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'Ben is Back,' 'Widows,' 'Green Book' to play Austin Film Festival

Joe Gross
jgross@statesman.com
"Green Book (L to R: Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali)

Julia Roberts! Mahershala Ali! Mickey Rourke! Carey Mulligan! And Willie Nelson!

No, it’s not the cast of the New New New Hollywood Squares (“I’ll take the Red Headed Stranger to block”). These are just a few of the stars in movies playing this year’s Austin Film Festival, which announced its full slate Tuesday.

Here are some highlights:

· “Ben is Back”starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges; writer/director Peter Hedges will be in attendance.

· “Widows” (from writer Gillian “Gone Girl” Flynn and director Steve McQueen)

· “Green Book” starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen

· “Tiger” starring Mickey Rourke

· “Wildlife” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan

· The season two premiere of Netflix’s “Friends From College” with creators Francesca Delbanco and Nicholas Stoller in attendance.

· AFF’s Retrospective Series will include Tony Gilroy presenting “Dolores Claiborne,” Graham Yost presenting “Speed” and writer Mick Garris in attendance for a special Halloween presentation of “Hocus Pocus.”

· “Waiting for the Miracle to Come” starring Willie Nelson and Charlotte Rampling.

AFF’s feature film slate includes 23 world, North American, and US Premieres, a retrospective series and the marquee titles above. 

In addition to “Friends from College,” ceator Justin Marks and executive producer Jordan Horowitz will also be at hand at the Festival to present the season 2 premiere of their espionage spy thriller “Counterpart,” starring J.K. Simmons,

AFF will also showcase independent original series as part of its Scripted Digital Series competition.

Other World Premieres include “The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova” (a comedy about estranged siblings traveling to Poland to track down the remains of the their grandmother’s childhood dog), “F/11 and Be There” (a documentary about famed photographer Burke Uzzle) and “The Amaranth” (a thriller about a mysterious retirement community).

Austin Film Festival also revealed today their full Writers Conference schedule, which will take place the first four days of the Festival, Oct. 25-28. 

The Conference features a roster of prominent screenwriters in film and television, including Roger Corman, Tony Gilroy, Larry Wilmore, Megan Amram, John August, Wendy Calhoun and many more.

Marquee Features

“And Breathe Normally” Writer/Director: Isold Uggadottir

“Ben is Back” Writer/Director: Peter Hedges

“Boy Erased” Writer/Director: Joel Edgerton

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Writers: Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty; Director: Marielle Heller

“El Chicano” Writers: Ben Hernandez Bray, Joe Carnahan; Director: Ben Hernandez Bray

“Everybody Knows” Writer/Director: Asghar Farhadi

“The Favourite” Writers: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

“The Front Runner” Writers: Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman;  Director: Jason Reitman

“Fullsterkur” Director: Todd Sansom

“Green Book” Writers: Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly; Director: Peter Farrelly

“Happy as Lazarro” Writer/Director: Alice Rohrwacher

“Little Woods” Writer/Director: Nia DaCosta

“The Long Dumb Road”  Writers: Hannah Fidell, Carson Mell

Director: Hannah Fidell

“Peterloo” Writer/Director: Mike Leigh

“Shoplifters” Writer/Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

“Tiger” Writers: Michael Pugliese, Prem Singh

Director: Alister Grierson

“Widows” Writers: Gillian Flynn & Steve McQueen

Director: Steve McQueen

“Wildlife” Writers: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan; Director: Paul Dano

“Worlds of Ursula K. LeGuin” Writer/Director: Arwen Curry

Check out the full film and conference schedule at www.austinfilmfestival.com, including Narrative Features,  Comedy Vanguard Features,  Dark Matters Features and Texas Independent Features.