The gathering of films, writers, and directors that is the Austin Film Festival (October 13-20) has finally arrived. Here, we highlight the highly anticipated films to catch this year.
October 13: The Big Spoon
When: 7:30 p.m. Where: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: Village, Village Shopping Center Why: Directed by Carolyn Hudson and starring Mallory Culbert (who also wrote the screenplay), Zachary Knighton, Agustín Silva, and Isabelle McNally, The Big Spoon illustrates the problems that arise when two couples live in a small house. Ultimately, both couples have to decide whether their relationships are worth fighting for or not.
October 14: Blood Stripe
When: 5 p.m. Where: Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave. Why: Watch the inspiring story of a U.S. Marine sergeant who comes home after her third tour in Afghanistan. Unable to adjust to civilian life, Kate Nowlin's character retreats into Minnesota's North Woods, where she comes across a local fisherman and an overseer at an idyllic summer camp.
October 15: Brave New Jersey
When: 7 p.m. Where: State Theatre, 719 Congress Ave. Why: With writer and director Jody Lambert in attendance, this comedy is one to see, which showcases the reactions and events that unfold in a small town in New Jersey in 1938 after Orson Welles's fateful "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast, which fooled Americans into believing they were being invaded by martians.
October 16: The Salesman
When: 1:15 p.m. Where: State Theatre, 719 Congress Ave. Why: Writer and director Asghar Farhadi brings The Salesman to Austin Film Festival, which tells the intimate story of Emad and Rena—a young couple living in Iran—who find their old flat damaged, forcing them into a new home. However, the dangerous past of the previous tenant affects the couple, ultimately changing their lives and threatening their relationship.
October 17: Finding Oscar
When: 6:45 p.m. Where: State Theatre, 719 Congress Ave. Why: The film follows the investigation of the horrifying Dos Erres Massacre in Guatemala. A dedicated team of investigators picks up a small clue, which leads to two young boys—Oscar and Ramiro—who were kidnapped during the killings and raised by the same soldiers who murdered their families. The two boys are the only evidence that ties the Guatemalan government to the massacre, and the team works hard to uncover the truth and bring about justice.
October 18: Lion
When: 7:30 p.m. Where: Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. Why: Starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney Mara, the film adaptation of the non-fiction book, A Long Way Home, by Saroo Brierley follows the incredible story of a young Indian boy, Saroo Khan, who takes the wrong train and loses his way home. Separated from his family, the boy eventually gets adopted by an Australian couple. Fast forward 25 years later, and Saroo is determined to find his family relying on his memory and Google Maps.
October 19: My Mother's Wound
When: 5:30 p.m. Where: Galaxy Highland 8 presented by Dove Chocolate, 6700 Middle Fiskville Road Why: Salih, an orphan, begins the grueling search to find his birth mother and father once he turns 18. After discovering the truth behind his past, he becomes vengeful, and continues the search for his father. Along the way, he ends up at a Serbian farm, where he's given shelter, food, and work. My Mother's Wound showcases the struggle Salih faces between his current reality and his dark past.
October 20: Bleed for This (Closing Night Film)
When: 8:30 p.m. Where: Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. Why: This year's closing night film details the true story of Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" Pazienza (played by Miles Teller), a boxer who became an instant sensation after winning two world title fights. After a near-death car accident, Vinny goes against his doctor's wishes and the reality that he may not be able to walk again—with the help of trainer Kevin Rooney—to plan a comeback one more time.
October 15: La La Land
When: 8 p.m. Where: Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. Why: The highly anticipated film by Damien Chazelle, which stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, showcases the story of aspiring actress Mia and jazz musician Sebastian, who are both struggling to survive in a city that is unforgiving. This captivating musical set in modern day LA details the everyday struggles and happiness of trying to make your dreams come true.
October 16: Jackie
When: 7:30 p.m. Where: Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. Why: Director Pablo Larrain takes on the challenge of portraying the fateful moments that occur right after John F. Kennedy Jr.'s assassination, through Jackie Kennedy's perspective. Here, Natalie Portman gives a captivating performance on how the iconic First Lady worked to shape and cement her husband's legacy in the chaotic aftermath of "Camelot's" death.