Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Austin Film Festival

Only at the Austin Film Festival can legendary director-actor-producer Sydney Pollack wander through the 120-year-old Driskill Hotel's grand lobby entirely unmolested while "Mystic River" screenwriter Brian Helgeland gets mobbed by fans. As one repeat attendee put it, "This is the only festival where writers are treated like rock stars."

The lively event, which will close its 13th incarnation on Thursday, remains the only major screenwriter-focused festival on the circuit. The weeklong array of panels, pitch competitions, parties and screenings is all about honoring the ingenuity and allure of the screenplay and the writers who craft them (well, it's also occasionally about drinking, but that goes with the territory).
More from Jay A. Fernandez in The LA Times, including the best overheard stories.
Most deadpan studio anecdote: Jessica Bendinger ("Bring It On") was once brought in to adapt a dark coming-of-age story about a girl with anorexia who suffers through a date rape, among other things. The major studio head who owned the book rights pitched it by saying, "We think it could be like 'Bridget Jones.' "

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