“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. The show became instantly succesful and is now airing on 88% of PBS-affiliated stations nationwide. On Story uses footage from AFF's twenty-three years of recorded panels, Q&As, and discussions as  way to explore the art and craft of storytelling. In 2014, On Story recieved a Lone Star Emmy for the Season 4 episode "Breaking Bad: A Conversation with Vince Gilligan."

Past episodes include conversations with legendary filmmakers such 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.

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


The On Story podcast, launched in April 2011, 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.


Launched in February of 2015 on KUT-Austin, the On Story radio series, a one-hour program, goes further in depth through conversations with the creative minds behind True Detective, Freaks and Geeks, There Will Be Blood, Fargo, Ghostbusters, and The Graduate, among others. Currently distributed by Public Radio International, the On Story radio show airs on over twelve public radio stations nationwide. 


Composed of transcribed and edited AFF conversations, On Story: Screenwriters and Their Craft and On Story: Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films are published by University of Texas Press. Praised as recommended reading by film and media studies professors and filmmakers alike, the books offer even more introspection 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.