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The Best of This Year’s Austin Film Festival to Have on Your Radar

See our 7 suggestions for films to watch at this year's festival

Paramount Theatre (photo by Holly Cowart)

Austin Film Festival (AFF) recently announced its entire slate of programming for the 30th Anniversary Austin Film Festival and Writers Conference, happening from October 26 through November 2. While festival line-ups are routinely daunting and overwhelming, we’ve tried to ease the burden of choice with a list of the essentials. Below are our picks of seven highlights from AFF to keep in mind. For the full schedule, visit the official website.


Thursday, October 26, 7 – 9:30 p.m.
Paramount Theatre

Opening this year’s AFF is Saltburn, the latest work from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman). The Amazon MGM Studios film follows Oxford University student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) as he’s seduced by the aristocratic world of Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), a classmate who invites him to his family’s estate for the summer. Exploring themes of wealth and desire, this highly-anticipated flick is already the recipient of a number of rave reviews. Fennell herself will be in attendance.

American Fiction

Friday, October 27, 7 – 9:17 p.m.
Paramount Theatre

Cord Jefferson, an Emmy-winning writer who is also this year’s recipient of AFF’s inaugural “Writer’s Writer Award”, has penned and directed his first feature. Based on the novel Erasure by Percival Everett, American Fiction explores a writer’s struggle to balance their need for financial security with their desire to preserve the integrity of their voice. Starring Jeffery Wright, Sterling K. Brown, Tracee Ellis Ross, and a number of other powerhouses, the humorous, sharp, and subversive story is one of the most exciting upcoming movies of 2023

All of Us Strangers

Monday, October 30, 7:30 – 9:15 p.m.
State Theatre

The Internet’s favorite heartthrobs (who also happen to be extremely talented) join forces in this British romantic fantasy picture. Loosely based on the 1987 novel Strangers by Taichi Yamada, All of Us Strangers follows neighbors Harry (Paul Mescal) and Adam (Andrew Scott) as they navigate a budding romance and Adam’s grief over the loss of his parents. Dreamy, melancholic, and romantic, this film has already garnered mass acclaim.

Day of the Fight

Thursday, November 2, 7 – 9:17 p.m.
State Theatre

Jack Huston’s directorial debut, Day of the Fight, is the festival’s Closing Night screening. A dramatic story of redemption, the film follows a once-celebrated boxer on the day of his first fight since his release from prison. Starring Michael C. Pitt, Nicolette Robinson, John Magaro, Anatol Yusef, Steve Buscemi with Ron Perlman and Joe Pesci, the impressive cast is reason enough to catch a screening. Following the show, fans can partake in a Q&A with Huston.

Smoking Tigers

Saturday, October 28, 6 – 8 p.m.
Galaxy Theatre 6

Writer and Director So Young Shelly Yo makes her feature directorial debut with Smoking Tigers, a touching movie about familial responsibilities, teenage angst, and the stresses of being a first-generation American. Taking place in Los Angeles in the early 2000s, the story follows Hayoung, a lonely Korean-American teenager caught in a particularly taxing moment in her adolescent life.

The Bikeriders

Wednesday, November 1, 7 – 9:36 p.m.
Paramount Theatre

Coming from acclaimed filmmaker Jeff Nichols (Mud, Midnight Special) is a motion picture surrounding the 1960s motorcycle scene in the Midwest. Starring Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, and Tom Hardy, The Bikeriders gives insight into the thrilling lives of bikers, depicting them in all their untamed glory and their agony. Take part in the excitement as Nichols will attend and participate in a live Q&A after the screening.

The Problem with People

Saturday, October 28, 6 – 8:03 p.m.
State Theatre

Actor, comedian, and writer Paul Reiser is joining AFF in person to present his upcoming comedy, The Problem with People. Co-written by Reiser with Wally Marzano-Lesnevich, and directed by Chris Cottam, the tale centers around two estranged cousins trying to make amends for many generations of family dispute. Devoted fans can also catch Reiser speaking at the Writers Conference.

Learn more about the Austin Film Festival ticket options, and get the full lineup of films and special screening events at