Austin, Texas has long been honored as a hotbed of indie film ingenuity and inspiration, with numerous annual film festivals to back that claim. But while the likes of Austin Film Festival, South by Southwest and ATX Television Festival—each meritorious in its own right—have grown by leaps and bounds over the years, few festivals have managed to maintain the intimate, truly independent essence of the Austin indie film scene’s heyday. Few festivals, that is, except for Austin Revolution Film Festival, taking place Tuesday, September 20th through Saturday, September 24th. Now in its fifth year, Austin Revolution Film Festival provides a platform for maverick auteurs and the utterly compelling stories they’ve labored to construct with lowball budgets and limited resources. In a year where the typical Oscar-baiting fare of the Toronto International Film Festival was met with an unprecedentedly lackluster reception, a little taste of down-home filmmaking and a return to the cinematic basics is exactly what the doctor ordered.
The brainchild of Houston native, James Christopher, and his wife, Austin Revolution Film Festival ’s primary focus is on connecting independent filmmakers with one another as well as audiences. Out of 1,200 submissions, the ARFF committee managed to select 130 bold features and short films spanning numerous genres and sensibilities. Student filmmakers and indie veterans alike dazzled the judges with LGBT offerings, horror stories, comedies and more; come September 20-24th, 2016, Austin Revolution Film Festival will unleash these utterly important offerings on an eager public. Some such films include the world premiere of Cheickna Kebe’s In the Hands of Time, a gripping time travel drama about a husband and wife separated by time itself; the documentary feature film, Colin Hay: Waiting for My Real Life to Begin, chronicling the life of the former lead singer of Australia’s Men at Work; and Ryan LaPlante’s Holy Hell, a blood-soaked grindhouse affair sure to give the midnight audience thrills and chills—as well as a free shot of booze to celebrate.
In addition to quality films with a singularly independent spirit, ARFF offers a number of panels featuring filmmakers discussing a wide array of filmic topics. Some of the highly anticipated panels include “How to Survive Film Festivals,” “Independent Women in Film” and “The Life of the Indie Actor,” all of which are sure to delight cinema enthusiasts and aspiring auteurs alike. The five-day bonanza culminates in the Austin Revolution Film Festival Awards Ceremony on Saturday, September 24th where the organization will crown its first Female Filmmaker of the Year, among other prestigious honors. In addition, ARFF recognizes Jason Tostevin as its 2016 Filmmaker of the Year; Tostevin will bring his new horror comedy to the festival in what promises to be a can't-miss affair.
While two special screenings at the Slaughter Lane Alamo Drafthouse are already sold out, there’s still time to pick up a badge for the lion’s share of the festival fun that will take place at The Doubletree Austin (1617 North Interstate 35, Austin, Texas, 78702—near the University of Texas). For more information, visit the Austin Revolution Film Festival’s website. Keep the spirit of independent film alive with the fifth annual Austin Revolution Film Festival, September 20-24th, 2016. See you at the cinema!