The Banff World Television Festival Where Great Television is Born
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2005-06-15 - Banff, Alberta, Canada
The 26th Banff World Television Festival finished on an exceptionally high note Wednesday, when Brett Gaylor of Etherworks walked off with a $50,000 cheque for further development of Puff Daddy, a humorous and personal documentary project about a marijuana grow operation. Gaylor won first prize at the $100,000 CTV Documart, the richest pitch in the world. The $30,000 second prize went to Daniel Cross of EyeSteelFilm for Game Over: The Rise and Fall of Atari, about a video games visionary. The third place winner, Roxanne Gregory from Ronin Inc., took home $20,000 for her pitch Forgotten Lives, which will document the tragic mistreatment of institutionalized children in a B.C. facility.

The recharged 2005 edition of the Banff World Television Festival attracted an unprecedented number of key international decision-makers including more participants from the U.S. than ever. A total of over 1400 delegates participated in both the Banff World Television Festival and nextMEDIA, The International Interactive Media Festival, which ran alongside it.

“This festival has proven itself as a fantastic place to pitch hot ideas and do production deals,” said Robert Montgomery, the Festival’s CEO. “It’s been an exceptionally gratifying four days. We witnessed over 800 pre-scheduled meetings come to fruition through our new Decision-Maker Face to Face Sessions. The buzz of deal making was in the air with news breaking daily, and we’re delighted with the energy and enthusiasm of our delegates.”

Kevin Beggs, President of Programming and Production for Lions Gate TV, echoed Montgomery’s comments and lauded new management for updating the Festival. “The Festival is not a holiday venue, it’s about making deals. Banff is a full-fledged market.”

Diane Boehme, Senior Director, Independent Production for CHUM Television commented, “We are extremely pleased with the amount of business we have been able to accomplish here at Banff. We have initiated discussions and closed deals with producers from around the world.”

Nicole Keeb, Commissioning Editor, Acquisition & Co production, ZDF German Television said, “We were pleasantly surprised by the young talent we met. The creative energy at the festival was very high.”

The Festival’s Opening Ceremonies on Monday, June 13th featured a Keynote Address by retired Lt.-Gen. the Honourable Roméo Dallaire, Senator. His dedication to world peace, self-sacrifice and courage saved the lives of thousands of Rwandans in 1994, when he led the United Nations mission in Rwanda. During his moving keynote speech, Dallaire criticized the media for its lack of action in drawing the world’s attention to the atrocities that took place in Rwanda. His message was clear, emphasizing “there isn’t one human more significantly human than the other.”

The Banff Rockie Awards Show was held on Monday evening, June 13th. The $50,000 Global Television Grand Prize for Best of the Festival went to BBC’s drama, musical and thriller Mini-Series Category winner Blackpool. Rockies were also awarded in 17 program categories. Finland’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges took home the $25,000 NHK President’s Prize. Two Special Jury Awards went to Canada’s Hana’s Suitcase: An Odyssey of Hope, produced by CBC, and to the French program Envoyé Special: Traversée clandestine, produced by France 2. The award for Best Canadian Program was presented Peter Raymont for his feature- length documentary Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire. Canada’s hottest director Jeremy Podeswa was honoured with the CTV Fellowship Prize.

Monday’s Awards Lunch honoured Alliance Atlantis Communications with the Global Television Outstanding Achievement Award and Panasonic with the Deluxe Outstanding Technical Achievement Award. ACTRA’s John Drainie Award was presented to Vicki Gabereau for her outstanding contribution to the Canadian broadcasting industry. The Warner Bros. Canada Banff Mentorship Award, sponsored by WIFT-T, went to Tatyana Terzopoulos of Be Tween Productions. The Lions Gate/Maple Pictures Innovative Producer Award was presented to reality TV’s Michael Geddes of Lone Eagle Entertainment.

Besides the CTV Documart, pitching opportunities throughout the week included the new format “Pitcher’s Paradise” in five genres, as well as the fifth annual New Players Pitch. The National Film Board of Canada awarded $5,000 in technical services to New Players Pitch presenter Sarah Glinski for her three outstanding pitches Spooked, Tao of Katie and Class. The Audience Choice Award ($5,000 of Kodak Motion Picture Film) went to Alex Herman and Adam Peterson of Guile Productions for The Hostel.

A total of $7,500 (US) was awarded to Patricia Harris Seeley of Sonic Films and Margot McMaster of HDTV Productions for Orangutan Mama in the HD Development Prize Pitch, a high definition competition sponsored by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation).

Three projects competed for up to $10,000 in development funding, courtesy of the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, in the iPitch competition. The winner was MobiStarz, pitched by Allan Novak and Greg Rubidge of S’N’G Entertainment and Indivisual Productions. The producers were also awarded a full scholarship, including travel expenses, to attend the Banff New Media Institute’s Interactive Screen Program.

For complete details on the 2005 Banff World Television Festival go to www.banff2005.com.

Next year’s Banff World Television Festival is scheduled to take place June 11 to 14, 2006 at the Fairmont Banff Springs, in Banff, Alberta.

About The Banff World Television Festival
The Banff World Television Festival is owned by the Banff Television Festival Foundation and is produced by Achilles Media Ltd. on behalf of the Foundation's Board of Directors and Board of Governors. The Foundation's Board of Governors is international in scope and represents the crème de la crème of producers and broadcasters. Achilles Media is a management organization for some of the world's leading television and new media industry events including the Banff World Television Festival, the World Congress of History Producers and nextMEDIA - The International Interactive Media Festival.


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Sarah Pearson
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