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!


Chat with Air Passenger Rights Advocate Lukacs re: urgent NewLeaf injunction

Saturday, 23 July, 2016

Update July 29, 2016 report: “Ontario law governing NewLeaf internet sales has “deficiency”, Statutory Registrar acknowledges
Update July 28, 2016 report: “NewLeaf Travel blocks reporter after TICO Clarifies report
Update July 27, 2016 report: “TICO Clarifies NewLeaf Offers Ontario Flyers Limited Protection
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This reporter got two chances this Friday July 22nd morning and mid-afternoon to interview Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács to talk about his urgent interlocutory injunction against NewLeaf Travel Company Inc. All of the legal files are public court records and Dr. Lukács has dated them and posted them in this directory.

One of the particular useful and detailed file is the 410 electronic pages PDF file “2016-07-21–Lukacs–motion_record–urgent_injunction_and_stay–DIGITAL-R.pdf“. See also the three referenced court documents below (sections highlighted in screen captures).

Here is the reporter’s Interview with Dr. Lukacs re: Urgent interlocutory injunction against NewLeaf Travel Company Inc. 

Highlight #1) How NewLeaf thinks credit card purchase will protect traveling Canadians. (with highlight added) (reference: court filing PDF file)

How NewLeaf thinks credit card purchase will protect traveling Canadians. (with highlight added)

How NewLeaf thinks credit card purchase will protect traveling Canadians. (with highlight added)

Highlight #2) How Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács disagrees with NewLeaf. (with highlight added) (ref: court filing PDF file)

How Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács disagrees with NewLeaf. (with highlight added)

How Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács disagrees with NewLeaf. (with highlight added)

Highlight #3) Latest Federal Court of Appeal directive to NewLeaf. (ref: court filing PDF file)

Latest Federal Court of Appeal directive to NewLeaf.

Latest Federal Court of Appeal directive to NewLeaf.

NOTE 1: This reporter sent an email out early Friday July 22nd morning to invite Jim Young, CEO of New Leaf Travel, to tell his company’s side of the story in a Skype video interview but have not received any reply as of press time (early morning 1:30am MST Saturday July 23rd).

NOTE 2: This is a developing story with NewLeaf being directed by the Federal Court of Appeal to “file its affidavit in support of its letter of response” by noon EST July 23, this reporter will try to post new updates as soon as practical.


China expert: poorly thought-out one-child policy ends but China needs to do more (exclusive interview)

Thursday, 29 October, 2015
20151029 China to allow two children for all couples

20151029 China to allow two children for all couples

After 35 years, China’s ruling Communist Party finally announced after a key meeting on Thursday (today October  29th, 2015) via its official Xinhua News Agency that the country will “allow all couples to have two children, abandoning its decades-long one-child policy“.

For those unfamiliar with China’s one-child policy, it was first introduced in 1978 and formally launched nationwide in 1980 to “rein in the surging population by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two children, if the first child born was a girl.

China expert Dr. Ning Wang at Arizona State University (Dr. Wang is the co-author of “How China Became Capitalist” with late Nobel prize winning economist Ronald Coase) shared his view about the ending of China’s one-child policy in an exclusive interview with this reporter.

Dr. Wang stated (emphasis added), “After more than 30 years, the one-child policy finally came to its end. It was a rushed policy, poorly thought-out, implemented with violence and brutality. It has done more harm to the Chinese people and the Chinese civilization than any other policy implemented since the beginning of reform.

Wang continued, “While we celebrate the end of the one-child policy, we have to recognize that to allow a couple to have two children is far from enough. In the first place, the replacement level fertility rate is 2.1; this is, each woman should give birth to a bit more than two children simply to keep the population stable. In addition, some women will have one child only or no child at all. It is hence critical for other women to have 3 or even more children.

Wang concluded the interview by stating, “how many children a family wants to have is their private business — I cannot think of anything else more private. The state should stay away from such private decisions. If the state wants to be remain active, it can invest in education and health care, particularly in rural areas.

Here is a video excerpt of Dr. Wang interview with Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase on China’s One-Child Policy conducted in 2013, a few months before Coase passed away at 102 years old.

P.S. With a foresight of 30 years, Hong Kong University economics professor Steven N. S. Cheung in 1985 published the article “A society without brothers and sisters” (“沒有兄弟姐妹的社會“) discussing China’s one-child policy. Cheung wrote in the newspaper Hong Kong Economics Journal,

(rough English translation:) “If continued, 10 or 20 years later, Chinese youth will have no brothers or sisters. With further passing of time, everyone will have no uncles or aunts. Everyone, other than their parents, will be kinless!” (original Chinese: “長此下去,一二十年後,中國的青年都沒有兄弟姐妹。再過些時日,所有的人都沒有叔、伯、姑、表――除父母以外,每個人都是舉目無親!“)

While the word “everyone” was probably a literary device, thus a bit exaggerated, the world that Cheung foretold has unfortunately come true in 2015 for many Chinese as they, other than their aging parents, are basically kinless.


Hello Kitty is not a cat! Video interview with LA Times reporter who started worldwide debate

Saturday, 30 August, 2014

Hello Kitty is NOT a cat? Really?! In recent days, people from around the world have expressed shock as they found out Hello Kitty is not a cat from articles quoting “Hello Kitty is not a cat, plus more reveals before her L.A. tour” by Los Angeles Times reporter Carolina A. Miranda. My in-depth and exclusive Skype video interview with Miranda talks about what lead her to write the article and different aspects of the Hello Kitty brand. Have a watch of the interview as it was a ton of fun to conduct and should be a lot of fun to watch.

To be honest, this reporter is one of the people who was shocked to find out Hello Kitty is not a cat from reading Miranda’s article. And then changed my mind again Read the rest of this entry »


interview Horatio Tsoi, former HKTV documentary producer/director

Sunday, 27 October, 2013

This is my Cantonese interview with Horatio Tsoi, former HKTV documentary producer/director on 2013/10/27 訪問蔡錦源港視前高級編導.


Cantonese interviews with HK Legislative Council members Claudia Mo & Alan Leong Kah-kit

Sunday, 27 October, 2013

The following are two Cantonese interviews with HK Legislative Council members Claudia Mo & Alan Leong Kah-kit.

立法會 毛孟靜 議員政總十月二十一曰訪問

立法會 梁家傑 議員政總十月二十一曰訪問


Halifax mathematician gets bumped Air Canada passengers $200, $400, or $800 compensation

Friday, 30 August, 2013

In a decision released today, the Canadian Transportation Agency ordered Air Canada to increase, starting September 18th, 2013, its cash compensation when it bumps passengers off a plane.

Quoting the decision, “Air Canada now has to revise its denied boarding compensation regime by September 18, 2013, to reflect the following compensation provisions:

Less than 2 hour delay = 50% of the base amount [i.e. $200]
Between 2 and less than 6 hour delay = 100% of the base amount [i.e. $400]
6 hour delay or more = 200% of the base amount [i.e. $800]
* The base amount is established as $400

This compensation applies solely to involuntary denied boarding, and does not relate to situations where a passenger volunteers to be denied boarding for whatever compensation Air Canada wishes to offer.”

Canadians have Halifax mathematician Dr. Gábor (Gabi) Lukács to thank for because the decision today is a direct result of his 2011 complain against Air Canada. Lukács said in an extensive video interview,

This is a very very good news for all Canadian passengers, everybody who travels  by air within Canada because it recognizes that passengers are entitled to be treated with respect as equal parties to the contract.” While Lukács was reluctant to estimate the total hours he had spent to launch the complaint and reply to Air Canada’s submissions since 2011, one of the document submitted was 47 pages long including exhibits!

Upon hearing the interviewer suggesting this delay compensation should be named after Lukács, similar to mathematical theorems were named after Euclid or Gauss, Lukács paused to think for a moment and then thoughtfully insisted that,

“… it doesn’t matter where it was me or somebody else who got those [air passenger] rights. What is important [is] that those rights are put in place. And that people will now have better treatment. It doesn’t matter it was me, or my neighbour, or my friend or you, or that person in another city who made those changes. For me, it’s a question of I’ve learned enough about airlines to know that something are just wrong and against the law. And when I happened to see that, like in the case of what happened in Ottawa airport, I cannot just walk by and do nothing. I feel a responsibility.

Knowledge gives some responsibility. When you know that something is wrong, and you have quite a good idea of how to fix it, that does impose on you some level of moral responsibility, social responsibility. And so the issue of air passenger rights needs a face in Read the rest of this entry »


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