A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

Thursday, 25 August, 2016
A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

Ten years ago in June 2006, I was awarded a CTV Fellowship to attend the prestigious Banff World Television Festival. Since then I’ve attended to report on most of the yearly Banff World Media Festival (Banff’s new name). Based on my personal experiences, I recommend the annual Banff gathering be something someone working in media/entertainment industry should attend at least once in her/his life (and may be even yearly). Great way to pitch projects to concentrated groups of decision makers from around the world, to meet and make friends with industry peers, and learn from the many Master Classes you given by some of the best creatives in the industry.

Take this year as an example, knowing HBO Chairman and CEO Mr. Richard Plepler will attend the 2016 Banff, I did some research including watching these two videos to prepare. And I ended up learning lots from attending and meeting Richard in his Company of Distinction Keynote: HBO’s Richard Plepler Banff World Media Festival Banff. And yes, I felt totally honoured when Richard compared me to his mother after I asked him about his work experience at “RLP International quoting what I learned from his commencement speech to the Franklin & Marshall College Class of 2015!

Let me share just another highly insightful and fun to watch video from the 2016 Banff:  In Conversation with Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award Recipient Russell Peters. I love Russell Peters even more as I heard the etalk co-host Lainey Lui asked Russell, “You’ve been making this kind of money for the last few years and you are still hustling, 250 shows, 120 cities, 25 countries, you are still hustling with an immigrant work ethic!

(More info on Russell‘s new show “The Indian Detective“)

In the last 10 years, I’ve met and interviewed a lot of creatives and senior executives at Banff. The following are some samples of my video interviews.

*2010) Meeting someone I really admire like Ricky Gervais was epic and wonderful for me. I was able to capture his “Award for Comedy Speech” which I think is better/more fun than the official Banff version shot with more expensive video equipment. (watch and read my full 2010 report of Ricky here)

And asking Ricky a brief question on the 2010 Banff red carpet was something I still remember fondly today, six years later.

*2008) Two years before I met Ricky, Banff attendees had the pleasure to meet the highly successful producer Jon Plowman (photo) who came to Banff to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as former head of BBC comedy and producing/executive producing great shows like Absolutely Fabulous, The Office, Little Britain, and The Vicar of Dibley! I wrote a brief report in 2008 but didn’t shoot any video. I did walk up to meet Jon and personally thanked him for his great work!
*2011) Mike Farah, President of Production, Funny or Die
,
*2010) TiVo CEO Tom Rogers interview,
*2013) Watching “VICE co-founders Shane Smith & Suroosh Alvi at Banff 2013” was a lot of fun and then interviewing “Shane @ Banff ” was awesome given how much VICE Media has grown since 2013! (Aug 18th, 2017 update: CNN, “‘Vice News Tonight’ has breakout moment with Charlottesville coverage“, full short doc segment on YouTube Aug 14th “Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight on HBO“)

*2012) “Masterclass with Terence Winter creator of Boardwalk Empire at #banff2012” (more info on Boardwalk Empire)

*2012) And my video interview with “Terence Winter, Creator of Boardwalk Empire at banff 2012

*2011) Tom Perlmutter, NFB Chairperson,
*2010) Tony Lacavera, Globalive & WIND Mobile Chairman audio interview, (It was fun for me interviewing Tony, an University of Toronto alum, over the years. In March 2016, Shaw Communications Inc. closed its acquisition of Wind Mobile for $1.6 billion.)
*2008) David Hoselton (Producer of House) (I LOVE House so it was interesting for me to know that creator David Shore and producer David Hoselton were University of Toronto Law School buddies.)
*2012) Duncan Fulton, SVP Canadian Tire, talks about cutting edge advertising/e-commerce technologies at #banff2012 (Since then, Duncan has been promoted to President FGL Sports Ltd in March 2016.)
*2007) Jane Mote, Director of Life Style, UKTV,
*2007) Vicky Taylor, Editor, Interactivity, BBC Television,
*2007) Dale Herigstad, Chief Creative Officer, Schematic,
*2007) Greg Goodfried, Co-creator and Executive Producer, Lonelygirl15, (note: In 2012, AdAge reported that “Everyday Health Buys Lonelygirl15 Producer EQAL in Expansion to New Genres” quoting TechCruch which “pegged the price at $15 million plus a $5 million earn-out“. EQAL founders are Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried.)
*2007) Dawn Airey, Director of Global Content, ITV,
*2012) Paul Chard – The most interesting person at #banff2012 to me,

One of the most insightful people I’ve met at Banff
*2009) Gary Carter’s Storytelling in the Digital Age (2009) (Long list of videos, highly recommended even the 2009 content may seem a bit dated)

Attended and filmed,
*2012) “In Conversation with Chuck Lorre (Creator of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory)“,
*2010) “William Shatner speaks with ‘The Big Bang Theory’ creator and showrunner Bill Prady“,
*2012) “Conflicts in Reality TV and psychological profiling – The Chicken or The Egg – Most fascinating and controversial session at 2012 Banff
*2010) “Ian Brennan, creator/writer Glee (19 Emmy nominations) @ 2010 Banff” (extensive video)
*2013) “Julia Louis-Dreyfus talks about Veep and other topics at Banff World Media Festival 2013

*2012) This was a lot of fun and insight for me, “Master class Q&A with Glen Mazzara – The Walking Dead at 2012 Banff World Media Festival

*2006) Finally, It was my honour to meet and listen to Oscar winning director & writer Paul Haggis at my absolute first Banff in 2006. I wish my “professionalism” hadn’t stopped me from asking for a photo! Oh well, something I have regretted ever since. Anyway, the story of how Paul broke into Television is something I will likely remember for the rest of my life! Enjoy!


*** More
2016 Banff World Media Festival stuff and one 2012 Master Class with Chuck Lorre (creator: Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory).

*2016) I think Girls is one of the most cutting edge and funny TV comedies in recent years. I had the pleasure this year to attend and listen to Jenni Konner talk in person. And I enjoyed the session very much.

Comedy Master Class with Casey Bloys and Jenni Konner (note: Casey Bloys is senior vice president, HBO Entertainment)

*2016) I didn’t know the name Jay Baruchel but after watching this, I discovered I’ve watched A LOT of Jay‘s stuff without knowing his name and I LOVE them all! Very insightful: “In Conversation with Canadian Award of Distinction Recipient Jay Baruchel

Further references:

*2016) Richard Plepler: Stick with the Optimists (background research for Banff 2016)

*2016) HBO CEO Richard Plepler: Full Discussion @The Paley Center for Media (background research for 2016)

*2016 Banff) “The Night Of” Master Class: A Closer Look at HBO’s Limited Series Model featuring Academy Award-winning writer Steven Zaillian. After watching the video, I realized one of my favourite films “Searching for Bobby Fischer” was written and directed by Steven and he talks about it at timecode 16:10.

*for 2016) Westworld: Teaser Trailer (HBO) (brand new to viewers at Banff, publicly released after 2016 Banff)

*2012) In conversation w Chuck Lorre (Creator: Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) at #banff2012

P.S. On a personal note, I want to thank Scott Benzie, Lindsay Nahmiache, Robert Montgomery, and, for the last 10 years, many other team members for their kind help at Banff and arranging my press credentials, etc. I really enjoyed attending Banff and I’m happy to share what I learned with my readers/viewers.

It has taken me some time to create this post and I am still amazed how many great creatives and industry senior executives I’ve met and tried to learn from all these years. And there are still some that I haven’t listed! Like in 2009 when I met and interviewed Ron Moore who amazingly re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (BSG)!

Let me mention something most people might have missed. For a few years in a row, I noticed Tony Lacavera, Founder and Chairman of Globalive & former WIND Mobile Chairman, was sponsoring the Banff CRTC Breakfasts. (see my 2010 report) A side benefit was Tony got some “face time” to chat with CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein (photo of the two at CRTC Breakfast). Well, to me, that was money well spent in the long game of business! As you may know, this March 2016 WIND Mobile was sold to Shaw Communications Inc. for $1.6 billion.

If you ask me, I say the C$1.6 billion deal has to be one of the biggest deals that Banff World Media Festival has *indirectly* facilitated! Pretty cool!


Two hours of Richard Plepler, HBO Chairman & CEO before his Banff World Media Festival visit in 7 days

Tuesday, 7 June, 2016
RICHARD PLEPLER - Chairman and CEO, HBO - interview pix

RICHARD PLEPLER – Chairman and CEO, HBO – Company of Distinction Keynote

Richard Plepler, HBO Chairman & CEO (named to this position in January 2013), will be coming to Banff World Media Festival in 7 days to participate in a feature conversation (Company of Distinction Keynote) with etalk’s Ben Mulroney in the morning of June 14th to to discuss all things HBO and its place as the home of some of the best entertainment of the past 30 years. And then in the evening, he will accept, on behalf of HBO, the Banff World Media Festival Company of Distinction.

Plepler has a long career at HBO and as co-president from 2007 to 2012, he was responsible for green-lighting of successful series including True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom and Game of Thrones, as well as first season Emmy® Award-winners Girls and Veep.

Given the international success of HBO and the insights Plepler can impart, it is a rare opportunity for entertainment industry participants in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and in fact anywhere in the world to attend Banff 2016 and learn from the likes of Plepler in person.

In anticipation of Plepler‘s conversation at Banff, this reporter has done some research and found the follow video presentations (six clips totalling over 2 hours) to help readers and viewers familiarize with some of the ideas he may discuss or share at Banff.

1) HBO CEO Richard Plepler: Full Discussion @The Paley Center for Media (published May 6, 2016) (57 minutes)

2) Richard Plepler: Stick with the Optimists – commencement speech Franklin & Marshall College Class of 2015 (21 minutes)

3) HBO’s Richard Plepler on the transformation of television (Washington Post published on Oct 15, 2015) (29 minutes)

4) HBO’s Richard Plepler and Jimmy Iovine on Dreaming and Streaming – FULL CONVERSATION (Vanity Fair, published Oct 8, 2015) (31 minutes) (Plepler talked about his first encounter with Iovine re “fuck the police” in a song at time code 1:04).

5) CEO calls HBO NOW a ‘Millennial missile’  (Apr 7, 2015) (3 minutes)

6) Why Snowden chose John Oliver  (Apr 8, 2015) (2 minutes) (Here is that 2015 April show with ~12 million views, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance (HBO)“)

Note: This article is cross posted to examiner.com by this reporter.


Paul Lee, President of ABC Entertainment Group, at 2012 Banff World Media Festival

Thursday, 21 June, 2012

It was my pleasure to listen to Paul Lee’s, President of ABC Entertainment Group, opening keynote at 2012 Banff World Media Festival. Here is a video.

Here is Paul’s Banff official opening keynote description.

“CBC Opening Keynote: Paul Lee, President of ABC Entertainment Group
Paul Lee has had an illustrious career in the entertainment industry. Spending several years at BBC as CEO and founder of BBC America before becoming President at ABC, Lee has shepherded in 13 new series, working with some of the industry’s biggest names, including Tim Allen, Darren Star, Ashley Judd and Steven Spielberg. He is the head of all creative and business operations for ABC Studios and Times Square Studios. As head of all development, programming, marketing and scheduling operations for ABC Entertainment, Lee will deliver the CBC/Radio-Canada opening keynote at BANFF and will discuss the exciting future of the entertainment broadcast industry.”


ZDF wins Best Interactive Award at 2012 Banff World Media Festival

Thursday, 21 June, 2012

Congrats to ZDF for winning Best Interactive Award for Wer Rettet Dina Foxx?” (German) at 2012 Banff World Media Festival. Here is a video of ZDF’s Ralf-Peter Piechowiak accepting the award at 2012 Banff.


Jeanne Beker, Queen of Fashion TV, speaks at 2012 Banff World Media Festival

Wednesday, 20 June, 2012

Jeanne Beker, Queen of Canadian Fashion TV

Jeanne Beker, Queen of Fashion TV host, received a Canadian Award of Distinction at 2012 Banff World Media Festival. I managed to capture a few words by Jeanne. And she also shared her Banff experience in a touching TorStar article.

Here is the official Banff bio,

Jeanne Beker
Host
Bell Media’s FashionTelevisionChannel
Jeanne Beker is one of the most iconic and influential women in the fashion industry, both here in Canada and around the world. Jeanne is currently host of Bell Media’s FashionTelevisionChannel – Canada’s first and only 24-hour channel dedicated to fashion, beauty and design. Host of Canada’s leading fashion series FASHION TELEVISION for 27 years, Jeanne is also a contributing editor for The Toronto Star, a columnist for Metro, a published author of five books (the latest two released in Spring 2011 – Finding Myself in Fashion and Strutting It: The Grit Behind The Glamour) and a regular style correspondent for CANADA AM and ETALK. Jeanne also added a dose of style to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics with regular fashion segments for CTV and launched an exclusive clothing line titled “Edit by Jeanne Beker” available at The Bay stores across Canada. Last year, Jeanne travelled to London, England as a CTV Royal expert covering all things fashion as the world tuned in to watch William and Kate tie the knot at the Royal Wedding on April 29, 2011.”

P.S. As a big fan of fashion, I want to mention the insightful fashion reporter Tim Blanks is the King of Fashion TV to me and I had been a big fan of Fashion File until CBC cancelled it.


The Onion’s President & CEO Steve Hannah at 2012 Banff World Media Festival

Wednesday, 20 June, 2012

Steve Hannah, President & CEO of The Onion gave a very different presentation at 2012 Banff World Media Festival.Here is a sample, hope you enjoy it.

Here is his official Banff bio,

“Steve Hannah
President & CEO
The Onion
Had it not been for an incredible stretch of bad luck and an unfortunate series of largely unsubstantiated mishaps that resulted in a half dozen felony convictions, Steve Hannah would most likely be President of the United States today.

Instead, much to the eternal chagrin of his late mother, for the past seven years he has been President & CEO of The Onion: America’s Finest News Source and Relentless Self-Promoter.

Embarassing, really.

Nevertheless, The Onion is a multi-platform (VC’s like people who talk like that, right?) media company that reports the news to a largely gullible public in print (newspapers and magazines), on a strange thing called the Internet (10 million unique visitors), on all manner of mobile devices, by way of exceedingly fancy apps, via web video (its Onion News Network has collected more Webbys than any other legitimate news organization and in 2009 won the prestigious Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting along with Saturday Night Live and Sixty Minutes) and most recently on television, where its Onion Sports Network debuted on Comedy Central and the Onion News Network show (and was renewed) launched on IFC.

Today, the Onion and its subsidiary organizations constitute the biggest, scariest, most powerful, most omniscient, most virulent, most vindictive news gathering organization in the world. For example, if he chose to do so-which he would not because he has learned to use his influence judiciously-he could wreck every single one of your personal and professional lives. Read the rest of this entry »


Duncan Fulton, SVP Canadian Tire, talks about cutting edge advertising/e-commerce technologies at #banff2012

Wednesday, 20 June, 2012

Duncan Fulton, SVP Communications & Corporate Affairs, Canadian Tire at #Banff2012

It was extremely insightful and illuminating for me to listen to and interview Duncan Fulton, Senior Vice President of Communications and Corporate AffairsCanadian Tire, at 2012 Banff World Media Festival. Before Duncan‘s presentation, I frankly would never had associated Canadian Tire with “cutting-edge” e-commerce (or as Duncan puts it in the presentation, simply “commerce”).

Duncan explains and share his experiences with using Sport Chek (a Canadian Tire owned and operated brand via FGL Sports) to experiment with new/cool social media, Google/YouTube and Facebook advertising/marketing campaigns. I agree with Duncan that the best way (when everything is so new) is simply by “trail and error” to figure what actually works and what doesn’t. Find out what contributes to the bottom-lines and makes money and what actually destroys shareholders’ equity. Once what works are found (via Sport Chek), then applying the lessons learned to Canadian Tire as a whole. Very interesting real world examples.

My interview with Duncan Fulton, SVP Canadian Tire, at #banff2012

Ducan’s talk at 2012 Banff World Media Festival

Here is Duncan’s official 2012 Banff World Media Festival bio,

Duncan Fulton
Senior Vice President of Communications and Corporate Affairs
Canadian Tire Corporation

Duncan Fulton is Senior Vice President of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Canadian Tire Corporation & Chief Marketing Officer of the Forzani Group, including mega sport retailers like Sport Chek and Sports Experts. Duncan is a member of the Canadian Tire and Forzani Group executive teams and works across all the company’s business areas, including Canadian Tire Retail, Automotive, Part Source, Petroleum, Mark’s, Financial Services and the company’s charity, Jumpstart.

Duncan currently represents the company as a board member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and is also on the Board of One X One,a non-profit foundation committed to supporting, preserving and improving the lives of children at home in Canada, Haiti and Africa.

Before joining Canadian Tire, Duncan was the General Manager and Senior Partner of the Toronto flagship office of international public relations company, Fleishman-Hillard Communications. During his seven years with Fleishman-Hillard, Duncan led and worked on the company’s largest accounts across multiple practice areas. As a key strategist within the Omnicom network, Duncan played an important role in multi-agency campaigns, bringing together experts in advertising, social, experiential, direct to consumer, and paid and earned media.

Prior to Fleishman-Hillard, Duncan was a communication advisor and press secretary for Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Duncan was also Communications Director for the Minister responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Press Secretary for the Hon. Dalton McGuinty – now Ontario’s Premier – and communication assistant for Premier Frank McKenna.”


Master class and Q&A with Glen Mazzara @glenmazzara Showrunner & Writer of The Walking Dead at #banff2012

Wednesday, 20 June, 2012

Glen Mazzara, Showrunner, Writer of AMC hit series The Walking Dead

Fans of AMC hit series The Walking Dead: I hope you will enjoy and learn as much from this master class with Glen Mazzara @glenmazzara, Showrunner & Writer of The Walking Dead, as I did at 2012 Banff World Media Festival.

update: Just realized that Glen was co-executive producer and writer of some of the episodes of “Life“, a show I LOVE.

Here is a Q&A with Glen Mazzara

Here is Glen’s official festival bio,

Glen Mazzara
Executive Producer
AMC – The Walking Dead
Glen Mazzara is currently showrunner and Executive Producer for AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” He was most recently showrunner/Executive Producer of TNT’s medical drama, “Hawthorne.” Mazzara was previously a member of the core writing staff of Golden Globe®-winning “The Shield,” FX’s groundbreaking cable police drama, and has also written for “Life” and “Nash Bridges.” In 2008, he served as creator, executive producer, and showrunner of “Crash,” the first scripted drama on the pay-cable network STARZ”


Conversation with Nikesh Arora, Google SVP, Chief Business Officer #banff2012

Wednesday, 20 June, 2012

Have a watch of this insightful Conversation with Nikesh Arora, Google SVP, Chief Business Officer at 2012 Banff World Media Festival.

Here is Nikesh’s official bio from Google’s management page,

“Nikesh Arora Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer

Nikesh oversees all revenue and customer operations, as well as marketing and partnerships. Since joining Google in 2004, he has held several positions with the company. Most recently, he led Google’s global direct sales operations. He also developed and managed the company’s operations in the European, Middle Eastern and African markets and was responsible for creating and expanding strategic partnerships in those regions for the benefit of Google’s growing number of users and advertisers.

Prior to joining Google, he was chief marketing officer and a member of the management board at T-Mobile Europe. While there, he spearheaded all product development, terminals, brand and marketing activities of Read the rest of this entry »


Masterclass with Mike Fleiss, creator of The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, #banff2012

Sunday, 17 June, 2012

Mike Fleiss, executive producer of The Bachelor franchise, (including The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad)

My friends will tell you I am no fan of reality TV genre but I was totally fascinated by the interesting & insightful masterclass with Mike Fleiss, creator of The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, #banff2012. Enjoy.

Here is the 2012 Banff World Media Festival‘s session description

The Bachelor/The Bachelorette – Masterclass with Mike Fleiss
Mike Fleiss has created more than three dozen network television shows over the past two decades. The hallmark of his career? Controversy. Among his most controversial shows are: “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?,” “Breaking the Magician’s Code,” “Are You Hot?” and “The Bachelor.” Each of these programs were ratings monsters, fueled in large part by their controversial nature. Fleiss will illustrate the role of controversy on modern television and how it has become an essential part of his career.

* How to create and embrace controversy?
* What role has controversy played in reality television?>
* How to handle the publicity surrounding a TV controversy?
* How is controversy your best marketing tool?”

Note: I want to be clear that I am still no fan of the reality TV genre but I just find Mike insightful and fascinating.


In Conversation with Chuck Lorre (Creator of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) at #banff2012

Sunday, 17 June, 2012

Chuck Lorre, King of Comedy (Cybill, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men, and The Big Bang Theory)

Here is a very insightful “in conversation” session with Chuck Lorre (Creator of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) at #banff2012.

Here is 2012 Banff’s session description:

“In Conversation With: Ustinov Award for Comedy Winner Chuck Lorre
Join us to celebrate this year’s Ustinov Award winner, Chuck Lorre — award-winning television creator, writer and producer known for such hit comedy series as “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly”. For the past 20 years, Lorre has delivered such hit shows as “Grace Under Fire,” “Dharma & Greg,” “Roseanne” and “Cybill.” He co-created the blockbuster comedy series “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” – which both rank as the #1 and #2 comedies among total viewers on all of U.S. television. The Ustinov Award recognizes a creative talent that has made an outstanding comedic contribution to the media industry, and Lorre is a natural fit. Past recipients include: John Cleese, Martin Short, Kelsey Grammer, Rick Mercer, Ricky Gervais and James Burrows.”


Terence Winter, creator of Boardwalk Empire, one-on-one interview at #banff2012

Saturday, 16 June, 2012

Terence Winter, Creator, Writer, Exec producer of HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire

Here is my one-on-one interview with Terence Winter, creator, writer, executive producer of HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire. Also don’t forget to watch Terence’s masterclass (video) at Banff 2012.

Note: In the interview, Terence recommends Syd Field‘s classic “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting” (first published in 1979).

Here is the official Banff session description.

Boardwalk Empire – Masterclass with Terence Winter
A few short years after his tenure on The Sopranos ended, Terence Winter brought the gangster genre roaring back with Boardwalk Empire, a sweeping epic set in Prohibition-era Atlantic City. Along with Executive Producer Martin Scorsese, series Creator Winter deftly weaves fact and fiction to pull back the curtain on the worlds of both crime and politics. Join Winter as he discusses what it takes to create and produce an award-winning period drama.
What was the creative process of adapting an episodic series from a novel?
What are the challenges and limitations of integrating real-life figures with fictional characters?
What is it like collaborating with Martin Scorsese, one of the true masters of cinema?
What are the creative limitations and benefits to producing a period drama?”


Masterclass with Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter at #banff2012

Saturday, 16 June, 2012

Terence Winter, Creator, Writer, Exec producer of HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire

It was my great pleasure to attend the masterclass with Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter @ Banff 2012. Have a watch of the insightful masterclass with Terence. Also don’t forget to watch my one-on-one video interview with Terence.

From 2012 Banff’s session description:

Boardwalk Empire – Masterclass with Terence Winter
A few short years after his tenure on The Sopranos ended, Terence Winter brought the gangster genre roaring back with Boardwalk Empire, a sweeping epic set in Prohibition-era Atlantic City. Along with Executive Producer Martin Scorsese, series Creator Winter deftly weaves fact and fiction to pull back the curtain on the worlds of both crime and politics. Join Winter as he discusses what it takes to create and produce an award-winning period drama.

* What was the creative process of adapting an episodic series from a novel?
* What are the challenges and limitations of integrating real-life figures with fictional characters?
* What is it like collaborating with Martin Scorsese, one of the true masters of cinema?
* What are the creative limitations and benefits to producing a period drama?”


Brief preview of articles and videos to come of my Banff World Media Festival coverage #banff2012

Thursday, 14 June, 2012

Four days of Banff World Media Festival 2012 flew by quickly. I braved my huger by skipping a few lunches so I could attend a few more sessions, master classes and meet more people so I can bring you a few reports. Stay tune today and the next few days for more reports and videos to come. I promise my video coverage will be sometimes insightful, sometimes funny, sometimes even a bit shocking, hopefully you will learn something from my four days of #awesome experiences.

Chuck Lorre, King of Comedy (Cybill, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men, and The Big Bang Theory), Glen Mazzara, Showrunner, Writer of AMC hit series The Walking DeadJeanne Beker, Queen of Canadian Fashion TV, Mike Fleiss, creator of The Bachelor franchise, (including The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad), and Terence Winter, Creator, Writer, Exec producer of HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire are some of the Television Creatives & Luminaries I got to meet, listen, and learn from at #banff2012. I’ve will be posting many videos of these insightful discussions/presentations, some very  extensive.

Chuck Lorre, King of Comedy (Cybill, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men, and The Big Bang Theory)

Glen Mazzara, Showrunner, Writer of AMC hit series The Walking Dead

Jeanne Beker, Queen of Canadian Fashion TV

Mike Fleiss, executive producer of The Bachelor franchise, (including The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad)

Terence Winter, Creator, Writer, Exec producer of HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire

My good friend the news producer/documentary filmmaker Gingi Baki asked me who is the most interesting person I met at Banff 2012? Tough question! All of the above luminaries could easily top any “interesting” list. After thinking hard for a few moments, I answered that the most interesting person I met in #banff2012 , to me, is Paul Chard, Global Head of Content, MediaCom. I will start my series of Banff 2012 report with an article with video sharing why I think Paul is, again, to me, the most interesting person I met in #banff2012.

#Banff2012 Day 1 - pix 02

P.S. On a personal note, it was my pleasure to report alongside Bill Graveland (Canadian Press), Eric Volmers (Calgary Herald), Etan Vlessing (THR), and George Winslow (Broadcasting & Cable).

I am deeply saddened to hear the passing of Norma Reveler (THR, Ottawa Citizen) via @gregobr I found her #banff2010 article still insightful now following #banff2012 I can now better see why the likes of Netherlands-based Endemol is so creative.

I reported alongside Norma during a few Banff World Media Festivals, in particular 2009 and 2010, and we even had a brief email exchange as I knew she was having chemo and I tried to be supportive. To me, reporters like Norma set the benchmark for bringing insights to news. Norma, I was looking for you during banff 2012, you are missed.


Lisa Kudrow’s funny Web Therapy Guest Stars – Showtime

Saturday, 16 July, 2011

Check out Lisa Kudrow‘s funny Web Therapy Guest Stars – Showtime trailer. Enjoy.

Also check out my article about meeting and listening to Lisa’s “in conversation” session at Banff. And links to some of my favourite Web Therapy online episodes.


Actress & clown Siobhan McCarthy (blyssful productions) interview post Banff World Media Festival 2011

Friday, 24 June, 2011

Actress & clown Siobhan McCarthy (blyssful productions) interview post Banff World Media Festival 2011

It was my pleasure to meet Vancouver based actress & clown Siobhan McCarthy (blyssful productions) for the first time in 2007. It was really nice to connect again with Siobhan at the Banff World Media Festival 2011.

Here is my Skype video interview with Siobhan.

The following are a few highlights of my Skype video interview with Siobhan.

* 0:00 Siobhan McCarthy introduces herself and talks about her production companies.

* 0:37 Siobhan talks about working with Kate Green developing projects under Brown Eyed Girls, including a film called “Last Stop for Miles“.

* 1:18 Some more details (story, filmmakers, etc) about “Last Stop for Miles“.

* 2:32 TV shows pitched at Banff. TV shows in development: dAds, Clowns.

* 3:23 The creative process of the show. Read the rest of this entry »


Banff 2011 Video Interviews: Tom Perlmutter, NFB Chairperson; Tony Lacavera, Chairman Globalive/WIND Mobile; Michael Hennessy, SVP TELUS; Mike Farah, President of Production, Funny or Die; Ariel Garten, CEO InteraXon; Harmony Wagner, Creative Producer BunnyBop; Heather Allin, President of ACTRA Toronto, Siobhan McCarthy, Actress & clown

Monday, 20 June, 2011

The following are links to my video interviews conducted at Banff World Media Festival 2011 (more to come):

* Tom Perlmutter – NFB Chairperson & Government Film Commissioner;

* Tony Lacavera, Chairman & CEO, Globalive (WIND Mobile);

* Michael Hennessy, Senior VP, Regulatory and Government Affairs, TELUS;

* Mike Farah, President of Production, Funny or Die;

* Ariel Garten, CEO InteraXon;

* Harmony Wagner, Creative Producer, Periscope Pictures (preschool series BunnyBop)

* Heather Allin, President of ACTRA Toronto.

* Siobhan McCarthy, Actress & clown, blyssful productions.


William Shatner speaks with ‘The Big Bang Theory’ creator and showrunner Bill Prady @ 2010 Banff

Sunday, 19 June, 2011

Last year at Banff 2010, I had a great time attending the insightful and fun “in conversation” between William Shatner and ‘The Big Bang Theory‘ creator and show runner Bill Prady. I just discovered the official Banff team had actually uploaded the full video of the session. I’ve finished watching the 7-part video of the chat again and absolutely loved it. Have fun & enjoy.

William Shatner – Part 1

Part 2 Read the rest of this entry »


Some great 2011 Banff World Media Festival interview videos

Sunday, 19 June, 2011

Just discovered a few interesting and insightful interview videos by the official 2011 Banff World Media Festival team. Check them out.

BANFF TV Presents Jana Bennett, President, Worldwide Networks & Global iPlayer BBC Worldwide

BANFF TV Presents Christina Davis, EVP, Drama Series Development, CBS Read the rest of this entry »


Harmony Wagner, Creative Producer, Periscope Pictures interview @ Banff World Media Festival 2011

Sunday, 19 June, 2011

Harmony Wagner, Creative Producer, Periscope Pictures

As a former CTV Fellow (2006), I always try to look out for new CTV Fellows and report on them when I can. So it was my pleasure to interview Harmony Wagner, a 2011 CTV Fellow, and Creative Producer at Periscope Pictures @ Banff World Media Festival 2011 to talk about her preschool series BunnyBop. Here is my video interview with Harmony.

The following are a few highlights of my video interview with Harmony.

* 0:00 Harmony introduces herself and project, the preschool series BunnyBop. co-created with her mom Cheryl Wagner (creator and show runner of the highly successful and loved The Big Comfy Couch.

* 0:33 I asked Harmony to talk about her show and the idea behind the series. Talking about using the IPF (Independent Production Fund) web pilot drama fund and put the show on the web (BunnyBopTV).

* 1:58 With the funding, how many episodes were created?

* 2:22 What is the revenue model for the web series BunnyBop?

* 3:35 Have you guys trying to pitch the series to different countries? People in Japan love cute stuff!

* 4:20 Harmony talks about BunnyBop as a great tool to help teach kids English.

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By the way, check out an episode of BunnyBop to see for yourself.

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For all other Banff 2011 related interviews, please see here.


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