Austin Film Festival (AFF), the premier film festival recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film, television, and new media, announced today that The Front Runner will serve as the fest’s Closing Night selection. Directed by Academy Award®-nominee and AFF alum Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air), The Front Runner stars Hugh Jackman as the charismatic politician Gary Hart, who 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. The Front Runner will bow in Austin on November 1 with Reitman in attendance.
Additionally featured in AFF’s second wave announcement are The Favourite, the latest project by director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of the Sacred Deer) starring Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, and Everybody Knows from acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farsadi (A Separation, The Salesman), starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz.
The Festival also announced four world premieres—British drama Undercliffe, supernatural thriller The Dark Red, directed by Dan Bush (The Signal), Indian American family dramaLove 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 local filmmaker Tyler Russell. Based on the short film of the same name that played at AFF in 2016, Texas Cotton follows an aging policeman (Troll 2’s George Hardy) 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. AFF’s highly competitive and Oscar®-qualifying short film competition has helped boost the career of filmmakers like Jason Reitman and Maggie Carey and led to numerous Academy Award® nominations, including last year’s documentary short Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405, which took home the Oscar® after premiering at AFF.
AFF Second Wave
The Dark Red
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.