Episode 45: A Story To Tell | Barbara Morgan of the Austin Film Festival

Barbara Morgan, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Austin Film Festival, combined her love of helping people, event planning, and ability to foster writers into one of Austin’s largest annual events. She and co-founder Marsha provide a place for people to connect with each other, no matter whether they are a writer, producer, or not in the industry and just appreciate a great film. We start out the episode hearing how a chance encounter at a dinner party ended up being Barbara’s path to start the Film Festival, to where it is now and the future of expanding into other storytelling mediums such as podcasting. The festival provides a great platform for writers to find opportunities in the industry, and we love Barbara’s passion to help people grow their creative capital so they can make a living from their talent. Finally, we get to hear from a film expert herself on where some great places are to catch a flick around town, and of course her special “feature,” the taco!

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Key Takeaways:

[2:00] Our guest today is Barbara Morgan of the Austin Film Festival! She is a transplant from Pennsylvania and attended the University of Texas in 1979.

[4:55] She worked as a band manager and helped put a tour on the road in the early 1990’s — Austin on the Road. Through this, she gained insight into the complexity of event planning.

[9:40] Barbara was always a film buff and found herself going to many movie screenings and opening nights.

She thought about starting a film festival as a hobby to celebrate general films.

[11:09] Barbara shares about a chance encounter with the head of the Texas Film Commission at a dinner party that led to her sending a business proposal to the commissioner.

[13:18] She and her other movie-loving friend Marsha Milam started it together and they just jumped right in but received a lot of support right away from the community. One of the producers suggested to them that since Austin is a town of writers, they should do a festival around them.

[21:09] The first one was at Willie Nelson’s Opera House in 1994. There were about 500 attendees total, compared to this year’s festival which came in at 15,000 attendees total.

[22:25] Thank you to our Sponsor, the Papasan Properties Group.

[27:24] Barbara thinks that The Paramount has a ghost!

[30:07] We hear her take on the power structure of a film today between the producer, director, actors, writers, etc.

[32:14] They are also breaking into the world of podcasting as a great way to tell a story.

The Taco:

Brisket Taco | Matt’s El Rancho

Mentioned in This Episode:

Austin Film Festival

Michael Fracasso

Jimmy LaFave

Texas Film Commission

Marsha Milam

Ann Richards

Excess Baggage

The Paramount

The Violet Crown


Download link | iTunes | Stitcher Radio | TuneIn | Google Play 

One Response to “Episode 45: A Story To Tell | Barbara Morgan of the Austin Film Festival”

  1. Linda erez

    Barb – GREAT interview because it had a spectacularly phenomenal subject. Loved learning so much more about your remarkable history. You are charming, smart, knowledgeable, concise, and an exceptional story teller of true events. Listened and captivated by each and every minute. Thank you! Looking forward to seeing you and Hannah at the rapidly approaching AFF. Many thanks for the Producers’ Badge.
    Linda Perez


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