Make no bones about it (pun unabashedly intended), some pretty heady talent is coming this fall to the Austin Film Festival and Conference and I plan to be first in line.
The Conference has announced that the recipient of their 2011 Outstanding Television Writer Award will be Hart Hanson, creator, executive producer, show runner, and writer of the Fox sereis, Bones. The show’s co-stars, Emily Deschanel (Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan) and David Boreanaz (Special Agent Seeley Booth), will join him in Austin to present the award.
Not since interviewing Anthony Zuiker, creator of the CSI television shows, have I been this excited about meeting another writer.
The Austin Film Festival (AFF), celebrating its 18th year, hosts one of the best conferences for screenwriters, bar none. I attended the first seven in a row (a distinction that garnered me and a few other die-hard participants a funky bathrobe labeling us “FOFs” for Friends of the Festival).
I can safely say AFF only gets better with age.
Bones executive producer Barry Josephson serves on the festival’s board of advisors, which is a testament to the respect it garners within the industry. Josephson, who owns Josephson Entertainment, is also a film producer and was formerly president of worldwide production for Columbia Pictures. He is a conference regular and might have had just a little something to do with getting the Bones stars freed up to attend the awards presentation for their boss Hanson.
Hanson, Josephson, Deschanel, and Boreanaz will present a special screening of an episode of Bones, which means we’ll be watching it on a big screen for a change, possibly in a venue like the grand and historic Paramount Theatre, which is always used for the festival. The custom is to have a Q&A afterward, so this should be a revealing glimpse behind the scenes from the perspectives of the guy who created and runs the show and its co-stars who bring it to life.
During the conference, Hanson will also participate as a panelist. AFF panels are exceptional opportunities to meet and ask questions of some of the most successful writers, producers and filmmakers of today. Their accessibility at AFF is mind-boggling. Just go check out the Driskill Hotel bar at the end of each day.
One of my most recent favorite speakers is Ron Howard. You know, little “Opie Taylor” who grew up to become a producer and director and won two Oscars for A Beautiful Mind and is about to release his new film Cowboys and Aliens?
Conference director Maya Perez says the Bones scribe is a perfect fit.
“Having a one-hour drama last six seasons - and still going strong - in the current TV climate is a major feat and the show's success is largely due to Hanson's original and engaging characters and plot lines," she said.
Houston has a sibling connection to Bones. The real life forensic anthropologist, portrayed by actress Deschanel, is Kathy Reichs, the bestselling author of the bone-chilling book series that was the inspiration for the show. Reichs, originally from Canada, divides her time between there and North Carolina, where she is a professor at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. She visited Houston two years ago to see her sister here and spoke to the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce about her work.
She told the audience that she serves as a producer on the show to “keep the science honest” but I notice she’s also credited as a writer on over 100 episodes.
For a brainiac who deals daily in the nastiness of the gross and decomposing, she was a hilarious speaker. Her genius was obvious but her unexpected humor was a dandy curveball, much like the television series her writing has inspired.