Austin Film Festival highlights Depp, Franco

American actor Johnny Depp at “The Tourist” premiere in Tokyo, Japan 2011. Depp will be at the Austin Film Festival to accept an award for his contribution to film as well as to introduce his new film, “The Rum Diary,” in which he plays Paul Kemp. The film is based on the novel of the same name by famous Rolling Stone reporter Hunter S. Thompson. Further information can be found at
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By Rachel Ambelang

Austin has been called the live music capital of the world, but many are unaware of is the amount of attention Austin is beginning to receive for its place in the film industry.

With the growing numbers of talented people moving to Austin, more effort is being put forth throughout Texas to secure the work of these independent film makers promoted and produced and also to get support from the artists of other film epicenters.

The Austin Film Festival is one of the biggest displays of Hollywood and Texas-produced films together. This year’s festival starts today and goes to Oct. 27.

Earlier in the festival will be conferences and lectures directed toward upcoming artists on everything from how to make it in Hollywood to how to write a horror screenplay.

There will also be screenings of categories of films that do not normally make it into the movie theater. This list includes short films, the work of young filmmakers and other feature-length films that cannot compete with Hollywood-fueled advertising.

However, big budget films will also be playing. The most anticipated screening is Johnny Depp’s new movie “The Rum Diary,” based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson.

Depp will be there himself to premiere the film 7 p.m. on Friday before it comes out in theaters on Oct. 28.

Depp will stay afterwards to answer questions.

Depp will also accept Austin Film Festival’s Extraordinary Contribution to Film-Acting Award on Saturday and then present the Distinguished Screenwriter Award to Caroline Thompson, writer of Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands,” in which Depp starred as the titular Edward.

The duo will attend a showing of Thompson’s film after “The Rum Diary.” Both will be staying afterward to talk about their first collaboration.

James Franco also will premier his film “Sal,” which Franco wrote, directed and starred in, Sunday at noon. “Sal” is an intimate biopic of the late actor Sal Mineo, teen star of “Rebel Without a Cause.” The movie follows Sal on the last day of his tumultuous life which, despite several low points, was finally going his way until it was tragically and needlessly cut short by a random act of violence.

Another highly anticipated film, “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” stars Jason Segel, who is known for his role in the television series “How I Met Your Mother,” and Ed Helms, best known for his role in “The Hangover.”

The movie is about the journey of two eccentric brothers. After a strange coincidence that Jeff (Segel) takes as a sign of his destiny finally coming to light, he finally leaves his mother’s basement. The co-directors who wrote the film, Mark and Jay Duplass, will be present at the premiere.

Other anticipated events include a Q&A with chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation John Lasseter, who has become famous for producing numerous animated pictures including “Wall-E,” “Finding Nemo”, and “Toy Story 3.”

Lasseter will also join Johnny Depp and Caroline Thompson at the award ceremony on Saturday in order for the three to receive their Extraordinary Contribution to Film Awards.

No matter your reason for wanting to go to the film festival, whether you are a true lover of movies or an upcoming filmmaker, there will be an incredible number of conferences and films from both independent and Hollywood filmmakers to enjoy.

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