The Tracking Board At The 2016 Austin Film Festival


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The 2016 Austin Film Festival kicked off on October 13 and as the festival closes out on Thursday, we’re recapping some of the highlights of the week. Each year, AFF furthers the art and craft of by inspiring and championing the work of screenwriters, filmmakers, and all artists who use the language of film and television to tell a story. This year, The Tracking Board sponsored an exclusive party hosted by Loving writer-director Jeff Nichols and moderated a panel featuring Malcolm Spellman, John Turman, and duo Cormac and Marianne Wibberly.


On Saturday, the festival announced the winners of the 2016 Screenplay Competition as well as the winners of the Film Competition Jury Award. One of the big screenplay winners of the festival was Henry Jones’ Static. Described as a grounded, visionary sci-fi thriller, the was acquired by Inkubate, the new banner for Godzilla’s Max Borenstein focused on character-driven genre material in film and television. Inkubate plans to package the and then pursue setting it up at a or with independent financing.

9,100 scripts were submitted for this year’s screenplay competition and the finalists were reviewed by an industry panel of judges including Kim Bass (writer In Living Color; Sister, Sister, Kenan & Kel), Stephen Falk (creator/executive /showrunner You’re The Worst, Michael McCullers (writer Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, writer/director Baby Mama), Ashley Miller (writer Thor, X-Men: First Class, Power Rangers) Nicole Perlman (writer Guardians of the Galaxy), Oren Uziel (writer/director Shimmer Lake; writer 22 Jump Street), among others.


Our on-the-ground reporter Dino-Ray Ramos was there to cover it all, including a panel featuring Saturday Night Live writers Paula Pell, Tim Herlihy, and Michael McCullers, a panel focusing on comic book adaptations featuring Marvel writers John Turman, Cort Lane, Edward Ricourt, and Ashley Miller, and a conversation with Ghostbusters writers Paul Feig and Katie Dippold. Other festival highlights included panels featuring screenwriter Craig Mazin, filmmaker Nancy Meyers, and television Marta Kauffman. In addition to the writer-centric panels, the festival offered over a dozen screenings of awards season contenders including La La Land, Lion, and Loving.

You can check out Dino’s reporting on some of this year’s best events below.

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How Four Screenwriters Turned Failure Into Success

Experienced screenwriters Malcolm Spellman, John Turman, and duo Cormac and Marianne Wibberly have their fair share of “failures” — but they weren’t really failures. They managed to see a silver lining and make lemonade out of the lemons the industry threw at them.


7 Tips For Submitting to the Nicholl Fellowship and Other Workshops & Competitions

Every year thousands of aspiring writers submit their TV and film scripts to dozens upon dozens of fellowships, workshops, and contests (including our own). There is no secret formula to “win” any of these uber-competitive programs — but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a chance. Lucky for you, we wrangled some advice from the VIP’s who run four highly sought-after screenwriting programs.


The Highs and Lows of Being a Writer at Saturday Night Live

Paula Pell, Tim Herlihy, and Michael McCullers — Saturday Night Live writers from the present and the past — got together to share their stories and experiences from working on the iconic late-night sketch show.


Chris Sparling, Anne Rapp, and Cindy McCreery Talk Writing For Hollywood Outside of Hollywood

If you’re a working screenwriter, chances are you probably live in Hollywood or in the immediate vicinity of the hustle and bustle of the industry. If you’re an aspiring screenwriter, you probably think that you have to move to L.A. in order to have a lucrative career in the biz… and that’s kind of true. It’s doable, but with some caveats. For screenwriters Cindy McCreery, Anne Rapp, and Chris Sparling.



Good vs. Bad Comic Book Adaptations

The journey of comic book adaptations has had its ups and downs but we are living in the Golden Age of the genre. There have been good ones and there have been bad ones. During the Austin Film Festival, Marvel movie writers John Turman, Cort Lane, Edward Ricourt, and Ashley Miller gave their two cents on the difference between the good and the bad.


5 Things We Learned About Ghostbusters From Paul Feig and Katie Dippold

During a special Ghostbusters panel at the Austin Film Festival, Paul Feig and Katie Dippold shared some bits of information that you may not know about the reboot of the horror comedy classic.

For more of our coverage of the 2016 Austin Film Festival, click here.


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