From Behind the Lens: A few minutes with Fisher Stevens, director of “Before the Flood”

Fisher Stevens and Leonardo DiCaprio joined forces with National Geographic to create  the powerful documentary “Before the Flood,” their 2016 award-winning film that addresses climate change via interviews with climate change experts and global thought leaders. Their 2 1/2-year journey to reveal the truth about climate change and it’s impact on the earth finds the team traveling to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change firsthand.

“Before the Flood” premiered in 2016 at the Toronto Film Festival and aired globally on the National Geographic Channel on October 30th in 171 countries and 45 languages. National Geographic aired an encore presentation of “Before the Flood” across all their platforms this June as part of the network’s continued commitment to covering climate change.

In 2017, “Before The Flood” earned double Gold Medals at the April 25th New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards gala at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The riveting  documentary was in the spotlight taking home a Gold World Medal in Climate Change & Sustainability and also the prestigious United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) Gold Award.

The UNDPI Award is a special award that New York Festivals, in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Public Information, established in 1990 to honor programs that best exemplify the aims and ideals of the United Nations. Today, the UN’s Global Goals are designed to inspire governments and individuals to take action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. And, two years ago, New York Festivals, inspired by the UN’s Global Goals, established a new category for documentaries: Climate Change & Sustainability.

Fisher Stevens, Director of "Before the Flood"

New York Festivals caught up with multi-talented Academy Award winning director Fisher Stevens and asked him to share his thoughts about earning the United Nations Award, how he secured prominent climate change experts to participate in his film, creative and logistical challenges that he faced as the film’s director and much much more.

New York Festivals: Your documentary “Before the Flood” has received many accolades since its premiere. Could you talk about how it feels to be recognized by New York Festivals Grand Jury of international filmmakers with a Gold World Medal and also to receive the United Nations Department of Public Information with the Gold UNDPI Award?

Fisher Stevens: Being recognized by the United Nations is an honor. We were also grateful to have the opportunity to film at the United Nations, and film with peace-keeping units in different parts of the world.

We hope this film continues to bring awareness to the dire situation at hand, and pressure Americans to write their Congressmen and Senators and tell them that the United States made a mistake by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord.

New York Festivals: How did you build longstanding relationships with environmental thought leaders and experts who are exploring environmental issues and enlist them to participate in your film? How much of an influence were your previous documentaries “The Cove” and “Racing Extinction?

Fisher Stevens: I think my experiences working on other environmental documentaries helped me access some of the great minds in the environmental movement when making the film. It also helps to have Leonardo DiCaprio interview them. And of course, Leo is an ambassador of peace for climate change.

New York Festivals: NYF read that you and Leonardo DiCaprio first began discussing your collaboration while visiting the Galapagos Islands and witnessing the effects of climate change there. Interesting that Charles Darwin in his voyage on the HMS Beagle was also inspired by his visit to the Galapagos Islands.  Could you talk about how much time elapsed from your initial discussions until the two of you moved forward with pre-production, research and production?

Fisher Stevens: In 2010 I went to the Galapagos to film with Dr. Sylvia Earle – I was making a bio-pic about her at the time. Leo was also in the Galapagos, and we dove together a few times, and spoke a great deal about environmental degradation. When Leo saw a cut of the film, which was eventually entitled “Mission Blue,” he asked me if I would like to do a documentary about the state of the environment – not just focusing on the oceans as I had previously done, but larger scale. He also saw an early rough cut of “Racing Extinction” and was becoming familiar with my work.

“Before the Flood” took about two and a half years to make – from the first shoot until our premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.

New York Festivals: Could you talk about the creative and logistical challenges that you faced and how you used technology to solve them?

Fisher Stevens: It’s always difficult to make a movie on a subject as broad as the environment.

It was also challenging because Leo was filming “The Revenant” at the same time, so scheduling was more complicated. We tried to do scenes without Leo – and even went all

Ecuadorian Amazon

the way to the Ecuadorian Amazon. I caught malaria while we were there! We filmed a powerful segment about the Native American population, whose water had been contaminated by oil seeping into their rivers. But when we cut the scene together, it structurally didn’t fit with the rest of the movie.

But on the plus side, we also learned quite a bit about the environment from the making of “The Revenant.”  For example, the film was shooting in Canada, and that year had the warmest month of March in history. The film actually had to shut down production, and move all the way around the world to Patagonia in order to capture the cooler climate. Leo was actually experiencing the effects of climate change first-hand.

Having the newest cameras allowed us to be much more mobile and nimble — access was easier because of that technology, especially in the most difficult places.

New York Festivals: What were you looking to achieve in terms of gaining maximum exposure for your film’s message?

Fisher Stevens: We were hoping that the film would enlighten people to the importance of climate change. We wanted to grab the attention of people who maybe wouldn’t necessarily want to watch a movie about the environment. And we did. A lot of that had to do with Leo’s star power.

President Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio

But there’s more work to be done. Unfortunately our worst nightmares came true when Donald Trump won the election. He’s trying to open up National Parks for drilling, he pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, he’s destroying Obama’s Clean Power Plan, he’s letting oil and gas lobbyists run the EPA … this nightmare we were exploring in the film has become even more of a reality.

New York Festivals:What is the next step for you on journey and what is next on the horizon for you?

Fisher Stevens: I’m going to continue to make short and long-form films on climate change that hopefully have some sort of social impact. And I will be as loud as I can about getting the right Congressional candidates elected in 2018.

John Kerry with Leonardo DiCaprio and Fisher Stevens at a "Before the Flood" event

Before the Flood Credits: directed by Fisher Stevens and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Fisher Stevens, Jennifer Davisson and Trevor Davidoski with Brett Ratner and James Packer of RatPac Entertainment. It was written by Mark Monroe and Executive Produced by Martin Scorsese, Adam Bardach, Mark Monroe, and Zara Duffy. The film is edited by Geoffrey Richman A.C.E., Ben Sozanski, Abhay Sofsky, and Brett Banks. The Director of Photography is Antonio Rossi. The Executive Music Producers are Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross with original music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Mogwai and Gustavo Santaolalla.

For more information on New York Festivals TV & Film Awards please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/tvfilm/

 

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NYF’s Lifetime Achievement Award Honors Contributions of the Best in the TV & Film Industry

New York Festivals® International Television & Film Awards  Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes prominent industry leaders whose accomplishments and contributions have advanced their field and made a lasting impression on the industry. Since NYF’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement in 2011, the competition has honored the industry’s most respected executives. From legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles to the 2017 recipient Tony Petitti, Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball, NYF’s Lifetime Achievement Award is a tribute to a career whose hallmarks include not only achievements within their field, but also for their positive influence on the colleagues whose lives they have touched through their leadership.

The Lifetime Achievement Award presentation is the high-point of the annual awards ceremony where award-winners from prominent networks and production companies celebrate the world’s most compelling stories being created by content creators from around the globe. The 2017 recipient will be honored at the Awards Gala held on April 25 at the annual NAB Show. This year’s recipient’s achievements will be an inspiration for the thousands of creative industry professionals and press who will attend NAB.

Whether they are involved in the creation process, writing, producing or directing news, sports or entertainment programming, or inventing innovative ways to engage viewers through break-through engineering and technical advances, their commitment to creating extraordinary content across all genres and platforms is inspirational.

NYF salutes the impressive roster of iconic industry pros earning the Lifetime Achievement Award:

2017 – Tony Petitti, Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball. Petitti served as President & Chief Executive Officer of MLB Network (MLBN), where he oversaw all day-to-day operations, until formally joining the Office of the Commissioner in 2014. The record-setting launch of MLBN, which debuted on January 1, 2009 in 50 million cable and satellite homes, marked the largest in cable television history. Today, MLB Network is widely distributed in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. He also served as Executive Vice President and Executive Producer for CBS Sports, Senior Vice President, Negotiations for NBC Sports and as Vice President, Programming for ABC Sports.

2016 – David Hill, Legendary veteran sports executive, live event specialist and Father of FOX Sports. He also served as Senior Executive Vice President of 21st Century Fox, chairman of National Geographic Channels, was an executive producer at Fox for “American Idol” for the iconic show’s final three seasons and produced the 88th Academy Awards telecast. The consummate innovator, Mr. Hill influenced the medium via expanded use of technology to enhance the at-home experience for sports television viewers.

2015 – Ken Aagaard, EVP, Innovation and New Technology for CBS Sports. With a media career spanning over four decades, including 18 Super Bowls, five World Series, and three Olympics, Aagaard is one of sports television’s most respected broadcast executives. Mr. Aagaard introduced multiple critically acclaimed technical achievements including EyeVision, a new technology showing replays in 3-D introduced at Super Bowl XXXV, and Swing Vision, a super-slow motion breakdown for replaying golf swings. Past chairman of Sports Video Group, Aagaard chairs the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the SVG Broadcasting Fund.

2014 – David Mazza, Senior Vice President and CTO, NBC Sports Group. Mazza’s technical work has spanned the worlds of sports, entertainment, and news. His Olympic career has spanned over 20 years with the Rio Olympics marking his 14thOlympic Games. Projects undertaken during his four decade career includes multiple Championships at Wimbledon; numerous Super Bowls; multiple seasons of Championship Boxing on HBO and seasons of NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals; and the first three MTV Video Music Awards, and a long list of others. He and his team were instrumental in the building of NBC Sports Group’s headquarters: a state-of-the-art International Broadcast Center.

2013 – Susan Zirinsky, Senior Executive Producer of the CBS News broadcast 48 HOURS. In addition to her work on 48 HOURS, now in its 29th full season, Zirinsky routinely is the Senior Executive Producer of breaking news specials events for CBS News. Her extensive journalism career at CBS News has provided her with a front seat to some of the iconic moments in TV news history. Zirinsky was also the executive producer of CBS News’ historic and award-winning “9/11” broadcast

2012 – Geoffrey Mason, One of sports television’s most accomplished executives; he has more than 40 years of domestic and international production experience, including seven Olympic Games, six World Cups, and multiple America’s Cup races. Mason has worked for ABC, NBC, Fox, ESPN, and NFL Network over five decades in the business, mentoring hundreds of co-workers along the way. Mason has served as head of production planning for UEFA EUROs and FIFA World Cup soccer.

2011 – Albert Maysles, Legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles received NYF’s inaugural Television & Film Lifetime Achievement Award. Called “the greatest American cameraman” by Jean-Luc Godard, Albert, along with his brother David (1932-1987), is recognized as a pioneer of direct cinema. His unsurpassed body of work totals more than 40 films, including: Gimme Shelter, chronicling the Rolling Stones epic 1969 tour; Grey Gardens, the intimate portrait of East Hampton recluses Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter “Little Edie”; and Muhammad and Larry.

To view the 2017 TV & Film Awards Finalists please visit: HERE.

David Hill 2016 Lifetime Award Recipient

Join NYF on April 25th, 2017 to celebrate this year’s Lifetime Award Recipient, Tony Petitti and the 2017 award winners.  Winning entries will be announced at the Television & Film Awards gala. Award-winning entries will be showcased on the NYF Television & Film Awards website. To View the 2016 TV & Film Awards Recap Video please visit: HERE.

For more information on New York Festivals Television & Film Awards competition please visit the website www.newyorkfestivals.com/tvfilm/.

Production Hub  is the official media sponsor of the 2017 TV & Film Awards.

Press inquiries are welcome and should be directed to Gayle Mandel: gmandel@newyorkfestivals.com, Ph: 1 212 643 4800.

 

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NYF’s TV & Film Awards Grand Jury: Power Women in Production

New York Festivals® International Television & Film Awards  has honored the World’s Best TV & Films℠ since 1957 and the competition continues to celebrate the world’s most compelling stories being created today by content creators around the globe.

Our agenda is simple – to celebrate the achievements of the many talented men and women who make up the worldwide creative community.

The Grand Jury plays an important role in the competition—selecting the World’s Best TV & Films in two rounds of judging.  All of NYF’s jurors are directors, producers, journalists, writers, and filmmakers who are passionate about excellence and innovation. Their hands-on expertise across all genres and platforms ensure that this peer-judging process provides each entry with the attention it deserves. Now that the 2017 Finalists have been announced, the jury is immersed in the medal round.

The 2017 jury has more than 180+ members from over 30 countries. They are all award-winners recognized for creative excellence and 34% of the Grand Jury are women.

Whether these women are supervising on-air teams, reporting the news, developing a script, bringing a story to life for the screen, or creating magic in the edit suite, they are a dynamic force. So, here are some snapshots of just a few of these Power Women in Production.

Marita Bittencourt,Producer/Editor,Globotv

Marita Bittencourt (Brazil) Producer/Editor for Globotv.  Marita is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro who has worked in the television industry for three decades.  She’s served as an editor, scriptwriter and producer of a variety of short documentaries and daily newscasts for the Globo Group. For the past 20 years, she’s been at GloboNews-the first all-news TV channel in Brazil. Marita was honored with the 2016 New York Festivals Silver World Medal for the documentary “Kobani lives on – the city that defeated ISIS.”

 

 

Juliet Clerc (France) CEO and Head of On Air, Dream On.She joined Dream On in 2002 to

Juliette Clerc, CEO and Head of On Air, Dream On

run the company’s TV branding department, which includes production and business development.   In 2008, Juliette launched Jules and George Productions, a brand content startup, and then worked with Orange Cinéma Séries to supervise the multimedia launch of Martin Scorsese series “Boardwalk Empire” in 2010.  In 2011, she served as On Air Branding Producer for Canal+, responsible for the branding and production of the 30 Canal+ group TV stations. Since 2012, she’s headed up the video department at Dream On and as the company’s business unit director is developing projects.  Juliet earned two New York Festivals Silver World Medal s in 2016 for “Bande annonce coupe du monde de Rugby” and “Ident été – France 3.”

 

Sofia de Fay (UAE) Director.Sofia has directed films for television stations, multi-

Sofia de Fay, Director, Independent

nationals, advertising agencies, governments, charities, the web, channels and presidents, sheikhs, kings and princes for over 2 decades. She has filmed in UK, Jordan, Qatar, Lebanon, UAE, Namibia, Gabon, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Italy, Germany, France, Thailand, Nepal, Indonesia, India, Cambodia, Somalia, Bosnia and United States of America. Sofia’s big break into the business came after penning her first article “Bara Blues” from a blood splashed ER unit, her story was picked up by a local magazine. Early in her career, she specialized in wildlife and anthropological scripts carving out a niche as a scriptwriter. Soon, Sofia had written 500 documentaries that were distributed to 18 territories worldwide, securing her reputation with international channels including National Geographic, Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.  Over the years, Sofia’s directorial efforts earned in multiple New York Festivals Gold, Silver, and Bronze World Medals.

Julia Gorbach (USA) Creative Producer, The Skin Deep.Julia is an Emmy award-winning story-teller, director, and actress born in Ukraine and raised in NY.  For three

Julia Gorbach Creative Producer, the Skin Deep

years, Julia has been the Creative Producer at The Skin Deep, a creative studio in Brooklyn.  She has directed and produced interactive documentary experiences including The Dig, {THE AND}, Senior Orientation, and more. Currently, Julia is an independent director creating interactive and digital series.  Her program {THE AND} earned a NYF TV & Film Awards Gold World Medal in 2016.

 

 

Sarah Kirkegaard (Germany) Producer, MOOVIE GmbH.  

Sarah Kirkegaard, Producer, MOOVIE GmbH

In 2007, Sarah joined the development department at MOOVIE / Constantin Film supporting CEO and producer Oliver Berben as a script editor, dramaturg, screenwriter, creative producer, and associate producer. In January 2016, Sarah became a producer at MOOVIE focusing on historical mini-series, adaptations from literature, and contemporary (family) drama.  She has earned numerous regional and international awards including a New York Festivals Gold World Medal 2015 for “Das Zeugenhaus” / “The Witness House.”

 

Kelly Martin (NZ) CEO South Pacific Pictures. Kelly has over 20 years’ experience in New Zealand’s television industry working at both the major networks of TVNZ and Mediaworks TV3. During that time she managed international acquisition and oversaw

Kelly Martin, CEO, South Pacific Pictures

local production strategy and commissioning. Local productions she’s brought to the screen include: Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons, The Strip, What’s Really in Our Food?, numerous Inside NZ documentaries, and the development of the channels comedy strategy. She’s been with South Pacific Pictures since 2012 as the Executive Producer of TV2’s top rating weeknight drama serial “Shortland Street,” “Nothing Trivial” TVOne,  TV2’s “Step Dave” TV2,  “Westside” TV3, “The Brokenwood Mysteries “Prime TV, and “800 Words” for Network Seven Australia.  In 2016, “Westside” earned the NYF TV & Film Awards Gold World Medal.

 

Judy Plavnick  Kiley (USA) Executive Producer & Owner for SGGP.

Judy is a six-time Emmy award-winning producer and has produced programming for networks including PBS, Discovery, ESPN and NFL Films. She began her television career covering politics, for both local and national broadcast outlets, and then moved to sports broadcasting, covering the NFL for seven years. In the six years she was at Discovery Channel, she rose to the position of Senior Executive Producer before transitioning back to sports as Executive Producer for ESPN Classic. Judy formed her own production company in 2013 and is currently developing several series as well as working with corporate clients.

Judy Plavnick Kiley, Producer, Sit. Good Girl Productions LLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon Roobol (Malaysia) Programme Editor Al Jazeera Network.

Sharon has more than 20 years’ experience in the television industry. She worked for several Australian television broadcasters before joining Al Jazeera’s Kuala Lumpur Bureau in2006. As the Executive Producer of 101 East, Sharon has produced more than

Sharon Roobol, Program Editor, Al Jazeera Networks Inc.

350 half-hour programs from across Asia. 101 East has won dozens of prestigious awards including a World Media Summit Award, Best Current Affairs Program at the Asian Television Awards, numerous Gold World Medals and a Silver Medal at the 2016 New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards, Best Short Documentary at the Sichuan TV Festival Awards in China, and several Human Rights Press Awards.

 

 

Pauline Russell (UK) VP Creative Services for Scripps Networks Inc.

Pauline Russell,VP Creative Services, Scripps Networks Inc

Pauline has been at Scripps Networks International since July 2014 and is responsible for devising Creative and Brand Strategy for 4 brands across UK and EMEA. She co-chaired the conference and awards for Promax UK 2015. Pauline has over 15 years experience working for international broadcasters in continuity, promos, branding and management. She spent 4 years at BBC Worldwide working on the EMEA channels and she produced the Showcase event in Liverpool, overseeing all the short-form media. Pauline’s spent almost 10 years creating promos the Discovery Networks International.

All Entries in the 2017 competition will be judged online and screened by New York Festivals Television & Film Awards Grand Jury of 200 plus producers, directors, writers, and other creative media professionals from around the globe.  Nominated Finalists are judged by a blue ribbon panel at the United Nations for the UNDPI Awards. To view the 2017 TV & Film Awards Finalist please visit: HERE.

Winners will be announced at the Television & Film Awards gala taking place at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 25th, 2017. Award-winning entries will be showcased on the NYF Television & Film Awards website. To View the 2016 TV & Film Awards Recap Video please visit: HERE.

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Pro Sports Programming Scores at NYF’s TV & Film Awards

New York Festivals® International Television & Film Awards  has honored the World’s Best TV & Films℠ since 1957. The competition celebrates the world’s most compelling stories being created today across all platforms in all lengths and forms­— sports, journalism, documentary, corporate, promos, films, and drama.

People around the globe passionately follow sports and New York Festivals award-winning entries in multiple sports categories showcase some of the world’s most popular pro sporting events.  From in-depth sports journalism, to riveting live coverage of national and international sporting events, NYF recognizes breakthrough broadcast sports programming of some of the most watched events in the world. In 2016, the TV & Film Awards competition honored exceptional Pro-Sports programming from high profile networks earning them both top honors and global recognition.

“With tremendous technology advances and inventions driving how programs are made and how viewers consume them, sports producers and directors are taking advantage of every new development from VR and AR to 3D, GoPro and 360 cameras to drive engagement across platforms and bring that LIVE excitement home. In the turbo-charged landscape of next-generation broadcast graphics, innovation meets creativity for motion graphics that are game changers themselves. NYF showcases the work of the hundreds of men and women behind the scenes who put together those really complex events,” said Rose Anderson, VP, Executive Director, New York Festivals TV & Film Awards.

Pro sporting events are played on the world stage and New York Festivals honored Fox Sports and their coverage of the world’s most popular sport, soccer, with the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Gold-winning Sports Special was broadcast, 250+ hours, nationally and digitally. Two studio crews and five game crews worked on the 52 matches and day and night studio programming. The final match of the tournament reached over 31 million viewers, including out-of-home numbers, which made it the most watched soccer match in American television history.

ESPN’s sports journalism and coverage of special events catapulted the network into the spotlight. The sports powerhouse earned the coveted title of Broadcaster of the Year for the 8th year based on their cumulative medal count. ESPN’s programming explored a wide variety of topical subjects and their focus on professional sports was recognized with an incredible 12 Gold World Medals, 10 Silver World Medals, 4 Bronze, and 14 Finalists Certificates. SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship program, and Outside the Lines sports journalism saw multiple episodes earn Gold World Medals for their in-depth issue driven stories.

The innovative techniques used in ESPN’s opens resulted in Gold Medals for “Monday Night Football Open,” “Monday Night Football Chalk Talk Animation,” and “Special Olympics Opening.” To create the Special Olympics opener, narrated by Oscar winner Julianne Moore, ESPN used four crews traveling to six continents to document the stories of 14 athletes.

In the long-form and studio areas, MLB Network scored a Gold World Medal for “The Story of Billy Bean” and a Bronze for “Studio 21.” The award-winning Social Issues documentary, explores the experience of Billy Bean, one of two Major League Baseball players to publicly come out as gay. The documentary was hosted by Bob Costas and detailed Bean’s decision to leave the game in 1996. His courageous decision followed the death of his partner and his return to the game came 18 years later as MLB’s first Ambassador for Inclusion.

MLB Network’s “Studio 21” was awarded the Bronze for Best Innovation for their new state-of-the-art, 8,000-square foot studio that is home to three daily studio shows. Named in honor of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, “Studio 21” changes the way MLB Network studio programming is presented, using at least five multi-camera studio positions and cutting-edge technology adaptable to any show, story or club, from hanging video displays to augmented reality graphic components. MLB also earned a Bronze World Medal for “MLB Tonight.”

Storytelling also played a part in openings. “Grand National Opener” by Evoke Films, UK for ITV network was in the winner’s circle earning 2 Gold World Medals for both Open and Production Design. Their innovative opening film for the National Hunt horse race for channel 4 told the epic history of this ultimate equine endurance race. T he award-winning film, performed by James Nesbitt, was shown to the 9 million viewers of the Grand National, just before the race on Channel 4.

NYF also honors original programming created by the professional teams themselves. The San Francisco 49ers earned the Bronze World Medal for their documentary “The Rock.”  The award-winning entry illustrated how faithfulness is discovered on one of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks—Alcatraz, and how the history of Alcatraz and the 49ers have always been entwined.

The Television & Film Awards gala will take place at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 25th, 2017. Award-winning entries will be showcased on the NYF Television & Film Awards website. To View the 2016 TV & Film Awards Recap Video please visit: HERE.

For more information on New York Festivals Television & Film Awards competition please visit the website www.newyorkfestivals.com/tvfilm/.

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Grand Jury POV: Marie-Claude Guay

Each week NYF profiles one of the TV & Film Grand Jury members, all are award-winning executives recruited by New York Festivals to select the World’s Best TV & Films℠. The New York Festivals TV & Film Awards Grand Jury is made up of over 200 award-winning members from over 40 countries; this diverse jury with a global mix of perspectives is one of the strengths of the New York Festivals jury.

Marie-Claude is Head of Strategic Communications and Innovative Initiatives for Tata Communications Canada

Grand Jury member, Marie-Claude is Head of Strategic Communications and Innovative Initiatives for Tata Communications Montreal, Canada. Marie-Claude spent 14 years researching, interviewing, producing and telling stories from over 30 countries, as a Radio-Canada reporter and through Cpasifou, her independent multimedia project around the world. She is an award winning journalist and has covered many election campaigns, as well as major economic, environmental, cultural, social, and educational issues.

In the interview below, Marie-Claude shares her insights on what she learned from her first job, the defining moment in her career, and her opinion on where the broadcast industry will evolve in the next five years.

New York Festivals: What is the most important thing you learned from your first job?

Marie-Claude Guay: Always take time to think and bring your story further: reporters have lots of pressure to meet their deadlines, most of them have thin resources (time, human and budget) hence they hesitate to take a step back and invest their precious time to question their angle, the information they have, the best way\medium to tell their story and brainstorm with colleagues

Figures speak as much as people. It just takes different efforts and different skills set. It is important to not be afraid to go through reports and do some math. Not only it brings more depth and credibility to your story, it can win you additional and exclusive stories.

New York Festivals:  What was a defining moment in your career?

Marie-Claude Guay: Having my bosses at Radio-Canada Alberta trust my ideas and empower me to turn them into projects and stories. It takes guts and boldness to send a young reporter to cover politics, give her a team, a budget and a full 7 months to investigate an international story, and let her become your current affairs reporter. As a result, we won recognition, prices and nominations in Film Festivals. Most of all, we learned a lot through the journey and had a great deal of fun. It is said that the recipe for success is 90% of work, 5% talent and 5% chance…if nobody gives you a chance, you can work very hard without meeting your goals.

New York Festivals: Where do you see the industry in the next five years?

Marie-Claude Guay: One word: Innovation

  • Virtual reality and augmented reality

With the technology being more and more affordable and accessible, the adoption is fast increasing[1] : according to Digi-Capital, AR and VR will hit 120 billion in revenue by 2020[2].  AR and VR allow artisans to go further into their creation: not only from a production/craft side and how the story is told, but also how the story is received and perceived. The viewers are immersed: more than ever can they bounce with the main character, feel what they feel, hear what they hear, compare their own reaction with the ones from the production. They are not just spectators, they become actor. I am very pleased to see that NYF is leading the way and embracing this opportunity by adding a new category called Best Use of Technology. Very looking forward to see the results of our 2016 participants’ creativity!

  • Democratization

With the next 3 billion internet users coming online by 2025, mostly coming from developing countries, we will see opportunities to develop more local content. Again, with technology being more accessible, it will be easier for current and new artisans as well as start ups to develop and put their skills and talent to the benefits of worldwide viewers.

New York Festivals: What qualities set apart the TVF medal winners?

Marie-Claude Guay: What I have seen during my last 2 years as a Grand Jury member, is that medal winners really get out of the traditional reporting/production comfort zones, they take risks (and by this I don’t mean they all risk their life!) they do not hesitate to develop different ways (story structures, camera angles, choices of characters, interviewees, voice-over, sound) of telling their story. And most of all, their story is not just told: it provokes a reaction. You want to know more. You question yourself. And sometimes…you even take action to help things change and find answers.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2016/oct/11/technologies-entrepreneur-small-business-blockchain-virtual-reality-drones

[2] http://www.digi-capital.com/news/2016/01/augmentedvirtual-reality-revenue-forecast-revised-to-hit-120-billion-by-2020/#.WAQlS-ArI2y

For more information on the 2017 New York Festivals Television & Film Awards please visit: Here and to enter visit: Here.

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Grand Jury POV: Toshie Yoshida

The New York Festivals TV & Film Awards Grand Jury is made up of over 200 award-winning members from over 40 countries; this diverse jury with a global mix of perspectives is one of the strengths of New York Festivals jury. These award-winning executives are recruited by New York Festivals to select the World’s Best TV & Films℠.

Toshie Yoshida, President of TI ComNet Japan

This week, Grand Jury POV profiles Toshie Yoshida, President of TI ComNet Japan. Ms. Yoshida has over 20 years of industry experience in broadcasting, including working as an announcer in Japan and the United States, in addition to producing many television programs.

Her vast network experience includes working with prominent broadcasting stations, both local and overseas, as well as distribution companies. Ms. Yoshida was the producer for the first production program of Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet in Japan and was responsible for the co-production and distribution of overseas programs within Japan.

Keep reading to learn more about Toshie Yoshida, including early leadership lessons, her view on the evolution of the industry, what qualities set aside award-winning work and more!

New York Festivals: Who or what were the most important early influences in your career?

Toshie Yoshida: The most important influence would have to be my father. Although he hardly attended school due to financial reasons, he studied various things on his own and started doing business from a young age and achieved a great deal of success. He has always been my business mentor.

New York Festivals: What’s the most important thing you learned from your first job?

Toshie Yoshida: I learned to have a dream and enjoy your work. If you do not enjoy your work then you won’t be able to pass on that joy to others.

New York Festivals: What were some early leadership lessons for you?

Toshie Yoshida: An early leadership lesson for me was when I was at a production site working with director and staff of different ages and genders, where I found listening to the opinion and ideas of everyone you work with, and be willing to try new things and incorporating the ones that work to be very important.

New York Festivals: What was a defining moment in your career?

Toshie Yoshida: A defining moment in my career was when the first English version of a Japanese program that I produced won an international award.

New York Festivals: Where do you see the industry in the next five years?

Toshie Yoshida: Aside from the broadcasting stations, professional directors and cameramen, more and more ordinary people will begin to produce and shoot their own films and using the internet to upload it to their own channels. There will be a good chance that many talented people will appear among them.

New York Festivals: What qualities set apart the TV & Film Awards medal winners?

Toshie Yoshida: The production must surpass all borders and being able to move anyone who watches it.

For more information on the 2017 New York Festivals Television & Film Awards please visit: Here and to enter visit: Here.

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Grand Jury POV: Aela Callan

Each week, NYF profiles the dynamic men and women who serve on the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards Grand Jury. This world-class Grand Jury is made up of over 200 award-winning directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, art directors, filmmakers, composers and programming executives. With members from over 40 countries, this diverse jury with a global mix of perspectives is one of the strengths of New York Festivals jury process.

Aela Callan, journalist, filmmaker, broadcaster

This week NYF’s Grand Jury POV profiles, Berlin-based Aela Callan, journalist, filmmaker and broadcaster. Her passion for connecting filmmakers with their audience led Aela to create a digital strategy for Al Jazeera’s 101 East program.

In 2014, Aela earned Al Jazeera the prestigious Gold United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) Award for her entry “It’s A Man’s World” in the Current Affairs category.

Aela was selected as a Knight Fellow for Journalism innovation at Stanford University where she researched ways to combat hate speech. Her mission as a media innovator and leader is rooted in the belief that great storytelling brings us closer to those in forgotten corners of the globe.

In the interview below, Aela shares her insights on the evolving broadcast industry, the benefits of judging NYF’s TV & Film awards, what makes an entry trophy worthy, insider tips on submitting work to this year’s competition and more.

New York Festivals: As a Grand Jury member, you will view programs, films and promos from entrants from networks and production companies around the globe. What are you most excited to see/judge in terms of recent trends?  

Aela Callan: Documentaries made specifically for the web, or using innovative storytelling techniques suited for web/social media platforms

New York Festivals: What do you feel are the benefits of judging the New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards?

Aela Callan: To allow me to see high quality work that I may have missed during the year, especially in the news/documentary field.

New York Festivals: How important is it that submissions represent the wide spectrum of produced work today?

Aela Callan: For me, it’s important to see work that is related to my field across an international spectrum, but not important to see commercial or public relations videos

Aela Callan with 2014 UNDPI Award

New York Festivals: You’re both an award winner and one of New York Festivals Grand Jury members, what criteria will you personally use when judging this year’s entries? In your opinion, what makes an entry standout and trophy-worthy?

Aela Callan: Great storytelling, topics that enlighten me about something I didn’t know, high quality camerawork and editing. Innovative methods of distribution that reach a wide audience.

New York Festivals: Based on your experience as an award-winner, do you have any inside winner’s tips or advice for entrants submitting their work to this year’s competition?

Aela Callan: Be clear in your description of your work. Often, poorly written or confusing introductions make judges less excited to view the work. Choose an entry that means something to you, and tell us why.

New York Festivals: What is your opinion of New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards competition and online judging platform?

Aela Callan: I find the judging platform very easy and user friendly. I appreciate the work that’s gone into that. I feel the competition is exceedingly broad. It would be useful to break the entries up into categories and have specialists in those fields judge the work from those categories. I do not feel especially equipped to judge commercials or marketing videos, and likewise, I am a little discouraged to think that a marketing executive may be judging my entries.

For more information on the 2017 New York Festivals Television & Film Awards please visit: Here and to enter visit: Here.

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Grand Jury POV: Igor Tavares

Each week the Grand Jury POV profiles the dynamic men and women who serve on the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards Grand Jury.This world-class Grand Jury is made up of over 200 award-winning directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, art directors, filmmakers, composers and programming executives. With members from over 40 countries, this diverse jury with a global mix of perspectives is one of the strengths of New York Festivals jury process.

Igor Tavares, Executive Producer for TV Globo's Planeta Extremo

This week, New York Festivals  Grand Jury POV profiles Igor Tavares, Executive Producer for Planeta Extremo, TV Globo Brazil’s  award-winning nature adventure series.  With over 15 years producing experience, Igor’s career has found him covering  some of the world’s most exciting sporting events including Olympic Games, track and field championships, volleyball World Cups, basketball World Cups, Africa Cup of Nations, as well as following Brazil’s soccer team in both national and international matches.

His producing, reporting, and editing talents have served him while working at TV Globo and SporTV, both in Brazil and as a New York Correspondent.

In 2016, Igor, Carol Barcellos and Clayton Conservani hosts of Planeta Extremo – and the team from TV Globo Brazil series  accepted a Bronze Trophy and 2 Finalist Certificates at the 2016 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas.

TV Globo's Planeta Extremo Team at NYF's 2016 TV & Film Awards ceremony

NYF caught up with Igor Tavares and asked him to share his insights on his broadcast career, including his early influences, his opinion on where the industry is evolving, and the defining moment in his career and much more.

NYF: Who or what were the most important early influences in your career?

Igor Tavares: To see with my own eyes the history of the world being made. The desire to be there, live and tell it. Could be a war, a tragedy, a great achievement in the sport. The events of world history were the things that influenced me.

NYF: What’s the most important thing you learned from your first job?

Igor Tavares: The most important thing I learned from the beginning is that nothing can be done alone in our industry.

NYF: What were some early leadership lessons for you?

Igor Tavares:  A guy who lived in the slums near my house would get children out of a life of crime through art and sport. Soon he became a great local hero.

NYF: What was a defining moment in your career?

Igor Tavares:  I was recording an entertainment program when one of the biggest earthquakes hit Nepal. Right then everything changed, I had to do 24/7 hard news. We have to be prepared for everything.

NYF: Where do you see the industry in the next five years?

Igor Tavares: Production quality will improve more and more and people will consume on demand.

NYF: What qualities set apart the TVF medal winners?

Igor Tavares: TVF accredits you among the greatest in the industry,  it is one of the most important awards in the world.

For more information on the 2017 New York Festivals Television & Film Award please visit: Here and to enter visit: Here.

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Grand Jury POV: Phil Blundell

New York Festivals TV & Film Awards Grand Jury is made up of over 200 directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, art directors, filmmakers, composers and programming executives who are all award-winners themselves. With members from over 40 countries, this diverse jury with a global mix of perspectives is one of the strengths of New York Festivals jury process.

Phil Blundel with Gold Award for The Essence of Qatar at the 2016 New York Festivals International Film and TV Awards

In this week’s Grand Jury POV, NYF spent a few minutes with award-winning TV & Film Awards Advisory Board and Grand Jury member, Phil Blundell, Managing Director of the Edge Picture Company, United Kingdom.

Phil founded The Edge when it opened for business in 1991. Now in its 25th year, The Edge has won over 300 major international awards in that time and leads the global field as the UK’s leading Corporate Film Production Company, renowned for its outstanding creative programming and a first class track record a record that Phil has personally played a crucial role in achieving. The Edge Picture Company has earned the prestigious title of NYF TV & Film Awards Production Company of the Year for the 10th year running.

Keep reading to learn more about Phil, including early career influences and leadership lesions, the defining moment in his career, his forecast of where the industry is evolving and much more.

NYF:  Who or what were the most important early influences in your career?

Phil Blundell: When we started The Edge in 1991, the global corporate film making industry had a reputation in the minds of some people as being creatively & technically sub-standard to other forms of film making. This drove us to want to close the gap and start producing films that were every bit as good, if not better.  The desire to keep pushing the bar higher still drives us today.

 NYF:  What’s the most important thing you learned from your first job?

Phil Blundell: To keep pushing creative boundaries and always fight for the audience.

NYF: What were some early leadership lessons for you?

Phil Blundell: To not have any ivory towers and to allow talented youngsters to come into the company and grow to embrace our creative film making culture.

NYF: What was a defining moment in your career?

Phil Blundell: Having witnessed a series of senior business leaders weeping at one of our early films, I soon realized the sheer power and possibilities for emotionally engaging film making. Produced for a charity, the film in question went on to fund raise £4M. Winning the hearts and minds of an audience quickly became our mantra.

NYF: Where do you see the industry in the next five years?

Phil Blundell: The digital space is a great opportunity for all us film makers, with targeted delivery channels offering so many possibilities for communications. However with such a volume of content being endlessly offered to viewers, bespoke films have to rise above the general noise by being distinctive, smarter and more compelling than ever before.

NYF: What qualities set apart the TVF medal winners?

Phil Blundell: The TVF medal winners truly showcase the films that set new levels of creativity and originality.  With entries coming from all major markets across the world, TVF really is the only festival which genuinely celebrates the world’s very best films.

For more information on the 2017 New York Festivals Television & Film Award please visit: Here and to enter visit: Here.

 

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Rose Anderson on: Best Use of Technology

No other  competition brings together the World’s Best TV & Film Programs better than New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards.  With Rose Anderson, Executive Director, at the helm, the TV & Film competition has expanded its global footprint seeing  entries from hundreds of production companies around the globe. This year, the competition added Best Use of Technology in the Craft category to their powerhouse roster.  NYF asked Ms. Anderson to share her insights on why

Rose Anderson, Executive Director

Technology categories play such an important role.

“Here at NYF, we put an emphasis on storytelling. No matter the genre – journalism, sports, documentary, corporate, promos, films, drama – bringing the viewing audience a more intimate experience is on the top of everyone’s list,” said Ms. Anderson. “With the addition of Best Use of Technology, we can amp up recognition for creative implementation of what is an integral part of content creation and key in enhancing the viewing experience.”

“For example,” said Ms. Anderson, “David Hill, our 2016 Lifetime Achievement recipient and father of FOX Sports, came up with revolutionary concepts that included the FoxBox

David Hill "Father of Fox Sports" and 2016 NYF Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

constant score and clock graphic; the on-screen first down line, which has its roots in the FoxTrax glowing hockey puck; improved in-game audio using Dolby surround sound and innovative microphone placement, Diamond Cam, Catcher-Cam and Gopher-Cam; satellite tracking in NASCAR, allowing on–screen identification of cars with speed, race position and data and much, much more.”

New York Festivals also offers three other categories that are technology-driven: Event Venue, Best Technical Production Team and Best Innovation.

NYF spent a few minutes with Ms. Anderson for a quick course on why these categories are  so important.

NYF: How does Event Venue and Best Technical Production Team differ from each other?

Rose Anderson: Event Venue has been a category since 2010. Advances in digital technology – like advanced projection and LED video technique, 3D visualizations, HD video boards – have meant that live presentations have become more sophisticated in real-time. It was clear that this type of programming deserved its own place at the NYF awards table and so we introduced the Event Venue category to address this global phenomenon that is engaging audiences world-wide at sports arenas, museums, concerts, and corporate showcases.

Story telling combined with technology delivers an immersive value-added experience that gets the attention of today’s easily-distracted audiences – and holds it.

Some early winners were 1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets, a touring educational initiative starring Sir Ben Kingsley, and NFL September 11 Salute – 10 Years Later which was created by the League for the use of all of its broadcast partners. In 2016, the Gold

Medal winners were The Essence of Qatar (The Edge Picture Company, UK) and Domotex Event – Paradox of Choice (Norvell Jefferson, Belgium)

Sir Ben Kingsley "Library of Secrets"

In 2012, NYF added Best Technical Production Team which showcases the work of the hundreds of men and women behind the scenes who put together those really complex events. ESPN X Games took home the first medal – a Silver – in this category in 2012 for their remote team in Aspen and repeated with the 2013 X Games with 145 hours of live TV programming of 6 world class events in Aspen, Colorado; Tignes, France; Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; Munich, Germany and Los Angeles, CA.

NYF: The competition launched Best Innovation in 2013, what are some of the most impressive winning entries throughout the years and why were they a success?

Rose Anderson: Here’s a sampling of winners that really shows the amount of ingenuity in play for creative teams working in documentary, live broadcasts and corporate presentations.

2013 – The Resurrection Tomb Mystery, Associated Producers/Discovery Canada (Gold) for a special robotic arm with  tilt/pan/zoom remote cameras that allowed archeologists access a 2,000 year old tomb that lies under a Jerusalem apartment complex.

2014 – There Was A Time, Media Corp/Ochre Pictures Singapore (Bronze) for 3D rendering of 2D old photographs, a technique to bring alive old black & white photos.

"JH/JG Project" Globo TV Brazil

2015 – JH/JG Project, Globo TV Brazil (Silver) for creating a rail system with cutting edge technology formed by a six individual piece monitor wall which moves laterally, with robotic intelligence created especially for the project, allowing several combinations of movements, visual resources and interactivity allowing a single studio space to be used for two daily programs Jornal Hoje and Jornal da Globo.

2015 – Holiday Holograms, Finch for  Jack Daniels, Australia (Silver) for holographic technology to beam distant friends and family into a Sydney bar to share a chat and a drink.

2015 – In the cell, Studio Louter Netherlands (Silver) –for using GoPro to show the POV of the experience of someone who has been arrested and used as an interactive educational video

2016 – Jornal Nacional, Globo TV Brazil (Silver) for a set  that integrates information, illustration and the participation of correspondents, in a more informal way on TV Globo’s prime time newscast – the second time this team has taken home Silver.

Major League Baseball Network "Studio 21"

2016 –  Studio 21, MLB Network (Bronze) for their new state-of-the-art, 8,000-square foot studio that is home to three daily studio shows. Named in honor of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, “Studio 21” changes the way MLB Network studio programming is presented, using at least five multi-camera studio positions and cutting-edge technology adaptable to any show, story or club, from hanging video displays to augmented reality graphic components.

"Future Talk"

2016 – Future Talk, Big Features, UK (Bronze) for their multimedia theatrical experience at the United Arab Emirates pavilion at the 2015 Milano World Expo. Using a giant peppers ghost installation, it was 23 meters long and 4 meters high utilizing 10 x 20k Panasonic projectors to achieve it. Frame accurate synchronization of video, audio, Lighting and scenic effects (such as wind machines) ensured a seamless theatrical presentation. This experience held 150 people per show and ran every 15 minutes, 7 days a week for 6 months. The overall audience exceeded 1 million.

For more information, please visit New York Festivals Television & Film Awards or to find out more about competition categories please visit: HERE

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