untitled David O Russell feature
Max Borenstein
Max Borenstein
creator The Terror: Infamy, Untitled Showtime Lakers Project (2020, HBO), Untitled Game of Thrones Spinoff, Minority Report; writer: Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla 2, Godzilla v. Kong (2020), What is Life Worth (2020)

We believe it is not a writer’s level of talent that determines their success, but rather how they work with and manage that talent. In WORK IN PROGRESS, Ed Solomon and Max Borenstein (with special guests) will lead a question and answer workshop using the writing issues attendees are currently facing as a backdrop to discuss the real thing that separates the pros from the not-yet pros: the ability to assess, mine and cultivate one’s own unique gifts, and to keep them growing throughout a lifetime. Participants are requested to come prepared with questions on specific issues they are facing while moving from Structure to Scenes.

THIS IS AN EXTENDED PANEL THAT WILL END AT 12:45PM.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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A Conversation with Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan

Join Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, the creative team behind cult classics like Can’t Hardly Wait, Josie and the Pussycats, and A Very Brady Sequel and creators of the popular YouTube comedy series Liza On Demand starring Liza Koshy for an in-depth look into their career as writing partners. In this panel, the pair will discuss their writing process and the benefits and challenges of developing a project for an online platform after a longstanding career in the world of traditional features.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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A Conversation with Liz Hannah
Liz Hannah
Liz Hannah
writer/producer The Post, Long Shot, All the Bright Places, Mindhunter

Writer Liz Hannah burst onto the scene with her first screenplay The Post, a political thriller that was sold on spec and went on to be produced/directed by Steven Spielberg. In this panel, Hannah will reflect on her burgeoning career, from her sudden rise in the industry to the recent release of her modern rom com Long Shot starring Seth Rogan and Charlize Theron and her role as writer/producer on the Netflix true crime series Mindhunter.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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On Writing Horror
Akela Cooper
Akela Cooper
writer Nun 2, Jupiter's Legacy, Hell Fest; writer/producer Luke Cage, American Horror Story: Roanoake, producer Witches of East End, The 100, Grimm
Owen Egerton
Owen Egerton
writer/director Blood Fest, Follow, Mercy Black

From suspenseful scares to urban legends and classic movie monsters, horror stories rely on the psychology of fear to thrill and chill us with the things that we fear most. In this panel, the genre’s leading writers from both film and television will sit down to discuss the scripts behind the scares and their advice for writing a horror film that kills.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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Podcast Track: The Production Side
Travis Vengroff
Travis Vengroff
producer/sound designer The White Vault, VAST Horizon, Liberty, Dark Dice
Lindsay Graham
Lindsay Graham
executive producer Terms, 1865; host of American History Tellers and American Scandal

What does production look like for a scripted podcast, and what are the steps for getting your project made? In this panel, fiction podcast producers will discuss taking an audio-only script through the production process and the nitty gritty of producing audio fiction.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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TV Support Staff
Micah Cyrus
Micah Cyrus
writers' assistant All American; consulting producer Dead Girls Detective Agency; former writers' assistant Step Up High Water, The Resident
Daniel F. Pérez
Daniel F. Pérez
writer's assistant, Euphoria; Founding member, The Clubhouse (a collection of gay LatinX screenwriters)
Kristina Thomas
Kristina Thomas
script coordinator The New Edition Story, Being Mary Jane, Rebel, Lovecraft Country, The Haunting of Bly Manor

Get inside a TV writers room from the people at the ground level who help make everything possible: a Writers’ Assistant, Script Coordinator, and Showrunners’ Assistant. Have you ever wondered how to break into a room, or what the roles of the support staff looked like? Panelists will share stories of how they landed their jobs, explain their day to day roles and responsibilities, and give advice about ways to navigate the job with success.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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Writing to Direct: Indies
Jason Headley
Jason Headley
writer Pixar's Onward (2020), writer/director A Bad Idea Gone Wrong, It's Not About the Nail
Nicole Perlman
Nicole Perlman
writer Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Detective Pikachu
Brandon Dickerson
Brandon Dickerson
writer/director Sironia, Victor, Amanda & Jack Go Glamping; writer Benji the Dove; director A Single Frame

What does it take to write and direct your own film? Join this panel of writer/directors for a conversation on how the writing process differs when you’re also directing and the obstacles and advantages that come with wearing multiple hats.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry.

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Otter Network Demo!

Otter Network makes Otter Director, the simplest, most cost-effective streaming video platform available. Shoot professional 3 camera shoots with the mobile devices you have on your desk or in your pocket. It's a production truck in a backpack.

Free and open to the public!

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Claymation Station

Come to the Austin Film Festival Tent for your chance to create the next animated classic! Austin Film Festival will have free Claymation activities for your family to make their own stop-motion animation.

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A Conversation with Lawrence Kasdan

Join legendary filmmaker, Lawrence Kasdan (Body Heat, The Big Chill, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark) for a conversation on the key ingredients for writing a successful screenplay and getting to the heart of your stories.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, Weekend, or Lone Star Badge for entry. 

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Story Bar at Lit Crawl Austin

Join Story Bar for a multi-disciplinary "story mixer" that welcomes Austin Film Festival screenwriters and Texas Book Festival authors to the stage for some spellbinding storytelling. The catch? Artists will share a story in a different medium than what they have represented at their respective festivals.

This panel is co-presented by Story Bar.

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ISA Table Read Event: Dirty Words

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Join the International Screenwriters’ Association (ISA) in celebrating the Table Read My Screenplay Contest’s winning screenplay Dirty Words by Rachel Kempf. We will be reading excerpts from the script, directed by Liz Fisher, recipient of the 2018 Princess Grace Award in Theater and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Directing Award in conjunction with the Kennedy Center. Sit back and enjoy the funny, quick-paced story which was a PAGE Semifinalist in 2019 and has won a place in the hearts of ISA, and many others, landing Rachel on the ISA Development Slate.

Rachel Kempf is a Los-Angeles based screenwriter with a passion for kick-ass female-driven comedy and a shameful history of writing smutty romance novels (don’t judge). She received a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015. While at UT, she co-created the webseries Texting with Gosling and was listed in Variety Magazine’s 110 Students to Watch list. Her comedy feature and pilot scripts have gained numerous accolades from NexTV Writing and Pitch Competition, Slamdance, Cinestory, ATX Television Pitch Fest, Script Pipeline, Hollyshorts, and the PAGE Awards, where two of her romantic comedy scripts, Dirty Words and Loser’s Guide to Love, were 2019 semifinalists. After being awarded a special distinction prize in the Gidden Media / Stage 32 Romantic Comedy Contest, she received a development deal from Gidden Media and is currently at work with them on romantic comedy for people who hate weddings.

The International Screenwriters’ Association (ISA) was founded by independent filmmakers who understand that there are many different roads to success. We believe that everyone has a story to tell, each with a unique perspective and style. Our goal is to help you grow as a storyteller by honing your individual talent, sharpening your distinct voice, then guiding you to breakthrough and success. It’s free to join. From working writers, hobbyists and enthusiasts alike, we want to inspire you to believe in yourself and encourage you to become the most authentic storyteller you can be. ISA has been serving the community since 2008.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

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Indie Film Track: Documentary Storytelling

Just like fiction writing, all good documentaries start with one thing—a strong subject with a compelling narrative. Join this panel of documentary filmmakers for a conversation on capturing strong, subject-driven stories from the world around us, and the research, preparation, and commitment to storytelling that goes into making a documentary film.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, or Weekend Badge for entry.

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Claymation Station

Come to the Austin Film Festival Tent for your chance to create the next animated classic! Austin Film Festival will have free Claymation activities for your family to make their own stop-motion animation.

Free and open to the public!

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KMFA Tent Talks

AFF welcomes KMFA’s Dianne Donovan to lead interviews with filmmakers and composers from the film festival. We’ll hear from the team behind the riveting new documentary Cowboys and more.

12:00pm - Cowboys team Bud Force (director), Ian McLeod (composer), Lucas Harger (editor)
12:45pm - Miranda Sachetta composer Transformers: Prime Wars Trilogy, The Eagle Huntress 
1:15pm - Talia Osteen writer/director The Shabbos Goy

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Indie Film Track: Short Film Storytelling

Composing an engaging story with clear characterization, dialogue, and structure is challenging enough when creating a feature film—imagine successfully placing these nuanced elements into a half-hour or less! To learn tips, tricks, and strategies for brewing the right storytelling potion, come hear from our panel of experienced short-film filmmakers.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, or Weekend Badge for entry.

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Indie Film Track: The Art of Sound Design

Often the unsung hero of the film production process, sound design is crucial to the making of a successful film. Join this panel of AFF competition filmmakers for a conversation on the ins and outs of the sound design process and their advice for using sound as a tool for elevating your story.

Must have an AFF Producers, Conference, or Weekend Badge for entry.