The Austin Film Festival is a wrap for us, folks! Last night, we were at The Hideout theater for our last screening of SAWAH followed by a nice Q&A.
All in all, the #aff26 has been a great experience. Thanks for having us again. It has been a fantastic opportunity to show our work overseas. Dennis will also be leaving Texas roughly as the same time as us to make his way back to Vancouver while we will be on the go towards Frankfurt.
There is a lot coming up over the winter weeks. We are really excited about it and we will be happy to gradually share some news with you here in this blog. Stay tuned!
All photos taken by Damian are online on Flickr and you'll find out about our #filmsmadeinluxembourg projects under wadyfilms.com .
Mission accomplie en ce qui nous concerne au Austin Film Festival, les amis! Hier, nous avons eu droit à notre dernière projection de SAWAH au théâtre The Hideout suivie d'une chouette session de question-réponse.
What a great trip to Austin! Loads of film to watch, a new audience for SAWAH and very productive sessions with Dennis Foon for our next feature, HOOPED. Nice one! Thanks again #aff26 for having us.
Today, we are screening SAWAH one last time here. If you are around, join us at The Hideout on Congress Avenue tonight. Our film will be on a bit after 6pm. It's raining anyway, so what else are you gonna do? :p
Tomorrow, Dennis is flying back to Canada while Damian and me will make our way back to Europe over Washington.
If you'd like to see some shots of our trip, Damian has put together an album with more than 100 photos in his Flickr archive and there should be some video footage coming up soonn too.
Quel chouette voyage à Austin! Beaucoup de films à voir, un nouveau public pour SAWAH et des sessions d'écritures très productivs avec Dennis Foon pour notre prochain long métrage, HOOPED. Super! Merci encore une fois à l' #aff26 pour l'invitation.
We have only a few days left together here in Austin with Dennis Foon and after loads of conferences, panels and screenings during the #AFF26, we are back at the desk for the writing of HOOPED.
Although there is still a long way to go, we are pretty satisfied with our script so far. This Monday has almost entirely been about writing. We have been working on our script almost all day long yeserday before we decided to take a break and make our way to South Congress for a time out and a snack.
South Congress (a.k.a. SoCo) is a neighborhood at the South end of Austin's Congress Avenue. It is widely known as shopping and cultural district famous for its various eclectic small retailers, restaurants, music and art venues and, more recently, food trucks. Although we got the kinda alternative feeling that this district is known for, it still looked and felt pretty 'American' to us compared to European and Canadian cultural hotspots we are used to. Whatever, the vegan food we found was good and the walk back up to the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue bridge pleasant.
From there, we decided to end the day by slowly making our way to The Long Center where we met Guillaume Levil again in order to attend a screening of Austin Film Festival shorts in a session dedicated to freedom and we were home by 11pm so we can make this Tuesday another productive writing day.
Damian has posted new photos again. You can watch all of them in his Flickr archive.
Il ne nous reste que quelques jours ensemble Ã Austin avec Dennis Foon et aprÃ¨s toutes ces confÃ©rences, panels et projections pendant l' #AFF26, il est l'heure de bosser sur le scÃ©nario de HOOPED.
MÃªme si le chemin va encore Ãªtre long, nous sommes dÃ©jÃ plutÃ´t satisfait de la tournure que prend notre prochaine histoire. Ce lundi a Ã©tÃ© presque complÃ¨tement dÃ©diÃ© Ã l'Ã©criture. Nous avons passÃ© presque toute la journÃ©e Ã paufiner notre scÃ©nario avant de prendre une pause et de nous rendre Ã South Congress pour un snack.
South Congress (Ã©galement connu sous SoCo) est un quartier Ã l'extrÃ©mitÃ© Sud de la Congress Avenue de Austin. Cette zone culturellement riche est populaire pour son shopping dans de petits magasins typiques, des restaurants branchÃ©s, des ieux culturels et, plus rÃ©cemment, des food trucks. MÃªme si nous avons bien ressenti la vibe alternative qui plane sur ce quartier, le tout reste quand-mÃªme plutÃ´t 'AmÃ©ricain' comparÃ© aux haut-lieux culturels et alternatifs en Europe ou au Canada auxquels nous sommes habituÃ©s. La nourriture vegan y Ã©tait cependant trÃ¨s bonne et la promenade en remontant vers le pont Ann W. Richards, plaisante.
De lÃ , nous avons dÃ©cidÃ© de nous rendre tranquillement au Long Center oÃ¹ nous avons rejoint une nouvelle fois Guillaume Levil pour une session de projection autour du sujet de la libertÃ© dans le cadre du Austin Film Festival et Ã 11 heures, nous Ã©tions de nouveau Ã la maison histoire d'Ãªtre en forme pour notre nouvelle grosse session d'Ã©criture du mardi.
Damian a de nouveau postÃ© des photos. Vous pouvez les consulter toutes dans son archive Flickr.
Downtown Austin seems pretty calm on Sundays as we encountered almost no traffic driving from our airbnb to the Driskill hotel in the heart of the city. Our filmmaker day started with me being one of the speakers of what has been the most interesting panel we have been so far. The reason for that is obviously not my presence on stage. If you check out who else was speaking, you'll get it ;)
The subject of the panel itself was fascinating: Social Imapct Entertainment: shifting writers' lenses.
Speakers with an incredible background, deeply engaged participants and highly sensitive subjects - clearly, this panel had to be held in one of the smallest and most difficult to find panel rooms of the festival :p While hundreds of people would go gather and listen to the writers of more or less of very successful films and TV series in huge conference rooms, we were surprised by the 20 to 30-man audience attending this one. Again, as it is one of the most interesting discussion round we have had during the festival, I am very proud that I could be part of it presenting SAWAH from a social impact point of view.
During the early afternoon, we had a couple of Sunday meetings and we took advantage of the nice weather to go for a walk in sunny Austin close to the Austin Capitol district that features the tallest skycrapers of the city next to some wonderful 19th Century heritage buildings. A beautiful walk all in all before making our way to what almost ruined our day :)
We were very interested in attending the world premiere of 'The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain'.
[From Wikipedia] Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. was fatally shot on November 19, 2011, in White Plains, New York. After his LifeAid medical alert necklace was inadvertently triggered, police came to his home and demanded that he open his front door. Despite his objections and statements that he did not need help, the police broke down Chamberlain's door, tasered him, and then fatally shot him. Chamberlain was a 68-year-old, black, retired Marine, and a 20-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections. He wore the medical alert pendant due to a chronic heart problem.
The feature film is very intense and incredibly powerful, (perhaps too) distressing. Everybody in the room must have been shaken hard by it. The main actor is amazing and by the end of the screening, almost all the spectators were crying. 90 minutes of very strong emotional distress. What a contrast to the rest of our beautiful sunny day. Maybe a shortfilm would have done the trick very well also but all in all a disturbing but fantastic film.
After this emotional mess, we were very happy to attend the 7th shortfilm session: The Kids are alright. This session featured our French friend's Guillaume Levil world premiere with his latest short 'Running Naked in the Universe'. Congratulations, buddy!
All in all, it has been an exhausting week and we made our way to a store to buy food and went straight home after the end of the shortfilm session.
Today is Monday, the start of a new week and the beginning of our writing bootcamp for my next feature project with Dennis Foon: HOOPED. We will not go into full radio silence mode but you'll probably get less news over the coming days as not so much will happen from an external perspective but I am sure a lot will happen in our heads and at our desks and in our heads!
More than 100 photos of this Austin trip by Damian are already online in case you care. You can view them in his Flickr archive.
Le centre d'Austin a l'air vraiment calme comparé à la frénésie des derniers jours. Presque pas de traffic en ce dimanche matin entre notre airbnb et l'hôtel Diskrill dans le centre. Notre journée a débuté avec ma participation à un des plus intéressants panels auxquels nous avons participé. La raison? Certainement pas ma présence sur scène. Si vous allez jeter un oiel à la liste des intervenants, vous comprendrez ;)
Le sujet du panel en soi est déjà fascinant en soi: Social Imapct Entertainment: shifting writers' lenses (divertissement à impact social).
Day 3 of our stay in Austin began around 8am for us as a bright sunny day and with another epic breakfast made in Dennis Foon-land :) We did not have a lot of time to take it easy though as the Austin Film Festival Awards Luncheon was waiting for us as a first festival stop of the day. The rhythm here has been so intense since we arrived that it feels like we’ve been here for two weeks already.
On our way to the fancy The Line Hotel, we realised that half downtown was blocked by road closures. It’s time for the Dia de los Muertos events in Austin with the huge and colourful parade that comes with it. What a nice surprise!
The Awards Luncheon was another kind of parade, an amazing défilé of film big names like Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) that we had already seen in a panel, Jeff Nichols (one of my favourite writers), David Benioff & D.B. Weiss (Game of Thrones) … I was so busy networking and listening to everything all those great minds had to share that I did hardly eat :p
Dining with all these great panelists and awardees has been a great experience although we came out empty handed in terms of awards. We did not have room in our luggage anyway ... :p Congrats to Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder on winning the AFF26 Comedy Vanguard Award in which SAWAH was nominated. No hard feelings though as we learned that more than 6.200 films were submitted for this year’s festival with only 165 official competition screenings out of which only roughly 20 were features. Let’s face it, being there is already a fantastic achievement! At this point, it’s more than appropriated to give Rob Gonzalez, the AFF26 Film Competition Director, and his team a big shout-out for their mind bending job.
Still no time to chill after lunch as we had to rush to the next event we had been invited to: a roundtable about the art, craft and business of film and television with, once again, great moderators (see link).
It’s interesting to see that numerous panels are held in churches. Those are obviously excellent places to listen to people speaking but it’s also a nice opportunity to get a glimpse at various episcopal or presbyterian buildings. Our next stop was a panel with Lawrence Kasdan, an absolute monument of the industry (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Arc, The Bodyguard, Silverado, The Big Chill, French Kiss…) !!
At that point, we took a small pizza break on 6th Street from where we watched the Pitch to Screen Award Ceremony live from New York. We had been nominated in three categories. No award in Austin but we won a prize for Best Editor with SAWAH in New York! Yes!! Congrats to Philippe Ravoet, our Sawah chief editor.
Stuffed with pizza and full of joy, we decided to make our way to the Pitch Finale Party at Speakeasy on Congress Avenue to listen to the 20 finalists of the competition. 20 pitches of 90 seconds maximum each right in your face in a packed bar, another intense event that left us a little bit exhausted so we agreed on having a laid back drink and some snacks in a quiet place.
We chose to go to The Hideout a bit further up on Congress Avenue. This charming coffee house / improv theater is the place where we will be screening SAWAH for the second time on 30th October at 6:50pm.
Last but not least, we left downtown kinda late to join the Heart of Film Conference Party at The Long Center for Performing Arts, a beautiful venue located along Lady Bird lake with a stunning view on the skyline of downtown Austin. What a great way to end this 18-hour shift!
Damian’s updated Flickr photo archive is still there for you if you want to see more pictures of this trip and we’ll be back soon with new updates after some sleep.
Jour 3 de notre séjour à Austin et celui débute tôt comme les autres. Debout à 8h pour ce qui promet d'être une radieuse journée et nous la commençons une nouvelle fois avec un excellent petit déjeuner made in Dennis Foon-land :) Nous n'avons cependant pas glandé longtemps avec LA remise des prix pour tous les nominés lors d'un repas au prestigieux The Line Hotel. Notre rythme de vie a été si intense ces jours-ci que nous avons l'impression que cela fait deux semaines que nous sommes sur place.
Our first Friday in Austin has been a busy one! We started the day pretty early with a power breakfast. As a matter of fact, every morning, Dennis spoils us with his healthy chia bowls that help us make it through those long days of meetings and screenings.
Yesterday was our first day at the #AFF26. We got up around 7am and made our way to the festival registration for 9am. Austin is packed with filmmakers these days and some queues build up pretty bad. Registration in one of the posh downtown hotels on the first day was one of them :)
After trying to attend one of the opening events in downtown Austin, we were given the opportunity to pitch SAWAH just before Daniel Petrie's (Beverly Hills Cop writer) panel. Our film would then be screened in this same room later at night.
It's around 1am in Austin and we are coming home from our SAWAH U.S. premiere at the Austin Film Festival.
It's been a great day again and while our Friday has just begun and we are ready to go to sleep in order to get some rest for another long day of panels, conferences and screenings tomorrow, the weekend is already way closer back in Europe and SAWAH will be screened in multiple locations on this 25th October.
A diary post is also coming up later but you can go and enjoy Damian's photos in the meanwhile in his Flickr archive.