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‘The Front Runner’ will close Austin Film Festival; second wave of films announced

“The Front Runner,” starring Hugh Jackman as former presidential candidate Gary Hart, will close the Austin Film Festival, it was announced today.  

Director Jason Reitman will be on hand to discuss the movie, which chronicles the rise and fall of the exceptionally talented senator who was the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president in 1988 until his run was destroyed by his extramarital affair. 

The whole mishegas set the tone for, well, the next 30 years of American politics. 

“The Front Runner” will screen in Austin on Nov. 1.

AFF also announced it next wave of films, including “The Favourite,” by director Yorgos Lanthimos ( “The Lobster,” “The Killing of the Sacred Deer” )and starring Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, and “Everybody Knows,” from Iranian director Asghar Farsadi, starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz.

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The fest also announced four world premieres — British drama “Undercliffe,” supernatural thriller “The Dark Red,” directed by Dan Bush (“The Signal”), Indian-American family drama “Love Goes Through Your Mind” and “The Money Stone,” Stuart Harmon’s documentary about two boys coming of age among the gold mines of Ghana.

The festival will also be presenting “Texas Cotton” from Texas filmmaker Tyler Russell. 

Based on the short film of the same name that played at AFF in 2016, “Texas Cotton” follows an aging policeman convinced that a mysterious stranger arrested in his small Texas town is innocent.

In addition to these features come a number of short films from emerging female voices that will premiere during the festival this year. 

Here is the second wave of films:

“The Dark Red”

World Premiere

Writers: Dan Bush, Conal Byrne

Director: Dan Bush

Starring: April Billingsley, Kelsey Scott, Rhoda Griffis

A young woman is committed to a psychiatric hospital and claims her newborn was stolen by a dark cult.

“Everybody Knows”

Writer/Director: Asghar Farhadi

Starring: Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Ricardo Darin

Laura, a Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires, returns to her hometown outside Madrid with her two children to attend her sister's wedding. However, the trip is upset by unexpected events that bring secrets into the open.

“The Favourite”

Writer/Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring: Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman

Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way

“The Front Runner”

Closing Night Film

Writers: Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman

Based on the book All the Truth is Out by Matt Bai

Director: Jason Reitman

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Alfred Molina

Oscar® nominee Hugh Jackman stars as the charismatic politician Gary Hart for Academy Award®-nominated director Jason Reitman in the new thrilling drama The Front Runner. The film follows the rise and fall of Senator Hart, who captured the imagination of young voters and was considered the overwhelming front runner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination when his campaign was sidelined by the story of an extramarital relationship with Donna Rice. As tabloid journalism and political journalism merged for the first time, Senator Hart was forced to drop out of the race – events that left a profound and lasting impact on American politics and the world stage.

“Love Goes Through Your Mind”

Writers: Shruti Swaminathan, Ronak Shah

Director: Ronak Shah

Starring: Ariela Barer, Azim Rizk

An Indian-American family begins to implode under the pressures of a family member's untreated mental illness.

“The Money Stone”

World Premiere

Director: Stuart Harmon

Deep under the jungles of Ghana, scores of children are driven by poverty to leave school and work in dangerous pits in search of gold. Justice and Maxwell, two teens trapped in the deadly world of illegal mining who risk it all in search of a better future.

“Texas Cotton”

Writers: Tyler Russell, Jameel Khaja

Director: Tyler Russell

Starring: George Hardy, Lew Temple, Jason Douglas, Gene Jones

An aging policeman is convinced a mysterious stranger arrested in his small town is innocent. His investigation stirs up a hornet's nest.

“Undercliffe”

Writer: Bruce McLeod

Director: Lisa Mulcahy

Starring: Laurie Kynaston, Mark Addy, Akbar Kurtha, Stephanie Hyam

A young man wakes up beaten half to death in a wasteland, with no memories of what happened to him or who he is. As he investigates his own past, he discovers that he has left a trail of destruction in his wake.

Highlighted Shorts

“Candid”

Writer/Director: Gabrielle Shepard

Faced with the memory of her late mother, an aspiring street photographer takes a surreal journey through the city as she reconciles her future and the relationship with her father.

“Daily Bread”

Writers: Ruby Challenger, Jonathan Wald, Ella Carey

Director: Ruby Challenger

In a WWII internment camp in Indonesia, Jan acts out of desperation to save a little girl’s life, bringing dire consequences upon the whole camp.

“Max & The Monster”

Writer/Director: Jenna Kanell

Maxine struggles to regain normalcy after acquiring the company of a persistent monster whom no one else can see.

“Mercury”

Writer: Gorana Jovanović

Director: Kyla Simone Bruce

Bambi drives her very pregnant best friend Al to the hospital to have her baby. Al's mood darkens as the inevitable and irreversible reality sinks in.

“Moonwalk with Me”

Writer/Director: So Young Shelly Yo

A Korean-American girl named Juno struggles to keep her drifting father grounded.

“The Ride Home”

Writer/Director: Laura Adkin

A young girl makes an unexpected connection with a couple who offer her a ride home after her painful and complicated decision to terminate her pregnancy.

The Austin Film Festival takes place Oct. 25 to Nov. 1.

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