Austin Film Festival has unveiled the first batch of films that will screen at its 25th-anniversary program taking place October 25 to November 1. Among the lineup is Boy Erased, the Joel Edgerton-helmed coming-of-age LGBTQ drama that stars Lucas Hedges, Russell Crowe, and Nicole Kidman.
In addition, Melissa McCarthy-starring biopic Can You Ever Forgive Me?, directed by Marielle Heller, will get a regional premiere at the fest, while Nia DaCosta’s directorial debut Little Woods, starring Tessa Thompson and Lily James, and Hannah Fidell’s comedy, The Long Dumb Road, with Tony Revolori and Jason Mantzoukas are also set.
World premiere films include The Black String, which stars Malcolm In The Middle alum Frankie Muniz as well as family cult drama Fishbowl, faith-based flick Speaking in Tongues, and high school football documentary Fathers of Football.
Furthermore, AFF will host a screening of Roger Corman’s 1957 film Rock All Night, as part of its retrospective series, which will be presented by Robert Rodriguez and Corman.
The complete list of programming, including over 100 more films as well as hundreds of panels, will be announced in late September.
Below is the list of the first wave of films announced:
The Black String
Writers: Brian Hanson, Richard Handley
Director: Brian Hanson
Starring: Frankie Muniz, Cullen Douglas, Chelsea Edmundson
When a lonely 7-11 clerk has sex with a mysterious woman, his world begins to unravel in a horrifying fashion. Plagued by illness and nightmarish visions, the clerk believes he’s the target of a sinister occult plot.
Writer/Director: Joel Edgerton
Starring: Lucas Hedges, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton
Jared (Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, is outed to his parents (Kidman and Crowe) at age 19. Jared is faced with an ultimatum: attend a conversion therapy program – or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Writers: Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty
Director: Marielle Heller
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Julie Ann Emery
The true story of best-selling celebrity biographer (and friend to cats) Lee Israel (McCarthy) who made her living in the 1970s and 80s profiling the likes of Katherine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee is no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack (Grant).
Fathers of Football
Director: Bradley Beesley
Fathers of Football follows the triumphs and struggles of life in a small Oklahoma town, where high school football is not only the brightest stage, but also the best ticket out.
Writers: Stephen Kinigopoulos, Piero Iberti, Bennett Elliott
Directors: Stephen Kinigopoulos, Alexa Kinigopoulos
Starring: Rick Kain, Belle Shickle, Emily Peachey, Caroline Coleman
In a small town filled with secrets, a struggling family prepares for the Rapture.
Writer/Director: Nia DaCosta
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Lily James, Lance Reddick
A modern Western that tells the story of two sisters, Ollie and Deb, who are driven to work outside the law to better their lives.
The Long Dumb Road
Writers: Hannah Fidell, Carson Mell
Director: Hannah Fidell
Starring: Tony Revolori, Jason Mantzoukas, Taissa Farmiga, Ron Livingston
College-bound teenager Nat offers itinerant 30-something mechanic Richard a ride during a stop-over in small-town Texas
Rock All Night (1957) presented by Roger Corman and Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Charles B. Griffith
Director: Roger Corman
Cloud Nine, the local teen hangout, has been taken over by a pair of escaped killers, who hold the local teens hostage. The bartender realizes it’s up to him to save the kids.
Writer/Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Starring: Lily Franky, Ando Sakura, Matsuoka Mayu
After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold. At first reluctant to shelter the girl, Osamu’s wife agrees to take care of her after learning of the hardships she faces. Although the family is poor, barely making enough money to survive through petty crime, they seem to live happily together until an unforeseen incident reveals hidden secrets, testing the bonds that unite them
Speaking in Tongues
Writers: Nathan Deming, Lawrie Doran
Director: Nathan Deming
A lonely college student grieving the loss of his mother finds purpose at a local mega church’s summer internship evangelizing the ‘lost.’ As the summer continues, his new faith is put to the test.