Last year New Yorkers were introduced to the brainchild of TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz: Split Screens Festival. It was an instant hit and we fell in love. As a big fan of television, the festival felt like it was specifically tailored for individuals like me. Movie festivals are great, but getting to spend a weekend delving deeply into the world of television is definitely more my speed and Split Screens Festival did not disappoint.

Its inaugural year celebrated The Get Down even as cast and crew faced the news of their cancellation. We had the chance to hear from a panel of new-media successes who spoke at length about the opportunities out there for new creators thanks to the growing success of platforms like Youtube, Twitch, and Vimeo. We snagged an exclusive interview with the wonderful Raul Esparza after his Hannibal panel about the past, present, and future states of television and in general had a blast. 

Coming back to the IFC Center for its second year, Split Screens is aiming to capitalize on the success of last year’s show to bring a whole new slew of panels and conversations to television audiences in the New York area. This year’s festival is set to take place May 30th through June 3rd and is already boasting a flexible and star-studded line-up. 

What makes the line-up particularly great is its flexibility. By starting on a Wednesday and going through Sunday it offers people with busy schedules ample chances to take part. Can’t go during the week? There’s a lot of stuff happening over the weekend. Already planned your weekend away? Then maybe you can catch a couple discussions after you’re off of work. 

Maybe make a date night out of it – the possibilities are endless. 

While we are not going to share the full line-up, since you can check it out on their website here, we’ve got a few highlights we wanted to bring to your attention and give you a taste of what Split Screens has to offer. 

Acting Machine: Westworld‘s Jeffrey Wright

Friday, Jun 1 at 7:30 pm audiences have the chance to sit and listen to a conversation with the talented Jeffrey Wright, currently taking the world by storm on Westworld. Of course, his skills extend far beyond that.

The Split Screens Festival site describes him as “the most versatile and mesmerizing of actors, playing everything from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the HBO film Boycott to a gangster kingpin and political leader on Boardwalk Empire.” 

He is definitely on our list of “actors you don’t want to miss” so this conversation jumps right to the top of our highlight list. 

Farewell, Comrades! The Americans Finale Viewing Party

Wednesday, May 30 at 9:30 pm fans of FX’s The Americans have the chance to settle in with fellow fans to watch the series finale. More television critics than you can shake a stick at will be enjoying the finale alongside you and then they will be taking the stage to offer an in-depth discussion about the popular series once the episode is over.

While it can be sad to say farewell to a critically acclaimed show like The Americans it is also nice to have a chance to celebrate the accomplishment of six beautiful seasons. Sit back, kick your feet up, and enjoy. 

Do Not Adjust Your Set: Journey to The Outer Limits

Saturday, June 2 at 11 am, Split Screens Festival has decided to speak to my science-fiction nerdy heart just as much as it speaks to my love of television. Combining the two, the festival has pulled together an amazing mix of panelists to discuss the class anthology series after going back in time to relive one of the most popular episodes: Demon with a Glass Hand.

This event, in particular, is going to be a fun one for anyone who grew up as a science fiction fan in the 90s. Hopefully, it will also inspire a new generation of nerds to pick up the remastered blue-ray box set and dive back into the world of The Outer Limits.

Damn Fine Coffee: Twin Peaks Fan Theories

Sunday, June 3 at 11 am, fans new and old of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks can settle in with their fellow aficionados and drink up the in-depth theories posited by fans of the show who will be taking the stage to share their thoughts.

This panel will be structured through a series of presentations including ones such as “Ding-Dong, Cooper’s Dead,” “Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal as David Lynch’s Red Dragon,” “Just A Stranger’s Dream: A Unified Field Theory of Twin Peaks,” and more. Get ready to dig deep into the series and enter the minds of some intense David Lynch fans as they share their discoveries and thoughts on the show. 

The Americans: The Final Debriefing

Friday, June 1 at 1 pm, whether you made it to the live screening of the finale or not, fans of The Americans will get a chance to further process the end of the epic theories with showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields. Bound to be therapeutic for everyone involved, get ready to hear about the show and ask your burning questions.  

The Women Behind the Camera: Four Top TV Directors on Showing vs. Telling

Saturday, June 2 at 2:45 pm is a panel for those television fans out there passionate about the art of storytelling. Four wildly talented female directors will share their observations on the craft and answer audience questions about the world of television. 

In attendance will be Tricia Brock (Mr. Robot, The Walking Dead, Halt and Catch Fire), Julie Anne Robinson (The Good Place, Masters of Sex, Orange is the New Black), Lauren Wolkstein (Queen Sugar), and Gillian Robespierre (Silicon Valley, Casual, Crashing). Personally, I don’t know how anyone could handle that much talent packed into one room, but it is going to be an amazing and thought-provoking panel. 

Don’t miss out on the chance to pick the brains of some of the best directors in the industry. Get your tickets now. 

Vanguard Award: Sandra Oh

Sunday, June 3 at 3 pm Split Screens Festival will celebrate the work of Golden Globe and SAG-award winning Sandra Oh by presenting her with the Vanguard Award. Her career is wide and deep and we are excited to see her successful career celebrated as it should be. 

Along with celebrating her career, audiences will get to experience a special screening of her latest work in Killing Eve. Episode 1, Nice Face, will air before Sandra Oh takes the stage to discuss it and the rest of her career. This is definitely not an event any television fan will want to miss. 

There’s more than what we have listed here since Split Screens Festival is jam-packed, but you can check out the full schedule to see what else is happening. We think that Split Screens is one of the best festivals out there, particularly for television fans, and gives audiences a chance to experience the talent behind their favorite shows up close and personal.

Check out the full schedule and buy tickets for these can’t-miss events here.

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