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!

*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.”


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