I fell in love with this festival.
Attendees were unbelievably friendly (I have new FB friends a-plenty) and the embracing of heightened TV enjoyment was a joy to behold. Attendees asked thoughtful questions, industry people meshed with viewers, and everyone was relaxed. Not simply a fandom event, this festival has committed itself to exploring the creatives behind the stories we watch and some of the actors that help bring it to life. It does feel as though it's on the cusp of being bigger, the presence of some autograph hounds and vulture-like fans, alluded to a more fan-ish future.
But what panels did I see?:
The crowd was treated to the first episode of season 2 a few hours after the entire season had been accessible on Netflix. It was such an incredible feeling being seated in the State Theater surrounded by so many people being moved, and laughing at a show we all felt passionate about. Soon after the moderator (Todd van der Wolf - AV Club) introduced Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes), Danielle Brooks (Taystee) and Lea DeLaria (Big Boo). The panel was sustained by the amazing charisma and chemistry of the actresses as the moderation was (to be kind) underwhelming.
Beyond Bullying: What's Next for TV's LGBT teens?
A late addition to the program, this GLAAD supported event featured Wilson Cruz (MSCL's Ricky) as its chair alongside Faking It's Carter Covington (creator) and Michael Willett (Shane). I was enormously excited to this panel because the representation of LGBT teens, and any diverse teens, is a rare feat in TV. Cruz began the panel with a list of openly gay characters on television and then lead a discussion about the representation, characterisation and expectation of gay teens on our screens. OINTB's Lea DeLaria attended the session as an audience member but was included in the discussion as well. It was a thought provoking panel and I'll refer those interested to this post by a fellow attendee. The generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness of each of these panel members was inspiring.