Austin Film Festival announces first wave of films

The 22nd annual Austin Film Festival has announced its first wave of films.  Here are some highlights, with the rest of the announced titles below.

“Carol,” Todd Haynes’ adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s  novel “The Price of Salt” starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara will screen along with world premieres of Brian Jett’s “Fallen Stars” and Vladamir de Fontenay and Nina Ljeti’s “Memoria” starring Thomas Mann and James Franco.

Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams in "I Saw the Light."
Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams in “I Saw the Light.”

Also look for Marc Abraham’s “I Saw the Light,” starring Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams. (Williams died at 29 but looked about 50 at the time. Hiddleston is about 34, so it works out nicely.)

The film festival runs Oct. 29 to Nov.5. Look for appearances by Franco and Jason Reitman (someone makes sure to ask the latter how he feels about the Internet!), along with Jett, Kai Berry, Anthony LaPaglia and others with various projects.

A complete list of programming will be announced in September.

Here are the first ten titles:


Texas Premiere

Writer: Phyllis Nagy; Director: Todd Haynes

In an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel “The Price of Salt,” Carol follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. Starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy and Cory Michael Smith.



New Series from Hulu

Creator/Executive Producer Zander Lehmann; Executive Producer/Director Jason Reitman

A comedy series about a bachelor brother and his newly divorced sister living under one roof again. Together, they coach each other through the crazy world of dating while raising her teenage daughter.

In attendance: Creator/Executive Producer Zander Lehmann; Executive Producer/Director Jason Reitman; Executive Producer Helen Estabrook; Executive Producer Liz Tigelaar; Cast Tommy Dewey, Michaela Watkins, and Tara Lynne Barr


“Fallen Stars”

World Premiere

Writer/Director: Brian Jett

A poignant drama that chronicles the unexpected friendship that develops between Cooper, a melancholy bartender, who at thirty-six, still isn’t sure what he wants to do with his life, and Daisy, an extremely bright but socially awkward girl in her early twenties.

In attendance: Writer/Director Brian Jett; Cast Ryan O’Nan, Michelle Ang; Producer Stephanie Marin


“I Saw the Light”

Texas Premiere

Writer/Director: Marc Abraham

Starring Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olson, David Krumholtz, and Bradley Whitford.



World Premiere

Writer/Directors: Vladamir de Fontenay, Nina Ljeti

Ivan Cohen is a young boy living in Palo Alto, California. Unsatisfied by his slacker group of friends, his love for a girl who doesn’t know he exists, and a dysfunctional family life, he is struggling to find his place in the world. Starring Sam Dillon, Thomas Mann, Keith Stanfield, and James Franco.

In attendance: Writers/Directors Vladamir de Fontenay, Nina Ljeti; Cast James Franco, Sam Dillon



North American Premiere

Writer/Director: Kai Berry

When a rookie operative’s mistake costs the lives of his entire team, he’s forced on the run and must piece together the truth by re-creating the events of the ill-fated mission with only the audio recording to guide him.

In attendance: Writer/Director Kai Berry; Cast Anthony LaPaglia


“The Night is Young”

World Premiere

Writer/Directors: Matt Jones, Dave Hill

Over one night, two guys meet two girls and explore what it’s really like to have a drink in LA. Or two drinks… or three… or more.

In attendance: Writer/Directors/Cast Matt Jones, Dave Hill; Cast Eloise Mumford, Kelen Coleman



World Premiere

Writer/Director: Adam Bowers

A pizza cook who’s never left his college town meets the girl of his dreams before finding out there’s a huge roadblock to them being together.

In attendance: Writer/Director Adam Bowers


“The Teller and the Truth”

World Premiere

Director: Andrew Shapter

The Teller and the Truth uncovers the truth surrounding the disappearance of Francis Wetherbee, a beautiful young bank teller who’s been missing since a 1974 bank robbery in Smithville, Texas.

In attendance: Director Andrew Shapter; All Cast and Crew



Texas Premiere

Writer/Director Paolo Sorrentino

Youth explores the lifelong bond between two friends vacationing in a luxury Swiss Alps lodge as they ponder retirement. Starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda.

Author: Joe Gross

Joe Gross has covered books, movies, music and culture for the American-Statesman since 2002. He tweets at @joegross.

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