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'Butter,' 'Union Square' added to AFF lineup

Matthew Odam
modam@statesman.com

The popcorn on opening night of the Austin Film Festival will be served with a heaping side of "Butter," a wicked comedy about the curiously competitive world of butter carving.

The R-rated satire about an Iowa couple (Bob Pickler from "Modern Family" and Jennifer Garner) whose dominance in the dairy arts is challenged by a sassy preteen was penned by newcomer Jason Micallef, who has drawn comparisons to Alexander Payne ("Election"). Alt comedy stars Rob Corddry and Kristen Schaal co-star along with Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman and Ashley Greene. "Butter" officially kicks off the festival on Oct. 20.

Bookending the festival is closing night film "Union Square." The movie from director Nancy Savoca, whose greatest success came with a grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival for her 1989 debut "True Love," tells the story of two sisters (Mira Sorvino and Tammy Blanchard) with personalities at opposite ends of the spectrum who careen toward a series of life-altering truths. Academy Award winner Sorvino will attend the Oct. 27 screening.

The heart of the Austin Film Festival will have a decidedly local feel, as "Jeff Who Lives at Home," the latest feature from University of Texas film alumni, brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, will serve as the centerpiece. The heartfelt comedy stars Jason Segel and Ed Helms as estranged brothers who set out on a series of misadventures and struggle to reconcile their delusions with reality.

"Jeff Who Lives at Home" screens Oct. 22 at the Paramount Theatre.

The recently announced opening and closing night films join a lineup that includes Sundance jury winner "Like Crazy," the George Clooney-starring "The Descendants," black-and-white silent film "The Artist" and several high-profile Texas-made independent films.

The Austin Film Festival and Conference runs from Oct. 20-27 in downtown Austin.

modam@statesman.com; 912-5986