Sister City News: AFS announces 2018 partnership with Premiers Plans Festival d’Angers

(AUSTIN, TXDecember 15, 2017) Austin Film Society (AFS) and Premiers Plans Festival d’Angers announce their 2018 collaboration with programs in Angers, France and Austin, Texas. AFS and Premiers Plans have a shared passion for cinema past and present, and the future of film culture that is represented by emerging filmmakers. The organizations have forged an ongoing partnership, now in its fourth year, to promote film culture and discovery in the cinephile hubs of Angers, France and Austin, Texas.

WHO: Austin Film Society
WHAT: Austin Film Society announces 2018 partnership with Premiers Plans Festival d’Angers
CONTACT: Christine Lee,
Meghan Malone,

AFS and Premiers Plans will co-present a program of defining works of American independent cinema, featuring Austin writer/filmmaker John Pierson, at the 30th anniversary of the French festival (January 12-21), and will co-host the annual New French Cinema Week in Austin at the AFS Cinema (April 25-29).

At the Premiers Plans Festival, John Pierson, film producer, author and filmmaker advocate, will present a selection of essential 80s and 90s independent films which he chronicled in his 1996 book “Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes.” Pierson will screen some of the game-changing independent films that he represented and supported, including Richard Linklater’s SLACKER and BOYHOOD, Spike Lee’s SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT, and Kevin Smith’s CLERKS. Pierson will also present selections of his newly re-released magazine style television show on independent film, SPLIT SCREEN, (now on Criterion/FilmStruck) for the French audience.

The two film organizations will continue their partnership for the fourth edition of New French Cinema Week in Austin, a festival of Francophone film discoveries, to occur April 25-29 at the AFS Cinema. New French Cinema Week welcomes francophone filmmakers and guests for premieres of their films, often showing for the first time in the US. The full line up will be announced in March.

Past AFS programs at Premiers Plans in Angers have featured guests including David Zellner (DAMSEL, KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER), composer David Wingo (GEORGE WASHINGTON, LOVING, MUD), documentarian and University of Texas at Austin professor Paul Stekler (GEORGE WALLACE: SETTIN’ THE WOODS ON FIRE) and AFS Head of Film and Creative Media Holly Herrick.

About Premiers Plans Festival d’Angers
Premiers Plans Festival d’Angers, founded in 1988, is a festival dedicated to discovery, with 100 first European films presented each year alongside retrospectives of major artists. This year, Pedro Almodóvar and Agnès Varda will join to present their work. The festival serves as a major meeting place for new and emerging European filmmakers, and Gerard Depardieu, Fanny Ardent and Jeanne Moreau played significant advisory roles over the course of the festival’s history. Directors including Fatih Akin, Matteo Garrone, Arnaud Desplechin, Cristi Puiu, Thomas Vinterberg and Paolo Sorrentino got their start at Premiers Plans. Through its global partnerships, Premiers Plans connects new European cinema with diverse audiences, and encourages emerging filmmakers from around the world. More information can be found at

About John Pierson
A legend of American independent cinema, John Pierson was the first producer’s representative to enter the ultra-independent film scene of the 80s and 90s, representing a class of emerging filmmakers that included Spike Lee, Kevin Smith, Michael Moore and Richard Linklater.  After witnessing a changing industry and film culture from the inside, Pierson authored the book “Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes” which chronicled this era of American filmmaking. The book was named “the bible for independents” by Peter Biskind. Pierson went on to co-create SPLIT SCREEN, an original television series about independent film, with his wife Janet Pierson, Head of SXSW Film. The show, which ran from 1997-2001, featured segments and interviews with many indie film characters of its era, including Harmony Korine, Wes Anderson and Miranda July. From 2006 to 2012, Pierson taught at The University of Texas at Austin, where he was named one of Variety’s Leaders in Learning. Seeking new adventures following his teaching period, Pierson headed up a new China film production initiative for Justin Lin and Perfect Storm Entertainment in 2014-15, and still wonders if that misbegotten adventure is material for a future book. In his heart of hearts, John Pierson loves movie theaters.  He ran the legendary Bleecker Street Cinema in 1982-83 a few years after graduating from NYU Film School, got married to Janet at the Film Forum in 1983, and cajoled her and their two kids into moving to Fiji for a year in 2002 to show free movies at the world’s most remote theater, the 180 Meridian Cinema – a memorable experience captured in the Steve James documentary REEL PARADISE.