The Austin Film Festival, one of the nation’s top film festivals recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film, television and new media, has announced both its opening night film and centerpiece programming film, both major anchors of the well-known festival’s run, which runs in Austin this year from October 26-November 2.
This year’s opening night film is “Lady Bird,” the directorial debut by actress Greta Gerwig (“Frances Ha,” “Mistress America”). “Lady Bird” stars Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, a young woman who fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird’s father (Tracy Letts) loses his job. Gerwig will be in attendance for the film’s screening.
As for the Centerpiece Programming film, “The Current War” is the epic story of the cutthroat competition between the greatest inventors of the industrial age over whose electrical system would power the new century, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse. Backed by J.P. Morgan, Edison dazzles the world by lighting Manhattan. But Westinghouse, aided by Nikola Tesla, has seen fatal flaws in Edison’s direct current design. Igniting a war of currents, Westinghouse and Tesla bet everything on risky and dangerous alternating current. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”) and written by playwright Michael Mitnick (“Sex Lives of our Parents”), “The Current War” also stars Katherine Waterston, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, Matthew Macfadyen, and Tuppence Middleton. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon will be in attendance to present at the festival.
“Lady Bird” and “The Current War” will join the many other films and events that have already been announced. For more information on the festival, visit austinfilmfestival.com.