Austin Film Festival Unveils 2018 Script and Film Competition Winners

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Along with the competition, the writer-focused event, which runs through Thursday, screened such films as 'Vox Lux' and 'Ben Is Back.'

The Austin Film Festival, which bowed Oct. 25 and runs through Thursday in Austin, Texas, has announced the winners of the 2018 Script Competition and the Film Competition.

The 2018 Script Competition Winners were chosen from a record field of 10,580 scripts entered in the screenplay, digital series, playwriting and fiction podcast competitions. Finalists were reviewed by an industry panel of judges including Wendy Calhoun (writer/producer Stage 19, Empire), Peter Craig (writer The Town, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I and II), James V. Hart (writer Hook, Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Christina Hodson (writer Transformers: Bumblebee, Birds of Prey), Ali LeRoi (writer/producer Everybody Hates Chris, Survivor’s Remorse), Nicole Perlman (writer Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel), Scott Rosenberg (writer Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Venom), Rodney Rothman (director Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, writer 22 Jump Street), Oren Uziel (writer 22 Jump Street, The Cloverfield Paradox) and Brian Yorkey (showrunner 13 Reasons Why, playwright Next to Normal), among others.

The following script winners were selected:

  • Drama Screenplay Award presented by the Writers Guild of America, East: Horsehead Girls by Wenonah Wilms
  • Comedy Screenplay Award presented by Sony Pictures Animation: Sex APPeal by Tate Elizabeth Hanyok
  • Sci-Fi Screenplay Award: Our Own Devices by Paul Vance
  • Enderby Entertainment Award (scripts that can be produced under $10 million): Project Horizon by Charles Morris
  • Horror Screenplay Award: The Patience of Vultures by Greg Sisco
  • AMC Drama Teleplay Pilot Award: Worth by Stuti Malhotra
  • Comedy Pilot Award: What Will Jessie Do? by Kevin Luperchio
  • Short Screenplay Award: Ruby Throat by Sarah Polhaus
  • Scripted Digital Series Award presented by Stage 13: Epizootic by Dan Young
  • Drama Teleplay Spec Award: The Handmaid's Tale, "Rebels" by Angela Jorgensen
  • Comedy Teleplay Spec Award: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, "Kimmy Volunteers!" by Maggie Gottlieb
  • Playwriting Award: Particular Disposition by Benjamin Fulk
  • Fiction Podcast Award: The Rest Stop at the End of the Universe by Samuel Suksiri

In addition, producer Barry Josephson announced the selected fellows for the inaugural Josephson Entertainment Screenwriting Fellowship, which will provide a one-on-one mentorship with Josephson and his team in Los Angeles for the writers of one feature screenplay and one teleplay pilot.

The winners were:

  • Feature Screenplay: The Death of Colm Canter by Revati Dhomse & Hector Lowe
  • Teleplay Pilot: Lifers Anonymous by Sean Collins-Smith

Serving on AFF’s Film Competition jury this year were established filmmakers like Macon Blair (Hold the Dark, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore), Pamela Ribon (Moana, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2) and Ashley Miller (Thor, X-Men: First Class) and notable industry insiders, including representatives from Pixar Animation Studios, The Orchard, Showtime, ShortsTV, FilmRise, Rooster Teeth, Roadside Attractions, Gravitas Ventures, The Hollywood Reporter and Gunpowder & Sky.

The winners were:

  • Narrative Feature: Clara, written by Akash Sherman and James Ewasiuk
  • Documentary Feature: The Interpreters, directed by Andres Caballero and Sofian Khan
  • Comedy Vanguard Feature: In Reality, written by Ann Lupo, Esteban Pedraza and Aaron Pryka
  • Dark Matters Feature: Ghost Light, written by Geoffrey Taylor and John Stimpson
  • Narrative Short presented by ShortsTV: Judas Collar, written by Alison James
  • Narrative Student Short: Woman in Stall, written by Josh Boles
  • Documentary Short: Father K, directed by Judd Ehrlich
  • Animated Short: Sister, written by Siqi Song
  • Scripted Digital Series presented by Stage 13: Song in the Sky, created by Samuel Frederich

After each festival screening, audiences voted for the Hiscox Audience Awards, recognizing film favorites among the 2018 slate. The Hiscox Audience Award winners were:

  • Narrative Feature: Above the Clouds, written by Simon Lord
  • Documentary Feature: Care to Laugh, directed by Julie Getz
  • Dark Matters Feature: Alive., written by Jules Vincent and Chuck McCue
  • Comedy Vanguard Feature: In Reality, written by Ann Lupo, Esteban Pedraza, and Aaron Pryka
  • Texas Independent Feature: The Iron Orchard, written by Gerry De Leon and Ty Roberts
  • Narrative Short: Everything Mattress, written by Chase Joliet
  • Documentary Short: Father K, directed by Judd Ehrlich
  • Animated Short: Lost & Found, written by Bradley Slabe
  • Narrative Student Short: Tiny Warriors, written by Jono Chanin
  • Scripted Digital Series: The Gary Gold Story, created by Greg Ash 
  • Marquee Feature: Green Book, written by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, and Peter Farrelly 

One film was selected to receive the Hiscox Courage Award. Voted on by the audience, the Hiscox Courage Award is presented to the film that best embodies the virtue of courage and to the filmmaker who best embraced the risk to share the story. The 2018 Hiscox Courage Award was awarded to The Interpreters, directed by Andres Caballero and Sofian Khan.

Nov. 8, 12:09 p.m. Updated to include Hiscox Audience Awards