AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Film Festival is back for its 29th year from Oct. 27 through Nov. 3.

The festival has announced its first wave of screenings, including some world premieres, and named the recipient of this year’s New Voice Award. Writer/director Nikyatu Jusu will receive the award, which honors unique and captivating new voices in film, television, and new media, AFF’s website said.

Jusu will receive the award along with the screening of her film NANNY. It’s Jusu’s feature film debut and has been featured in various film festivals and selected for different prizes and projects.

Along with NANNY, the following films will be screened at the festival:


Directed/written by: Sarah Polley

Synopsis: Based on the best-selling novel by Miriam Toews, WOMEN TALKING follows a group of women in an isolated religious colony as they struggle to reconcile their faith with a series of sexual assaults committed by the colony’s men.

In attendance: Producer Dede Gardner and Director Sarah Polley 


Directed/written by: Charlotte Wells

Synopsis: At a fading vacation resort, 11-year-old Sophie treasures rare time together with her loving and idealistic father, Calum (Paul Mescal). As a world of adolescence creeps into view, beyond her eye Calum struggles under the weight of life outside of fatherhood. Twenty years later, Sophie’s tender recollections of their last holiday become a powerful and heartrending portrait of their relationship, as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t, in Charlotte Wells’ superb and searingly emotional debut film. 


Directed/written by:  Dominic López
Produced/written by: Kelsey Gunn 

Synopsis: Ainsley is a misanthrope who hates people but when she suddenly finds herself in isolation with no one to talk to, she realizes how much she actually misses connection. Enter Ulysses, a dead mouse in a jar. With a little bit of loneliness, a pinch of imagination, and a mouse-sized tuxedo, Ulysses becomes her training wheels in this newly discovered world of friendship.


Directed by: Ryan Love
Written by: Ryan Love & Laurel Toupal

Synopsis: While on a weekend getaway in Vegas, an aimless young woman, Haley, and her by-the-book brother, Mac, embark on a spontaneous road trip to Portland to rediscover a time capsule that they buried as kids. Within, holds the bracelet of Haley’s biological mother.


Co-directed by: Aaron Weiss & Robert Weiss

Synopsis: In the coastal town of Galveston, Texas, Dale Carter lives as a mortician in his Victorian home with his protege and friend. Over the course of a decade, this observational documentary chronicles his daily life with friends, family and strangers alike, as he navigates the mortuary profession and his attempts to realize his dream of renovating a historic home in Beaumont, Texas. Song of the Cicada explores the philosophies and motives behind the macabre obsessions that define this eccentric mortician.


Directed/written by: Ryan White

Synopsis: Tells the inspirational true story of Opportunity, a rover that was sent to Mars for a 90-day mission but ended up surviving for 15 years. The film follows Opportunity’s groundbreaking journey on Mars and the remarkable bond forged between a robot and her humans millions of miles away.


Directed & Written by: Hanadi Elyan

Synopsis: The film Salma’s Home, set in Jordan, revolves around three women with distinct personalities. SALMA (Juliet Awad) is a talented baker living alone in a large old house overlooking downtown Amman running an un profitable home-based bakery, her daughter FARAH (Sameera Asir) is a young working mother with marital problems. Their lives are disrupted by the death of Salma’s ex-husband. The funeral takes place at his current wife’s house, LAMIA (Rania Kurdi), an aspiring socialite who is obsessed with building her brand online. After the funeral, shocking facts come to light leading to territorial clashes and finally forcing the three women to accept some harsh realities and take control of their lives.


Directed by: Xavier Manrique

Synopsis: Phil Schreiber, a self-involved hedge fund manager escapes to the Hamptons with his wife and son at the beginning of the pandemic. Making an already fraught situation worse is the surprise arrival of Phil’s college roommate Charlie. An exemplar of Falstaffian excess, Charlie is also the keeper of some of Phil’s darkest secrets. To make matters worse for Phil, his wife and son love Charlie. As Charlie makes himself at home — secrets are revealed that threaten to do more harm than the virus they’re all hiding out from.

The complete list of Festival programming, including over 100 films as well as hundreds of panels, will be announced in late September.