The Austin Film Festival has announced the 2023 audience, jury, and screenplay award winners. Highlights include Sunlight written by Ailbhe Keogan and directed by Claire Dix, and American Fiction written and directed by Cord Jefferson.
Known for recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film and television, the Austin Film Festival and Writers’ Conference has been going on for 30 years. The 2023 festival took place from Oct. 26 to Nov. 2 in Austin, Texas. Next year’s festival and conference will be held from Oct. 24 to 31, 2024.
Keogan and Dix’s Sunlight won the narrative feature jury award, while American Fiction won the marquee film audience award. T-Minus Zero by Troy Anthony Miller and J.R Smith won the drama feature screenplay award presented by The Writers Guild of America, East.
In total, there were 11 jury award winners, 11 audience award winners, and 17 script competition winners this year.
See the full list of award winners below, courtesy of the Austin Film Festival.
Austin Film Festival Jury, Audience and Screenplay Award Winners
THE FOLLOWING FILM JURY AWARDS WERE SELECTED BY CATEGORY
Narrative Feature – Sunlight, written by Ailbhe Keogan, directed by Claire Dix
Documentary Feature – First We Bombed New Mexico, written by Lois Lipman and Joel Marcus, directed by Lois Lipman
Comedy Vanguard Feature – Egghead & Twinkie, written/directed by Sarah Kambe Holland
Dark Matters Feature presented by Vertigo Entertainment – Inhabitants, written/directed by Matt McClung
Narrative Short – Arman & Elisa, written/directed by Kiyan Agadjani
Student Short – Seraphim, written by Joanna Fernandez, directed by Oscar Ramos
Documentary Short – Safe Place, directed by Samuel-Ali Mirpoorian
Animated Short – Curiosa, written by Matthew Dicky and Tessa Moult-Milewska, directed by Tessa Moult-Milewska
Produced Digital Series – Thanatos, written/directed by Andrew C. Fisher
Enderby Entertainment Filmmaking Fellowship Award – English Tutor, written/directed by Jaho Koo
Texas Short Filmmaker Award presented by Aduro Studios and Film – 40Hands, written/directed by Craig Robert Elrod
Film Jury winners were selected by jurors including Roy Lee (Barbarian, It, The Ring), Katie Silberman (Booksmart, Set It Up), Ashley Lyle (Yellowjackets), Jade-Addon Hall (20th Century), Carly Wray (Watchmen) and Kemp Powers (Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse).
Following each screening, audience members cast their votes for the Audience Awards, recognizing the audience’s Festival favorites among the 2023 film slate.
THE FOLLOWING FILM AUDIENCE AWARDS WERE SELECTED BY CATEGORY
Marquee Film: American Fiction, written/directed by Cord Jefferson
Narrative Feature: Autumn, written/directed by António Sequeira
Documentary Feature: Born To Fly, directed by Brennan Robideaux
Dark Matters Feature: Wild Eyed and Wicked, written/directed by Gordon Shoemaker Foxwood
Comedy Feature: For When You Get Lost, written by Jennifer Sorenson, directed by Michelle Steffes
Texas Independent Feature: I’ll Be There, written by Cindy McCreery, directed by Andrew Shea
Narrative Short: Barely Breathing, written by Neal Reddy, directed by Derek Evans
Narrative Student Short: A Conspiracy Man, written by Valerio Ferrara, Alessandro Logli, Matteo Petecca, directed by Valerio Ferrara
Documentary Short: Safe Place, directed by Samuel-Ali Mirpoorian
Animated Short: Starling, written/directed by Mitra Shahidi
Produced Digital Series: Restorage, created by Caleb Davis, E’an Verdugo, directed by E’an Verdugo
The 2023 Script Competition winners were chosen from a record field of 11,500 scripts entered in the Screenplay, Digital Series, Playwriting, and Fiction Podcast Competitions. The winners were selected by a distinguished panel of industry judges including, Tatiana Suarez-Pico (Hunters, Penny Dreadful, Iron Fist, Snowfall), Christina Hodson (Bumblebee, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, The Flash), Tripper Clancy (Stuber, I Am Not Okay With This, Die Hart), & Herschel Weingrod (Trading Places, Kindergarten Cop).
THE FOLLOWING SCREENPLAY AWARDS WERE SELECTED BY CATEGORY
Drama Feature Screenplay Award presented by The Writers Guild of America, East –
T-Minus Zero by Troy Anthony Miller and J.R Smith
Drama Teleplay Pilot Award – State of the Art by Austin Elliott
Drama Teleplay Spec Award – The Great: “Death Becomes Him” by Marguerite Spellman
Comedy Feature Screenplay Award – A Forest Through The Trees By Ryan Ederer
Comedy Teleplay Pilot Award – Arthur and Lancelot by Victoria Zeutzius
Comedy Teleplay Spec Award – What We Do in the Shadows: “The Chupacabra” by Jordan Obey
Scripted Digital Series Award – Psychic by Aiden Moretti
Fiction Podcast Award – The Crime at Camp Ashwood by Laura Hunter Drago
Short Screenplay Award – Good Evening, Marshall (Good Evening, Geraldine) by Jessica Mosher
Playwriting Award – The Housing Situation on Neptune by Nijae Draine
Horror Screenplay Award presented by Vertigo Entertainment – Paradise by Daniel Byers
Sci-Fi Screenplay Award – ROY G. BIV by Sebastian Davis
Rooster Teeth Fellowship Awards, BIPOC category – Turn the Heat Up by Helen K Thomas
Rooster Teeth Fellowship Awards, Women & Animation category – Ulster by Allison Mick
Enderby Entertainment Award – Black Mouth Cur by Kai Kido
AMC One-Hour Pilot Award – Blind Mice by Aaron Milus
Josephson Entertainment Screenwriting Fellowships – Black Waters by Kate Imy (Feature Film) and The Hellmouth by Francesco Staluppi (TV)
Find out more about the Austin Film Festival on its website.
Main Image: The red carpet for Texas Independent Feature Audience Award Winner I’ll Be There courtesy of Austin Film Festival. Credit: Jack Plunkett