Austin Film Festival begins; Book Fest to follow



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Posted on October 24, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 25 at 8:15 AM

AUSTIN -- With the Austin Film Festival kicking off Thursday and the Texas Book Festival on Saturday, downtown Austin will be busy.

Film festival attendees filled the Driskill Hotel on Thursday, ready for opening day events.

"I just want to experience the whole thing, meet people," said writer T.A. Snyder.

Snyder flew in from Springfield, Illinois. With the increasing popularity of Austin and the growing film industry here, he says this is a festival he wouldn't miss.

"It's really neat that this festival features writers. I think it's the only one of its kind that does that," he said.

Nearly 20,000 people will attend the film festival. The week-long event brings around $9 million to the city. Attendees will enjoy panel discussions and a variety of screenings and premieres.

This year’s festival will also include a number of world premieres with cast panels.

Congress Avenue won't just be full of film fans. The Texas Book Festival is also this weekend. Organizers tell KVUE they are expecting nearly 40,000 people to attend.

"It just adds to the diversity of the weekend," said the book festival’s Literary Director Steph Opitz. "It's all over the Capitol. We're inside the Capitol. We're on the grounds, all down Congress," she explained.

Because the film and book festivals don't typically overlap, Opitz has been working closely with film festival organizers.

"[We're] talking about different ways that authors and screenwriters who have dual roles could appear at both festivals," Opitz said. "I think it's cool. Logistically it's been really complicated because we share venues, but we share an audience.”

She said it presents a unique opportunity.

“To have these opportunities in one weekend, I think is awesome," she said.

Austin is the place to be this weekend for book and film lovers alike.

"I love this city. If I could find a job down here, I'd move down in a second," said Snyder.

A lot of big names are expected for the festival including Will Ferrell, Susan Sarandon, and "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan.

  • See road closures around town this weekend here.
  • For more events happening around Austin go here.