AUSTIN, Texas—KLRU-TV (Austin PBS), in association with Midnight Films, announces a new statewide series, “Special Session,” hosted by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and University of Texas at Austin Radio-Television-Film Professor Paul Stekler. The series debuts at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10.
Each week, journalists, politicos and other notable Texans take on the issues and politics confronting this year’s 79th session of the Texas Legislature in this new half-hour series. “Special Session” will air on PBS stations in Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Harlingen, Houston, Killeen, Lubbock, San Antonio and Waco. In Austin, “Special Session” will air Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. In addition it will repeat Sundays at 12:30 p.m. following “Washington Week” on KLRU, channel 18, cable channel 9.
Paul Stekler and the “Special Session” production team Diane Zander and Megan Field.
Produced in Austin, “Special Session” will interweave documentary and discussion to stay one step ahead of the legislation destined to affect our lives long after the legislators head home.
“For a political junkie (and a closet policy wonk), covering a session of the Texas Legislature in a series like ‘Special Session’ is a dream come true,” said Stekler whose credits include “Last Man Standing” and “George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire.” “We get to cover issues in depth, travel around Texas, talk to some of the most interesting political observers in the state, and keep current, with a show to air every week for the duration of the session. It’s also a real challenge, something very different than producing long form documentaries. We can’t wait to start.”
“Special Session” is one of several new locally produced-programs KLRU will be airing in the coming months.
“KLRU is really excited to be able to work with Paul and his team of nationally recognized filmmakers to create a show about one of the most interesting political arenas in the country,” said Bill Stotesbery, CEO and general manager of KLRU-TV.
Each week “Special Session” will tackle one of the state’s most pressing issues. The show will also feature a look at the media, Lobby and those who make the Legislature work from Stekler’s unique perspective.
“Special Session” is a production of KLRU-TV in association with Midnight Films. Funding for “Special Session” is provided in part by Audre and Bernard Rapoport, the MFI Foundation and Public Strategies, Inc.
For more than 40 years, KLRU-TV—Austin’s PBS—has enriched the lives of central Texas viewers through quality television programming community services and public events. KLRU’s mission is to serve as catalyst for positive community change, to provide lifelong learning and to bring diverse elements of our community together. Funding for KLRU is provided by more than 21,000 central Texas members. In Austin, KLRU is channel 18, cable channel 9.
About “Special Session” Production Team
Paul Stekler (Host/Executive Producer) has produced many of PBS’s most honored documentaries on American politics including “George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire” (Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival), “Last Man Standing: Politics, Texas Style”, “Vote for Me: Politics in America”, and “Louisiana Boys: Raised on Politics”. His films have won numerous Emmys, Peabodys, and DuPont-Columbia Journalism Awards. He is also the head of the production program at The University of Texas at Austin.
Diane Zander (Series Producer) is an Emmy Award winner for her work on the Chicago PBS documentary Moving Stories. She makes documentaries while teaching media production at The University of Texas at Austin. Her latest documentary, “Girl Wrestler,” was broadcast nationally on PBS’s “Independent Lens.” A summa cum laude graduate of Northwestern University, she received her MFA in film and video production at The University of Texas at Austin.
Megan Field (Series Producer) most recently did independent producing and research for “Frontline’s The Choice,” while also working on a film on the Bush family for German ARD-TV, which aired in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 2004. Megan was the associate producer and assistant editor on “Last Man Standing.” Previously, she served two years as the co-conference director of the Austin Film Festival. She is a graduate of the Radio-Television-Film program at The University of Texas at Austin.