Austin, TX (August 31, 2022) – Austin Film Festival (AFF), the premier film festival recognizing writer’s and filmmaker’s contributions to film, television, and new media, has announced its first wave of screenings to be included in their 2022 film slate, taking place Thursday, October 27 – Thursday, November 3.
This year includes exciting new World Premieres like the pandemic comedy LITTLE JAR and Texas-made documentary SONG OF THE CICADA. In addition, AFF will screen NANNY from writer/director Nikyatu Jusu, who will be receiving the 2022 New Voice Award along with the screening.
Writer/Director Nikyatu Jusu’s short film SUICIDE BY SUNLIGHT: a project funded by Through Her Lens and sponsored by the Tribeca Film Institute and Chanel, made its debut at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, garnering a prolific festival run. NANNY is Jusu’s feature film debut and was selected for the 2019 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Lab, the 2019 IFP Project Forum, the 2020 Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs. NANNY won the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2022. Additionally, NANNY was one of 35 projects selected for the 2020 Creative Capital Awards, and shortlisted for The Black List 2020. In addition to filmmaking, Nikyatu is an Assistant Professor teaching fiction directing and screenwriting.
AFF FIRST WAVE:
Directed/written by: Sarah Polley
Synopsis: Based on the best-selling novel by Miriam Toews, WOMEN TALKING follows a group of women in an isolated religious colony as they struggle to reconcile their faith with a series of sexual assaults committed by the colony’s men.
In attendance: Producer Dede Gardner and Director Sarah Polley
Directed/written by: Nikyatu Jusu
Synopsis: In this psychologically complex fable of displacement tinged with supernatural horror, Aisha (Anna Diop), a woman recently emigrated from Senegal, is hired to care for the adorable daughter of an unbalanced white couple (Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector) living in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood. Increasingly unsettled by the family’s volatile home life, though desperate to make enough money to bring over her young son from Senegal, Aisha begins to unravel, finding her life in America to be more nightmare than dream.
In attendance: Writer/Director Nikyatu Jusu
Directed/written by: Dominic López
Produced/written by: Kelsey Gunn
Synopsis: Ainsley is a misanthrope who hates people but when she suddenly finds herself in isolation with no one to talk to, she realizes how much she actually misses connection. Enter Ulysses, a dead mouse in a jar. With a little bit of loneliness, a pinch of imagination, and a mouse-sized tuxedo, Ulysses becomes her training wheels in this newly discovered world of friendship.
GOOD NIGHT OPPY
Directed/written by: Ryan White
Synopsis: Tells the inspirational true story of Opportunity, a rover that was sent to Mars for a 90-day mission but ended up surviving for 15 years. The film follows Opportunity’s groundbreaking journey on Mars and the remarkable bond forged between a robot and her humans millions of miles away.
Directed/written by: Charlotte Wells
Synopsis: At a fading vacation resort, 11-year-old Sophie treasures rare time together with her loving and idealistic father, Calum (Paul Mescal). As a world of adolescence creeps into view, beyond her eye Calum struggles under the weight of life outside of fatherhood. Twenty years later, Sophie’s tender recollections of their last holiday become a powerful and heartrending portrait of their relationship, as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t, in Charlotte Wells’ superb and searingly emotional debut film.
BEAUTY OF A BLANK SPACE
Directed by: Ryan Love
Written by: Ryan Love & Laurel Toupal
Synopsis: While on a weekend getaway in Vegas, an aimless young woman, Haley, and her by-the-book brother, Mac, embark on a spontaneous road trip to Portland to rediscover a time capsule that they buried as kids. Within, holds the bracelet of Haley’s biological mother.
SONG OF THE CICADA
Co-directed by: Aaron Weiss & Robert Weiss
Synopsis: In the coastal town of Galveston, Texas, Dale Carter lives as a mortician in his Victorian home with his protege and friend. Over the course of a decade, this observational documentary chronicles his daily life with friends, family and strangers alike, as he navigates the mortuary profession and his attempts to realize his dream of renovating a historic home in Beaumont, Texas. Song of the Cicada explores the philosophies and motives behind the macabre obsessions that define this eccentric mortician.
Directed/written by: Hanadi Elyan
Synopsis: The film Salma’s Home, set in Jordan, revolves around three women with distinct personalities. SALMA (Juliet Awad) is a talented baker living alone in a large old house overlooking downtown Amman running an unprofitable home-based bakery, her daughter FARAH (Sameera Asir) is a young working mother with marital problems. Their lives are disrupted by the death of Salma’s ex-husband. The funeral takes place at his current wife’s house, LAMIA (Rania Kurdi), an aspiring socialite who is obsessed with building her brand online. After the funeral, shocking facts come to light leading to territorial clashes and finally forcing the three women to accept some harsh realities and take control of their lives.
WHO INVITED CHARLIE?
Directed by: Xavier Manrique
Written by: Nicholas Schutt
Synopsis: Phil Schreiber, a self-involved hedge fund manager escapes to the Hamptons with his wife and son at the beginning of the pandemic. Making an already fraught situation worse is the surprise arrival of Phil’s college roommate Charlie. An exemplar of Falstaffian excess, Charlie is also the keeper of some of Phil’s darkest secrets. To make matters worse for Phil, his wife and son love Charlie. As Charlie makes himself at home — secrets are revealed that threaten to do more harm than the virus they’re all hiding out from.
The complete list of Festival programming, including over 100 films as well as hundreds of panels, will be announced in late September.
Press accreditation is now open through October 8, 2022. Press can apply at austinfilmfestival.com/contact/press-inquiries
ABOUT AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL:
Austin Film Festival (AFF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the art, craft and business of writers and filmmakers and recognizing their contributions to film, television, and new media. AFF champions the work of aspiring and established writers and filmmakers by providing unique cultural events and services, enhancing public awareness and participation, and encouraging dynamic and long-lasting community partnerships. AFF is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and the Texas Commission on the Arts. All attendees and events are based on permitting schedules and are subject to change and/or cancellation without notice. For media credentials, please contact Travis Broughton at email@example.com. Badges and passes are available for purchase online at www.austinfilmfestival.com or by phone at 1-800-310-FEST.
ABOUT NEW VOICE AWARD:
Introduced in 2019, Austin Film Festival’s New Voice Award honors unique and captivating new voices in film, television, and new media. Past award recipients include Catherine Reitman (2019) and Channing Godfrey Peoples (2021).