“On Story is film school in a box, a lifetime’s worth of filmmaking knowledge squeezed into half hour packages.” - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic

Austin Film Festival is dedicated to furthering the art, craft, and business of filmmakers and screenwriters, and recognizing their contributions to film, television, and new media. A natural progression of the AFF mission, The On Story Project consists of a variety of entertaining and informative programs presented in different media platforms to give viewers an inside look at the creative process behind some of the most popular and critically acclaimed films and television shows.


In April of 2011, Austin Film Festival and KLRU-TV, Austin’s PBS affiliate, premiered the weekly, 30-minute television series On Story®: Presented by Austin Film Festival on KLRU Q.On Story presents interviews with filmmaking greats culled from more than 20 years of exceptional AFF programming paired with a short film previously screened at Austin Film Festival.

On Story’s episodes have featured in-depth conversations with such film and television luminaries as Sydney Pollack (Tootsie), Callie Khouri (Thelma and Louise), Tommy Lee Jones, Ron Howard (Apollo 13), David Milch (Deadwood), Matthew Weiner (Mad Men), David Simon (The Wire), Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers), Larry Wilmore (The Nightly Show), Beau Willimon (House of Cards), and John Ridley (12 Years a Slave). Sharing compelling conversations and personal anecdotes that pull back the curtain on the goings on inside writers’ rooms and on film sets, On Story gives viewers a front row seat to the elusive world of storytellers and creators.

Austin Film Festival’s On Story, the Lone Star EMMY Award® winning series has been picked up by PBS-affiliated stations in over 85% of the public television markets. Check local listings to find out when On Story airs in your city.

On Story is also available online through the websites of KLRU (www.klru.org), YouTube (www.youtube.com), and On Story (www.onstory.tv), making it even more accessible to viewers across the United States and around the world.

“On Story will do for Austin film what Austin City Limits did for Austin music.” - Bill Stotesbery, KLRU CEO

Inspired by the success of the On Story TV series, Austin Film Festival & Conference branched out further with The On Story Project:


The On Story podcast makes AFF’s audio content available by digital download for free. Podcasts are selected to correlate with trends in the industry and the cultural zeitgeist, like spotlighting The Nightly Show’s Larry Wilmore, or releasing a conversation with writing team Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver on Rise of the Planet of the Apes with the premiere of their film Jurassic World.


Hosted by the Austin NPR affiliate, KUT, the one-hour program premiered in February of 2015 and features the creative minds behind True Detective, Freaks and Geeks, There Will Be Blood, Fargo, Ghostbusters, and The Graduate.


Composed of transcribed and edited AFF conversations, On Story: Screenwriters and Their Craft was published by University of Texas Press in October 2013. Praised as recommended reading by film and media studies professors and filmmakers alike, the book offers even more introspections and recollections on the creative process.


Thanks in part to a grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission AFF is digitally preserving video and audio recordings of hundreds of panels with screenwriters and filmmakers from the past 23 years. 

The Austin Film Festival archives are established at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University and available to the public: http://www.thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu/research/a-z/austinfilmfestival.html. The finding aid for the collection is also available on the Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO): http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tsusm/00088/tsu-00088.html.


www.onstory.tv is a public digital hub where users can view all On Story TV episodes, additional edited clips from the On Story archive, and listen to podcasts. The site makes the On Story Project available for free to the international public, maintaining a democratization of accessibility that is integral to AFF.