Event builds community of TV fans and professionals through screenings and panels
While Austin is known for its many festivals, ATX Television Festival founders Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson want to pull residents away from their television screens to enjoy the medium together at the second annual event. McFarland said the catalyst for the festival was excitement over the changing industry.
"We've often said it was gut reaction, that we were more excited about what was on our DVRs, on our TVs, rather than what was in the multiplexes and the movie theaters," McFarland said. "I think TV in the last few years is a little bit of the Wild West right now, between network and cable and online. People are really trying to figure out what TV is as a definition."
The television festival had its inaugural event in June 2012 with about 700 people attending. McFarland said the festival focuses its programming to suit both fans and those in the TV industry. She added that the dual focus helps build community between the two groups.
"Getting to see your show on a big screen in front of a live audience and hear them laugh or hear them cry or gasp or whatever the reaction is, getting that sort of reaction on that base level and then getting to talk to other industry members, we really hope they leave sort of inspired and get to go on to maybe write something new," McFarland said.
Gipson said Austin is a good location for the festival because she feels like the television industry is growing in the area. She noted the success of the series "Friday Night Lights" and the continued filming of ABC Family's "The Lying Game" as a sign of the area's popularity and increased interest from the industry. Both TV shows were filmed in the Austin area.
The festival runs June 6–9 at various venues, including the The Ritz Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Hotel San Jos, Stateside at the Paramount and Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental Hotel.
For more information or to purchase badges, visit www.atxfestival.com.