The Austin Film Society announced Tuesday it will honor actress Kaitlyn Dever — star of the Netflix miniseries "Unbelievable" and 2019 comedy film "Booksmart" — with its rising star award at the 20th anniversary of the Texas Film Awards.
The awards, considered an unofficial kickoff to the film portion of South by Southwest, are set to take place March 12 at Austin Studios (2001 East 51st St.). SXSW Film runs March 13–21.
Previous recipients of the rising star award include Tye Sheridan ("Ready Player One," the "X-Men" franchise), the brilliant Jesse Plemons ("Fargo," "Breaking Bad") and Amber Heard ("Aquaman").
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Parker Posey, perhaps known best for her decades of service in independent film (high-strung, J. Crew-wearing dog owner Meg Swan in "Best in Show," we will never forget you) will serve as the master of ceremonies for the awards, while Grammy Award winner Adrian Quesada (currently best known as half of Black Pumas, a best new artist nominee at this year’s Grammys) will be the bandleader for the Texas Film Awards and also perform at the event.
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Raised in Dallas, Dever has been recognized for her role in "Booksmart" with the Hollywood Critics Association’s award for breakthrough artist under the age of 23; she also was a BAFTA rising star nominee.
Dever’s performance in "Unbelievable" (as a young woman accused of lying about her rape) earned her nominations for lead actress in a limited series from both the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards. She also appeared in "Short Term 12," which premiered at SXSW in 2013, winning the grand jury prize for best narrative and the audience award. "Short Term 12" also helped launch the careers of Brie Larson, Rami Malek and Lakeith Stanfield.
(Shout-out to anyone who considers Dever’s stunning turn as redneck teen weed-dealer Loretta McCready in the second season of FX drama "Justified" to be her breakout.)
Posey, though not a Texas native, starred in Richard Linklater’s "Dazed and Confused" as the vicious cheerleader Darla. She also appeared in subsequent Texas-shot films like Linklater’s "Suburbia" and Christopher Guest’s "Waiting for Guffman."
This year also marks the 35th anniversary of the Austin Film Society. The full program for the Texas Film Awards and additional honorees will be announced in the weeks leading up to the event. For information about tickets to the ceremony, go to austinfilm.org/texas-film-awards.