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Four ‘Family’ Flicks for Grown-Ups at the Austin Film Festival
Character actor Lance Henriksen stars in "It's In the Blood," playing at the Austin Film Festival.

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The Austin Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, and KUT News is featuring guest blogs from AFF staffers pointing to several festival highlights. Today we hear from festival founder and Executive Director Barbara Morgan on “family” themed films at the festival. But we’re not talking CGI pandas here - these films explore the bonds of family and community in a decidedly adult way:

As the Executive Director and founder of the Austin Film Festival, I have had the joy of “discovering” many films over the last nineteen years. The excitement that emanates from the perspective of these fresh voices is what makes my job unique. Anticipating the new talent which we get to introduce to the public is the inspiration that makes my job so thrilling. One of the themes which jumped out from this year’s crop of films was the idea of “family.” Each of these films is infused with the spirit of the most elemental aspect of the human existence.  Enjoy!

Liars, Fires and Bears

Nine year-old Eve, hardened by years of neglect as a foster child, never misses an opportunity. 

After stowing away in a car belonging to Dave, a laid-back thirty-something who never grew up, Eve steamrolls her unwilling accomplice into a cross-country road trip to find her absent brother. As the drunken man-child suddenly finds himself on the run from both the cops and the robbers, the two unlikely partners find that the quickest route to their destination is through each other. It’s a comedy full of heart — and lies. Director/screenwriter Jeremy Cloe will be in attendance. 

Spinning Plates

This mouthwatering documentary focuses on three restaurants which are extraordinary for what they are today as well as the challenges they have overcome: A cutting-edge restaurant named seventh-best in the world whose chef must battle a life-threatening obstacle to pursue his passion; a 150-year-old family restaurant still standing only because of the unbreakable bond with its community; and a fledgling Mexican restaurant whose owners are putting everything they have on the line just to make enough to survive and provide for their young daughter. Featuring Chef Grant Achatz of Chicago's Alinea and Chef Thomas Keller of California's The French Laundry. In Attendance: Joseph Levy, Director; Jacqueline Lesko, Producer; Phil Rosenthal, Executive Producer; Taz Goldstein, Executive Producer; Erin Harvey, Cinematographer; Johnathan Green, Assistant Editor; and documentary subjects Dennis and Susan Hoppenworth.

It’s in the Blood

One year after a tragic incident tore their family apart, a grieving son, October, and his estranged father, Russell, embark on a journey into the wild to reconcile their past. When a horrifying accident leaves Russell badly injured and strands them in the wild, it is up to October to save them both. However, this wilderness is not what it seems, and, as their situation deteriorates, so does their concept of reality. Horrifying creatures, ghostly apparitions – is it all in their heads, or could the truth be far more terrible? Lance Henriksen stars in this nightmarish descent into the very heart of darkness, where more than your guilt can eat you alive. In Attendance at the Oct. 24th Screening: Scooter Downey, Writer/Producer/Director; Sean Elliot, Writer/Producer/Actor; Lance Henriksen, Actor; and Rose Sirna, Actor

The Missing Piece: The Truth About the Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa

In 1911, an unlikely thief stole the world's most famous painting from the Louvre in broad daylight. It may be the greatest little-known art heist of all time, and even the thief's only daughter doesn't know how or why he did it. After being obsessed with Vincenzo Peruggia's crime for more than 35 years, writer/director Joe Medeiros pieces together the mystery of Da Vinci's masterpiece gone missing, solving the case a hundred years later. Director Joe Medeiros and Executive Producer Justine Medeiros will be in attendance. 

The Austin Film Festival runs from Oct. 18 to Oct. 25.  

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