Austin Film Festival Adds 'The Front Runner,' 'The Favourite' and More to Lineup

Courtesy of Telluride Film Festival
'The Front Runner'

In addition to Jason Reitman's Hugh Jackman-starrer and the British period drama that stars Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman, come a number of short films from emerging female voices that will premiere during the fest this year.

Jason Reitman's The Front Runner will serve as the closing night film at the Austin Film Festival, it was announced Wednesday. Reitman, who is an Oscar nominee and an alum of AFF, directed the film, which had its world premiere Aug. 31 at the Telluride Film Festival.

In the film, Hugh Jackman stars as the charismatic politician Gary Hart, who was considered the overwhelming front-runner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination when his campaign was sidelined by the story of an extramarital relationship with Donna Rice. The Front Runner will bow in Austin on Nov. 1 with Reitman in attendance.

In addition to its closing night film, the fest also announced its second wave of titles. Highlights include The Favourite, the latest project by director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of the Sacred Deer) starring Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman, and Everybody Knows from acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Salesman), starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. 

AFF also announced four world premieres — British drama Undercliffe, supernatural thriller The Dark Red, Indian-American family drama Love Goes Through Your Mind and The Money Stone, Stuart Harmon’s documentary about two boys coming of age among the gold mines of Ghana. The festival will also be presenting Texas Cotton from local filmmaker Tyler Russell. 

In addition to these features come a number of short films from emerging female voices that will premiere during the festival this year. 

The 25th annual Austin Film Festival and Writers Conference is set to run Oct. 25-Nov. 1.

See the full second wave lineup below.

The Dark Red
World Premiere
Writers: Dan Bush, Conal Byrne
Director: Dan Bush
Starring: April Billingsley, Kelsey Scott, Rhoda Griffis

A young woman is committed to a psychiatric hospital and claims her newborn was stolen by a dark cult.

Everybody Knows
Writer-director: Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Ricardo Darin

Laura, a Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires, returns to her hometown outside Madrid with her two children to attend her sister's wedding. However, the trip is upset by unexpected events that bring secrets into the open.

The Favourite
Writer-director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman

Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way

The Front Runner
Closing Night Film
Writers: Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman
Based on the book All the Truth iI Out by Matt Bai
Director: Jason Reitman
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Alfred Molina

Oscar-nominee Hugh Jackman stars as the charismatic politician Gary Hart for Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman in the new thrilling drama The Front Runner. The film follows the rise and fall of Senator Hart, who captured the imagination of young voters and was considered the overwhelming front runner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination when his campaign was sidelined by the story of an extramarital relationship with Donna Rice. As tabloid journalism and political journalism merged for the first time, Senator Hart was forced to drop out of the race — events that left a profound and lasting impact on American politics and the world stage. 

Love Goes Through Your Mind
Writers: Shruti Swaminathan, Ronak Shah
Director: Ronak Shah
Starring: Ariela Barer, Azim Rizk

An Indian-American family begins to implode under the pressures of a family member's untreated mental illness.

The Money Stone
World Premiere
Director: Stuart Harmon

Deep under the jungles of Ghana, scores of children are driven by poverty to leave school and work in dangerous pits in search of gold. Justice and Maxwell, two teens trapped in the deadly world of illegal mining, risk it all in search of a better future.

Texas Cotton
Writers: Tyler Russell, Jameel Khaja
Director: Tyler Russell
Starring: George Hardy, Lew Temple, Jason Douglas, Gene Jones

An aging policeman is convinced a mysterious stranger arrested in his small town is innocent. His investigation stirs up a hornet's nest.

Undercliffe
Writer: Bruce McLeod
Director: Lisa Mulcahy
Starring: Laurie Kynaston, Mark Addy, Akbar Kurtha, Stephanie Hyam

A young man wakes up beaten half to death in a wasteland, with no memories of what happened to him or who he is. As he investigates his own past, he discovers that he has left a trail of destruction in his wake.

Highlighted Shorts

Candid
Writer-director: Gabrielle Shepard

Faced with the memory of her late mother, an aspiring street photographer takes a surreal journey through the city as she reconciles her future and the relationship with her father.

Daily Bread
Writers: Ruby Challenger, Jonathan Wald, Ella Carey
Director: Ruby Challenger

In a WWII internment camp in Indonesia, Jan acts out of desperation to save a little girl’s life, bringing dire consequences upon the whole camp.

Max & the Monster
Writer-director: Jenna Kanell

Maxine struggles to regain normalcy after acquiring the company of a persistent monster whom no one else can see.

Mercury
Writer: Gorana Jovanovic
Director: Kyla Simone Bruce

Bambi drives her very pregnant best friend Al to the hospital to have her baby. Al's mood darkens as the inevitable and irreversible reality sinks in.

Moonwalk With Me
Writer-director: So Young Shelly Yo

A Korean-American girl named Juno struggles to keep her drifting father grounded.

The Ride Home
Writer-director: Laura Adkin

A young girl makes an unexpected connection with a couple who offer her a ride home after her painful and complicated decision to terminate her pregnancy.