AFS Announces Its November/December 2023 Program Calendar

(Edward Yang’s YI YI, 2000)

October 12, AUSTIN, TX— The Austin Film Society announces its calendar for November/December of 2023 featuring signature programs, special screenings and events, and a new, diverse lineup of films from around the globe that filmgoers can only see at the AFS Cinema. The full calendar and more information can be found at

The upcoming programming calendar includes a new series of AFS Essential Cinema called The Original Indies: The Birth Of American Independent Cinema, featuring six films throughout November and December. The series will highlight works that laid the foundation for the indie scene as we know it today, including Shadows by John Cassavetes. As a finale to October’s Essential Cinema program surveying the Berlin School, AFS will also show a sneak preview of Music on November 5, Angela Schanelec’s latest film. International guests join AFS for New French Cinema Week November 9–12, the annual festival of new Francophone voices, a co-presentation with the Premiers Plans Festival of Angers, France. French-Algerian filmmaker Rachid Hami joins audiences for the opening-night presentation of his feature For My Country, while Sundance-selected Réunionaise director Vincent Fontano will attend New French Shorts for the presentation of his film Sèt Lam. AFS’s Home for the Holidays series is back at the end of December, featuring holiday favorites like The Thin Man alongside unexpected classics including Lukas Moodysson’s Together and Edward Yang’s Yi Yi. As a part of Queer Cinema: Lost & Found, guest programmer Elizabeth Purchell has selected My Dearest Señorita, one of the earliest films to explore intersexuality, and Wakefield Poole’s Bible!, which re-interprets several old testament stories. For its 10th anniversary, AFS Cinema will be showing the made-in-Austin comedy Zero Charisma on December 2 followed by a panel with the film’s cast. Over the next two months, AFS Cinema will screen ten new documentaries, seven of which are part of its Doc Nights series and include many musical figures such as Robert Fripp, Joan Baez and Pauline Oliveros. The calendar’s documentary programming also includes the local premiere of Breaking the News on November 1, an AFS-supported project co-presented by local news organization the 19th* — who the film is about — followed by a live and simulcast Q&A with members of the 19th* and the film’s crew. AFS will also be kicking off another series of films with PBS Independent Lens beginning with A Town Called Victoria on November 19, which will be followed by a post-screening panel. And as part of the Texas Book Festival, AFS Cinema will also be showing Story and Pictures By, which dives into the world of children’s books. 

Calendar highlights in detail:

AFS’s Essential Cinema series for November and December, The Original Indies: The Birth of American Independent Cinema, spotlights the first generation of films that paved the way for many contemporary filmmakers. Not only were these films produced outside of the studio system, but they also showed an independence from the filmmaking conventions of the era. The series begins on November 13 with a 35mm screening of Shadows by John Cassavetes, considered by many to be the first American indie. Following this will be Little Fugitive, beloved by François Truffaut and Wes Anderson; The Connection, directed by Shirley Clarke (who played herself in the film Lion’s Love); The Savage Eye in 35mm; the verité drama The Exiles and Herschell Gordon Lewis’ ludicrous, gorey and highly successful Blood Feast.

From November 9–12, AFS will present New French Cinema Week, which is a co-presentation with the Premiers Plans Festival of Angers, France. This annual event gives Austin audiences opportunities to see acclaimed international films made by emerging artists from throughout the Francophone world. This year’s opening-night reception will take place before the screening of For My Country, the story of a family losing a son to war, with director Rachid Hami in person for a post-screening Q&A. The other films include Cannes Caméra d’Or winner Léonor Serraille’s Mother and Son; Junkyard Dog by Jean-Baptiste Durand who will take part in a live virtual Q&A, which will be paired with Garance Kim’s short film Eternal City; from Cannes 2022, Emmanuelle Nicot’s tale of familial abuse and recovery, Love According to Dalva; Four Daughters, a film about the separation of a Tunisian family that won Best Documentary at Cannes; and a showcase of New French Shorts that includes Bye Bye, winner of the César Award for Best Short Film, and Sèt Lam by Vincent Fontano, who will participate in an in-person Q&A on November 11. Several films in this program are part of Young French Cinema, a program of Unifrance and Villa Albertine; the festival is supported by the Embassy of France in the US and Villa Albertine. 

AFS Cinema will showcase a variety of brand-new documentaries as a part of its recurring Doc Nights series, many of which focus on figures from throughout musical history. Joan Baez: I Am A Noise explores the legendary folk artist’s life and her identity as a Mexican-American; In The Court Of The Crimson King: King Crimson At 50 shows founding member and guitar genius Robert Fripp get his legendary prog rock band together again; and Deep Listening: The Story Of Pauline Oliveros celebrates the life of the late Houston-born electronic-music composer through performance footage and interviews with the likes of Laurie Anderson and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Outside of music-based subjects, AFS will be showing the festival hit Invisible Beauty about Black high-fashion model Bethann Hardison (who also co-directed the film); Carpet Cowboys, which focuses on a small town in Georgia whose only industry is making large, bizarrely patterned carpets (executive produced by John Wilson); Lakota Nation Vs. The US, showing the heroic, decades-long struggle for indigenous control over the Black Hills of South Dakota; and King Coal by Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon, about work and life in Central Appalachia. AFS is also excited to kick off another year of its partnership with PBS Independent Lens, a documentary film series that has garnered numerous Emmys, Peabody Awards and Academy Award® nominations. First in this year’s program of five free community screenings is A Town Called Victoria, which analyzes the aftermath of a hate crime in South Texas. The film will be followed by a panel discussion including Austin City Council Member Zo Qadri as well as subjects from the film and an impact counselor from the Muslim Association for Psychological Services (MAPS).

Each December, AFS brings together an eclectic mix of films that take place during or adjacent to the winter holidays. This year, the series Home for the Holidays is back with some favorites from previous years and some new selections for those who are staying in Austin during the week of December 22–31. The series brings back The Thin Man, the frivolous, boozy New York-set classic, and Stanley Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. This year’s lineup also includes Bell, Book, and Candle, the magical comedy starring Kim Novak as a beatnik witch with Jack Lemmon playing her brother and Jimmy Stewart as her love interest; Together by Lukas Moodysson (dir. Lilya 4-ever), a film about life in a Swedish commune; Edward Yang’s Yi Yi, a cinematic touchstone about familial love; and The Hudsucker Proxy shown in 35mm, directed by the Cohen brothers, co-written by Sam Raimi, and featuring performances by Tim Robbins, Paul Newman and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Among AFS’s many November and December screenings are special events including in-person appearances by esteemed guests and organizations. The local premiere of a new documentary about Austin-based newsroom The 19th*, Breaking The News, will be shown on November 1 followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and members of the 19th*. The film was supported by an AFS Grant and is co-directed by Heather Courtney (dir. Where Soldiers Come From), Chelsea Hernandez (dir. Building the American Dream) and Princess A. Hairston (ed. Fresh Dressed). Preceding the Texas Book Festival on November 8, AFS will co-present Story and Pictures By, a documentary about contemporary social issues and the authors of picture books. And on December 2, AFS Cinema will host the 10-year anniversary of Zero Charisma, whose AFS-supported filmmakers, Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews, will join the cast for a panel discussion after the film. 

The full November/December lineup continues below, and a complete list of all film screenings announced to date and special events are on our website at ​www.​austinfilm​.org.​ Ticket prices range from $11 to $13.50, with discounts for AFS members. Special pricing is noted if applicable.


Download image stills.


From coast to coast —  and even a surprise from between  —  we take a look at the birth of the American independent film scene as we’ve come to know it with this six-part series highlighting “the original indies.” From groundbreaking, innovative dramas and elliptical experimentations to an exploitation wellspring, these films, their stories, and their creators have come to represent the essential spirit of modern independent cinema.


John Cassavetes, USA, 1959, DCP, 87 min. 

11/13, 11/18

“Rarely has so much warmth, delicacy, and raw feeling emerged so naturally and beautifully from performances in an American film.”
—Jonathan Rosenbaum

“So far ahead of all Hollywood and independent films that once you’ve seen [it], you can no longer look at the official cinema: you know that American cinema can be more sensitive and intelligent.”
—Jonas Mekas

“What matters in SHADOWS is less the story … than the electric atmosphere and edgy performances … With a blue and moody Mingus soundtrack and steel-gray photography, the film is still a delight.”

—Time Out 

Shot for $40,000 in the apartment of John Cassavetes and on the streets of Manhattan, SHADOWS cast a light on the burgeoning independent film scene with the story of three siblings: Hugh (Hugh Hurd), a stolid, but downbeat Black jazz musician who provides economic support for the “passing;” Ben (Ben Carruthers), a struggling musician; and Lelia (Lelia Goldoni), an artist who yearns for the vibrant colors of life in a world which sees only black and white. Dubbed “fitfully dynamic” by The New York Times, Cassavetes’ “incontestably sincere” revelation is the undeniable watershed moment of American Independent Cinema. In 35mm.


Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin, and Ray Ashley, USA, 1953, DCP, 80 min. 

11/21, 11/25

“A riotously funny view of humanity.” 

—New York News 

“A missing link in the history of modern cinema, a small, unexpected islet, midway between the first wave of Italian neo-realism and the future French New Wave. Between European modernity and the upcoming independent American cinema. LITTLE FUGITIVE, like OPEN CITY, like BREATHLESS, is one of these precarious films which made cinema move in a radical way.”
—Cahiers du Cinéma

“Our New Wave would never have come into being if it hadn’t been for Morris Engel’s fine movie LITTLE FUGITIVE. It showed us the way.”

—François Truffaut

Tricked into believing he killed his older brother, seven-year-old Joey flees to Coney Island and finds refuge in boardwalk delights, cotton candy, and pony rides. With a 35mm camera strapped to his body, Morris Engel captures the world as a big adventure through the eyes of the boy. A coming-of-age classic and favorite of François Truffaut and Wes Anderson, this winning little picture from photographers Engel, Ruth Orkin, and Ray Ashley went on to win the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and play nearly 5,000 theaters in its US theatrical run. 


Shirley Clarke, USA, 1961, DCP, 110 min. 

11/28, 12/2

‘‘Right now, I’m revolting against the conventions of movies. Who says a film has to cost a million dollars and be safe and innocuous enough to satisfy every 12-year-old in America? … We’re creating a movie equivalent of Off Broadway, fresh and experimental and personal. The lovely thing is that I’m alive at just the time when I can do this.’’ 

—Shirley Clarke, 1962

From Shirley Clarke, here shattering stereotypes on camera and behind it, comes a provocatively nimble number about a group of drug-addicted jazz musicians waiting for their next hit in an East Village apartment as a writer finds inspiration in their every move. Based on the play-within-a-play by Jack Gelber, Clarke’s unflagging piece of grit is “a time capsule loaded with smack from the Bohemian underbelly of JFK-era America” (Salon). 


Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers, and Joseph Strick, USA, 1960, 35mm, 68 min. 

12/5, 12/9

“Arresting, sometimes shocking. A forceful display of cinematic pyrotechnics. An essay on love. It is from the concentration on the Hogarthian faces of Los Angeles that THE SAVAGE EYE derives its ferocity!” —New York Times 

“A film of powerful impact on any audience!” 

—Herald Tribune

A young woman waits out her divorce by making her way through the dark side of sunny, 1950s Los Angeles. Weaving through strip clubs, casinos, and endless rows of shops, a disembodied male voice dominates her consciousness, questioning her every action in stark, poetic prose. A hypnotic urban nightmare, this hybridization of documentary and fiction is a battle of angels, a quintessential piece of Los Angeles independent cinema from directors Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers, and Joseph Strick. In 35mm.


Kent Mackenzie, USA, 1961, DCP, 72 min. 

12/12, 12/16

“An arresting accomplishment.” 

—Time Magazine

“This is just about the most gorgeous restoration of an American independent film I’ve ever seen.” —Jonathan Rosenbaum

“The character, cultural, and historical values of THE EXILES would be enough for a dozen movies, but it’s also a mind-blowing formal achievement.” 

—LA CityBeat

“MIRACULOUS … Few directors in the history of cinema have so skillfully and deeply joined a sense of place with the subtle flux of inner life.” 

—The New Yorker

Though it played the Venice Film Festival at the time of its release, this loose, jazzy look at 20-something Native Americans living in the Bunker Hill district of Los Angeles soon fell into obscurity after failing to receive theatrical distribution. Pieced together from interviews with a loving attention to detail by community outsider Kent Mackenzie, the film avoids many of the pratfalls of its contemporaries with its dedication to an authenticity of the moment.


Herschell Gordon Lewis, USA, 1963, DCP, 67 min. 

12/19, 12/23

Herschell Gordon Lewis serves up “severed limbs, ripped-out tongues, and splattered brains” in a “potent, repellent, and strangely powerful” (L Magazine) stew of obscenities, which not only laid the groundwork for the splatter-horror subgenre but for the exploitation films to follow. Totally shocking, vile, and deliberately crude, this tale of a madman who sacrifices his kills to the Egyptian goddess Ishtar lives up to its tagline: “Nothing so appalling in the annals of horror.”



The holidays are a period of travel for many of us as we venture to far-off homes and hearths. For some of us though, Austin is our home, and we are staying home for the holidays. With that in mind, we are presenting some of our favorite holiday films on the big screen.


Richard Quine, USA, 1958, DCP, 106 min.


“An erratic, light comedy with a spellbinding wild streak, centered on occult rites, New York City at Christmastime, and a magical cat named Pyewacket … The fun quotient is high, and there’s an undeniable frisson to the way the movie’s magic subculture echoes the closeted gay world of the fifties: it’s easy to view the Zodiac Club as a gay bar.”

The New Yorker

“For me, Christmas is witches and warlocks, bongos, and beatniks, a classic golden age Hollywood pairing and, hands down, one of the finest and most criminally underrated festive movies of all time. I am, of course, talking about BELL, BOOK, AND CANDLE.”  

The Independent

Kim Novak stars as a beatnik witch with a Siamese cat named Pyewacket and a warlock brother played by Jack Lemmon in this freaked-out and very funny Christmas season romance. Jimmy Stewart plays the object of her love potions. With Ernie Kovacs and Elsa Lanchester.


W.S. Van Dyke, USA, 1934, DCP, 93 min.


“THE THIN MAN turned several decades of movies upside down by showing a suave man of the world who made love to his own rich, funny, and good-humored wife. As Nick and Nora Charles, William Powell and Myrna Loy startled and delighted the country by their heavy drinking (without remorse) and unconventional diversions.” 

Pauline Kael 

“Nick and Nora Charles are one of the screen’s great couples.” 

Austin Chronicle

William Powell and Myrna Loy star as one of the screen’s most effervescent couples as they navigate a Christmas in New York and try to solve a murder in this adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s sly, gin-soaked novel. Pure fun.


Lukas Moodysson, 2000, Sweden, 35mm, 106 min. In Swedish with English subtitles. 


“Delightfully unexpected … A funny, graceful, and immensely good-natured work.” 

—The New York Times

“Exemplary. One part distressing to two parts delectable.”  

—The New Yorker 

Stockholm, Sweden, 1975. Fleeing her abusive husband with her two children, Stefan and Eva, Elisabeth seeks refuge with her brother and eight friends in a commune called “Together.” Between the radical politics, they’ll discover radical love can be found in the families we create. S.O.S. indeed. In 35mm. 


Stanley Kubrick, USA, 1999, DCP, 159 min.


“Maybe we should suspend the reductive question, “Is it any good or not?” and acknowledge that it’s a fascinating, tantalizing film that will continue to be argued about.”  

—New Statesman

“Above all, a masterpiece of sustained tone, a tightrope act that pays off in rich and unexpected ways.”

—AV Club

Stanley Kubrick’s dark comedy of sex and secrets, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, garnered mixed reviews upon release, but in the 20 years since, it has become recognized as a modern classic.


Joel and Ethan Coen, USA, 1994, 35mm, 111 min.


“THE HUDSUCKER PROXY is the Coen brothers’ most accessible film to date. It’s their clearest comedy since RAISING ARIZONA, though it’s not nearly as goofy as that earlier work. It’s more an ode to genres gone by, a loving tribute to the movies of the forties and the films of Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, and Preston Sturges.” 

—Austin Chronicle

“While not to everyone’s tastes, this is without doubt one of the most exhilarating films of the year.”  —Empire

This collaboration between the Coen brothers and co-writer/assistant director Sam Raimi is every bit as dynamic as the personnel promises. Tim Robbins plays a stooge who is elevated to the head of a large company in a stock scheme with hilarious results. With Paul Newman and Jennifer Jason Leigh. In 35mm.


Edward Yang, Taiwan/Japan, 2000, DCP, 173 min. In Mandarin, Min Nan, Hokkien, Japanese, and French with English subtitles.


“YI YI is ultimately a film that imparts its meaning and its impact through its exquisite sense of balance—between here and elsewhere, past and present, the ideal and the conditional, the mundane and the extraordinary. It is a film of, and about, grace. And that is a rare thing.” 

—Kent Jones

“Calling YI YI a three-hour Taiwanese family drama is like calling CITIZEN KANE a film about a newspaper.” 

—Nigel Andrews

The final film by Taiwanese master Edward Yang (A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY, TAIPEI STORY), this is a story of love and familial connections between a father, his teenage daughter, and his young son over the course of a few months. Yang’s extraordinary gift for cinema and sensitive approach to love and connection elevate this into a great work of the screen.



Víctor Erice, Spain, 1973, 35mm, 99 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. 

11/5, 11/7

“Haunting and ethereal.” 

—Another Gaze

“A movie that transformed my life.” 

—Guillermo del Toro 

“So simple and pure and quiet and dreamlike and stimulating. A fantasy that makes more sense than what passes as reality.” 

—Alan Rudolph 

Widely regarded as one of the greatest Spanish films of all time and celebrating its 50th anniversary, SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE is Víctor Erice’s spectacular look at monsters, real and imagined, as seen through the wide-eyed wonder of a child (the arresting Ana Torrent) captivated by the sight of FRANKENSTEIN at a traveling movie show in the wake of the Spanish Civil War. In 35mm. 


Yuen Woo-ping, Hong Kong, 1978, DCP, 111 min. In Mandarin with English subtitles.


“Not unlike the silent films of Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd, or for that matter, the best pictures of Hong Kong’s seventies kung fu films, the genius of DRUNKEN MASTER lies in its kinetics. Pure entertainment.” —Austin Chronicle

“Martial arts genius aside, it’s the film’s warm-heartedness that has really given it its staying power, charming generation after generation of fans. This is a simple story told well, and it gets results.” 

—Eye For Film

Director Yuen Woo-ping and star Jackie Chan distilled a classic in this early collaboration. Chan plays young Wong Fei-hung who must master the art of drunken boxing to defeat his rival. A showcase for Jackie Chan’s incredible athletic skills and physical comedy talent.


Park Chan-wook, South Korea, 2000, DCP, 110 min. In Korean with English subtitles.


“A beguiling mix of the generic and the unfamiliar, and it ends on a shot that’s nothing short of heartbreaking.” 

—Maitland McDonagh

“Park Chan-wook’s JOINT SECURITY AREA is a fairly straightforward whodunit with a pointedly political theme and an unapologetically humanist message.” 

—New York Times

In this nail-bitingly tense early thriller from Park Chan-wook, there has been a double killing of two North Korean soldiers in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas, and the solution to the mystery keeps unraveling into more unanswered questions.



James Whale, USA, 1932, DCP, 72 min.

11/16, 11/19

“I’m a big James Whale fan, and this might be his best picture.” 

Joe Dante 

“THE OLD DARK HOUSE became a Hollywood prototype with its tale of unsuspecting travelers trapped in a house full of maniacs. What gives the film real power, however, is one’s growing sense of the house not as a building but as a psyche and of the individual characters as its emotional components.” Chicago Reader

James Whale’s immortal horror comedy is a model of camp humor. A roving band of young partiers waits out a rainstorm in the titular mansion where the occupants are too strange to believe. With Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Melvyn Douglas, and the unforgettable Ernest Thesiger. “Have a potato.”


Herk Harvey, USA, 1962, DCP, 80 min.

12/11, 12/14

“It’s possible that CARNIVAL OF SOULS plays better today than when it was released. It ventures to the edge of camp, but never strays across the line, taking itself with an eerie seriousness.” 

—Roger Ebert

“CARNIVAL OF SOULS is brilliant. It has everything that frightens me most in life. I know I can’t watch it alone.” 

—Lucrecia Martel

Made in Lawrence, Kansas, on a shoestring budget, this independent production has earned a reputation over the years as a psychological horror classic with its indelible black-and-white images and a strong lead performance by its star, Candace Hilligoss.



David Lynch, USA, 1986, DCP, 120 min.


“Easily the most controversial film of the ’80s, BLUE VELVET has stirred heated debates and polarized critics like no film since A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and LAST TANGO IN PARIS.” 

Danny Peary, Cult Movies

David Lynch’s unsettling slice-of-alternate-universe Americana is still potent today. The film features a dream cast, including Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Laura Dern, and Dennis Hopper. 



Bethann Hardison and Frédéric Tcheng, USA, 2023, DCP, 115 min.

11/6, 11/11

“The fashion model was the tool I had in my shed. I always thought, if I can change who is seen on runways and in magazines, perhaps I can change the way people think.” 

—Bethann Hardison

Bethann Hardison was one of the first world-famous Black high-fashion runway models and parlayed her experience into a career as a modeling agent and advocate for racial justice in the world of haute couture. This documentary, which she has co-directed, tells her unvarnished story. Free Member Monday—free admission for all AFS members on November 6.


Noah Collier and M. Emily Mackenzie, USA, 2023, DCP, 85 min.


“CARPET COWBOYS is constantly finding an underlying melancholy within sequences that should play out as straightforward cringe comedy.”

—The Film Stage

“A launching pad to chart the deconstruction of the American Dream.” 


A small Georgia town is the world’s capital for the manufacturing and design of those bizarrely patterned industrial carpets found in movie multiplexes and hotels. This is the story of some of the denizens of Carpet Town, USA.


Karen O’Connor, Miri Navasky, and Maeve O’Boyle, USA, 2023, DCP, 113 min.

12/28, 12/31

“This elaborate documentary navigates adroitly through the professional and the personal aspects of a very full life.” 

—Deadline Hollywood

“A more moving cinematic testament to Joan Baez could not exist. Encore, please!” 

—Hammer To Nail

A decades-spanning portrait of musical legend Joan Baez, from her beginnings as a sensitive, troubled, artistic child through her years as one of the most powerful and beautiful voices in folk music.


Toby Amies, UK, 2023, DCP, 86 min.


“Rarely does a music documentary so vividly evoke both the artistic approach and the tricky personality of its subject.” 


“Really about as good as rock documentaries get, in capturing the essence of a group of musicians and how they relate to each other, the world, and a muse whose demands result in literal and figurative calluses.”  


This new doc follows guitar genius Robert Fripp as he, once again, reconstitutes the prog rock band King Crimson for a new tour and gives us viewers the benefit of his oft-thorny erudition.


Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli, USA, 2023, DCP, 120 min.

11/27, 12/3

“A re-energized debate about stolen land and inequity, spurred by young people invigorated by the history they were never taught, and gaining traction with non-Natives to boot.” 

—Los Angeles Times

“Moves swiftly but thoughtfully through various topics, covering issues like the over 400 land-grabbing treaties that robbed tribes of their homes to historic confrontations.” 


This visually arresting documentary chronicles the struggle of the Lakota Nation to regain control over their home in the Black Hills of South Dakota and provides a portrait of their resilience.


Daniel Weintraub, USA, 2023, DCP, 117 min.


Houston-born composer, musician, teacher, and theorist Pauline Oliveros was a force of nature. This new documentary tells her story using archival footage and new interviews from the likes of Laurie Anderson, Terry Riley, Thurston Moore, and many other friends and admirers.


Elaine McMillion Sheldon, USA, 2023, DCP, 80 min.

12/16, 12/20

“A rare work of art that manages to look forward precisely by looking backward, putting boundaries around the past only to make it part of the future.” 

—Film Inquiry

“Filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon locates the beauty, potentiality, and sorrow of the region to its surrounding mountain ranges, from forested rolling hills to the mounds of coal on river barges.” 

—New York Times

Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon reshapes the boundaries of documentary filmmaking in a spectacularly beautiful and deeply moving immersion into Central Appalachia where coal is not just a resource but a way of life.



Stanley Kubrick, USA, 1952/53, DCP, 91 min.


“Treat it like a wobbly, precocious demo from a 24-year-old with mighty aspirations, filled with hints of what he would become, and you’ll be properly enthralled.” 

—Village Voice

“If FEAR AND DESIRE is uneven and sometimes reveals an experimental rather than a polished exterior, its overall effect is entirely worthy of the sincere effort put into it.” 

—New York Times

Stanley Kubrick’s first narrative feature FEAR AND DESIRE, an anti-war war movie, shows ample promise — even with its microscopic budget — of the filmmaker’s developing genius. It screens with Kubrick’s early short in-color doc, THE SEAFARERS, also newly restored.


Juliet Berto and Jean-Henri Roger, France, 1981, DCP, 90 min. In French with English subtitles.

12/17, 12/20

“A radical vision.”

“A hidden bridge between the Nouvelle Vague and the subsequent generation’s cinema du look.”
—Cinema Scope

A barmaid learns the limits of service when she intervenes in the life of a young drug pusher and addict. New Wave muse Juliet Berto is behind and in front of the camera as co-director, writer, and star of this uncompromising trek through the gritty red-light Pigalle district of the early ‘80s. A masterpiece waiting to be discovered. 



Mikhaël Hers, France, 2022, DCP, 111 min. In French with English subtitles.


“A nuanced, yet spectacular look at how what seems mundane never actually is.” 

—Globe and Mail

“THE PASSENGERS OF THE NIGHT further proves the old adage about the journey mattering more than the destination.”


Paris, 1981. As the air of change sweeps through the city streets on election night, Elisabeth (Charlotte Gainsbourg) finds herself stagnant as a single mother to two children — that is until she decides to take in a third, Tallulah, a free-spirited street kid whose presence reawakens her zest for life. From Mikhaël Hers comes a breezy invitation “to slow down” and take in “life before it passes by” (IFC).


Through its roster of five documentary projects this season, Indie Lens Pop-Up will ignite conversations on a range of topics impacting communities around the U.S., including the Muslim American experience, climate gentrification, and race and gender equity in mainstream media. This season’s topics also aim to expand perspectives through deeply personal stories, like what it means to live with Parkinson’s disease, and how the Deaf and hard of hearing community redefine what it means to listen.


Li Lu and Anthony Pedone, USA, 2023, DCP, 60 min.


When the local mosque is burned to the ground in an apparent hate crime, the town of Victoria must overcome its age-old political, racial, and economic divides to find a collective way forward. A TOWN CALLED VICTORIA is a Reel South and Independent Lens co-production. A panel discussion will follow the screening with participants from the film, Council Member Zo Qadri, and an Impact Counselor from MAPS (Muslim Association for Psychological Services), with a post-screening reception afterward. This community screening is free and open to the public.


THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI with Live Score by Invincible Czars

Robert Wiene, Germany, 1920, DCP, 75 min. Silent with live score.


Austin’s own Invincible Czars have mastered the art of performing silent movie scores live on stage, and this is their latest triumph as they provide suitably strange and beautiful music for this psychological horror classic of the German Expressionist screen.



Jaime de Armiñán and Annette Kennerley, Spain/UK, 1972/98, 35mm/DCP, 100 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. 

11/24, 11/26

An aging spinster’s life is turned upside down by the revelation that she’s actually a man — and life doesn’t get any easier after transitioning. Nominated for an Oscar® but mostly forgotten in America since, MY DEAREST SEÑORITA is one of the earliest films to explore intersexuality (and certainly the only one made under a military dictatorship). Paired with the sequel to Annette Kennerley’s BOYS IN THE BACKYARD (which played in October), MATT. 


Wakefield Poole/Ron Rice, USA, 1974/63, DCP, 99 min. 

12/15, 12/16

It’s the Bible as you’ve never seen it before! The stories of Adam and Eve, David and Bathsheba, and Samson and Delilah are given a subversive twist in this religious epic from gay porn pioneer Wakefield Poole. Paired with Ron Rice’s hazy erotic reverie, CHUMLUM. 



Paul Vecchiali, France, 1970, DCP, 95 min. In French with English subtitles.


No misery could be a match for his mercy. A killer — Jacques Perrin, best known as the winsome sailor of THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT — relieves old women of their misery with death’s release in this thoroughly pathological investigation into the idiosyncrasies of compassion. A masterpiece from underrated French auteur Paul Vechialli (FEMMES, FEMMES). 2K restoration


Jean Becker, France, 1995, DCP, 115 min. 

12/1, 12/2

Hell hath no fury like a daughter abandoned by her deadbeat father. Vanessa Paradis (KNIFE+HEART) stars as the titular street tough who blames her mother’s suicide and her subsequent life of petty crime on the man who couldn’t stay and, thus, must die. But will vengeance be enough to fill the void left by his absence? Taking its inspiration from the classic Gainsbourg number, this Jean Becker (ONE DEADLY SUMMER) tune turns the song on its head, from a leering ode to the teenage nymphet to a poignant tale about the disconnect between the soul and the flesh. 


Isaac Julien, UK, 1991, DCP, 105 min. 


“A gay-straight, Black-white, punk-soul murder movie. A powerful dramatic thriller!” 

—The Montreal Gazette

“Brave and ambitious. Isaac Julien makes all the right moves.” 

—Time Out

“High voltage! Isaac Julien celebrates the energies of his hip young performers and he has just the camera moves and rhythms to do it.” 

—The Boston Globe

A visionary Black, Queer British film from director Isaac Julien (LOOKING FOR LANGSTON) returns to the screen — newly restored in 4K. In 1977, the Queen’s silver jubilee may be the event, but the party is at Soul Patrol, the pirate radio station run by friends Chris (Valentine Nonyela) and Caz (Mo Sesay) whose lives of hedonism come to an abrupt upon learning about the murder of their friend — a young, gay Black man. Who is responsible? The National Front or … Reggae, disco, funk, and punk fill the airwaves as the characters find love and thrills in this “outstanding erotic joyride.” Featuring music by Parliament-Funkadelic, X-Ray Spex, the Players Association, and more. Free Member Monday—free admission for all AFS members on December 18.


MUSIC: Sneak Preview

Angela Schanelec, Germany/France/Serbia, 2023, DCP, 108 min. In Greek and English with English subtitles. 


“The celebration of a vision Schanelec has meticulously honed over the past three decades, like a late sonata by a composer who has fully come into their voice.”

 —The Hollywood Reporter

“Enigmatic in form and uncompromising in intent, a formally impressive film.” 


“A scintillating example of film’s uncanny ability to transcend itself, to operate on planes above, below, and in between the images and soundscapes of which it is composed.” 


Freely inspired by the story of Oedipus, Angela Schanelec returns with an “otherworldly revelation.” An abandoned newborn is taken in by a family of farmers and later sent to prison for a tragic accident where he meets Iro — the only person with whom he can connect through music. A stirring conclusion to our series The Days Between: A Brief Survey of the Berlin School. 

ZERO CHARISMA 10th Anniversary

Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews, USA, 2013, DCP, 86 min.


“A barbed indie character study that seems perched between dark humor and probing psychodrama.” —AV Club

“This is raw and affecting, a real movie rather than fan-con fun.” 

—Village Voice

It’s the ten-year anniversary of this colossally charming made-in-Austin comedy about a group of nerds whose dynamic is shaken up by a new friend. This screening will feature a panel with the filmmakers and cast.


Heather Courtney, Princess A. Hairston, and Chelsea Hernandez, USA, 2023, DCP, 99 min.


Join AFS and the Austin-based news organization The 19th* for the local premiere of BREAKING THE NEWS, an AFS-supported film directed by Heather Courtney, a four-time AFS Grant recipient; Princess A. Hairston; and Chelsea Hernandez, a five-time AFS Grant recipient. We will be joined by guests from The 19th* and members of the film team. All ticket buyers will be invited to a reception after the screening.

Texas Book Festival Presents STORY AND PICTURES BY

Joanna Rudnick, USA, 2023, DCP, 84 min.


Co-presented by the Texas Book Festival, this is the first feature documentary to take audiences behind the scenes to meet the authors and artists who create children’s picture books. The film follows three bookmakers leading the new “golden age” of kids’ literature.


Our annual celebration of the Francophone world’s most distinct new cinematic voices is back, programmed and presented in partnership with France’s leading festival for first films — the Premiers Plans Festival of Angers, France. Between November 9 and 12, cinephiles will have a unique opportunity to see new French-language films including festival favorites and award-winners, many of them undistributed in the US.


Rachid Hami, France/Taipei, 2022, DCP, 113 min. In French, English, Arabic, and Chinese with English subtitles. 


“An intimate, complex, painful, touching direction of a private drama which, however, knows how to be universal … Very few recent films have spoken of pain and loss with such truth and strength. It is a film not to be missed.” 


The meaning of “love of country” is explored in-depth in this modern, expansive story of a bi-cultural French family grappling with their son’s military death. Ismael and Aissa are brothers who emigrated from Algeria to France as children. As their lives take starkly different paths in France and beyond, each reckons with their debt to family and to country. Based on Rachid Hami’s personal story and memories of his late brother. Writer-director Rachid Hami joins us in person for the screening and Q&A.


Léonor Serraille, France, 2022, DCP, 116 min. In French with English subtitles. 


“A beautifully tender portrait of a family, a gentle meditation on the meanings of memories and how our pasts mold our presents and futures.” 


“A deeply intimate exploration of belonging and brotherhood.” 

—The Upcoming

Cannes Caméra d’Or winner Léonor Serraille directs this ambitious family epic, spanning from 1980s France to the present day. A young woman, Rose, moves with her two sons from Côte d’Ivoire to Paris with a vision for a different kind of life. A subtle, rich, and cinematic examination of family and belonging, lensed by master cinematographer Hélène Louvart. 


Jean-Baptiste Durand, France, 2023, DCP, 93 min. In French with English subtitles. 

The days and nights are long in the Languedoc-Roussillon countryside. Here, a young man, Mirales, anoints himself king of the near-empty streets of his ancient small town, where every day is just about the same for his group of aimless young friends. With nothing better to distract them, Mirales lords over his best friend, nicknamed Dog, and the duo’s toxic relationship grows more punishing by the day. Rising French star Raphaël Quenard (known for his work with Quentin Dupieux) shines in this beautifully directed take on the discontents of contemporary rural youth. Featuring a virtual live Q&A with director Jean-Baptiste Durand. 

Preceded by the short film VILLE ETERNELLE, directed by Garance Kim.


Emmanuelle Nicot, France/Belgium, 2022, DCP, 87 min. In French with English subtitles. 


“An astounding feat of filmmaking.” 


“Handled with delicacy and bravery …  DALVA is a voice for those who can’t speak out.” 

—Little White Lies

“The best drama I have seen in years, hands down.” 

—Screen Anarchy 

Emmanuelle Nicot’s sensitive drama about a teenager’s recovery from familial abuse in a group home was heralded as one of the most promising debuts at Cannes in 2022. Featuring an astounding lead performance by new-discovery Zelda Samson in the title role, the film offers rich detail and unique insights into youth trauma recovery, challenging assumptions about troubled teens. 


Kaouther Ben Hania, France/Tunisia/Germany, 2023, DCP, 107 min. In Arabic with English subtitles. 


“FOUR DAUGHTERS is radical in its honesty and courage.” 

—The Hollywood Reporter

“Like a kind of cinematic Lego set, Ben Hania takes the building blocks of filmmaking and constructs from them something cathartic, affecting and original.” 

—Time Out 

Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania (THE MAN WHO SOLD HIS SKIN) inventively reconstructs the family history of a Tunisian mother named Olfra Hamouni in collaboration with Olfra and two of her daughters. Together with a cast of actors, they evoke the memories of the girls’ two missing sisters and the circumstances leading to the sisters’ disappearance. Winner of Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival, FOUR DAUGHTERS is a film that tries to find meaning in the tragic separation of a family of Tunisian women, while challenging the medium of film itself as a transmitter of family histories. 


Various, France, DCP, 93 min. In French with English subtitles.


A selection of some of the greatest new short films from Francophone directors on the festival circuit. Includes the Sundance and Black Star selection SÈT LAM from Reunionese filmmaker Vincent Fontano; DRÔLES D’OISEAUX, an animated selection by emerging female indie animator Charlie Belin; comedy FIVE-O featuring Jeanne Balibar; and BYE BYE, winner of the César Award for Best Short Film. Featuring an in-person Q&A with Vincent Fontano (dir. SÈT LAM).