The Austin Film Festival has a dedication to furthering the art of screenwriting and filmmaking and provides year-round cultural services and events. The festival has a goal of enhancing public participation and awareness. The Austin Film Festival started in 1994, and was the first organization to focus on the screenwriters. The festival is a major attraction for locals and tourists who can appreciate the art of film production. The festival brings in top celebrities from all over the country who want to view an amazing line-up of films. The festival takes place in mid to late October and normally last about a week. Those who attend the festival are able to see all of the new movies that everyone will be discussing for the upcoming year. The Austin Film Festival is composed of an opening night premier, centerpiece premier, and closing night premier. There are almost 200 movies showcased during the premiers. Visitors to the film festival have the option of paying $42 for a Film Pass or upgrading to a Badge and having priority entry into films. The Badge also includes access to panel discussions, meet and greets, networking opportunities and parties.
The Austin Film Festival derived from the Heart of the Film Screenwriters Conference which is a forum dedicated to developing the craft of screenwriters. Austin Film Festival's goal is about enhancing the craft of amateur and professional screenwriters while also bringing them together to network and launch careers. The Austin Film Festival serves the entire film making community in Austin by providing year round programs.
In 2008, a screenwriter's strike in the United States educated the public to the under representation that many writers experience. The Austin Film Festival is concerned about the lack of appreciation the film industry has for the writers and places the spotlight on the writers for broader recognition and respect. Hundreds of writers' groups across the nation have also reinforced the same important values of recognizing the art of screenwriting. Famous actors, directors, and writers have all been past participants of the Austin Film Festival. Wes Anderson, Oliver stone, Dennis Hopper, Russell Crowe, Sandra Bullock and Owen Wilson are just a few of the famous faces that have attended past Austin Film Festival events and conferences.
There are nine main events that are sponsored by the Austin Film Festival. The events are member screenings, conferences, festival parties, writers ranches, the oscar party, an expo, awards luncheon, and of course the film festival. The Conference is one of the largest events sponsored by the Austin Film Festival. The Conference normally takes place in the fall and last for four days. The Conference provides access to the world's top producers, agents, managers, studio executives, professional filmmakers and screenwriters. The Conference features panelist and attendees that discuss the creative process of screenwriting in a relaxed and unpretentiousness setting. Over eighty interactive roundtables and panels give the screenwriters and filmmakers an opportunity to network with fellow colleagues in the industry. Some of the most popular panel discussions involve writing desirable scripts, overcoming writers block, producing and marketing the film project.