AFF 2015 – Interview Robert L. Camina, 5 Must See Films & Panels




The 22nd Austin Film Festival kicks off tomorrow and we'll be on the scene gathering all the fun stories.  For a taste of some of the really amazing films, panels and wonderful writers visiting ATX check out my top 5 films and panels.  Click through for a special look into the heartbreaking documentary Upstairs Inferno with our interview with filmmaker Robert L. Camina.

Robert L. Camina's documentary Upstairs Inferno is a thorough and cathartic look into the devastation of the deadliest fire in New Orleans history.  The movie never shies away from asking the questions that were never dived into when the flames brought down the Upstairs Inferno.  Robert joined me at the Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson to chat about his important documentary, about his previous work and much more.  Here is our chat with filmmaker Robert L. Camina.

Austin Film Festival pulls off being one of the most laid back and comfortable festivals while also allowing for the provocative, over-the-top and vibrant elements of the film world to take over a fall battling Austin.  This year's festival jumps back a week to make this a rather haunting good time.  Though films are always a pleasure at festivals the panels allow for a much more enlightening moment with the men, women, and even crazy alien like figures to talk their shared craft.  Here is a group of 5 panels and events I think you have to put on your schedules.

Script-To-Screen: Seven –

An in-depth look into Writer Andrew Kevin Walkers dark delirious serial killer hunt.  Script-to-screen series is a really enjoyable way to look at a film with the writer's full breath of explanation.  Sometimes they become an avenue for quality story telling and other times it's a really detailed breakdown of the way the script brings to life the final vision.  David Fincher's bleak and creepy film houses such incredibly memorable performances from the stoic Morgan Freeman to the wild Brad Pitt to the diabolical Kevin Spacey.  Walker's opportunity to tell the details behind the story while also allowing for time to look into his packed portfolio of wonderful films is a real treat for all comers.

Toy Story 3: Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned – 

Michael Arndt has become a real crowd pleasing favorite at AFF over the last few years.  His resume stands proudly out amongst most but it's his unique and thoughtful panels that blur the lines between speeches and pure entertainment.  This particular panel will be packed because there is little doubt you'll go away feeling elated you went.  Don't miss out on a really great communicator bring back to life the stories that held our hearts in the palm of his hand.

X, Y, and Why: Writing Gender and Sexuality – 

Writers who test the boundaries and ask the tough questions are always entertaining and memorable.  This panel pits the unique minds of Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs, Mother and Child), Jack Burditt (30 Rock, Mindy Project, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and Kathy Greenberg (The L-Word) who don't allow for stereotypes to dictate their characters' lives.  Poignant and powerful material being discussed by intelligent and bold writers!  Don't miss out on the breaking of the old barriers,

Guess Who Died? –

The AFF script readings are pure bliss.  The mixing of a live reading with guest readers allows for a writer's fresh material to receive a vital audience full experience.  Outstanding Television Writer Awardee Norman Lear's storied and historic career has already cemented his iconic status, but getting to see that talent in this setting will be incredible.  Don't miss out on a legendary writer, producer and creator give for this teleplay,

Die Hard vs Lethal Weapon – 

"Welcome to the wonderful world of crawling through air ducts and falling off of buildings. A world of explosion-filled Christmases and f-word-filled one-liners. A world where the good guys win and you’re never too old for this shit. This is the world created by our distinguished guests and kings of 80s action flicks—Shane Black and Jeb Stuart."  HELLO IT'S DIE HARD VS LETHAL WEAPON!!  Let the battle begin Jeb and Shane!!!

5 Films that caught my attention and I hope you'll take the chance to see.  

Reparation – "The Past is Now"! 

Kyle Ham and Steve Timm's honest and mysterious thriller looks at the impact inner demons can have on the next steps in life.  Marc Menchaca & Jon Huertas battling air force buddies is rather electric and captivating.  The film has it's first screening at AFF on Thursday October 29, 2015 10:30pm – 12:30am at the Alamo Drafthouse Village. 


Traficant:  The Congressman of Crimetown.

Eric Murphy's jarring and in-your face documentary looks at the dynamic Sam Traficant and his infamous run in politics.  A man who didn't take shit from anyone and dished out some heavy blows ended up being thrown right back at him.  Eric's film doesn't shy away from allowing a truly honest and open figure to finally have a sounding board.  Funny, crazy and always wild as fuck this film doesn't allow you to take a breath.  The can't miss doc's first screening at AFF is Saturday October 31, 2015 2:30pm – 4:30pm Rollins Studio Theatre .

A Single Frame

The power and story behind a photo can unearth an amazing amount of pain, sorrow and eventual closure.  From the lone-star state to vibrant Paris to the war stained beauty of the Balkans.  One photo sets off this epic and haunting journey that is a real showcase piece for Director Brandon Dickerson and Executive Producer Jeff Bowden.  The film also houses a grand tribute to a photographer's soul finding eye.  A film that will stick with you long after watching it.  The movie's first AFF screening is Saturday October 31, 2015 6:30pm – 8:30pm Texas Spirit Theater.

Beautiful Girl 

A heartfelt look into a young girl's ability to cope with her parents divorce, her friendships becoming more and the difficult lessons of growing up.  Filled with a talented group of young actors the Austrian production really impresses with it's quality pacing and moving plot twists.  The film has it's first AFF screening on Sunday November 1, 2015 1:30pm – 3:30pm Hideout Theatre.

Since: The Bombing Pan Am Flight 103 

Diving back into tragedy with a keen look into the corrupt and greedy elements that cloud this historic incident of murder.  When does human life become less valuable and important then the wealth of oil?  Don't allow your AFF experience to lack the education of the tragic wake from this terrible bombing.  The documentary's first screening at AFF is Sunday November 1, 2015 6:00pm – 8:00pm Texas Spirit Theater

Hope you enjoyed my suggestions.  Check out the great schedule on and make your own amazing journey through AFF's great lineup of films and panels.  

See you around ATX this weekend!

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