This coming weekend Austin, TX will play host to thousands of television fans when the ATX Television Festival kicks off its fourth season from June 4-7. ATX is a festival aimed at people who really love television–something we here at The TV Junkies know all about and can certainly get behind. That love of television is what makes ATX unique and sets it apart from other, much larger, events such as Comic Con. This “TV Camp” will feature panels and screenings on past and present shows, along with discussions on the future of television.
“The biggest difference of what we do is that we really spotlight a lot of the behind the scenes people as well,” ATX co-founder Emily Gipson tells The TV Junkies. She adds that “you do get to see the cast, but it really is a full range of people making the shows, not just the people in front of the camera.” The desire to showcase all aspect of TV is what led Gipson to start the festival 4 years ago with friend Caitlin McFarland. The two met while working for a TV studio and noticed the need for a festival that really highlighted television. Now with ATX they can do just that. “The love of television is very deep and very wide. We try to represent all aspects of that,” says McFarland.
The biggest event at this year’s festival is the highly anticipated Gilmore Girls reunion, which will include 19 members of the cast and crew, including creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and stars Lauren Graham (Lorelei) and Alexis Bledel (Rory). Gipson says they are just as excited as the fans to see the reunion happen. “We’re all kind of the edge of our seats with everyone else waiting to see what happens and the inside scoop Amy [Sherman-Palladino] is going to give everyone,” she tells us. The show, which ran for 7 seasons on the WB from 2000-2007, falls right in line with other dream panels Gipson has in mind for future festivals. Those would include “all the shows that we grew up on, basically anything that was on the WB in the late 90s. Buffy will always be my number 1,” she says.
But the Gilmore Girls reunion isn’t the only thing festival-goers have to look forward to this year. McFarland says that “Hannibal and Justified are shows that people are really excited about. The FX comedy shows that we have coming (You’re the Worst, Married and Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll) have such awesome talent that are coming with them. The USA shows, Suits has a really exciting following and this year we’re getting the Season 5 premiere and quite a few of the cast members,” she previews.
Gipson also says a change to the festival this year, a Friday night marquee event showcasing Starz’s Power could be very exciting. Power is a show entering its second season and it’s getting “a lot of buzz and still gaining traction,” says Gipson. “I think that will be a great show for people to discover at the festival that maybe haven’t seen it before,” she says. The latter half of the Friday night event will include the FX comedies that McFarland mentioned.
But no matter what show brings fans to the festival, be sure and keep an open mind, says Gipson. “Try new things. Go listen to panels where you’re not really familiar with the panelists and discover new shows. This is a great way to go and get up close and personal with a show you’ve never heard of before and probably will fall in love with it,” she advises. McFarland adds that “it really is like TV Camp. Everybody is very kind to one another.”
So if you find yourself standing in line, which McFarland promises “aren’t Comic-con, 7 hour, sleep overnight lines,” go ahead and say “hello” to the person next to you. “We’ve found that’s really the magic of the festival – people meeting other people with shared interests,” says McFarland. Because after all she says, “it’s really about making ‘TV friends.’”
Are you attending this year’s festival? We are! Be sure and stay tuned at The TV Junkies for coverage.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.