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By Mark Bell | August 28, 2012

The 19th annual Austin Film Festival & Conference, running October 18-25, 2012 in Austin, TX, has announced an early look at its 2012 lineup. The selections from the programming include Robert Zemeckis’ Flight, Shadow Dancer, It’s a Disaster, Free Samples, Last Will & Testament, Spinning Plates, To Kill a Memory, Pictures of Superheroes, Rising from Ashes and “Paul Feig Presents: The Human Tornado and Bringing Up Baby.” The full lineup will be revealed in mid-September. From the official press release:

Austin Film Festival & Conference (AFF), the premier film festival recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film, television and new media, announced today the first 10 films included in the 2012 lineup of Festival film screenings October 18-25. Also announced is this year’s Outstanding Television Writer Award recipient, “The X-Files” creator Chris Carter. Carter will receive the award at the Festival’s annual Awards Luncheon held Saturday, Oct. 22, 2012 at the Austin Club.

Described by Time Magazine as a “televisionary,” Chris Carter created four ground-breaking television series for Fox: “The X-Files”, “Millennium”, “Harsh Realm”, and “The Lone Gunmen” Carter is best known for his longest running series, the award-winning sci-fi drama “The X-Files”, which ran for nine seasons on Fox and spawned two feature films. He’s currently developing a new series for cable.

Carter’s participation during the Conference will include “A Conversation with Chris Carter,” where he will share stories from his long career in television and film. Carter will also present special retrospective screenings of “The X-Files” and “Millennium” episodes and, as a guest programmer, will host a screening of one of his favorite films for Festival audiences. And, stay tuned for details on “The X-Files” marathon at the Alamo Drafthouse. The Festival annually recognizes an Outstanding Television Writer and Carter joins previous recipients Hart Hanson (“Bones”), David Simon (“The Wire”), Mitchell Hurwitz (“Arrested Development”), Greg Daniels (“The Office,” “Parks & Recreation”) and many more.

Carter joins Paul Feig and Brian Helgeland as part of AFF’s new Guest Programmer section of the Festival, giving highly regarded filmmakers an opportunity to screen and discuss the films that influenced them. These filmmakers will shed new light not only on these classic films but also on their own work.

The Early 10 films include the highly anticipated new film by Robert Zemeckis, Flight, this year’s Centerpiece; It’s A Disaster, written and directed by AFF alum Todd Berger and starring Julia Stiles, America Ferrera and David Cross (Stiles and Ferrera to attend); Free Samples, a new comedy starring Jess Weixler and Jesse Eisenberg; Shadow Dancer, a tense drama starring Clive Owen; Rising From Ashes, a remarkable documentary about Rwanda’s national cycling team; To Kill A Memory, indie western starring Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn (Brooks to attend); Spinning Plates, a documentary feature about the challenges and triumphs of three very different restaurants around the country; Pictures of Superheroes, a comedy written and directed by Don Swaynos, produced by former AFF Program Director Kelly Williams and starring Austin actor/comedians Kerri Lendo and John Merriman; Last Will & Testament, a startling documentary about the debate over the authorship of the works attributed to Shakespeare; and more.

AFF annually hosts over 180 film screenings and special events, and the Conference boasts more than 100 speakers participating in panels and roundtable discussions. Among the films screened during the Festival are numerous world and US premieres in a wide range of genres, from comedy to documentary, horror to drama. Filmmakers from around the world showcase everything from breakout indie films to big-budget Oscar®-bound productions.

The Early 10 films include a sampling of the premieres and special presentations the Festival has to offer in 2012. The complete list of films screening at AFF this year, including short films and competition titles, will be announced in mid-September. Cast and crew attendance is subject to change and based on permitting schedules.


FLIGHT – Centerpiece Film
Writer: John Gatins
Director: Robert Zemeckis
In this action-packed mystery thriller, Academy Award winner Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot who miraculously crash-lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault, and what really happened on that plane? Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the highly anticipated new film also stars John Goodman, Don Cheadle, and Melissa Leo.

Writer: Jim Beggarly
Director: Jay Gammill
A Stanford law school dropout named Jillian escapes to the anonymity of Los Angeles to figure out what she wants to do with her life, and on the day of her college boyfriend’s birthday, she finds herself stuck running an ice cream truck fending off locals and oddball friends alike. This one day spent in a truck on the streets of LA will wake Jillian from her aimless daze and make her see that life doesn’t stop just because you want it to. Starring Jess Weixler, Jesse Eisenberg, Halley Feiffer, Jason Ritter, this great new comedy is directed by Baylor University film school grad Jay Gammill.

Writer/Director: Todd Berger
Four couples meet for Sunday brunch only to discover they are stuck in a house together as the world may be about to end. Starring Julia Stiles, America Ferrera and David Cross. Julia Stiles and America Ferrera will present the screening at AFF.


Directors: Laura Wilson, Lisa Wilson
US Premiere
This documentary explores the ongoing debate about the authorship of the works attributed to Shakespeare. Writers and critics, actors and scholars, including Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Charlie Chaplin, and many others have struggled to reconcile England’s “Star of Poets” with the grain dealer from Stratford. Why? – Featuring interviews with Vanessa Redgrave, Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance, and other highly regarded Shakespearean actors.

World Premiere
Writer/Director: Don Swaynos
A young maid is asked by her employer to pretend to be his wife as part of a highly questionable business scheme. Meanwhile, she meets the comic book superhero artist living in her employer’s home (seemingly without the employer’s knowledge or permission), and she begins to wonder if there is something more to life than fake marriages and carpet cleaners. Produced by Kelly Williams, and starring Kerri Lendo, John Merriman, Byron Brown and Chris Doubek.

Director: T.C. Johnstone
Two worlds collide when cycling legend Jock Boyer (first American to compete in the Tour de France) moves to Rwanda and teams with Tom Ritchey (inventor of the mountain bike) to help a group of struggling genocide survivors pursue their dream of a national team. As they set out against impossible odds, both Jock and the team find new purpose as they rise from the ashes of their past. Narrated by Forest Whitaker and directed by Austin native T.C. Johnstone, this remarkable story culminated at the 2012 Olympics in London when one of the subjects of the film, Adrien Niyonshuti, competed in the Games and became Rwanda’s first Olympic cyclist.

Writer: Tom Bradby
Director: James March
Single mother Collette McVeigh is a Republican living in Belfast with her mother and hardliner IRA brothers. When she is arrested for her part in an aborted IRA bomb plot in London, an MI5 officer (Mac, played by Clive Owen) offers her a choice: lose everything and go to prison for 25 years or return to Belfast to spy on her own family. With her son’s life in her hands, Collette chooses to place her trust in Mac and return home, but when her brothers’ secret operation is ambushed, suspicions of an informant are raised and Collette finds both herself and her family in grave danger. Starring Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, and Gillian Anderson.

World Premiere
Writer/Director: Joseph Levy
Spinning Plates is a feature documentary film about three restaurants, extraordinary for what they are today as well as the challenges they have overcome. A cutting-edge restaurant named the seventh best in the world whose chef must battle a life-threatening obstacle to pursue his passion… a 150-year-old family restaurant still standing only because of the unbreakable bond with its community… a fledgling Mexican restaurant whose owners are putting everything they have on the line just to make enough to survive and provide for their young daughter. Features Chef Grant Achatz of Chicago’s Alinea and Chef Thomas Keller of California’s The French Laundry.

World Premiere
Writers: Dustin Rikert, William Shockley, Philip Tiboni
Director: Dustin Rikert
A respected US Marshal is imprisoned after being suspiciously involved in a bank robbery gone wrong. When he learns that the other bank robbers may be going after his wife, the Marshal must escape prison and catch them before it’s too late. This low budget indie Western features an astonishing lead performance from country western singer Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn. Kix Brooks will present the screening at AFF.

This year, AFF is excited to introduce an all new Guest Programmer section, which invites some of our highly regarded panelists and guest filmmakers to program and present films that inspired them. Paul Feig (director of BRIDESMAIDS, creator of “Freaks and Geeks,” also directed episodes of “Arrested Development,” “The Office,” “Mad Men,” “30 Rock” and more) has chosen two very different films: the blaxsploitation Dolemite adventure THE HUMAN TORNADO and Howard Hawks’ immortal screwball comedy BRINGING UP BABY. Don’t miss an opportunity to hear how these two wildly diverse films influenced one of the most in-demand directors in Hollywood today.

The 19th annual Austin Film Festival & Conference will be held Oct 18 ­ 25, 2012 in Austin, TX. AFF has already announced several panelists for this year’s Conference, including some of the top screenwriters, directors, showrunners and producers in the business. All panelists and speakers are confirmed, schedules permitting. For more information on films, panels and awardees, visit or call 1-800-310-FEST (3378). Stay tuned for announcements from AFF with additional awardees, full film lineup, and more Conference panels and panelists. Festival Badges and Film Passes are now on sale and can be purchased online or by phone. All badges and passes grant admission to films.

For regular updates, follow AFF on Facebook at and Twitter @austinfilmfest.

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