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Sam Shepard to accept Award at Austin Film Fest

The Austin Film Festival (AFF) is honored to announce that screenwriter, actor, director and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard will accept a Distinguished Screenwriter Award at the 15th annual Austin Film Festival (October 16-23). Shepard will receive the award at the Austin Film Festival Award Luncheon, presented by AT&T, on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008 at the Austin Club.

The AFF was the first and remains one of the only film festivals in the country whose primary focus is the writer. “Sam Shepard has changed the landscape of American film and stage with his work as a playwright, screenwriter and actor,” said Barbara Morgan, AFF co-founder and executive director. “His work represents the spirit of the Distinguished Screenwriter Award and we are thrilled to honor him.”

About Sam Shepard:
Originally from Illinois, Shepard moved to New York City’s East Village in the 1960s where he became involved in writing for Off Off Broadway. Shepard’s playwriting credits include “Angel City,” “Curse of the Starving Class,” “Killer’s Head,” “The Mad Dog Blues,” “Cowboy Mouth,” “The Rock Garden,” “True West” and “The God of Hell.” In the late 1960s Shepard wrote his first screenplays, “Me and My Brother” (1968) and Antonioni's “Zabriskie Point” (1970); in 1979 he received the ultimate writing honor when he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his three-act play “Buried Child.” Shepard later wrote and directed the Pulitzer-nominated and Obie-winning play “Fool For Love,” which Shepard also adapted for Robert Altman to direct in the 1983 screen version starring Shepard himself along with actress Kim Basinger. He wrote the screenplay and collaborated with Wim Wender on the highly acclaimed 1984 film “Paris, TX” and also wrote and directed the features “Far North” and “Silent Tongue.”

Film lovers recognize Shepard for his memorable screen acting performances. He began his acting career in 1978 in Bob Dylan’s “Renaldo and Clara” and went on to impress critics in Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven.” A number of strong appearances followed including “Resurrection,” “Raggedy Man,” “Frances,” opposite Jessica Lange, and most notably his role as Chuck Yeager in Philip Kaufman’s “The Right Stuff,” which earned him an Academy Award® nomination. Shepard also wrote and stared in “Don’t Come Knocking.” Other acting credits include “Baby Boom,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Voyager,” “The Pelican Brief,” “Snow Falling on Cedars,” “Hamlet,” “All the Pretty Horses,” “The Pledge,” “Black Hawk Down,” “The Notebook,” “Stealth,” “Bandidas,” “The Return” and “Walker Payne.” Shepard’s television films and miniseries include Larry McMurtry’s “Streets of Laredo,” “Lily Dale,” “Purgatory,” “Dash and Lilly,” which brought him both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for his performance as writer Dashiell Hammett; “One Kill,” “Wild Geese,” and “Ruffian.”

Shepard’s latest acting credits include the films: “Felon” and Jim Sheridan’s “Brothers”. His one man play “Kicking A Dead Horse,” which originally opened at the Abbey in Ireland last year, just opened on July 14th at The Public in New York.

About the 15th Annual Austin Film Festival
The Austin Film Festival (Oct 16-23) and Conference (Oct 16-19) will be held at the Driskill Hotel, InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel and other venues in Austin, Texas. 2008 Confirmed panelists include screenwriters John August, John Lee Hancock, Buck Henry, Jake Kasdan, Jeff Nathanson, Dan Petrie Jr., Phil Rosenthal, Kirsten Smith, Eric Red, Terry Rossio and Robert Townsend. For a complete list of panelists and events, more information, or to register, go to or call 512-478-4795 or 800-310-3378. Conference Badges and Film Passes can be purchased online or by phone.

The Austin Film Festival (AFF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the art, craft and business of writers and filmmakers and recognizing their contributions to film, television and new media. The AFF champions the work of aspiring and established writers and filmmakers by providing unique cultural events and services, enhancing public awareness and participation and encouraging dynamic and long-lasting community partnerships.

Special support is provided to the Austin Film Festival by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, American Airlines, AT&T, City of Austin, KVUE, Time Warner Cable, Target, Absolut Vodka, and Dos Equis.


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