EXCLUSIVE: The 26th Annual Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference is putting some shine on the often unsung and overlooked heroes of film: the writer. This year, the fest revealed that they will be honoring Oscar-winning screenwriters James Ivory with the “Extraordinary Contribution to Film” Award and Ron Bass with the “Distinguished Screenwriter” Award. The fest, which takes place October 24-31, also unveiled their programming which includes conversations with Lulu Wang, director and writer of the critically acclaimed dramedy The Farewell and Sofia Alvarez, the scribe behind the Netflix hit To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
Ivory has received multiple Oscar nominations for directing and writing. He won the Oscar for adapting Andre Aciman’s novel Call Me by Your Name which was directed by Luca Guadagnino. He also received the BAFTA and the Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. In addition, he received d Best Director Oscar nominations for A Room with a View, Howards End and The Remains of the Day. Ivory has also maintained a partnership with producer Ismail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, producing dozens of films under the Merchant Ivory Productions banner.
Bass has also received multiple Oscar nods for his produced credits as a writer including 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. His other credits include What Dreams May Come, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Before We Go.
Ivory and Bass will accept their awards on Saturday, October 26 during the annual Awards Luncheon, and participate in Conference programming at the 26th Annual Writers Conference alongside fellow honorees David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the minds behind the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones.
In addition to Wang’s The Farewell and Alvarez’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, this year’s program lineup for the 26th Annual Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference will include an “Inside the Writers Room: Empire” panel with writers Joshua Allen, Eric Haywood, Attica Locke and Malcolm Spellman as the Fox series returns for its sixth and final season.
Other participants in this year’s conference include Liz Hannah, writer of the Steven Spielberg-directed The Post and most recently the romantic comedy Long Shot and the true crime series Mindhunter and the forthcoming All The Bright Places starring Elle Fanning and Justice Smith. Alec Berg (Barry, Silicon Valley) will also be in attendance for a conversation on writing, directing, and producing a pair of HBO’s hit comedies. Also from HBO will be Veep showrunner David Mandel who will talk about his journey in bringing the Emmy-winning politics-driven comedy to a close this past May.
In honor of the 30th anniversary of Seinfeld, Berg and Mandel will present a screening of back to back episodes of the iconic NBC series from their tenure as series writers. The screening will be followed by a Q&A.
Rounding out the conference will be a panel titled “Telling True Crime Stories” with Michelle Dean (The Act), Guinevere Turner (Charlie Says), and Michael Werwie (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile).