Split Screens Festival Wraps Successful Debut

The inaugural Split Screens Festival began on Friday June 2 and wrapped on Thursday June 8 with jam-packed programming ranging from fan-favourites Mr. Robot and Orphan Black to more indie darlings such as The Girlfriend Experience and Brockmire.

Program director and seasoned film/television critic Matt Zoeller Seitz spoke to us leading up to the festival's premiere and shared that the preparation for a new festival involved playing to their strengths by focusing more on talent and programming based in the New York area. Seitz also took care to keep the fans in mind when selecting shows to highlight, being aware of the power of fandoms such as Orphan Black's Clone Club and Hannibal's Fannibals.

"This is a festival for fans."

Listen to our full interview with Matt Zoeller Seitz here:

Rami Malek attended a one-on-one panel in which he answered many questions about the inner mechanisms of playing Elliot Alderson on USA Network's Mr. Robot. Questions from the moderator and audience ranged from the wear-and-tear of playing such dark material, the portrayal of mental illness, and the filming of the show's complex sequences. Watch the panel here:

With the final season about to premiere, the Clone Club turned out in full force from all over the world in order to attend this send-off panel to the beloved sci-fi series. The cast answered questions about the technical aspects of filming the show, reminisced about the journey, and were moved to tears as many fans in the audience shared stories of the show helping them to come to terms with their sexual orientation. Watch the Orphan Black panel here:

Keeping in line with groundbreaking characters and representation, the series Billions held a panel that focused on the character of Taylor, the first major gender non-binary character to appear on television. In attendance were the show's producers as well as actor Asia Kate Dillon, who is also non-binary, to discuss the character's creative origins, their journey on the series thus far, and more. Watch the Billions panel here:

Brockmire stars Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet delivered tremendous laughs, particularly when Azaria unleashed a wealth of impersonations and characters. But they also shared greater insight into their alcoholic characters, thoughts on social media, and what's to come in season 2. Watch the Brockmire panel here:

Following a screening of the show's first season finale, The Girlfriend Experience co-creators/writers/directors Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz (via Skype call) discussed their creative process as the driving force behind the series, the complexity of the season finale, and shared hints as to how they would be approaching the season season. Watch The Girlfriend Experience panel here:

Following a last-minute cancellation of the Underground panel, a replacement panel was added to the programming. As the original panel was to take place before an already-scheduled Hannibal panel, the Split Screens team were fast-thinking and added another Hannibal panel to lead into it. This one involved a screening of the penultimate episode "The Number of the Beast Is 666" followed by a quick panel with series actor Raúl Esparza, who agreed to come earlier for the audience. Watch his solo panel here:

The final panel of Split Screens was the originally planned Hannibal one that followed a screening of the series finale "The Wrath of the Lamb" to a room full of Fannibals donning flower crowns. Following the screening, Raúl Esparza and a team of creative individuals inspired by Hannibal spoke about how the series inspired them. Bryan Fuller also joined in to speak on the panel via Skype. Watch the full Hannibal panel here:

Despite being a new festival, Split Screens has delivered a high quality of programming and demonstrated a skilled adaptability in their recovery after a last-minute panel cancellation. Program director and moderator Matt Zoeller Seitz was personable with the panelists and engaging with the largely fan-dominant audience. Split Screens has all the makings of becoming a massively popular festival stop for TV-lovers in years to come.


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