Austin Film Society Presents Curated Virtual Screenings During AFS Cinema’s Temporary Closure

Image from Bacurau

Austin Film Society Presents Curated Virtual Screenings During AFS Cinema’s Temporary Closure

(April 3, 2020)—While the AFS Cinema is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Austin Film Society has announced it will present a new lineup of virtual screenings—bringing the same level of curated film programming and content that it is known for to audiences at home. Working with partner distributors such as Kino Lorber, Oscilloscope, Film Movement, and others, AFS is now able to feature a number of new releases for online viewing that were originally scheduled to screen at the cinema this spring. Tickets for each film are purchased through a “virtual box” office with the ticket prices shared between the distributor and AFS. The proceeds from the virtual ticket purchases will help sustain AFS’ programming and support efforts to reopen the cinema.

The first film to virtually screen, currently available, is the Cannes Award-winning Brazilian film Bacurau, which was to open at the AFS Cinema in early April. New releases include The Infiltrators, And Then We Danced, The Wild Goose Lake.

The initial lineup of virtual screenings is below and here—with more titles to come. As with in-person screenings at the Cinema, AFS programmers, staff, and guests will give introductions—this time virtually—for many of these films to deliver the full and unique AFS experience. We will also be coordinating with filmmakers on virtual Q&As to follow many of the screenings. Please contact if interested in a screen

Screening now:

Co-directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho (Aquarius and Neighboring Sounds), this film draws from the cinematic legacy of exploitation and siege films to make a provocative, ingenious and gloriously entertaining parable about the current state of global inequality. As an added bonus for Texas viewers, two of the film’s co-stars are products of the Austin film community, actors Chris Doubek (Lovers of Hate, Computer Chess) and Jonny Mars (The Happy Poet, Saturday Morning Massacre). The film also features Udo Kier, Sonia Braga (who previously starred in Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius) and Karine Teles, who emerged on the global arthouse scene with The Second Mother. Watch a virtual Q&A with the director and cast.

Fantastic Fungi is a vivid journey into the mysterious subterranean world of mycelium and its fruit— the mushroom. A story that begins 3.5 billion years ago, fungi makes the soil that supports life, connecting vast systems of roots from plants and trees all over the planet, like an underground Internet. Through the eyes of renowned mycologist Paul Stamets, professor of forest ecology Suzanne Simard, best-selling author Michael Pollan, food naturalist Eugenia Bone and others, we experience the power, beauty and complexity of the fungi kingdom.

Co-directed by AFS Grant alumnus Cristina Ibarra, The Infiltrators is a docu-thriller that tells the true story of young immigrants who are detained by Border Patrol and thrown into a shadowy for-profit detention center—on purpose. Marco and Viri are members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers who are on a mission to stop unjust deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention. However, when Marco and Viri attempt a daring reverse ‘prison break,’ things don’t go according to plan. By weaving together documentary footage of the real infiltrators with re-enactments of the events inside the detention center, The Infiltrators tells an incredible and thrilling true story in a genre-defying new cinematic language. Watch an introduction by AFS Director of Programs, Erica Deiparine Sugars.

A passionate tale of love and liberation set amidst the conservative confines of modern Georgian society, And Then We Danced follows Merab, a devoted dancer who has been training for years with his partner Mary for a spot in the National Georgian Ensemble. The arrival of another male dancer, Irakli-gifted with perfect form and equipped with a rebellious streak-throws Merab off balance, sparking both an intense rivalry and romantic desire that may cause him to risk his future in dance as well as his relationships with Mary and his family. Watch an introduction by AFS Head of Film & Creative Media Holly Herrick.

From acclaimed director Diao Yinan, The Wild Goose Lake is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to his 2014 Berlinale winning neo-noir Black Coal, Thin Ice. Toppling box office records in Diao’s native China, The Wild Goose Lake “cements his status as a master filmmaker with another ingenious crime epic” (Little White Lies). When small-time mob leader Zhou Zenong (Chinese superstar Hu Ge) accidentally kills a cop, a dead-or-alive bounty is placed on his head, forcing him on the lam from both the police as well as dangerous gangsters out for the reward. Hiding out in China’s densely populated (and deeply divided) Wuhan province, Zhou becomes entangled with a beautiful, enigmatic woman, who has mysterious intentions of her own. Featuring gorgeous, neon-drenched cinematography and bursts of shocking, expertly choreographed action, The Wild Goose Lake is “spellbinding” (Rolling Stone), “brilliant” (Indiewire) and “downright Hitchcockian” (AV Club). Watch an introduction by AFS Lead Programmer Lars Nilsen.

Opens April 10
A film of deeply concentrated beauty, acclaimed filmmaker Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela stars nonprofessional actor Vitalina Varela in an extraordinary performance based on her own life. Vitalina plays a Cape Verdean woman who has travelled to Lisbon to reunite with her husband, after two decades of separation, only to arrive mere days after his funeral. Alone in a strange forbidding land, she perseveres and begins to establish a new life. Winner of the Golden Leopard for Best Film and Best Actress at the Locarno Film Festival, as well as an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, Vitalina Varela is a film of shadow and whisper, a profoundly moving and visually ravishing masterpiece.

Opens April 10
A secretive, high-tech gerrymandering initiative launched 10 years ago threatens to undermine our democracy. Slay the Dragon follows everyday people as they fight to make their votes matter.

Opens April 24
Made by Texas filmmakers with support from the AFS Grant program.

Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan create a portrait of Pahokee, a small rural town located in the Florida Everglades, a community tightly knit together that struggles with financial insecurities and a bleak future. Through an extremely precise observational approach, the film manages to capture the daily life of the town with a great wealth of nuanced details. From sports events to school beauty contests, the filmmakers observe how, through social and collective rituals, the ideas of gender and identity are publicly displayed while creating new narratives. Moving past the crucial Wiseman lesson, which Lucas and Bresnan have fully absorbed, the film possesses the distinct feel of a Gil Scott Heron song, with its deep streak of rural blues tinged with urban echoes. A complex and multi-layered work that recalls also both the gritty social realism of the new American cinema as well as the neorealist touch. Pahokee is a powerful portrait of a forgotten America absent from the current political discourse.

About Austin Film Society
Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, AFS creates life-changing opportunities for filmmakers, catalyzes Austin and Texas as a creative hub, and brings the community together around great film. AFS supports filmmakers towards career leaps, encouraging exceptional artistic projects with grants and support services. AFS operates Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility, to attract and grow the creative media ecosystem. Austin Public, a space for our city’s diverse mediamakers to train and collaborate, provides many points of access to filmmaking and film careers. The AFS Cinema is an ambitiously programmed repertory and first run arthouse with broad community engagement. By hosting premieres, local and international industry events, and the Texas Film Awards, AFS shines the national spotlight on Texas filmmakers while connecting Austin and Texas to the wider film community. AFS is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.