Evan Smith, winner of this year’s AFS Tribute to Texas Film (Photo by Stephen Spillman for the Texas Tribune)
Raise a glass with the Austin Film Society: The nonprofit film association has announced that it will toast Texas Film and honor Texas Grandstand founder Evan Smith for his contributions to the state’s film scene.
The party will take place on Thursday, March 10: the day before South by Southwest, the date normally reserved for the Texas Film Awards Hall of Fame ceremony. This event became SXSW Film’s unofficial launch party, and AFS originally planned a full in-person awards ceremony — the first since 2020 — at the Long Center. However, this larger celebration has been pushed back to next year. Instead, the night turned into a more intimate dinner at Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios.
Guests will include Rodriguez himself, producer Elizabeth Avellán (spy on kids, city of sin, The Blazing World ), director Richard Linklater (who will launch his latest film, Apollo 10 1/2, to South By Southwest three days later), and two actors and Austin natives; Mehcad Brooks (super girl, mortal combatand Glen Powell (Everyone wants it!!, Top Gun: Maverick).
However, the real guest of honor will be Smith. Although he is nationally known as the founder of the Texas Tribune and host of the PBS show Overheard with Evan Smith, he was also a key behind-the-scenes player in AFS history. A board member from 2000 to 2009, including two years as chairman of the board, during his tenure he helped raise more than $4 million for the nonprofit film. Importantly for the night, it was Smith and the Chronicle co-founder Louis Black who came up with the idea for the Hall of Fame.
“Evan understood what AFS was doing for films and filmmakers and, like the force of nature that he is, he pushed the organization to raise our profile and become unstoppable,” said the founder of ‘AFS, Richard Linklater. “His impact on journalism is immense and he brings an undeniable passion for sparking civic discourse around politics and culture. We have been incredibly fortunate to have his vision and leadership by our side for all these years.
“Evan knew where the momentum was in the community and how to get Austin power brokers excited about our mission,” said AFS CEO Rebecca Campbell. “It was the leadership we needed at the time, so that we could grow into the important role we play in supporting all aspects of the Texas film ecosystem – industry, culture and artists. .”
The event is already sold out, but you can join the waiting list for tables at austinfilm.org/a-toast-to-texas-film.