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Portuguese Cinema Takes Center Stage at the 30th Austin Film Festival with "Autumn"

"A Minha Casinha," known internationally as "Autumn," marks the directorial debut of the young Portuguese filmmaker and screenwriter, António Sequeira. It's one of the films selected to the official competitive section of the prestigious American festival. The cast includes Beatriz Frazão, Salvador Gil, Elsa Valentim, and Miguel Frazão in lead roles.

"Autumn" will premiere together with some industry giants, like "Bikeriders" (Tom Hardy, Austin Butler), "Saltburn" (Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan), "Finestkind" (Tommy Lee Jones, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhall), amongst others.

Andy Volk, Senior Film Programmer at the Austin Film Festival, states, "'Autumn' is a beautifully crafted reflection on the changing of seasons and how we change with them. A tender portrait of family bonds tested as time takes each family member down memory lane and into their next chapter. With rich characters and a poignant script, António Sequeira and his cast inject the film with a natural vitality and open-hearted sincerity. 'Autumn' is bound to make audiences laugh, cry, and take their own journey back home."

Emily Lock claims "Autumn is a beautifully constructed film that invites viewers into a true-to-life world and compelling character dynamics. It successfully depicts how expectations and reality can diverge as life continues on, providing an incisive look at the universal human condition, in which characters battle their constant hope for something greater than what they have, failing to appreciate their present circumstances until change is upon them. The character work on display in AUTUMN is a remarkable achievement; each one of the main characters is a fully formed, flawed, lovable human being. It’s a powerful depiction of relationships changing over time and an honest look at the sometimes exasperating, yet ultimately unbreakable bond of a family unit."

Homesickness knows no borders, and 'Autumn' offers an authentic glimpse into how Portuguese culture grapples with the universal feeling of saudade, a word that resonates deeply in their hearts. As the characters carve their own paths, the film takes us on an emotional journey that transcends languages, making it relatable to anyone who has ever longed for home. 'Autumn' captures life's transitions through the lens of a small Portuguese town. The film's unique structure, focusing solely on the eldest son's university holidays as he heads to study in London, captures moments of a daughter's puberty, a father's midlife crisis, a son's emancipation, and a mother learning to cope with the empty nest syndrome.

For director António Sequeira, "Having the film at the Austin Film Festival is a dream come true, not only because it's a qualifying festival for the Oscars but also because it has propelled films by directors like Richard Linklater, Greta Gerwig, and Darren Aronofsky. Sharing the same screen with films from these giants of cinema is a privilege. And, apparently, barbecue in Texas is also excellent. While we are campaigning to take this Portuguese film around the world, this fantastic news couldn't have come at a better time."

This project holds significant personal meaning for the director, as he sees it as "a love letter to my family, especially my parents, who did everything to allow me to study abroad and follow my dreams. Without them, this would never have been possible. It's time to give a voice to the invisible efforts parents make to let their children soar."

Entirely filmed in Baião with the support of the local community, "Autumn" had already been selected for the final stage of the Sundance Development Lab (USA) and chosen to be part of the Torino Film Lab (Italy). It was also selected as a 'work-in-progress' for the First Cut Lab and later for the "Goes to Cannes" section, where it received positive feedback from sales agents and distributors, demonstrating its thematic universality.

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