ATX Television Festival Switches to Streaming
TV fest adopts virtual format in response to coronavirus
By Richard Whittaker,
12:00PM, Mon. Apr. 6, 2020
As film festivals find ways to either reboot, reschedule, or find ways to survive during the coronavirus lockdown, today comes the announcement that ATX Television Festival – the celebration of all things small screen – will be going streaming this year.
Festival co-founders Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson made the announcement this morning that the event will shift online for a virtual weekend (June 5-7, one day shorter than the original IRL event) called ATX TV… From the Couch! They explained, "The one thing we know is that talking about TV from the place where we watch it… our living rooms… simply makes sense."
The pair added that programming details will be forthcoming for what they call "our virtual TV Camp for Grown Ups."
On their website, the festival is offering anyone who has already purchased a badge or wristband three options: Either transfer the purchase to Season 10 (June 10-13, 2021) or Season 11 (June 9-12, 2022), or donate the purchase price to the festival to help cover operational costs, and receive a discount code for Season 10 (check www.atxfestival.com for details).
The annual celebration of TV and streaming culture had already announced several major retrospectives and reunions, including the cast of Scrubs, as well as a 10th anniversary celebration of Parenthood. Festival management is currently working with representatives for those shows, as well as the Justified writers' room reunion, the Cougar Town reunion, Oz retrospective, and L.A. Confidential pilot screening to be part of their 2021 festival.
Many festivals have either canceled or rescheduled. However, the additional complicating factor for an event like this that concentrates on TV is that even if the current situation is over, or at least there are relaxed processes in place, the industry will be scrambling to get back into production on new content. Locally, Fear the Walking Dead is on hiatus, while the Georgia-shot Supernatural (starring Austinites Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) had to suspend production with five episodes left on its final season. Even shows that are currently in post-production will require finishing, and that will take the highest priority.
Here's the full statement from festival co-founders Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson:
These last few weeks have been incredibly challenging and continue to be full of uncertainties. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Perhaps now more than ever, we believe that TV is a powerful medium for change and empathy. We are committed to our mission of fully serving and fostering our community at all times. For this reason, and to ensure the ongoing safety of all, this year we will not be having a physical festival in Austin, but instead we will be celebrating Television where we all enjoy it, the couch! We are excited to announce that ATX Television Festival Season 9 will be a virtual weekend (June 5-7, 2020) where we can still come together and celebrate our love of TV and its ever evolving forms, especially during times like these. We’re calling it “ATX TV… from the Couch!”
This will be a television experience unlike anything we’ve done before, and we are emboldened by the possibilities we are discussing with our panelists and partners. We are confident we can continue to have great conversations, showcase new and old favorite series, and interact with our incredible community … with a lot of fun surprises along the way. The one thing we know is that talking about TV from the place where we watch it … our living rooms … simply makes sense.
While we are sad not to be coming together physically this summer, we are excited to experience #TVTogether virtually for Season 9, and return live and in person for Season 10 (June 10-13, 2021). We’ll have more information for y’all in the coming weeks about our virtual TV Camp for Grown Ups as it will be making its way to your small screens soon.