By Don Simpson | October 21, 2009
It’s time for the 16th annual Austin Film Festival (October 22nd ‐ 29th). The AFF always features a strong competition in the narrative and documentary categories, as well as high profile “marquee” premieres (An Education, Youth in Revolt, The Road, The Fourth Kind, Calvin Marshall, and Precious to name a few).
Opening the festival will be Serious Moonlight (directed by Cheryl Hines and written by the late Adrienne Shelly) on October 22nd at 7pm at the Paramount Theatre with Hines in attendance.
Closing the festival will be Up in the Air (directed by Jason Reitman and written by Reitman and Sheldon Turner) on October 29th at 8pm at the Paramount Theatre with Reitman in attendance.
Along with the film festival, there is also a four-day conference (October 22nd – 25th) featuring over 80 panels, ranging from very personal “Meet and Greets” and round-table discussions to larger Q&A sessions. The vibe at the conference is very laid-back and most of the high-profile panelists are very accessible and approachable.
In preparation for the festival, Smells Like Screen Spirit has been perusing through preview copies of some of the films screening at the 2009 Austin Film Festival. Here are some of our reviews to give you a taste of what the Austin Film Festival is all about:
“American Cowslip is one of the strangest films I have seen in a long time (which says a lot). The exaggerated characters, backdrops and colors all seem to be lensed by a camera on acid – the colors absolutely pop and facial expressions comically explode.”
“Alex Frost plays Calvin like only a young John Cusack would (in my opinion, that’s a compliment!). He is sensitive, endearing and a bit nerdy while emitting an ever so cool nonchalance.”
“We first meet a young Jewish couple, Yasmine (Yasmine Kittles) and Alan (Adam Busch), as they bicker about which wine would be better suited for the orgy: Beaver or Platypus? (The sexual innuendoes abound in Cummings Farm.)”
“We are reminded by Downtown Calling that the most troubled and trying times have historically created the best art. The New Yorkers of the 70s created something amazing out of virtually nothing.”
“Produced, directed, shot and co-edited by Jim Granato D Tour deals with two seminal issues for the health and well-being of the world: the need of adequate and affordable health care for everyone and the importance of being an organ donor.”
“Written and directed by Joe Leonard, How I Got Lost is a bittersweet and intimate drama about discovering happiness in the midst of turmoil.”
“I would say that Stoner is a very odd cross between Slacker and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.”
“Strigoi opts to rely solely on the original Romanian folklore about strigoi (which was an influence on Bram Stoker’s Dracula), rather than the much bastardized version of the popular vampire.”