Austin Film Festival Announces Honorees for 30th Edition

Austin Film Festival Announces Honorees for 30th Edition

The Austin Film Festival has recently revealed the names of the honored guests for its 30th edition, set to take place from October 26 to November 2. This year, the festival will recognize three remarkable individuals for their outstanding contributions to the film industry: producer Lauren Shuler Donner, writer-producer James V. Hart, and filmmaker So Young Shelly Yo.

Lauren Shuler Donner will be presented with the prestigious Polly Platt Award for Producing. This award is designed to honor producers with a deep understanding of storytelling and a track record of nurturing emerging talent in the industry. Previous recipients of this esteemed prize include Dede Garner, Stephanie Allain, and Sarah Green. With a career spanning film, television, and theater, Donner has produced several iconic works, such as the X-Men franchise, Pretty in Pink, and Free Willy. Her ability to successfully executive produce television series, including FX’s Legion, further highlights her expertise in the industry.

An Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television

James V. Hart will be the recipient of the Heart of Film Award, which recognizes his significant contributions to both film and television. Additionally, this award acknowledges his dedication to the screenwriting community. Hart’s impressive portfolio includes renowned works such as Hook, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Contact, which he co-wrote for Robert Zemeckis and Warner Bros. This award has been presented to notable figures like producer Barry Josephson and writer Daniel Petrie Jr., affirming Hart’s influential role within the industry.

Spotlighting New Voices

The New Voice Award, established in 2019, aims to celebrate fresh and captivating voices in film, television, and new media. So Young Shelly Yo has been chosen as this year’s recipient for her exceptional work on her debut feature, Smoking Tigers. The film follows the story of Hayoung, a teenage Korean American girl navigating the challenges of concealing her troubled family background from her newfound wealthy friends. Smoking Tigers premiered at the Tribeca Festival, where Yo received various accolades, including Best Screenplay and Actor. Yo, who is an Austin Film Festival alumnus, previously screened her short films Moonwalk with Me and Soft Sounds of Peeling Fruit at the festival in 2018 and 2021, respectively.

Engaging Conversations at the Writer Conference

During their time at the Austin Film Festival, Donner, Hart, and Yo will actively participate in the Writer Conference, scheduled from October 26-29. Donner will host a retrospective screening and a panel discussion titled “A Conversation With,” where she will delve into her illustrious body of work. Hart, on the other hand, will lead an “On Writing” panel focusing on Contact, providing insights into the creative process of this sci-fi drama. Shelly Yo will engage with the audience through a Q&A session following a screening of Smoking Tigers.

The Austin Writers Conference

The Austin Writers Conference at this year’s festival will feature enriching conversations with renowned industry professionals. Showrunners Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson, and Jonathan Lisco from the hit TV series Yellowjackets, as well as True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto, will be among the confirmed panelists. Other notable participants include Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip), Gavin O’Connor (Miracle), Dan Erickson (Severance), Pamela Ribon (Nimona), Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), and Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body). The Austin Film Festival promises to add more panelists to this already impressive lineup.

In order to attend the Austin Film Festival and be part of these enlightening sessions, you can purchase badges and passes by visiting the festival’s official website. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to celebrate the exceptional achievements of Lauren Shuler Donner, James V. Hart, and So Young Shelly Yo, as they continue to inspire and shape the future of the film industry.


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