The festival focused on content development and co-production began this Monday with standout conferences from top industry executives from companies like Netflix, A+E Networks, Endeavor Content, NBCUniversal, Banijay Rights, Lionsgate and more, and will run through Wednesday, June 16, offering networking and screenings in a digital format.

This Monday, June 14, marked the start of a new edition of the Banff World Media Festival, an event that will take place until Wednesday 16 in digital format for the second consecutive year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is the second festival that’s running on a wholly virtual platform. Last year with the onset of the pandemic we had to cancel the festival just a few weeks before and we did a pivot like everybody else in the world to make sure we could continue what we do and we did and it was very successful. We had attendees from over 52 countries taking part on the virtual program last year,” Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director of the Canada-based festival, said to ttvnews.

“Since then, we’ve been working on building an all new virtual conference platform. It’s actually really exciting. We’ve put a ton of works into it and we really do think it is the best virtual platform for doing business online. We focused it very much on connecting people, on getting them together so for the festival this year we have over 5000 individual opportunities fo preset meetings and interaction.”

“We have special events, get together networking all video based for producers looking for distributors, showrunner and director of some of the biggest shows in the world who you can actually sign up to meet with in small groups. There will also be specific meet ups according to your interest to meet with other interest in the same things.”

Day one

The event is starting its first day with notable panels and keynotes, featuring top industry names such as Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix; Ian Scott, CEO of CRTC; and leading executives from A+E Networks, Endeavor Content, NBCUniversal, Banijay Rights, Lionsgate and more.

The day also offers intimate and interactive sessions titled “30 minutes with”, featuring some of the most in-demand buyers and commissioners talking candidly about their programming strategies, future plans and priorities in conversation with a leading industry producer, from companies like Blue Ant Media, CBC Comedy, WarnerMedia Kids & Family and COrus Entertainment.

All sessions will be available to watch until the close of the festival on July 16, and will be uploaded for catch-up viewing on BANFFXchange and BANFF on Demand in a few days.

To round out the first day, the festival offers several instances for interacting with other participants through its speed networking session and an opening party sponsored by CBC/Radio-Canada.

The agenda for the upcoming days

During the upcoming days, the event will offer highly anticipated Master Classes featuring talent and creatives from hit series It’s a Sin, David Makes Man, Transplant, Moominvalley and Sort Of as well as exclusive screenings for Family Law and Blindspotting.

“This year’s Master Classes and Screenings represent some of the world’s most original, impactful and exciting series,” said Kuzmyk. “It is a privilege to host such accomplished talent and executives as they take us through the business and creative story behind the making of each project.”

In addition to Sarandos, this year’s speakers also include The SpringHill Company’s CEO Maverick Carter, BBC Controler General Tim Davie, Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia star Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black) as well as ‘In Conversation With’ sessions including 2021 Canadian Award of Distinction honouree Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), and a conversation between Seth Meyers (Late Night with Seth Meyers) and this year’s Sir Peter Ustinov Award honouree Kenan Thompson (SNL, Kenan), among others.

In addition, other highly anticipated shows that will be featured during the Festival as exclusive ‘In Conversation With’ sessions include the blockbuster comedic thriller The Flight Attendant with Chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group Channing Dungey, Emmy Award-nominated producer Greg Berlanti and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Kaley Cuoco who will also discuss plans for their next collaboration — a limited series based on the life of Doris Day; as well as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier featuring award-winning director and CEO of Mad Rabbit Kari Skogland and Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios and Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer to discuss the making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe series and thoughts on the future of storytelling.

This year’s Festival will boast an array of curated sessions including Director and Showrunner Superpanels featuring some of the most prolific creatives such as Andrew Cividino (Schitt’s Creek), Marta Kauffman (Friends, Grace & Frankie), Matt Shakman (WandaVision), Clement Virgo (The Wire, Greenleaf), Dawn Wilkinson (Locke & Key, How To Get Away With Murder), Nahnatchka Khan (Always Be My Maybe); as well as a new initiative exclusively available to Marketplace Pass holders called Showrunners Screen Time which is an intimate seven-person 45 minute session with top showrunners featuring Steve Blackman (Umbrella Academy), Emily Andras (Wynonna Earp), Vera Santamaria (PEN15), Frank Spotnitz (The Man in the High Castle), Loren Bouchard (Bob’s Burgers), Anna Winger (Unorthodox, Deutschland83/86/89), Alena Smith (Dickinson), Sheri Elwood (Feudal, Lucifer) and Anthony Farrell (Secret Life of Boys).

“Banff is a really great place to understand where the industry is and where it is going. We are going to have discussion about AVOD, coproduction, deals, content trends… It’s really a place to get a good feeling for everywhere the industry is going,” she concluded.