Oscar-winning producer Dede Gardner to be honored at Austin Film Festival in Texas

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Academy Award-winning producer Dede Gardner will receive the Polly Platt Award for Producing at the upcoming Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference in Texas. [Courtesy photo]

Academy Award-winning producer Dede Gardner will receive the Polly Platt Award for Producing at the upcoming Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference in Texas.

This year’s festival will take place from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3 in the Texas capital.

The co-president of the production company Plan B Entertainment, Gardner has produced several Academy Award-nominated and winning films, including Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari,” Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Moonlight,” Adam McKay’s “The Big Short” and “Vice,” Ava DuVernay’s “Selma,” Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” and Terrence Malick’s Palme d’Or winner “The Tree of Life.”

Gardner’s recent features include Gaz Alazraki’s “Father of the Bride” and Miranda July’s “Kajillionaire,” as well as the forthcoming films “Blonde,” “She Said,” “Women Talking” and “Landscape With Invisible Hand.”

Her recent television releases include the HBO/Sky limited series “The Third Day,” created by Dennis Kelly; the Amazon Prime series “The Underground Railroad,” created by Barry Jenkins; and “Outer Range,” created by Brian Watkins.

In addition to accepting the Polly Platt Award during the event, Gardner will participate in a special screening of “Women Talking,” the new film by Oscar-nominated writer and director Sarah Polley (“Away From Her”). 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.

Polley also will attend the festival to present Gardner’s award and participate in a post-screening discussion, according to a news release.

Stephen Merchant appears in “The Outlaws.” [BBC photo]

In addition, Emmy, BAFTA and Golden Globe winner Stephen Merchant will receive the Outstanding Television Writer Award at this year’s Austin Film Festival.

The actor, comedian, writer, director and producer is considered one of the most versatile talents in TV and film. Merchant first shot to prominence as the co-creator (alongside Ricky Gervais) of BBC’s “The Office” and “Extras,” both of which were critically acclaimed and earned multiple comedy series awards, including three BAFTA Awards, two British Comedy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award and a Peabody Award.

Merchant also served as an executive producer on the long-running U.S. adaptation of “The Office,” which received five Primetime Emmy Awards and 42 nominations during its run on NBC. He received a British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Actor for his role in “Extras,” and in 2004, they won the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for the series.

In 2013, Merchant was a star, co-creator, co-writer and director of HBO’s “Hello Ladies,” a sitcom based on his live stand-up show of the same name. The series ended with a feature-length HBO special and received two nominations at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Merchant currently works as an executive producer, writer, director and star of BBC/Amazon’s “The Outlaws,” which recently premiered its second season. With Elgin James, he co-created the series, which follows a group of misfit lawbreakers in a community service group.

Gardner and Merchant will be recognized in Austin at the fest’s 2022 Awards Luncheon on Oct. 29, and both will participate in festival and conference programming.

Additional panelists confirmed to speak at the Writers Conference, which takes place during the first four days of the festival, include Max Borenstein (“Winning Time”), Nkechi Okoro Carroll (“All American”), Edward Neumeier (“RoboCop”), Vanessa Taylor (“The Shape of Water”), and more.


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