Stay up-to-date with AFF announcements, news from our panelists and filmmakers, film industry updates, and more.

AFF Alumni Roundup: The Emmys Edition

Congratulations to all of the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award winners! We are especially thrilled for all of the AFF alumni who were nominated for awards as well as those who won! Those who took home trophies Monday night include:

08.28.2014

Congratulations to all of the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award winners! We are especially thrilled for all of the AFF alumni who were nominated for awards as well as those who won! Those who took home trophies Monday night include:

Outstanding Drama Series: Breaking Bad created by AFF 2013 Outstanding Television Writer Award winner Vince Gilligan

Outstanding Director for a Drama Series: True Detective – Who Goes There – Directed by 2014 AFF Confirmed Panelist Cary Joji Fukunaga

Outstanding Miniseries: Fargo created by 2014 AFF Confirmed Panelist Noah Hawley

Outstanding Animated Program: Bob’s Burgers with AFF Alum Jim Dauterive as Executive Producer

See Emmy winners Noah Hawley and Cari Fukunaga at this year’s Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference! See the full list of panelists here.

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AFF Reveals First Slate of Films for 21st Annual Festival & Conference

Austin, TX – June 19, 2014 – Austin Film Festival (AFF), the premier film festival recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film, television and new media, announced today the first slate of films included in the 2014 lineup of Festival screenings October 23-30. The complete list of programming at the 21st annual AFF, including short films, competition titles, and Conference panels, will be announced in mid-September.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL REVEALS FIRST SLATE OF FILMS
FOR 21ST ANNIVERSARY LINE-UP

2014 Centerpiece Film to feature Kevin Costner’s Black and White

Additional selections include The Sound and the Fury, The Imitation Game, The Homesman, and the World Premieres of 21 Years: Richard Linklater and Dawn Patrol

Austin, TX – June 19, 2014 – Austin Film Festival (AFF), the premier film festival recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film, television and new media, announced today the first slate of films included in the 2014 lineup of Festival screenings October 23-30. The complete list of programming at the 21st annual AFF, including short films, competition titles, and Conference panels, will be announced in mid-September.

AFF 2014 EARLY FILMS:

CENTERPIECE FILM: Black and White
Writer/Director: Mike Binder (In attendance)
Cast in attendance: Jillian Estell
Starring Academy Award-winners Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, Black and White is the story of a widowed grandfather (Costner) who is left to raise his bi-racial granddaughter. When the little girl’s paternal grandmother (Spencer) seeks custody, a bitter legal battle ensues that forces the uneasy family members to have an honest conversation about life, death, anger and America’s racial divide. Also starring Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Ehle, Gillian Jacobs, Bill Burr, Andre Holland, and introducing Jillian Estell.

21 Years: Richard Linklater – World Premiere
Director:  Michael Dunaway, Tara Wood (In attendance)
A spirited look at the first 21 years of writer/director Richard Linklater’s remarkable career, featuring interviews with collaborators Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Billy Bob Thornton, Keanu Reeves, Jack Black, and more.

7 Minutes - World Premiere
Writer/Director: Jay Martin (In attendance)
Cast in attendance: Luke Mitchell, Leven Rambin
Three former high-school friends are forced to commit a brazen robbery that quickly goes horribly wrong.  Featuring a cast of Kris Kristofferson, Luke Mitchell, Jason Ritter, and Leven Rambin.

Dawn Patrol – World Premiere
Writer: Rachel Long, Brian Pittman (In attendance)
Director: Daniel Petrie Jr. (In attendance)
Cast and Crew in attendance: Scott Eastwood, Rita Wilson, Jeff Fahey, Chris Brochu, Kim Matula, Dendrie Taylor, Matt Meola, Rick Dugdale
A surfer-turned-Marine (Scott Eastwood) held at gunpoint tells his tragic story of revenge-gone-wrong to stall his execution. With the screenplay originating out of Austin Film Festival’s 2008 Screenplay Competition, Dawn Patrol (formerly Stranded) was acquired by Dan Petrie Jr and Rick Dugdale at Enderby Entertainment and makes its way back to Texas this October for its World Premiere.

One-Eyed GirlWorld Premiere
Writer: Craig Behenna, Nick Matthews (In attendance)
Director: Nick Matthews
Cast in attendance: Mark Leonard Winter, Tilda Cobham-Hervey
A psychiatrist haunted by the death of a former patient stumbles upon a Doomsday cult and battles to save a teenage girl (Cobham-Hervey) from its clutches.

The Homesman – Texas Premiere
Writer: Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley A. Oliver, Kieran Fitzgerald
Director: Tommy Lee Jones
When three women living on the edge of the American frontier are driven to the brink, the task of saving them from their surroundings falls to the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank).  Transporting the women by covered wagon to Iowa, she soon realizes just how daunting the journey will be, and employs a feisty low-life drifter, George Biggs (Tommy Lee Jones), to join her.  The unlikely pair and the three women head east, where a waiting minister and his wife (Meryl Streep) have offered to take the women in.  But the group first must traverse the harsh Nebraska Territories marked by stark beauty, psychological peril and constant threat.

The Imitation Game – Texas Premiere
Writer: Graham Moore
Director: Morten Tyldum
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Turing went on to assist with the development of computers at the University of Manchester after the war, but was prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal.

The Sound and the FuryTexas Premiere
Writer: Matt Rager, William Faulkner (Novel)
Director: James Franco
Directed by and starring Academy Award® nominee James Franco, The Sound and The Fury captures the lives and passions of the Compsons, a once proud Southern family caught in a tragic spiral of loss and misfortune. Based on the novel by Noble Prize winner author William Faulkner and considered among the 20th century’s greatest works, The Sound and the Fury encapsulates the universal theme of the death of honor, social injustice and forbidden love.

The Texas Promise - World Premiere
Director: Vanessa Roth (In attendance)
From Academy-Award ® winning documentarian, Vanessa Roth, The Texas Promise is the gripping story of equity, politics, money, and our children as historic decisions are being made about opportunity, the economy, and our democracy. When the Texas legislature cut $5.4 billion from public schools, it affected the daily lives of the 5 million students in Texas public schools and made Texas 49th in the country in per pupil spending.  Texans took to the streets in protest, districts from across Texas sued the state, and ideological battle lines were drawn in Austin. 

In continuation of AFF’s annual Guest Programmer Series, featured retrospective films will include Matthew Weiner presenting The Twilight Zone, Jim Sheridan & Terry George presenting In the Name of the Father, John Patrick Shanley presenting Moonstruck, Randall Wallace presenting Braveheart, and Tom Schulman presenting Dead Poets Society. Films will be followed by extended post-screening discussions that connect the public and the filmmaker, open the dialogue between artist and audience, and provide a platform for film-lovers and makes to learn about classic films.

AFF is supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, City of Austin Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future.

Cast and crew attendance is subject to change and based on permitting schedules.


ABOUT AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL:

Widely known as “The Writers Festival,” Austin Film Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the art, craft, and business of filmmakers and screenwriters. AFF is funded and supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, City of Austin Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future.  Badges and passes are available for purchase online at www.austinfilmfestival.com or by phone at 1-800-310-FEST. Click here for more information on Badges and Film Passes

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In Memoriam: Paul Mazursky

We were very saddened to lose industry great Paul Mazursky last week. Mazursky’s career spanned more than 50 years with over two hundred film credits. He was a five time Academy Award® Nominee including once for Best Picture in 1978 for his film, An Unmarried Woman, which he wrote and directed. We were fortunate to have him at the 7th annual Austin Film Festival and Conference in 2000 to …

We were very saddened to lose industry great Paul Mazursky last week. Mazursky’s career spanned more than 50 years with over two hundred film credits. He was a five time Academy Award® Nominee including once for Best Picture in 1978 for his film, An Unmarried Woman, which he wrote and directed. We were fortunate to have him at the 7th annual Austin Film Festival and Conference in 2000 to present him the Distinguished Screenwriter Award. That year he sat down with Steve Zaillian for a panel on the pleasures and perils of writing and directing. This week’s On Story podcast features audio from that panel.

Listen as Mazursky and Zaillian describe their respective writing processes, thoughts on structure, casting, and their experiences in the ever-changing landscape of Hollywood filmmaking.

To listen to this week’s On Story Podcast, visit our onstory.tv podcast page or subscribe on iTunes.

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AFF Guest Blog: When the Day Job is Making a Meatball Talk

Independent film makers still need to pay the bills. In Atlanta, I found a career editing for Turner Broadcasting and that lead to working in animation. Cartoon Network was one of the few places doing original production, and Adult Swim is where I edited for 12 years.

I’ve since edited for the biggest animation company in the world (Disney) and probably the smallest-budgeted animation for broadcast anywhere (Adult Swim). People want to know: What’s it like? That must be a lot of fun! Here’s my experiences with both.

Jay Wade Edwards | 07.02.2014

Jay Wade Edwards

Ideally we (indie film makers) would make our living on our film making.  When that doesn’t happen, what’s the day job? For me, it’s making a meatball talk.

I fell in love with editing in college and quickly decided that’s what I wanted to do for a living.  I started my career at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta doing promos, commercials, and the occasional documentary.  Cartoon Network was one of the few places doing original production and I naturally gravitated toward that.  My first project was an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast (Carrot Top was the guest).  That lead to working for Adult Swim, where I edited for 12 years.

I’ve since edited for the biggest animation company in the world (Disney) and probably the smallest-budgeted animation for broadcast anywhere (Adult Swim).  People often ask:  What’s it like?  That must be a lot of fun!  Here’s my experiences with both.

On Adult Swim animated shows (at least Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Squidbillies, both done in Atlanta), the entire crew is maybe 10 people (compared to a Disney show were dozens of people are employed, just in the story board/background/art department):  Two writer/directors, two editors (working in Adobe Premiere), two or three After Effects (or Flash) animators, one character animator (for any new guest characters), one background artist, and one audio mixer.  That’s it.  Doing original production outside of Los Angeles or New York, we had to make-up our own production process that fit the small budgets of these shows.

The scrips for these adult swim shows are looser than most.  Not that they’re not well-written, they just leave plenty of room for the voice talent to play around with the lines.  And why not, when you have really talented voices?  A typical scene is often a Header (INT. House – Day) and then 3 pages of dialog, no action descriptions at all.  This is a challenge at times, but most of the crew has been on the show for many years, so everybody is on the same page with minimal explanations needed.  Also, Adult Swim shows tend to be dialog-driven, as opposed to kid shows that are more action-oriented and visually driven.

Voice talent for each character is recorded separately, supervised by the writer/directors.  Often the script is essentially re-written in the voice over session. Entire conversations are improvised.  The editors will get a dozen or so reads for every line in the episode.  Sometimes they match, sometimes they don’t.  It’s the editor’s job to sort through the chaos and put together a show that feels natural and delivers the jokes.

There are no director or storyboard artists on these Adult Swim shows.  The editor works in Premiere (formerly Final Cut Pro) using photoshop backgrounds (episodes tend to take place in the same environments) and QT movies of generic character animation to edit a rough cut of the  show.  The result is a fairly-detailed, moving storyboard.  Excepting for a new location or guest character, no new drawings are made for new episodes.  It’s all recycling.  For example, Master Shake has three eye positions (neutral, surprise, and angry) and two mouths (smile and frown).  Those six combinations are essentially the entirely of animation ever done for the character.  In 14 seasons on the air.  That’s a tribute to the quality of writing, voice acting and, ahem… editing.

Because the show is put together this way (and often the voices are done by the writer/producers), new jokes, new conversations, whole new scenes can be constructed fairly easily.  Once again, the show gets re-written, this time in the edit. Often re-written several times over.  In this process, the editor is a lynch-pin in how the story is told, another writer in the room.

Once the show is locked, a QT (and any new BGs, new character animations, etc) is send to the animation company, who builds the show in After Effects.  Explosions, bodily fluids, and lip sync are done at this stage.  Often new jokes are crafted here.  The rewriting never stops.  The best idea, the better joke, the weirdest gag, always wins.  Even into the audio mix, jokes are added, emphasized, or tweaked.

Each of these stages– the editing,  the animation/compositing, the sound mix– take a matter of weeks.  The crew is small, the budgets are small, so the schedule can be more fluid.  But when necessary, a show can go from recording to final mix in 6-8 weeks.

At Disney (at least in my experience at TV Animation on Gravity Falls and Wander Over Yonder), the process is very different.  Scripts tend to be very detailed, with action precisely spelled out.  These are kid shows to there’s considerably more action, chase scenes, and visual gags.

To illustrate the vast difference in production processes, on some shows at Disney, the voice actors are recorded and the selected takes chosen in the VO session.  The selected lines are given to the directors and storyboard artist for reference during the boarding process. The editor then will get only the one read for each line of dialog in the script.

Before the editor ever starts, the story is hammered out to an exacting place.  Hundreds (sometimes up to 2,000) storyboards are created for a quarter-hour show (with commercial breaks, opening and closing credits, the run-time is closer to 10 minutes).  The editor’s job in this scenario is more assembly, but no less labor intensive.  There’s less story-telling involved for the editor, all those decisions have already been made.

Editors that have worked in both live-action and animation often say that animation is much more difficult.  With live action, the sound is at least married to the picture.  If someone delivers a speech on screen, that’s one edit.  With animation there’s an edit with every emotion, every gesture, that has to be timed.  Also with animation, every sound — dialog, sound effects, ambiance, music– has to be selected and placed.  It can be a laborious process, especially with an action-oriented show.

The extensive storyboarding and animatic editing process still allows for tweaks and changes to be made, but much less so compared to the adult swim process.  Once this animatic is locked, it is sent to an animation company (usually overseas) where many, many hands go to work.  The entire process here takes 6 to 9 months, from head to tail.

Both styles of production make for detailed, exacting work that requires technical skill, but also the ability to step back and execute a joke so it lands properly. I contribute my success to watching many hours of classic TV (the Dick Van Dyke Show comes to mind).  I also think like a writer or a direction when I’m editing.  My indie film making experience is a big part of this.

 

Hear more from Jay Wade Edwards at the 2014 Austin Film Festival and Conference where he is a confirmed panelist speaker. Don’t have your badge yet? Click here for more information and to purchase.

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