Catch and ReleaseIt seems like I'm getting news every day now about new speakers and panelists added to Austin Film Festival. The festival includes a conference geared towards screenwriting and filmmaking, which runs from Oct. 19-22, and a lineup of films running through Oct. 26. I've been volunteering for and/or attending the festival since 1996, when it was still called the Austin Heart of Film Festival. At the time, the films seemed like more than an afterthought -- everyone was there for the screenwriting conference, and the feature films were something to do when you got tired of hanging out at the Driskill bar with other writers. Over the years, however, the film festival has become bigger and stronger, and has added documentaries to its schedule. You can catch a studio film before it's released in theaters, or watch low-budget indie films that haven't yet found distribution.

This year's AFF screenings include the opening-night gala showing of The TV Set, with writer-director Jake Kasdan in attendance; Werner Herzog's latest film, Rescue Dawn (no, he's not going to be there); The Night of the White Pants, shot in Texas, with co-stars Nick Stahl and Janine Turner at the screening; The Amateurs, which stars Jeff Bridges as a wanna-be porn director; and Catch and Release (pictured above), a feature starring Jennifer Garner and Juliette Lewis. Cult movie fans will be happy to hear that actor Danny Trejo is scheduled to show up at a screening of Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror.

I did mention Kevin Smith, didn't I? Smith was in town earlier this year for a local Clerks II premiere, but he's returning to Austin not just to enjoy the cooler weather, but to promote Catch and Release, in which he has an acting role. He'll also participate in one of the conference panels, but the specifics have not yet been announced. The festival is presenting awards to several notable screenwriters and directors who will also be at the conference: Shane Black, Sydney Pollack, and David Milch. The AFF Blog has the latest details on scheduled panelists and special guests. I'll be covering the film festival for Cinematical, so if you're not in Austin in a couple of weeks, you can live vicariously through me. And no, I'm not going to spend the whole week at the Driskill bar.
categories Cinematical