You might be asking yourself, “What is a Television Festival?” Most people do. Though there are thousands of film and music festivals, in and out of Austin, there is nothing like ATX. Our focus is on the celebration of the medium: looking back at its history, where it is now, and where it is headed. Our weekend consists of panels, screenings and events where attendees can hear from actors, writers, directors, creators, showrunners, music supervisors, casting directors and studio executives involved in all stages of bringing their favorite series to the small screen.
We have the functionality of a traditional film festival with screenings followed by Q&A’s from cast and creators; panels focused on industry related topics, and an array of events that includes parties, live music, meet-ups, social media events, and “super secret happy hours.” Unlike traditional festivals, however, we celebrate the history of the medium as well as the future. We spotlight classic shows, never aired pilots, cancelled too soon series, cult favorites, current hits, and premieres of new series. Since we are geared 50% towards the biggest television fans and 50% towards those working or wanting to work in the industry, our panels range in topics from “behind the scenes” looks at your favorite series, to more technical topics on where the medium is headed and how technology and “where we are watching” effects content. Ultimately, ATX Television Festival has the goal of serving both the community and industry professionals equally by giving them the opportunity to discuss and celebrate all aspects of TV together.
Many people ask, “why Austin?” Clearly, these people have never been to Austin. As our answer is, “why not Austin??” We could write an essay on all the thoughts behind this choice; but ultimately, we believe festivals should be destinations (like camp for TV loving grown-ups). Austin is approximately in the middle of the United States, making travel from East or West coast more convenient. Texas TV production has a long history, not the least of which is strong current productions in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. We love our city and strive to be part of our community by showcasing small businesses, local food, and working with arts organizations like Austin Film Society, Texas Film Commission, and Austin Film Festival — though we are NOT the “Austin Television Festival.” We are a national (if not, international) event that works with major networks, studios, companies & brands, and bring in 150 panelists (98% of which are not local to Texas), in addition to our badgeholders coming from all over the world.
Co-founders Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson have spent the better part of a decade in a variety of areas of the entertainment industry — from film & television production to working within the network & studio systems; as well as being on the ground level of both the festival and filmmaker sides of Sundance, Tribeca and Doha Tribeca. Combining their knowledge, along with a wide number of prominent industry professionals that make up the Advisory Board, they are introducing a one-of-a-kind festival experience.