Skip to main content

AFF 2022: The Whale and Armageddon Time Announced Plus Full Second Wave of Titles

Austin Film Festival (AFF), the premier film festival recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film, television, and new media, announced today that The Whale will serve as the festival’s Opening Night selection. Directed by Academy Award®-nominee Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, The Wrestler). The Whale stars Brendan Fraser and is written by Samuel D. Hunter, based on his acclaimed play of the same name. The Whale will screen the opening night of the Festival, October 27 with Hunter in attendance.

Additionally, AFF is hosting a special screening of James Gray's latest film Armageddon Time, with Gray in attendance to receive this year's Bill Wittliff Award for Screenwriting. Previous recipients include Buck Henry (1997), Lawrence Kasdan (2001), Nancy Meyers (2016), and Tony Gilroy (2018). The festival is also welcoming a wide slate of films including Israeli filmmaker Jonathan Dekel's Checkout and the world premiere of local Austin filmmaker Riley Cusick's The Wild Man.

Writer/Director/Producer James Gray, who has written the screenplay for every major motion picture that he's also directed, made his directorial debut in 1994 at the age of 25 with Little Odessa. The film received the Critics Award at the Deauville Film Festival as well as the Silver Lion in Venice. His second feature, The Yards (2000), started a career-long collaboration with Joaquin Phoenix and included Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Faye Dunaway, Ellen Burstyn and James Caan. Gray's New York crime drama We Own The Night (2007) starred Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Eva Mendes and Robert Duvall.

His fourth feature, the Brooklyn-set drama Two Lovers (2008), premiered In Competition at Cannes and went on to receive a CΓ©sar nomination for Best Foreign Film in 2009. It received nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Director and Best Female Lead. In May 2013, The Immigrant, which starred frequent collaborator Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner, became his fourth film to premiere In Competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

Gray's film The Lost City of Z was based on the best-selling novel by David Grann and starred Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland. It had its world premiere as the closing night selection of the 2016 New York Film Festival and was released in theaters by Amazon Studios/Bleecker Street in April 2017. Gray’s Academy Awards nominated space epic Ad Astra starred Brad Pitt and was released in theaters in September 2019 after its Venice Film Festival premiere.

 His latest project, Armageddon Time - which he again wrote, directed, and produced – is a deeply personal project inspired by Gray’s own childhood growing up in 1980s New York City. The film stars Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong and will be released this fall by Focus Features. 




Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Written by: Samuel D. Hunter

Synopsis: From Darren Aronofsky comes The Whale, the story of a reclusive English teacher living with severe obesity who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption. Starring Brendan Fraser and based on the acclaimed play by Samuel D. Hunter.

In attendance: Writer Samuel D. Hunter


Directed/written by: James Gray

Synopsis: From acclaimed filmmaker James Gray, ARMAGEDDON TIME is a deeply personal reflection on the strength of family, the complexity of friendship and the realities of class and privilege, seen through the eyes of a young Jewish boy growing up in 1980s Queens. The film features an all-star cast including Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong.

In attendance: Writer/Director James Gray



Directed/written by: Riley Cusick

Synopsis: A son takes care of his father with a deteriorating mental condition where he believes he's a wild animal. The films cast includes Cusick, Larry Fessenden, Jenna Kanell, and Kelli Maroney. 



Directed/written by: Jonathan Dekel

Written by: Shai Satran

Synopsis: Checkout follows Dov (Josh Pais), a desperate spy who must convince his peers he is telling the truth about a legendary terrorist. Trying one last time to become the myth he always thought he would be, Dov faces the harsh realities determined to retire him. He'll do anything to change their minds. Checkout is a dark comedy based on real lies of real Mossad spies. 


Directed by: Patricia E. Gillespie

Synopsis: Mother-of-two Judy Malinowski, was doused in gasoline and set on fire by her crazed ex-boyfriend – becoming one of the first people to testify at their own murder trial. THE FIRE THAT TOOK HER goes inside the landmark case to ask a timely question: How much must women suffer in order to be believed? 


Directed by: Sylvia Caminer

Synopsis: FOLLOW HER is a psycho-sexual thriller. Jess Peters, a struggling actress and live streamer, has finally found her hook: secretly filming creepy interactions she encounters via online job listings, and using the kinks of others to fuel her streaming success. For her next episode, she’s been hired to write the ending of a screenplay in a remote, lavish cabin. Once there, the alluring self-proclaimed screenwriter hands her a script in which the two of them are the main characters. This client isn’t what he seems, and even though the money is great… the real payment here could cost her life.


Directed/written by: Cara Consilvio

Synopsis: In 1986, to awaken America to the AIDS crisis and to honor the friends he lost, Brent Nicholson Earle runs the perimeter of the United States. In The American Run for the End of AIDS, Brent runs almost a marathon a day for 20 months straight. After enduring blisters, exhaustion, ignorance and fear, he returns home to his own HIV diagnosis. Though the run finishes, Brent’s activism never stops.


Directed by: Jason Karman

Written by: Gorrman Lee

Synopsis: When basketball-obsessed Aleks moves in across the street, Asian-Canadian teen Jake finds himself trying out for the basketball team to get his attention in this classic coming-of-age drama set in the digital age. 

The complete list of Festival programming, including over 100 films as well as hundreds of panels, will be announced in late September.  

Popular posts from this blog

A Bronx Tale 4K Available for Pre-Order Now!

A Bronx Tale (30th Anniversary Edition), which will be available on 4K UHD Blu-Ray and VOD platforms on September 12, 2023. For the first time, the film will be released in newly-restored, Ultra High Definition Dolby Vision and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround sound. A Bronx Tale will also be available on VOD on AppleTV, Amazon Prime Video, and more. The new edition will include brand-new exclusive interviews with director and star Robert De Niro, and writer and star Chazz Palminteri, who reflect on how the film has become a beloved classic with audiences – recalling the original production process, adapting the screenplay, and the characters’ authenticity. To close the curtains on this year’s Tribeca Festival, there will also be a 30th-anniversary commemoration of A Bronx Tale on Saturday, June 17. After the screening, producer and Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal, and writer and co-star Chazz Palminteri will join director and star Robert De Niro to celebrate the film. The live conversatio

Following Films Podcast: Steven Luke on COME OUT FIGHTING

  Today I’m joined by Steven Luke to discuss his film COME OUT FIGHTING Set during WWII, in this military adventure, a small, specialized squad of U.S. Army African American soldiers are sent on an unofficial rescue mission behind enemy lines to locate their missing commanding officer. The squad upon battling their way through the German defenses encounter more than they bargain for when they locate a downed U.S. Army fighter pilot. With the help of their friends at the 761st tank battalion, known as “The Black Panthers,” the squad must find a way to survive and make it back in one piece.  COME OUT FIGHTING is currently  in theaters and available on demand 

Episode 01 of Original Remake: Infernal Affairs and The Departed

On the very first episode of the Original Remake podcast we discuss the origins of this show which has something to do with our first double feature selection of INFERNAL AFFAIRS and THE DEPARTED. Ultimately we seek answers to three questions: Does the remake do justice to the original? And if you just watch the remake do you get a good sense of why the original was successful or not successful and thus remade? But most of all which movie to watch, the original or the remake? Along the way we talk about the distinct cultural difference of moving the story from INFERNAL AFFAIRS to Boston, the advantage or disadvantage of having a big star like Jack Nicholson playing the big heavy, and the humorous whirlwind of vulgarity that is Dignam in THE DEPARTED.