Jeff Nichols’ ‘Loving’ to Open Austin Film Festival; ‘Lion’ Also Screening at Fest

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The Austin Film Festival has announced its second wave of films, and some major awards contenders are making an appearance at the annual Texas fest. The festival announced writer/director (and Texas native) Jeff Nichols‘ interracial marriage drama, “Loving,” will open the festival, which runs from Oct. 13 through 20. Nichols will attend the event as well.

The film stars Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon and Nick Kroll in the true story of Richard (Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Negga), who waged a decade-long legal battle that led to the overturning of the state of Virginia’s law prohibiting interracial marriage. The film debuted at Cannes earlier this year, and will have its next appearance at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

AFF also announced another buzzy film in its lineup today: Garth Davis’ “Lion” with Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and Dev Patel. The film centers on a young man who tries to reunite with his family after 25 years.

For the full list of second wave films and their cast/crew and descriptions, see below. The full roster for the Austin Film Festival, also known as The Writers Festival, will debut mid-September.

AFF SECOND WAVE:

*indicates in attendance
Loving

Opening Night Film
Texas Premiere

Writer/Director: Jeff Nichols*

Cast: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon, Nick Kroll

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star in the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, who waged a decade-long legal battle that led to the overturning of the state of Virginia’s law prohibiting interracial marriage.


The Big Spoon

World Premiere
Writers: Mallory Culbert*, Carlyn Hudson*

Director: Carlyn Hudson

Cast: Zach Knighton*, Nick Stevenson*

Long-term couple Mallory and Ben plan to enjoy a romantic weekend alone in Mallory’s house, but their plans are ruined when Elle, Mallory’s flighty roommate, shows up with a surprise lover. As tensions rise, each couple is forced to question the strength of their relationship.

The Harvest Run

World Premiere

Writers/Directors: Steven Balvanz*, Aaron McAdams*

The Colby’s, a third generation farming family, gear up for the annual Harvest Run – a demanding seven-month journey that is essential to producing America’s annual yield of wheat and corn. Faced with the insurmountable hardships of the American economy and climate change, the year’s run proves more challenging than ever.

 

Holding Patterns

World Premiere

Writers/Director: Jake Goldberger*

Cast: Freddie Highmore, Odeya Rush, Haley Joel Osment, Christopher Meloni

Mid-twenties, unmotivated, and still living at home with his mother and stepfather, Charlie Brenner is given a surprising boost of confidence when he meets Amber (Odeya Rush,) a local barista. As they become closer, the line between friendship and intimacy is blurred, and the situation forces both of them to examine where they are in their respective lives. Charlie’s situation is further complicated by the sudden appearance of his estranged father.

 

Lion
Texas Premiere

Writer: Luke Davies

Director: Garth Davis

Cast: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara

Adapted from the non-fiction book A Long Way Home, Lion follows the challenges a young Indian boy faces after taking a wrong train, being separated from his family, and being adopted by Australians. Twenty-five years later, armed only with sparse information and Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family.

 

The Man Who Was Thursday

North American Premiere

Writer/Director: Balazs Juszt*

In a mind-bending metaphysical thriller, disgraced local parish, Father Smith, is called to Rome for spiritual rehabilitation. Upon Smith’s arrival, his spiritual mentor, Charles, tasks him with a mission to go underground to ascertain the mysterious leader of an archaist group of renegades.

 

No Retreat
World Premiere
Writers: J.D. Singer, Nicholas Zafonte*

Director: Nicholas Zafonte*
Fifteen years after graduating college, two college friends reconnect at a weekend writers’ retreat. As they struggle to attempt one last shot at a creative lifestyle, the drama of old regrets, insecurity, and unfinished romantic business takes its toll.

 

Suburban Cowboy

World Premiere

Writer: Ryan Colucci*

Directors: Ryan Colucci*, Dragan Roganovic

In this gritty story based on real events, a Long Island drug dealer find himself in over his head once one of his soldiers robs a dealer with a connection to ruthless Serbian gangsters. Now responsible for the debt, he is forced to take drastic measures.