Texas Film Awards Becomes a Toast to Texas Film

Hall of Fame cofounder Evan Smith to be honored

Evan Smith, honoree at this year's AFS Tribute to Texas Film (Photo by Stephen Spillman for The Texas Tribune)
Raise a glass with the Austin Film Society: the film nonprofit has announced that they will offer a Toast to Texas Film, and will honor Texas Tribune founder Evan Smith for his contributions to the state's film scene.

The party will take place Thursday, March 10: the day before South by Southwest, the date normally set aside for the Texas Film Awards Hall of Fame ceremony. That event has become the unofficial kickoff party for SXSW Film, and AFS had originally planned a full in-person awards ceremony - the first since 2020 - at the Long Center. However, that larger celebration has been pushed back to next year. Instead, the night has been transformed into a more intimate dinner party at Robert Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios.

Guests will include Rodriguez himself, producer Elizabeth Avellán (Spy Kids, Sin City, The Blazing World ), director Richard Linklater (who will debut his latest film, Apollo 10 1/2, at South By Southwest three days later), and two actor and Austin natives; Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl, Mortal Kombat, and Glen Powell (Everybody Wants Some!!, Top Gun: Maverick).

However, the true guest of honor will be Smith. While he may be known nationally as the founder of the Texas Tribune, and host of PBS's Overheard With Evan Smith, he was also a key behind-the-scenes player in the history of AFS. A board member from 2000-2009, including two years as board president, during his tenure he helped raise over $4 million for the film non-profit. Importantly for the night, it was Smith and Chronicle cofounder Louis Black who came up with the idea for the Hall of Fame.

“Evan got what AFS was doing for film and filmmakers and like the force of nature he is, he pushed the organization into raising our profile and becoming unstoppable,” said AFS Founder Richard Linklater. “His impact on journalism is immense and he brings an undeniable passion for sparking the civic discourse around politics and culture. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have his vision and leadership by our side all of these years.”

“Evan knew where the momentum was in the community, and how to get Austin’s power brokers excited about our mission,” said AFS CEO Rebecca Campbell. “That was the leadership we needed at the time, so we could grow into the important role we play in supporting all aspects of the Texas film ecosystem–industry, culture, and artists.”

The event is already sold out, but you can get on the wait list for tables at austinfilm.org/a-toast-to-texas-film.

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Texas FilmAwards, Texas Film Hall of Fame, Austin Film Society, Evan Smith

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