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James Ivory, writer Ron Bass to be honored at Austin Film Festival

Joe Gross
Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise star in 1988's "Rain Man," written by Ron Bass, who will be honored at this year's Austin Film Festival. [Contributed by MGM/UA]

Filmmaker James Ivory and screenwriter Ron Bass will be honored at the 26th Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference, which takes place Oct. 24-31, fest organizers announced Wednesday.

Ivory will receive the Extraordinary Contribution to Film Award alongside screenwriter Bass, who is set to receive the Distinguished Screenwriter Award. Ivory, a prolific director, writer, and producer, is best known for his decades-long partnership with producer Ismail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala under the banner Merchant Ivory Productions.

Ivory received best director Oscar nominations for “A Room with a View,” “Howards End” and “The Remains of the Day.” He also wrote the screenplay for Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of André Aciman’s novel “Call Me by Your Name” for which he was awarded the 2018 Oscar for best adapted screenplay.

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Bass is an Academy Award-winning screenwriter with over two dozen produced screenplays. A few of his produced credits as a writer include “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “The Joy Luck Club,” “Stepmom,” “Waiting to Exhale" and “Rain Man," for which he won the 1989 Oscar for best original screenplay.

Ivory and Bass will accept their awards Oct. 26 during the annual awards luncheon, and participate in conference programming alongside fellow honorees David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (“Game of Thrones”).

In addition to announcing their attendance, the festival has also announced the first round of conference programming that will feature writers and creators from both film and television.

Here are a few highlights:

• Lulu Wang will sit down for a conversation on writing and directing “The Farewell,” the hit film that follows a Chinese family who decide to keep their ailing grandmother in the dark about her own terminal illness and instead plan a wedding to say their final goodbyes.

• “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” writer Sofia Alvarez will join the conference for a conversation on adapting the YA novel for the screen. In a recent announcement, Netflix has confirmed two sequels to the film.

• AFF will also host an Inside the Writers Room: “Empire panel” with writers Joshua Allen, Eric Haywood, Attica Locke and Malcolm Spellman. "Empire" will return to Fox this fall for its sixth and final season.

• “Telling True Crime Stories," an exploration of the burgeoning true crime genre. Panelists in this conversation will include Michelle Dean (co-creator of Hulu’s “The Act”), Guinevere Turner (writer of the 2018 film “Charlie Says”) and Michael Werwie (writer of Netflix’s “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile”).

• Alec Berg will be in attendance for a conversation on writing, directing and producing two HBO hit comedies — ”Barry,” which Berg co-created with series star Bill Hader, and “Silicon Valley,” a collaboration with series co-creator Mike Judge, which will premiere its sixth and final season on Oct. 27.

The 2019 AFF will present more than 150 panels on the art and craft of storytelling, featuring prominent industry professionals working in film, television and new media. Other confirmed panelists for this year’s fest include Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Ben Cory Jones (“Boomerang”), Nicole Perlman (“Captain Marvel”) and Alex Tse (“Wu-Tang: An American Saga”).

More panelist announcements are to come.

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