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Three Writer/Director Movies at the Austin Film Festival
Bullied middle school kids band together in "Murt Ramirez Wants to Kick My Ass," playing at the Austin Film Festival.

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

The 19th annual Austin Film Festival is underway, and KUT is bringing you guest blogs from fest staffers highlighting personal picks. Today, assistant programmer Bears Fonté points to films from three auteurs playing the fest. “These writer/directors draw the audience into their own world with a confidence seldom seen in seasoned veterans,” Fonté says.

If you want your mind blown, make sure you make it to “Idol is Dead”, especially on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 10:15 p.m. at the Bob Bullock's Texas Spirit Theater. Writer/director Yukihiro Kato will be in attendance, direct from Japan. In the grand tradition of “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park,” and “Spice World,” “Idol is Dead” showcases the talents of J-Pop stars Brand-new Idol Society (BiS in Japanese shorthand). A fantastical origin tale involving murder, mad scientists, and a killer soundtrack, “Idol is Dead” is full of humor, hand-to-hand combat and horror. It’s a bit bizarre, a bit sexy, and a bit disgusting. This will be its one and only U.S. theatrical screening before its release with BiS’s new CD. You can check out the trailer on the AFF website.

For something a little more grounded in reality, don’t miss the world premiere of writer/director Dan Lee’s “MurtRamirez Wants to Kick My Ass,” a comedy set in an 80’s middle school like some lost John Hughes film. But this isn’t the same school where those kids went – it’s the one around the block and on the other side of the tracks. A hilarious film that works for adults and middle-schoolers alike, Lee’s take on life, love, and bullies never goes out of style (unlike those parachute pants you've got hidden in your closet). It’s a smart script with well-drawn characters, which is everything a writer’s festival could ask for. Dan Lee will be at both screenings, Saturday, Oct. 20, at 5:15 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 21 at 1:00 p.m, both at the Alamo Drafthouse Village location. Here's the trailer: 

One of the Narrative Features Competition directors takes the 'multiple hats' idea even further. Derrick Sims not only wrote and directed “Come Morning,” he also shot, edited, and color-corrected the thriller. Normally this might be bad idea, but in this case Sims comes from a post-production background, and it feels like he’s been working his whole life to get ready to tell this story. Set in rural Arkansas in the early seventies, “Come Morning” follows a hunting trip between a boy and his grandfather that turns into a murder cover-up. It’s an intense trip through the darkness of the woods and the soul, with phenomenal performances from a cast of unknowns and breathtaking cinematography. Sims will be in attendance at both screenings of his film, which makes it’s world premiere Sunday, Oct. 21, at 10:15 p.m. on the Bob Bullock's IMAX screen, and again at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the Alamo Village.


For the future writer/directors at the festival, I highly suggest the Independent Filmmaking Track on Saturday and Sunday of the festival (Oct. 20 and 21.) Jeff Nichols, Amy Talkington, and several filmmakers from this year’s program will share the nuts and bolts on how to see your film idea through, from initial inspiration to a marketable final product. I’m especially looking forward to moderating the panel “Independent Filmmaking: The Short Film.” Come find out how to fit a whole story in twenty minutes from the filmmakers whose shorts are playing in this year’s festival, and from one of the programmers who selected them.

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