Austin Film Fest: 'The Humbling' and 'The Last Five Years' Will Open, 'Rosewater' Will Close
Barry Levinson's drama The Humbling, which stars Al Pacino, and Richard LaGravanese's musical The Last Five Years, which Jason Robert Brown adapted from his off-Broadway show — two films that had their world premieres at this month's Toronto International Film Festival and quickly found U.S. distributors that see them as 2014 awards bait — will open the 21st annual Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference on Oct. 23, the fest announced on Tuesday.
Additionally, Jon Stewart's feature directorial debut Rosewater, a drama based on the harrowing true story of the Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, will close the fest in Texas' capital on Oct. 30, with Stewart and Bahari — who have been working the fest circuit hard this fall — on hand for the festivities.
And writer-director-producer Edward Zwick will receive this year's Extraordinary Contribution to Film Award on Oct. 25. Previous recipients of this honor have included Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Danny Boyle, Oliver Stone, Sydney Pollack, John Lasseter, Frank Darabont and Robert Rodriguez.
The fest, which has become one of the many important stops on the awards season circuit over the last few years — particularly for Oscar- and Emmy-contending screenwriters — previously disclosed that many of this year's highest-profile Oscar hopefuls are a part of the 2014 AFF lineup. Among them: The Weinstein Co.'s The Imitation Game (adapted for the screen by Graham Moore), Fox Searchlight's Wild (adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby), Radius' Escobar: Paradise Lost (written for the screen by Andrea Di Stefano), Roadside Attractions and Saban Films' The Homesman (adapted for the screen by Tommy Lee Jones) and Disney's Big Hero 6 (written by Don Hall and Jordan Roberts).
Also represented at the fest will be several films which may have awards potential but do not yet have a U.S. distributor, including James Franco's The Sound and the Fury and Mike Binder's Black and White, both of which had their world premieres at Toronto.