Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Austin Film Festival brings new show, 'On Story,' to KLRU-Q

Matthew Odam
modam@statesman.com

While seeing stars walk red carpets can bring a fleeting thrill, the greatest allure of the Austin Film Festival and Conference comes from the opportunity to engage with accomplished filmmakers and view smaller films you might otherwise never see.

In an attempt to bring a taste of the festival to a broader audience, the festival has produced "On Story: Presented by the Austin Film Festival," a 30-minute TV show. The first of 12 episodes will air on KLRU-Q at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and continue the following weeks.

The first half of the show will feature clips of screenwriters and directors at the fest discussing their craft in detail, interspersed with scenes of the filmmakers' works.

"On Story" will allow viewers to experience the festival's unique pleasure, one that festival co-founder and "On Story" producer Barbara Morgan says can be hard to explain to those who have not attended.

"We want to share a little bit of that magic that happens in those panels," Morgan said. "And to me it really is magic. You get a lot of smart, interesting, articulate people in a room, and they get to talk about their craft, and you get a lot of gems out of that."

The first episode includes one such gem from "Braveheart" screenwriter and festival Advisory Board member Randall Wallace.

"My father was a salesman," Wallace said. "And he said to me when I was quite young, 'People will remember almost nothing of what you say and only slightly more of what you do. But all their lives they'll remember the way you made them feel.'\u2009"

Lawrence Kasdan ("The Empire Strikes Back") and Shane Black ("Lethal Weapon") appear in the first episode as well, to discuss conveying feeling through writing.

Morgan believes that the relaxed nature of the festival and the camaraderie among filmmakers and movie lovers leads to an openness and honesty that viewers rarely have a chance to see.

"There are so many people who come here, and when they're at the conference, because they're with their peers and there's a comfort zone, they share," Morgan said. "It's really amazing how much people will share. Personal stuff. They're really talking about this in an unguarded fashion. I think we get an interesting and deeper perspective of their craft."

That perspective will help inform the audience's experience in viewing the second half of "On Story," which features a brief interview with a regional filmmaker presenting one of his or her festival-screened shorts.

Episode one features the narrative short "Frente Noreste," by Angela Torres Camarena.

Miguel Alvarez, an award-winning local filmmaker and University of Texas lecturer who will have a short featured in the series, will edit each of the 12 episodes. Morgan says that while not every episode will have a specific topic, the panel clips and the short they precede will all be tied together thematically.

Future episodes include appearances from Ed Burns ("The Brothers McMullen"), John Lee Hancock ("The Blind Side"), David Peoples ("Blade Runner"), Judd Apatow ("Knocked Up"), Ron Howard ("Apollo 13") and more.

"On Story" will follow "Ebert Presents" on KLRU-Q, giving the relatively new and slightly alternative channel an hour-long block of film-oriented programming.

"KLRU-Q to us has always been a way of going after a little different demographic than the classic PBS demographic," said Bill Stotesbery, KLRU CEO and general manager. "To that extent, I think this fits very well. I think the content in the panels is sometimes a little edgy. The screenwriters, while they are very passionate about what they do, it sometimes is approached with a tone that might not be typically what you would see in a PBS show of this nature."

Morgan sees the show as an extension of the mission of the festival and conference she co-founded in 1994.

"The reason that you walk out of a movie and love it usually is not just the acting but the story," Morgan said. The show "gives a glimpse of who these people are who write the story. These are names you should know. If you loved 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' you should know Shane Black before you know Robert Downey Jr., even though he's the one on the screen. The message is it's about the story."

modam@statesman.com; 912-5986

How to find KLRU-Q