Austin Film Fest Receives Announces Grant from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to Continue Commitment to Diversity


Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference (AFF) has announced its continued commitment to diversity in filmmaking through its grant from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, AFF is known for championing writers’ contributions to film, television, and new media.The Academy’s FilmCraft grant was established to identify and empower future filmmakers from nontraditional backgrounds, cultivate new and diverse talent, promote motion pictures as an art form, and provide a platform for underrepresented artists.

“We are committed to carrying on our responsibility of challenging the status quo,” stated AFF Executive Director, Barbara Morgan. “In addition to serving up a program steeped with diverse viewpoints and approaches, the Diversity Focus Program also provides a platform for underrepresented artists from all over the world to be heard, to have access, and to add their voices to the fabric of the industry’s future.”

Last year’s program featured 215 panelists, 50 percent of which were people of color and women. Notable attendees included Effie Brown, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Greta Gerwig, Misha Green, Courtney A. Kemp, Stefani Robinson, Anthony Sparks, Robert Townsend, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Virgil Williams, Sasheer Zamata and many more. Panels for the Diversity Focus Program spanned topics such as “The Women in the Room” and “Speaking Truth to Power: How Entertainment Can Tackle the Thorniest Social Issues (and Change the World).”

AFF has been committed to inclusion since its inception, not only in programming, but in their year-round events where creators have the opportunity to connect with professionals in order to help them develop the skills to have their voice heard and make an impact on the industry.

In March, AFF partnered with the Academy’s Education and Nicholl Fellowships Programs for the third year in a row to host Finding Representation. The event included a series of panels and roundtables dedicated to helping attendees launch their writing career and receive seasoned advice on how to get representation from an agent or manager and represent themselves and others responsibly in their writing. Attendees were given the opportunity to meet face-to-face with industry insiders such as Angela C. Lee, Kendrick Tan, and Kay Oyegun.

Additionally, AFF partnered with Baylor University and the Washington National Cathedral to host a three-day conference, Long, Long Way: Race and Film 1968-2018,centered on exploring the intersection of film and culture with a focus on racial reconciliation and justice. Through film screenings, discussions, keynote speakers, and teaching sessions, panelists and attendees were given the opportunity to launch substantial conversations about race and prejudice. The Conference featured screenings and panel discussions of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Get Out. AFF will participate in a similar program at the Washington National Cathedral February 1-3, 2019 and at the Trinity Church Wall Street in New York February 8-10, 2019.

For more information on the 25th annual AFF, scheduled for this October 25-November 1, 2018, visit

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