The way Barbara Morgan remembers it, there wouldn't be an Austin Film Festival without Ann Richards.
More than 25 years ago, when Morgan was a former University of Texas student who was working in the music industry, she was at a party when the guests started talking about the state of Austin film festivals. The San Francisco Film Festival, which is considered America's longest-running film festival, started in 1957, and Sundance had its roots in the late 1970s, and by the early 1990s, Austin was becoming a creative film hub, thanks in part to UT's Radio, Film and TV department and directors such as Richard Linklater using the city as a backdrop for their early works.
The Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival was founded in 1987, but Austin didn't have a general interest film festival yet, so Morgan decided it was time for someone to start one. Why not her? In attendance at that party where the idea was being floated around was the then-governor, who told her that she could apply for financial help from the state. That was the moment she decided to make this dream a reality.
In 1993, the Austin Film Festival started as a competition for screenwriters, and the week-long event has morphed into a celebration of cinema, screenwriting, TV and even podcasts. This year's 25th annual festival starts on Oct. 25 and runs until Nov. 1 with screenings, panels and parties that will bring together hundreds of filmmakers, critics and fans.
In this week's episode of "I Love You So Much: The Austin360 Podcast," Morgan joins co-host Addie Broyles and features editor Sharon Chapman to talk about why the festival director is constantly evolving the event to include new components of and perspectives on the entertainment industry. She talked about the movies, speakers and panels she's excited about this year and why this is such an exciting time to be in the film (and TV) business.
In our "Toast" recommendation segment, Sharon welcomes fellow Austin360 staffers Joe Gross and Alyssa Vidales to talk about what they've been interested in lately. Alyssa explains why she loves "Suspiria," a horror film starring Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson that screened at Fantastic Fest and will be released in theaters later this month, and why Instagram fans shouldn't sleep on John Mayer's account. Joe talks about the lineup of superhero shows on the CW that remind us why comic book-based storylines can provide relief in a sea of grim, dark shows. Sharon talks about "Song Exploder," a podcast whose host, Hrishikesh Hirway, interviews musicians to deconstruct one of their noted their songs.
Some news: We are changing the release day for the show starting this week. We are going to publish new episodes on Wednesday, instead of Friday, so you can listen to them before the workweek is over. You can listen to previous episodes or find more information about the show, which is sponsored by Hilton Austin, at austin360.com/to-do/podcast. To share feedback or guest recommendations, send an email to email@example.com. You can follow us on Twitter @loveaustin360.