Our Favorite Things From ATX TV Festival Season 8!

Between June 6-9th, 2019 fans and industry professionals gathered in Austin to celebrate the wonderful world of Television. What is slowly emerging as one of the top six festivals in the central Texas region (seriously, how many does Austin have now?) came together originally from a couple of fans themselves. Co-Founders Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson saw a disparity amongst the multitude of film and music festivals to date, and decided Television (and streaming) wasn’t getting its due. ATX TV Fest combines the past, present, and future of television into one very hot weekend full of panels, premieres, Q&As, Podcasts, Parties, and Fandom. The video above highlights a lot about what was happening throughout the festival, but here are our favorite moments from season 8.

What is an Intimacy Coordinator?

You may have heard that HBO was one of the first studios to hire an Intimacy Coordinator late last year. While there is plenty of documentation online about the role an Intimacy Coordinator plays on set, this years panel “Let’s Talk About Sex(scenes)”, at ATX TV Fest was a chance to learn more about it first hand. The panel included Alicia Rodis, the aforementioned IC from HBO, and the actress Nicki Micheaux (The Shield) as they talked openly about the lack of oversight in filming sex scenes in the past to implementing common sense guidelines as the industry moves forward. Hearing these accounts from Nicki was eye opening as she described her first time filming a sex scene and the horror stories from ongoing experiences; like directors telling her and her scene partner to “Just go with what you feel”. These experiences, combined with Alicia’s insight on how Intimacy Coordinators International is attempting to educate on these issues, provided a fantastic conversation on how we can create safer workspaces on our film sets. This included everything from the idea of treating sex scenes “like you would a stunt” and going over the Pillars for TV and Film. An entire post can be create just for this, but in the meantime check out the TeamMidi Website, and keep a lookout on the ATX TV Fest Website for the recorded panel on their podcast.

More Pilots for Peak TV.

We’ve all lamented that there are too many shows, but at ATX TV Fest there’s no such thing! Among the new shows we got to watch this year were HBO’s Euphoria & Los Es Spookys, Showtime’s City on a Hill, FOX’s Prodigal Son, and Hulu’s Into The Dark. We saw returning series like AMC’s The Terror, Paramount’s Yellowstone, and Fear The Walking Dead (filmed right here in Austin). We even got a glimpse at the unaired Tremors Pilot with Kevin Bacon in attendance; which you can’t find anywhere else. Our favorites this year were definitely Undone (Amazon Prime) and Perpetual Grace, LTD (EPIX) which we believe need help getting on your list above all the “Must-See-TV” picks you’re used to hearing.

Undone is a fascinating look at relationships, mental health, and death combining animation and rotoscoped performances to create a wholly unique visuals you won’t see anywhere else. When we say animation, we don’t just mean computer generated. The creators have teamed up with multiple artists to bring a variety of mediums to the screen, like Oil on Canvas, the create something that’s out of this world. Oh, and did we mention there’s time travel? You won’t want to miss this.

Perpetual Grace, LTD, in contrast, is a simple story about a con gone wrong, but the cast on this couldn’t be more right. Jimmy Simpson, Ben Kingsley, Jacki Weaver, and Luis Guzman put in amazing performances in a slow burn original series for creators Steven Conrad and Bruce Terris. This show is at times weird, thoughtful, beautiful, delightful, and gripping without ever losing the tone or story. It’s an example of a show that knows exactly what it wants to be. The trailer doesn’t do it justice, and there was no better way to experience the show than with the cast and creators themselves at ATX TV Fest. While we only saw the first episode, the series has been going strong all summer, and we can say that if the rest of the show lives up to the pilot, you’re in for one hell of a ride.

Breakfast Tacos, Parties, & Puppies.

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We’ll take a break from telling you about the things you can easily look up so we can talk about the things that you might not know about. One of the perks about this festival is that everything is consolidated into a few easily walkable locations within downtown Austin. That means you’re spending less time on travel and more time on doing the things that you want to be doing. For Badgeholders that also means the ability to grab a free breakfast taco at the lounge, before attending your first panel just around the corner, without the need to shove it down your gullet. Speaking of lounges, if you’re lucky to be around at the right time you may find yourself as an audience member of a local morning show, listening in on an official podcast recording, partaking in one of the free happy hours, or playing with some puppies that Austin Pets Alive hopes you might want to adopt. We’re not saying networking while holding a puppy isn’t unorthodox, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. That’s not to mention the Opening Night Party, the Closing Night Party, and the Karaoke Party keeping you entertained throughout the weekend.

Take me to the Good Place.

Back to our regularly scheduled program, one panel that was a one-of-a-kind experience this year was “Most Likely to Make You Laugh” with D’arcy Carden, Melissa Fumero, and Lauren Ash. There are three shows that we watch religiously with our significant others, and that’s The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Superstore, respectively, so to see three of our favorite characters in one place was a dream come true. Not to mention that the panel was moderated by none other than Marc Evan Jackson (whom has a role on two of those shows and claims he HAS been on the third somewhere) made for one of the most entertaining panels we’ve ever seen. Listening to these actors was like watching an improv show as they played off one another, made callbacks, and lived up to the name of the panel through-and-through. The fact that we also got to witness Marc and D’arcy, the next day, talk about the Good Place, mere days after the final season was announced, was further icing on an already sugar filled cake.

 
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Throughout all this we haven’t mentioned reunions of The League and Greek, live performances of Drunk History, nor the script pitch competition where the winner has the chance to pitch their show to network partners - but I guess we just did! As always with any festival or event, there’s so much to do and see with so little time, and all we can say with the ATX TV Fest is that it’s definitely worth the price of admission. As mentioned in the video above, you should keep an eye on www.atxfestival.com so you can catch the multiple panels (in podcast form), purchase badges for next year, or just see what’s going on at their year round events. We’re certainly looking forward to next year, and we hope to see you there as well.