The Banff Television Foundation, organizer of such events as the Banff Television Festival and the history and science congresses, has added two dates to its calendar. In late March, the Canmore, Canada-based organization took over News World, an annual conference aimed at broadcast news journalists, in a deal with London U.K.-based Media Ventures, and announced plans for an inaugural arts congress. The Banff Foundation now runs eight international meetings.
While an arts congress is a logical development for Banff, given its penchant for genre-specific events for the doc crowd, the acquisition of News World is somewhat surprising. But, explains, BTVF executive VP and COO Jim Byrd, ‘News is so topical these days that it just seemed like a natural for us.’ Byrd is executive producer of News World.
In the past, News World has attracted roughly 350 people from major media companies, including the BBC, CNN and The Times of London, as well as some small indies. Although the primary focus is on the issues of deadline news-gathering, Byrd points out that ‘in the last two years [organizers] have added a whole section on documentary programming.’ This year’s edition, the eighth, will be held in Dublin, Ireland, from October 21 to 23.
Richard Life, head of factual coproductions at London, U.K.-based Channel 4 International, has attended News World in the past. In his opinion, it has the potential to be useful to doc-makers. Says Life, ‘If News World…is broadened to look at news-related documentaries, then I think there is value for producers and people like myself who are interested in copros or distribution or commissioning long-form docs.’
As for the arts congress, this year it will be held in Ottawa, Canada, from November 5 to 8. Like the other congresses, it will move to a different city annually. The plan is to coordinate the congress with local arts festivities; this year, it coincides with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.