Terrible Love, directed by Christopher Thomas, won Audience Award

MovieMaker correspondent Andy Young reports on the recently announced winners of the 21st Austin Film Festival, October 23 – 30, 2014.

As a writer’s festival, the Austin Film Festival offers a unique chance to have your screenplay judged and critiqued by industry experts. This year, those notables include the likes of Wendy Calhoun (writer/producer of Justified), Stephen Falk (creator/showrunner of You’re the Worst), Jenny Lumet (writer of Rachel Getting Married) and Oren Uziel (writer of 22 Jump Street), among several other high-profile writers, producers and content creators. Several winners in the past have gone on to be optioned, produced and even screened at AFF (like 2008 finalist Dawn Patrol, written by Rachel Long and Brian Pittman).

The following is the full list of winners in 2014:

Screenplay and Teleplay Competition Winners

Drama Screenplay Award presented by the Writers Guild of America, East: Dead River Girl by Morris Long

Comedy Screenplay Award: Three Months by Jared Frieder

Enderby Entertainment Award: Suicide Boy by Laura Hainke

Fade to Black Award: I Fucked James Bond by Josh Hallman

Darkwoods Productions Horror Award: The 700 Year Itch by Molly Stein and Moon Unit Zappa

Darkwoods Productions Sci-Fi Award: The Incomparable Donald Strange by James Fant and Zach Cannon

AMC One-Hour Teleplay Pilot: Ascension by Wes Brown

Sitcom Teleplay Pilot: Great Points Park by Danny Sullivan

One-Hour Teleplay Spec: The Americans: “Barium Meals” by Adam Turner

Sitcom Teleplay Spec: Bob’s Burgers: “Mr. Whiskers” by Damir Konjicija and Dario Konjicija

Jury Award Winners

Narrative Feature: The Kings Surrender written by Philipp Leinemann

Documentary Feature Jury Award: Once Upon a Crime: The Borrelli-Davis Conspiracy directed by Sheldon Wilson

Dark Matters Feature: One Eyed Girl co-written by Nick Matthews and Craig Behenna,

Comedy Vanguard Feature: Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero co-written by Maz Jobrani and Amir Ohebsion

Narrative Short: “Skunk” written by Annie Silverstein

Documentary Short: “The Next Part” directed by Erin Sanger

Animated Short: “Between Times” co-written by Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter

Narrative Student Short: “Luke” written by Conor Hamill

Young Filmmakers Program Competition Grand Prize: Special Is Just a Word written by Abby Thompson

Audience Award Winners

Narrative Feature: Terrible Love co-written by Luke Helmer and Christopher Thomas

Documentary Feature: The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young, co-directed by Annika Iltis and Timothy Kane

Dark Matters Feature: The Suicide Theory written by Michael J Kospiah

Comedy Vanguard Feature: Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero co-written by Maz Jobrani and Amir Ohebsion

Narrative Short: “Mimi & Me” written by Marly Reed

Documentary Short: “Albert” directed by Daniel Jaffe

Animated Short: TIE “The Dam Keeper” written by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi | “The Last Resort” written by Gillian Park

Student Short: “Luke” written by Conor Hamill

Heart of Film: Popovich and the Voice of the Fabled American West co-written by Mike Thompson, Jerry Thompson, and Gregory

Stories From Abroad: Taking it Back written by Andreas Schmied

Texas Independents: Flutter written by Eric Hueber

Marquee Feature: Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me directed by James Keach

A still from The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young, which won

A still from The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young (Annika Iltis and Timothy Kane), which won the Documentary Feature Audience Award

Still, there were plenty of great films that didn’t make the awards cut. One of my favorite documentaries this year was 3 Still Standing, which covered the stand-up comedy boom from San Francisco in the ’80s, the medium’s subsequent drought, and the continued work of stand-ups Johnny Steele, Will Durst and Larry “Bubbles” Brown. The doc also included insightful (and hilarious) interviews with comedy-legends Dana Carvey, Rob Schneider and the late Robin Williams.

I also enjoyed Jason Strouse’s Teacher of the Year, a comedy about California’s ‘Teacher of the Year’ Mitch Carter (played Matt Letscher of Her) and a high school’s eccentric faculty, played by a cast that includes the Sklar Brothers and Key and Peele’s Keegan-Michael Key. When the award brings an attractive job offer, Mitch must choose between financial security and a job he loves.

One final pleasure of attending the Austin Film Festival is the chance to see some of the year’s awards hopefuls before their release. I loved The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the English mathematician and logician tasked with cracking the Nazi’s Enigma code during World War II. I also caught this year’s closing film Rosewater, Daily Show host Jon Stewart’s directorial debut based on the true story of journalist Maziar Bahari (Gael García Bernal), who was detained in Iran for over 100 days and brutally interrogated in prison. But these two titles only scratches the surface of the diversity of genre, budget and unique voices in the line-up the Austin Film Festival annually offers to writers, filmmakers and film fans. MM

Visit the Austin Film Festival’s official website here. Images courtesy of the Austin Film Festival.

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