BANFF_FestivalThe 36th annual Banff World Media Festival runs from June 7-10, 2015 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta. The Festival boasts the world’s largest gathering of entertainment industry and digital media executives dedicated to media content production, broadcast and distribution within TV and digital media. To get a flavour of the calibre and focus on the professional development aspects of the festival, here’s the latest Master Class they announced:

Crave TV will be presenting a spotlight on one of their new SHOWTIME series, HAPPYish. The show’s Creator/Writer/Executive Producer Shalom Auslander, star Kathryn Hahn and SHOWTIME Senior Vice President, Original Programming, Amy Israel will lead a Master Class on how they’ve managed to give the traditional comedy format an edge that promises to be thoroughly entertaining! Moderated by Danielle Graham, Co-Anchor, CTV’s ETALK. 10:00 am, Wednesday, June 10th, Cascade Ballroom.

To demonstrate the convergence of media production and news production is this Digital Keynote by Rebecca Howard from the New York Times. From the program notes:

2014 was the year the New York Times couldn’t have been the New York Times without video. With a Pulitzer, Emmys and a Peabody among Video’s accomplishments, Times Video continues to focus on getting video in front of people who want to see it, on all possible platforms. From Television to Virtual Reality Times Video is leading the way in defining what it really means to be a premium video player.

Her keynote promises to focus on these questions:

  • What is the editorial process in deciding what kind of content to make?
  • How does The Times work with content creators from outside the building?
  • What new technologies, platforms and partners can help The Times continue to evolve the very foundations of storytelling?
  • How does The Times tackle the scale challenge?
  • How does The Times view syndication and distribution

The workshop The Future of Canadian Content also reflects the convergence in media and news production. From the program notes:

Production and development for Canadian broadcasters is an increasingly evolving business. Digital entertainment is no longer niche: the future is here and all of Canada’s broadcasters must build unique strategies to capitalize on new content and attract the millennial viewership. Take this opportunity to hear from some of Canada’s top decision makers and find out what content they are looking to produce and what the future of their business will look like.

This workshop promises to focus on these questions:

  • Are Canadian consumers using online streaming services to supplement their current cable TV packages or to replace traditional television altogether? Is cord-cutting being overhyped, or is it a real threat to broadcasters?
  • What changes will broadcasters need to implement in light of the CRTC’s “Let’s Talk TV” decisions?
  • Where do Canadian broadcasters stand globally in terms of digital progress?
  • What are the biggest threats to the current business models of Canadian broadcasters?

Check out the rest of the Festival lineup at:

On Monday, June 8, the CineCoup $1M Big Deal Pitch Event takes place and three Edmonton filmmakers are among the top five finalists for their production High School Brawl. All that’s between them and a cool million in production financing along with a guaranteed theatrical release by Cineplex is a three minute pitch to industry VIPs, and the four other contestants.

The winners of the 2015 Rockie Awards will also be announced on June 8 and four Alberta based media productions are in the running. Two Edmonton-based media productions got the nod: The Great Human Odyssey by Edmonton’s Clearwater Documentary nominated in the Science and Technology category and The Liquidator by Anaid Productions in the Lifestyle category. Two Calgary-based productions are also nominated: Fargo by Calgary’s Nomadic Pictures for Best Serial Drama and Heartland by Calgary-based Seven24 Film for Best Youth Fiction.

Check out the presentations from all of the nominees posted on the festival’s website at: to see what state-of-the-art media production looks like from around the world.


High School Brawl won the $1M Big Pitch Event and the Edmonton filmmakers are now moving into production. Here’s the coverage of the Festival and the announcement of Rockie Award Winners from the Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Global TV and others.