People/Biz

Edinburgh TV Fest plots COVID-19 interview series, rolls out new awards

The Edinburgh TV Festival has revealed the lineup for its pre-festival digital program of industry events, a newly designed series in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers announced April 7 that ...
April 22, 2020

The Edinburgh TV Festival has revealed the lineup for its pre-festival digital program of industry events, a newly designed series in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers announced April 7 that the 2020 Edinburgh TV Festival, scheduled to take place August 26 to 28 in the Scottish capital city, would be reimagined as a digital event in partnership with YouTube and Freeview.

Creative director Stewart Clarke will be curating and hosting an ongoing program, the first two weeks of which will be free to view. Clarke will be in conversation with “industry leading voices,” discussing the current situation and its impact to the television industry.

The conversation will also include stories of “creative innovation” that have helped to inform and entertain.

Starting April 27, organizers will film special editions of the festival’s “The Controllers” program live. It will include interviews with program controllers from broadcasters such as BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV, Sky and UKTV.

The interviews will cover the network controllers’ response to the crisis, how they and their teams are adapting to the “new normal,” and what it has meant for schedules. They will also discuss how the production community have found “innovative” ways through he crisis, and current commissioning needs and strategy.

Participants include BBC director of content Charlotte Moore; ITV director of television Kevin Lygo; Channel 4 director of programs Ian Katz; Viacom UK director of programs Ben Frow; controller of BBC2 Patrick Holland; MD of content for Sky UK Zai Bennett; and UKTV director of commissioning Richard Watsham.

Follow up sessions, which will take place later in the series, will include industry analysts and executives hailing from production groups such as All3Media, Argonon, Fremantle and Endemol Shine Group.

“It’s a challenging time for the industry and there has never been a greater need to connect,” Clarke said in a statement. “Ahead of August, we want to provide a platform to discuss what’s happening and how people are adapting.”

Organizers also announced that the festival’s Small Indie of the Year Award will this year be free to enter.

Edinburgh TV Festival will additionally roll out two new, one-off awards recognizing the industry’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The 2020 Industry Champion will be awarded to an individual or organization who went “above and beyond” to help the UK television industry at this time of “adversity.”

The Creativity in Crisis Award recognizes “stand out programming” emerging despite the challenges of the pandemic. This award will be open to the general public for long list submissions and the winner will be chosen by the festival’s advisory board.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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