The Austin Chronicle

'ATX: A Television Festival' Arrives In June

By Marc Savlov, January 18, 2012, 9:42am, Picture in Picture

Further cementing the River City's reputation as one gigantic, year-round festival, this summer will see the birth of ATX, "the first festival devoted to television's history and future."

Which sounds, frankly, like a splendid idea. Austin already has enough music, film, gaming, and arts festivals to choke a hipster on a horse and considering the fluxing state of media these days, it won't be long before television as we know it morphs into something completely different. It's already happening.

With an advisory board that includes heavyweights Richard Linklater, Peter Billingsley (yes, that Peter Billingsley), and Emmy Award-winning Director and Actor Betty Thomas (among many others), it's obvious that this isn't going to be a one-off confab situation.

And, of course, quality television is currently hitting some sort of all-time high water mark, despite the tsunami of cringe-worthy reality programming. It's high time someone actually attempted to figure out what, exactly, Stephen Colbert is up to with his meta-surrealist politico hi-jinks. (Seriously: what if he wins?) Sorry, Newton Minnow. Twenty-first century television has become anything but "a vast wasteland."

With the goal of securing additional funding for the ATX Festival, a Kickstarter campaign will launch this Wednesday, Jan. 18, with a $25,000 goal.

According to this morning's press release, "The start of the Kickstarter campaign will also mark the debut of a video created for the festival with contributions from several television professionals. Rewards for donations will range from ATX Festival badges to signed DVDs and posters and exclusive Camille Zarsky limited edition cuff bracelets."

More from the ATX Festival press release:

ATX Festival, the first festival devoted to Television’s history and future, will commence on Friday, June 1st 2012 in Austin, TX. ATX will function like a traditional film festival with premieres of new series, current hits & cult favorites and spotlights of unaired pilots, series that were cancelled before their time and classic shows. ATX will also offer access to the industry’s leading professionals with cast and creator Q&As and panels focusing on innovation in both production and content delivery. Ultimately, ATX has the goal of serving both the community and industry professionals by giving them the opportunity to celebrate and discuss all aspects of TV’s past, present & future.

ATX Festival is the brainchild of Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson who have over a decade of experience working in the film and television industry. McFarland has experience on the production side, working for directors Betty Thomas, Nora Ephron, and Mira Nair. In addition, she has been involved on the festival and filmmaker sides of renowned festivals like Sundance, Tribeca, and Doha Tribeca. Emily Gipson has spent her years in the industry working on the studio and network side for Fox, TLC, Discovery, and Fox TV Studios. McFarland and Gipson have enlisted the help of a distinguished advisory board for ATX Festival consisting of directors, writers, producers, as well as festival sponsors.

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