Film panels draw top talent
James L. Brooks, the Oscar-winning writer-producer-director of “Terms of Endearment” and “As Good as It Gets,” will receive the distinguished screenwriter’s award at the sixth edition of the Austin Film Festival and Screenwriter’s Conference unspooling Oct. 7-14 in the Texas capital.Brooks, whose extensive film and television credits also include “Broadcast News,” “Taxi,” “The Simpsons” and “The Tracy Ullman Show,” joins such past winners as Paul Schrader, Horton Foote and Buck Henry. Though primarily known for its emphasis on screenwriters and an annual screenwriting competition, Austin also features an independent film competition with cash and service prizes for features, shorts and student productions. Last year’s winner, “La Cucaracha,” was acquired for theatrical and video sales out of the fest. Deadline for submissions to the film competition is Aug. 23 for features and shorts and Sept. 1 for student categories. The winning feature receives a $750 cash prize plus a post-production package worth $30,000. In addition to Brooks, the conference has already lined up a stellar list of panel and seminar participants, including Shane Black, Guillermo Del Toro, Bruce Fierstein, Scott Frank, Walon Green, Buck Henry, David Henry Hwang, Alexander Payne, Polly Platt, George Plimpton, Jeb Stuart, Ted Tally and Bill Witliff. Information on the festival and conference and submission forms are available by calling (800) 310-3378.