Texas Film Awards To Honor Journalist and AFS Supporter Evan Smith
Austin Film Society’s tribute to movie makers and lovers will take place on the eve of SXSW
By Meher Qazilbash
The Texas Film Awards will return for its 21st year on March 10. Serving as the primary fundraiser for the Austin Film Society, a film hub and nonprofit, the event recognizes Texas talent in film, as well as those who support it.
This year, the awards show has been reimagined to accommodate the unpredictability of 2022. AFS will honor esteemed journalist Evan Smith in this special edition, titled “A Toast to Texas Film.” The evening will feature an intimate dinner party at Troublemaker Studios that celebrates Austin’s homegrown film industry and announces AFS’s upcoming initiatives.
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Smith, the CEO and co-founder of the Texas Tribune, as well as a longtime advocate for AFS, has offered countless contributions to the culture of our state. Over the past 30 years, he has garnered acclaim for his work at Texas Monthly and the Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, digital public media organization covering Texas politics and public policy. He is now the host of “Overheard with Evan Smith” on PBS, a weekly half-hour interview program that features fascinating guests including Isabella Rossellini, Dr. Margaret Atwood, Eli Wiesel and more.
During Smith’s eight years as editor and one year as president of Texas Monthly, the publication was nominated for 16 National Magazine Awards (the industry’s equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize), and twice awarded the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. The Tribune has won a number of honors, including a Peabody Award and 23 national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association. A particularly remarkable Austinite, Smith’s work incites meaningful discourse and engagement from the community.
While he is primarily known for his contributions to journalism, this ceremony will also recognize Smith as a champion for Austin’s film and creative media community. His dedication towards Texan artists has had a lasting impact on the cultural landscape of the state. In 2001, he co-founded the Texas Film Hall of Fame with Louis Black, a fellow Austinite and co-founder of the Austin Chronicle, to recognize rich artistic talents that have made a significant impact on Texas.
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He also served on the AFS Board of Directors for nearly a decade, including two years as the board’s president, during which time he helped raise more than four million dollars for Texas film. A key leader in Austin, Smith’s generosity, intellect and fervor has uplifted Austin artists to become legends of cinema.
“Evan got what AFS was doing for film and filmmakers, and like the force of nature he is, he pushed the organization into raising our profile and becoming unstoppable,” says AFS founder and acclaimed filmmaker Richard Linklater. “His impact on journalism is immense and he brings an undeniable passion for sparking the civic discourse around politics and culture. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have his vision and leadership by our side all of these years.”
Movie-lovers are invited to attend the much-anticipated event to immerse themselves in the world of film with fellow cinephiles. “A Toast to Texas Film” will feature many industry icons, including Elizabeth Avellán, Mehcad Brooks, Richard Linklater, Glen Powell and Robert Rodriguez.
All ticket proceeds will benefit AFS’s year-round educational and artistic programs, including grants to emerging Texas-based filmmakers, ensuring that our vibrant local cinema lives on.