Screenwriters are, of course, the perennially overworked, underappreciated artists whose heart, soul and lifeblood the movie world depends on.

Since its inception in 1993 the Austin Film Festival (AFF) has valiantly worked to erode the “underappreciated” part by championing screenwriters through its Writers Conference, film programs and screenplay/teleplay competitions; now the festival wants to share some of these stars with the world. With different backgrounds, and at different stages in their careers, the moviemakers on this inaugural list (presented in no particular order) possess original voices, keen storytelling sensibilities and bright and buzzy futures. Take a quick look at their faces; you’ll hear their words soon enough.

Annie Silverstein

Who: Writer-director of short “Skunk,” winner of a Cannes 2014 jury award, amongst other accolades; Sundance Institute Fellow; planning to shoot feature Bull in fall, 2017


What are you working on right now?

Currently working on a rewrite for a feature script I plan to direct called Bull. Johnny McAllister is co-writing the script with me. This is our first time writing together and it’s been great. The script just went through the Sundance Writers Lab, where we had some wonderful advisors.

What are your favorite films or television shows?

Recently been rewatching A Prophet, La Promesse, Ratcatcher and The Wire. Hall of Famers in my book.

What would be your advice to aspiring screenwriters?

Get used to the wilderness.

What’s your favorite experience at Austin Film Festival?

I don’t have one in particular, but every year I’m at AFF I think, “I want to be part of this tribe.” And then I remember I get to be—it’s all inclusive. It’s the nature of the festival and the community it attracts: so welcoming, so encouraging, so damn smart, witty, and real. I treasure AFF.


1. Annie Silverstein 2. Jared Frieder 3. Mike Covino and Sam Kretchmar 4.Troy Anthony Miller 5. Kieran Fitzgerald 6. Ya’ke Smith 7. Brian Klugman 8. Nina Ljeti 9. Kevin Hamedani 10. Eric Haywood 11. Andrew Lanham 12. Julie Howe 13. Tess Morris 14. Matt Cook 15. Monica Zanetti 16. VJ Boyd 17. Edward Ricourt 18. David Broyles 19. Sasha Gordon 20. Eric Hueber 21. Faraday Okoro 22. Arturo Ruiz Serrano 23. Maya Perez 24. Max Taxe 25. Negin Farsad

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