Finally! A festival to celebrate one of my first loves, TV! The ATX Television Festival is in it’s inaugural year, kicking of June 1-3, and I’m looking forward to a big hit. Austin is notorious for it’s love of all things entertainment, be it music, film or TV. With weekly showings of TV at the Alamo (Drafthouse) including the likes of Mad Men and Doctor Who, as well as events such as an all day Party Down Marathon with cast in attendance (which I was totally broken-hearted to miss after the wireless signal at my office let me down by continually allowing me to “buy” tickets only to be booted before the sale would go through), it just makes sense that this festival would choose Austin as it’s birthplace. This is a much less expensive, more accessible television version of a certain film festival in Austin that I covered recently.
In fact, ATX fest boasts “all the functionality of a traditional film festival — spotlighting classic shows, never aired pilots, cancelled too soon series, cult favorites, current hits, and premieres of new series“. And as any Austin festival knows you have to provide all kinds of events to keep people coming back, some of the events to be expected in June include: screenings with Q&A’s from the cast and creators; panels focused on industry related topics like streaming and innovative outlets to continue production outside of the network/studio system; and will include parties, live music, meet-ups, social media events, and “super secret happy hours.” The festival works to balance appeal to the community with content for those interested in or involved with the television industry.
ATX Television Festival was co-founded by Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson. The two have put together a stellar opening night line-up with USA Network’s Royal Pains and Suits. USA has really stepped up their game in recent years and has brought some great programming to the airwaves, which I guess really aren’t the “airwaves” anymore, but you know what I mean. I am a huge fan of Royal Pains, especially during a time of year that can be dulls-ville for television viewers. It’s H-O-T in Texas people, what else do we have to do when we’re trying to keep from melting into a mushy puddle?! The ATX co-founders weighed in with their own thoughts on USA Network taking on opening night.
“When we started programming the festival, we had USA as our number one choice for Opening Night. No one does summer series like USA Network; what better fit to kick off a Television festival in June than Suits and Royal Pains,” said festival Co-Founder Caitlin McFarland. Commenting on opening night Co-Founder Emily Gipson said “we love USA’s slogan ‘Characters Welcome.’ It fits perfectly, not only for Opening Night, but with our overall Festival goals — from panelists to fans, all characters are welcome at ATX.”
Check out the list of guests, screenings and panels below, there are some heavy hitters here folks! Badges are still for sale, get yours here!
The League with Nick Kroll and Paul Scheer
Parenthood with Jason Katims (EP), David Hudgins (EP), Liza Richardson (Music Supervisor), Jason Ritter, Michael B. Jordan
The Vampire Diaries with Julie Plec (creator/EP), Arielle Kebbel
Archer with Judy Greer
Once Upon a Time with Jane Espenson
True Blood with Marshall Allman
Grimm with Richard Hatem (writer)
Awake and Lone Star with Kyle Killen (creator)
Firefly with Ben Edlund (writer) and Jose Molina (writer)
Criminal Minds with Erica Messer (showrunner)
Teen Wolf Season 2 premiere with Jeff Davis (creator)
Life Unexpected with Liz Tigelaar (creator), Britt Robertson, Shiri Appleby, Arielle Kebbel
Web Series from Jane Espenson (Husbands), Betty Thomas (Audrey), and Alloy Entertainment (Dating Rules)
Bill Lawrence & Friends: Bill Lawrence (creator of Cougar Town, Scrubs, and Spin City) talks TV with some Special Guests
Friday Night Lights with Jason Katims (EP), David Hudgins (EP), Scott Porter, Adrianne Palicki, Jesse Plemons, Michael B. Jordan, Alicia Witt, Dora Madison Burge, Matt Lauria, Gaius Charles, Liza Richardson (music supervisor)
One Tree Hill with Mark Schwahn (creator), James Lafferty, Lindsey McKeon
Stages of a Television Writing Career: David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, Everwood), Kyle Killen (Lone Star, Awake), and more.
View the schedule of events here and the special events page here. All of these events look like so much fun and I can’t wait to take part in this first year of ATX Fest! I’m looking forward to a great kick-off to this fantastic festival this year and many more to come!
Follow our own television coverage and my past reviews here.
What past or present TV series would you most like to see represented at the fest?