New York Festivals Honors David Mazza, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, NBC Sports Group, with 2014 TV & Film Lifetime Achievement Award

New York Festivals® International Television & Film Awards™ will honor David Mazza, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, NBC Sports Group, with its 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.

David Mazza, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, NBC Sports Group

David Mazza will be honored on Tuesday, April 8th at the New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards ceremony taking place at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas. The NYF Television & Film Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes prominent industry leaders whose accomplishments and contributions have advanced their field and made a lasting impression on the industry. The organization is now in its 57th year of honoring the World’s Best TV Programs & Films™.

Mr. Mazza commented, “I have been so lucky to have had the opportunity to work on NBC’s Olympic coverage over the years. I’m humbled by this honor, but the credit really is shared with the incredibly talented team that I am blessed with, and the leaders at NBC who trusted all of us to venture into some very new and exciting territories.”

A 35-year veteran of the media industry, David Mazza joined NBC in 1994 for the Atlanta Games in 1996.  A two-year assignment turned into a 20-year Olympic career. He was named Senior Vice President of Engineering for NBC’s Olympics division in 2002, and CTO in 2012. Mazza oversees the engineering group, who were originally charged with designing and building NBC’s re-useable multi-games infrastructure. This framework would then be subject to the ever-changing and growing nature of NBC’s Olympic coverage for the next seven consecutive Olympic Games, beginning with the Sydney Olympics in 2000 through the London 2012 Games. The upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in February will mark Mazza’s 13th Olympics.

Starting in 2011, while juggling the preparations for what became the most-watched television event in U.S. history, Mazza was also tasked with building a new home for the NBC Sports Group in Stamford, Conn. He served as the Lead Designer and Project Manager for the very fast- track effort. The result is a new state-of the-art 300,000 sq. ft. International Broadcast Center that opened in December of 2012 and houses the NBC Sports Group top executives as well employees working for NBC-SN, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports Digital, and the NBC Sports Regional Networks management teams.

“There are few in any industry who combine such meticulous attention to detail with unrivaled subject matter mastery and uncompromising standards of excellence. Dave achieves all this with great leadership and mentorship, and a humanity that pervades every move he makes,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics, and President, Operations and Strategy, NBC Sports Group. “His genius moves bits and bytes and touches hearts and minds.”

Previously, Mazza was a Technical Director for the first four Olympics he worked on from 1984-1992. When he joined NBC full-time in 1994 as Director of Engineering, Mazza led the technical design, building and operation of NBC’s International Broadcast Center for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He and his team developed extensive new technology and systems needed for the “Virtual IBC,” which allowed part of the broadcast center to be located in New York and part in Atlanta.

Other NBC Olympic engineering achievements have included designing for a three-fold increase in coverage hours from Athens Games in 2004; the conversion to HD coverage and 5.1 Surround Sound for the 2006 Torino Games; the development of the highly complex “at-home effort” (as it is now called) and the new File-Based Highlights Factory called for another three-fold increase in coverage plus all the new NBC Digital web content offered for the first time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. For the London Olympics, every competition was streamed live for the first time, offering more than 3,500 hours of content, in addition to new tablet and mobile offerings. All of these advancements and innovations were accomplished on the stage of one of the world’s largest sporting events. Mazza and his team are now busy preparing for the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia.

Mazza’s technical work has spanned the worlds of sports, entertainment, and news. Other projects included 13 Championships at Wimbledon; three Super Bowls; 14 seasons of Championship Boxing on HBO; 10 seasons of NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals, the first three MTV Video Music Awards, and a long list of others.  Mazza has earned numerous awards including 22 Emmys for the Olympics (1984-2012), cable’s Monitor Award, ACE and BDA Awards for Graphics Compositing. In 2006, he was awarded the GE Edison Award for technical innovation.

The New York Festivals Awards ceremony will shine the spotlight on the 2014 World’s Best TV & Films, as well as present the Lifetime Achievement Award, Broadcaster of the Year, Production Company of the Year, and United Nations Department of Public Information Awards. Award winners and ceremony attendees will have access to the 2014 NAB Show. For more information on the 2014 Television & Film Awards ceremony at NAB visit:

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New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards Announces 2014 Call For Entries

New York Festivals® International Television & Film Awards™, honoring the World’s Best TV & Films™, is now open for entries.

2014 NYF Television & Film Awards Call For Entry Video

Rose Anderson, Executive Director of NYF’s TV & Film Awards, initiated multiple updates in this year’s competition, among them expanded categories and a website redesign. Updated categories for 2014 include: Best Nonfiction Series, Best Screenplay, Best Host, Business & Finance Documentary, Human Concerns Documentary, Financial & Legal Reporting, Legal Issues Documentary, Corporate Social Responsibility and Student Online Program.

Rose Anderson, Executive Director, New York Festivals Television & Film Awards

Ms. Anderson had this to say about the changing landscape of the television and film industry: “NYF continues to be responsive to current world-wide creative trends by updating categories as well as creating new ones. Our competition honors and celebrates exceptional and imaginative programs created around the globe. Broadcast, online, exhibition – we welcome all platforms.”

The 2014 Television & Film Awards will take place at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 8th, 2014. This official partnership with NAB Show, now in its fourth year, showcases the competition to more than 93,000 media and entertainment professionals from 156 countries, including more than 1,700 industry press representatives.

The 2013 Grand Trophy winners were featured in a Creative Master Series session: “Paul Simon’s Graceland Journey: Under African Skies (A&E USA); “Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXX Olympiad” (IOC/LOCOG/OBS/Done and Dusted/YLE); and “Hatfields & McCoys” (History Channel USA).

Joe Berlinger, Director of 2013’s Grand Trophy winning entry “Paul Simon’s Graceland Journey: Under African Skies,” had this to say, “To receive the Grand Award from New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards this past year, from such a strong group of internationally acclaimed nominations was a truly a privilege and memorable moment for me as well as a testament to the strength and quality of the films and shows being produced around the globe.”

Hamish Hamilton, award-winning Broadcast Executive Producer and Broadcast Director for Done & Dusted UK commented on earning the 2013 Grand Trophy for “Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXX Olympiad” (IOC/LOCOG/OBS/Done and Dusted/YLE). “I’d like to thank New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards for this great honour. A project like this involves a huge number of people across many organizations and many disciplines. Thousands of people were involved in front of the camera and many many more behind the camera. We all share this incredible honour. The Ceremonies will doubtless be the time of our lives. Despite the stress and expectation everyone found the energy, courage and vision to create a show that we were proud to broadcast to the world. This award only serves to make the experience even more special.”

Susan Zirinsky, Senior Executive Producer of CBS News broadcast 48 Hours and NYF Lifetime Achievement Recipient

Specialty awards for 2013 included: ESPN USA earned Broadcaster of the Year, The Edge Picture Company UK was awarded Production Company of the Year, and Susan Zirinsky, Senior Executive Producer of the CBS News broadcast 48 HOURS, was the NYF Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

The deadline to enter the 2014 Television & Film Awards competition is October 15, 2013. Entry details and competition rules and regulations can be found on the NYF Television & Film Awards website To view a complete list of categories visit:,3,6.

All Entries in the 2014 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. Winning entries will be showcased on the NYF Television & Film Awards website.


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NYF TV & Film Awards Announced 2013 Winners at NAB; Grand Awards go to Done and Dusted UK, A&E USA, and History Channel USA

New York Festivals® International Television & Film Awards™ celebrated the World’s Best TV Programs & Films™ Tuesday, April 9th at NAB in Las Vegas. The Grand Jury awarded 119 Gold World Medals, 145 Silver, 104 Bronze, and 327 Finalist Certificates from entries submitted from 50 countries. The following companies were honored with Grand Awards: Done and Dusted, UK for Olympic Opening Ceremony; A&E, USA for Paul Simon’s Graceland Journey: Under African Skies; and History Channel, USA for Hatfields & McCoys.

Craig Bengston, Vice President of “SportsCenter,” ESPN

ESPN, USA earned the title of Broadcaster of the Year for the 6th year consecutive year and was recognized with 12 Gold World Medals, 20 Silver, 8 Bronze, and 22 Finalist Certificates.

“Excellence, innovation and storytelling have always been ESPN hallmarks and we’re thrilled the NY Festivals Awards have again recognized these qualities and we are proud to again be named Broadcaster of the Year,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, production. “Led by SportsCenter, Outside the Lines and E:60, our shows are distinguished by features that inform, entertain and often break new ground.”

The Edge Picture Company was honored with the title Production Company of the Year for the 7th year in a row. The London-based company earned 2 Gold World Medals, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze, and 6 Finalist Certificates.

“Here at The Edge, we’re deeply honoured to have been awarded the New York Festival’s Production Company of the Year, again for an amazing 7th year in a row.  For any production company this award is the ultimate accolade, and we’re overjoyed that our hard-work and commitment to corporate film-making continues to be recognised by this internationally respected and highly competitive Festival.  Thanks must go to all our hard-working teams and of course to our many clients, who continue to support our passion for pushing creative boundaries to produce inspirational films.”  Phil Blundell, director, The Edge Picture Company

Susan Zirinsky, NYF Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

New York Festivals honored Susan Zirinsky, senior executive producer of the CBS News broadcast 48 HOURS with the third annual NYF Lifetime Achievement Award. Erin Moriarty, correspondent for 48 HOURS, presented the award to Zirinksy, whose extensive journalism career has provided her with a front seat to some of the most iconic moments in TV news history.

Erin Moriarty, CBS 48 Hours correspondent









Done and Dusted took home the Grand Trophy for "Olympic Opening Ceremony"

“Olympic Opening Ceremony” Done and Dusted, UK Special Events was awarded the Grand Trophy. The award-winning entry has become one of the most watched programs in history with an estimated 1 billion viewers worldwide.

“Paul Simon’s Graceland Journey: Under African Skies,” A&E, USA The Arts was honored with the Grand Trophy, and features Paul Simon as he travels back to South Africa on the 25th anniversary of his historic Graceland album.

“Hatfields & McCoys,” History, USA Mini-Series was recognized with the Grand Award. The series, featuring an all star cast, led by Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton, chronicles the true story of a legendary family feud.


Dr. Kamal Haasan, legendary Indian film actor, screenwriter, producer and director.

Chris Brown, executive vice president of conventions & business operations for NAB, presented a special award celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Indian Cinema to Dr. Kamal Haasan, legendary Indian film actor, screenwriter, producer and director.

The following prominent industry executives presented awards to this year’s winning entrants:  Chris Brown, NAB; Jodain Massad, Kansas City Chiefs; Roni Selig, CNN; Marco Frascarelli, and Mia Van Der Heyden, Temps Mort; Patrick Rutnam & Frederick-James Lobato, A Common Man; and Brian Schulz, Brooklyn Castle.

Brian Schulz, Brooklyn Castle

The newly launched Best Performance by an Actress/Actor category honored Troian Bellisario for “WIGS’ Lauren” with a Gold World Medal, and Julia Stiles for “WIGS’ Blue” with a Bronze in the Best Performance by an Actress category. Actress Maalaala Mo Kaya in “Remembering” ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation was honored with Finalist Certificate. Robert Taylor “Longmire” A&E received a Bronze World Medal; and Adam Zwar “Lowdown” ABC, Australia garnered a Finalist Certificate in the Best Performance by an Actor category.

“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” Sony Pictures Television/ Crackle, and “Fresh Guacamole By PES” Showtime earned Gold World Medals in the Online Entertainment Program category, and “Early Cuts” Dexter Showtime, and “Temps mort / Time out” Societe Radio-Canada /Productions Babel received Silver Medals. “The Dalai Lama at St Paul’s” CTN Communications/The John Templeton Foundation, Online Special Events and “Memorable Moments. The Olympics.” Yahoo! Studios, Online Sport Program were honored with Gold Medals.

CNN’s 24-hour news coverage took center stage earning a total of 7 Gold World Medals, 5 Silver, 2 Bronze and 8 Finalist Certificates. The network received top honors for their Gold Medal coverage for “Selling a Miracle,”  “CNN Presents: Soldier Guinea Pigs,” “Syria: Inside Aleppo,” “CNN Series of Reports from Homs, Syria by an Anonymous Journalist/Filmmaker, ” “Refund Robbery,” “Awra Damon: Homs Wounded,” and “AC360: Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture.”  And, Australian Broadcasting Corporation “Inside West Papua”; ESPN’s Outside the Lines’ “Kyle Maynard: No Excuses,”  “Monika Korra: Breaking the Silence,” and “Defiance: The Story of FC Start,” were awarded Gold Medals.

The spotlight was on Prime Time Promos with “London Calling Brand Trail” BBC Worldwide / BBC Global News; “America’s Got Talent ‘Magnet’” NBC, and “Crimson Petal Sizzle” Encore Starz Entertainment taking home Gold Medals. HBO’s “Hemingway & Gellhorn Behind The Scenes Campaign,” “Boardwalk Empire S3 Campaign,” “The Newsroom Trailer #1,” and “LUCK Campaign” along with  Showtime‘s “Writers Room Campaign” Weeds and “Mirrors” The Borgias  received Silver Medals.

“Brooklyn Castle” Producers Distribution Agency; “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” Show of Force/PBS; “Perfectly Normal” Bunim-Murray; “Good Karma $1” Kids At Play and Fearless Cottage; and “A Hell of a Living” ANTENA 3; each earned Gold World Medals  for their documentary work.  Other documentaries earning honors include “Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile” ITV Studio; “The World According to Lance” Australian Broadcasting Corporation; and “KBS Special- Kim Jong-il” Korean Broadcasting System garnered Silver Medals.

Each year, NYF, in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Public Information, selects entries that exemplify the aims and ideals of the United Nations, and honors them with the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) awards. “Inside Story,” Discovery DCEGP, USA – Society & Social Issues, and “Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta,” Fredbird Entertainment and Northern Pictures, Australia – Community Portraits earned Gold UNDPI Awards. “Perfectly Normal,” Bunim-Murray Productions, USA – Documentaries garnered a Bronze UNDPI.

NYF’s 2013 Television & Film Awards ceremony and acceptance speeches will be available for viewing on the International Television & Film Awards website. To view this year’s award winners: or . For more information visit: .

Production Hub is the official media sponsor of the 2013 NYF Television & Film Awards.

Photography from the ceremony is available from Marc Bryan-Brown Photography. Visit:


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New York Festivals Honors CBS News Senior Executive Producer, Susan Zirinsky with 2013 TV & Film Lifetime Achievement Award

New York Festivals® International Television & Film Awards™ will honor CBS News Senior Executive Producer Susan Zirinsky with its 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Susan Zirinsky, CBS News Senior Executive Producer

Zirinsky, the Senior Executive Producer of CBS News’ broadcast 48 HOURS, will be honored on Tuesday, April 9th at the New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards ceremony taking place at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas. The NYF Television & Film Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes prominent industry leaders whose accomplishments and contributions have advanced their field and made a lasting impression on the industry. The organization is now in its 56th year of honoring the World’s Best TV Programs & Films™.

“By selecting Susan Zirinsky as the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, New York Festivals honors a woman whose commitment to broadcast journalism has been paramount, covering the major domestic and international stories of our time,” said Rose Anderson, NYF Television & Film Awards Executive Director. “She’s a producer’s producer whose body of work is an inspiration.”

In addition to her work on 48 HOURS, now in its 25th full season, Zirinsky routinely is the Senior Executive Producer of breaking news specials events for CBS News, including the Aurora, CO theater shooting and the murders at a Newtown, CT elementary school. She has also produced special projects for CBS Entertainment, the CW and Showtime.

Her extensive journalism career has provided her with a front seat to some of the iconic moments in TV news history including the Falklands War, the student uprising in Tiananmen Square, the Gulf War, the invasion of Panama, the election of President Barack Obama, 9/11, The Presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan George H. Bush and World Summits in Moscow, Russia Helsinki, Finland; Malta and Iceland.  Zirinsky’s vast body of work includes producing documentaries on fashion, music and the occasional “Person to Person” newsmaker profile specials.

Zirinsky was also the executive producer of CBS News’ historic and award-winning “9/11” broadcast, a riveting documentary that included the only picture of the first plane going into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as well as video footage inside the Towers capturing first responders who would ultimately die in the buildings’ collapse. The documentary garnered an Emmy, a George Foster Peabody Award, A Christopher Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, a Radio-TV News Directors award, and the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence.   Zirinsky has won multiple Emmy Awards for her body of work.

She is a journalist at heart. Zirinsky began at CBS News as a production clerk and during her tenure at the network, her journalism career has taken her around the world and included everything from politics and sports, celebrities and murders. She has also worked on such broadcasts as the CBS MORNING NEWS, the CBS EVENING NEWS and the newsmagazine EYE To EYE. She has been the Executive Producer of 48 HOURS since 1996.

“We are pleased to be in our third year, hosting NYF’s prestigious Television & Film Awards ceremony at NAB Show,” said NAB Executive Vice President, Conventions and Business Operations, Chris Brown.  “This partnership illustrates NAB Show’s commitment to the content community across all genres and platforms.  News production is a core component of NAB Show and we are thrilled to welcome Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Susan Zirinsky to our program.  We know her extensive knowledge of international production in both the news and entertainment arenas will be an inspiration for the thousands of creative professionals and amateurs who attend each year.”

 The New York Festivals Awards ceremony will shine the spotlight on the 2013 World’s Best TV & Films, as well as present the Lifetime Achievement Award, Broadcaster of the Year, Production Company of the Year, and United Nations Department of Public Information Awards. Award winners and ceremony attendees will have access to the 2013 NAB Show. For more information or to order tickets please visit:


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NYF Television & Film Awards Spotlight Interview: Kate Jackson, Coordinating Producer, Motorsports, ESPN

NYF TV & Film blog series continues its monthly conversation with game-changers, thought leaders, and visionaries from the Television & Film industry. This month’s Spotlight Interview takes us up close and personal with Kate Jackson, Coordinating Producer, Motorsports, ESPN.

Kate Jackson, Coordinating Producer, Motorsports, ESPN

Kate’s role includes involvement in many aspects of the production of ESPN’s coverage of NASCAR and IndyCar racing. Prior to being named to her current position, Ms. Jackson was a feature producer for ESPN’s motorsports production team, responsible for the oversight of all creative content including teases, features and production elements.

Last year, ESPN, USA earned the New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards Grand Trophy for “Indianapolis 500 Open: A Walk Through Time.” The sports opener commemorated the 100th year of the Indy 500. The award-winning entry takes the audience to the emotional core of Indy’s racing heritage and culminates with a glimpse into the future of Indy. Read Kate’s interview below to learn more about the award-winning entry.

NYF: How much time elapsed from the idea to when it was broadcast live?

Indy 500- A Walk Through Time

KJ: This idea started in late February. We began planning very quickly after the concept was approved. The first order of business was the script. Once we knew what moments we wanted to highlight, we had to figure out where they occurred on the racetrack and weave them all together. Once the moments were chosen the CGI work began. This process took every bit of three months. The shoot took only one day in early May. The edit began immediately and the final product aired Labor Day weekend.

NYF: How important was the script, or format?

KJ: The script is the single most important element of this tease. The script was very carefully written to weave in several historic moments. Once the concept was approved, the script process began. The script drove the whole tease including which elements to build with CGI, which actor to use and how to shoot it seamlessly on the racetrack.

NYF: What was it like to be part of this iconic moment?

KJ: I have been in television for over 15 years and this project sticks out as one of the most special and unique elements I have every worked on. I know this will last as an iconic moment no matter how long I work in television. It has been such a honor to be recognized for this work.

NYF: What advice do you have for the next generation of storytellers?

KJ: In a world full of technology and gadgets, nothing beats a good story. Find a way to make an emotional connection with your audience and you will have great work. Technology should be used only to enhance a great story, it can never replace it.

NYF: What is it about Indy racing that is so exciting for America; it’s the biggest one day sporting event in the country?

KJ: For over 100 years, man has been testing the limits and speeds of machines at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Our country has grown and changed over the last century, but man’s desire to find the limits of speed have not. The spirit of ingenuity and the drive to excel is in every element of the Indy 500. It is truly the greatest spectacle in racing.

The New York Festivals TV & Film Awards ceremony will shine the spotlight on the 2013 World’s Best TV & Films in Las Vegas at the NAB Show on April 9th,  as well as present the Lifetime Achievement Award, Broadcaster of the Year, Production Company of the Year, and United Nations Department of Public Information Awards.  Award winners and ceremony attendees will have access to The NAB Show. For more information or to order tickets please visit:

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NYF Television & Film Awards Spotlight Interview: Jeff Zimbalist

Each month New York Festivals® International Television & Film Awards Blog features conversations with respected game-changes and thought leaders from the TV & Film community. The conversation continues this month with the spotlight focusing on Filmmaker Jeff Zimbalist, who along with his brother Michael produced the Two Escobars.

Michael and Jeff Zimbalist

Jeff is best known for his feature films Favela Rising, The Two Escobars, and The Scribe of Urabá. The Zimbalists have worked with icons like Quincy Jones, Pelé, Shakira, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mick Jagger, Javier Bardem, Russell Simmons, and Naomi Campbell. Their award-winning films have been broadcast on HBO, MTV, PBS, ESPN, Channel 4 UK, the BBC and BET, and theatrically distributed worldwide.

The Two Escobars (ESPN Films 30 for 30) earned the prestigious Grand Trophy in the 2011 New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards in the History & Society category.

NYF TV & Film: What project are you working on now?

JZ:  We’re currently working on another 30 for 30 with ESPN, a feature film with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment, and a feature on soccer legend Pelé with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment.
NYF TV & Film:  What was it about the Two Escobars that attracted you to it?

JZ:  Looking into the incident of Andrés murder, we learned that the dramatic rise and fall of Colombian soccer was inextricably tied to the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Drug Cartel, considered by many the ‘ruling party’ of Colombia at the time. Sport in Colombia was not only mirroring the personality and politics of society, but was in fact an inseparable part of that society – the playing field an extension of the streets and offices where influential decisions were made.

We hoped that by highlighting the universal themes in the journeys of Pablo Escobar and Andrés Escobar, the film would appeal to an international audience lacking an understanding of the transcendent impact soccer can have on a society.

NYF TV & Film: What were the creative challenges that you faced and how did you use technology to solve them?

JZ:  We collected upwards of 200 hours of archival footage from over 50 different sources to bring the visuals in The Two Escobars to life.  A majority of these archives were low quality second and third generation dubs on old tape formats. Furthermore, because they were never before seen and the only existing copies, the owners were often hesitant to let us take the masters to post houses to have full res conversions made.  Indeed, in Colombia it was even difficult to find post houses who still had the right decks and cables to do lossless transfers and clones.  Our solution was to custom rent specific tape decks for each source and each transfer and personally bring the equipment to the owner’s facility or home to make the transfer.  It was an extra stage of production that we had not ever performed before, and it was expensive and time consuming, but it was necessary to get as high quality archives as we could.  We then used FCP, After Effects and Avid color and graphic stations to unify the aspect, grain, color and movement of all the various archival shots.
NYF TV & Film:  What is the single most thing to keep in mind when creating a documentary?

JZ:  We used to believe that the most important thing was a spectacular, one-of-a-kind creative idea.  Then we realized that there are loads of amazing doc stories out there and what really separates the successful documentary filmmakers  was their work ethic — those who have the resilience to continue to learn and rework their narrative and continue to shoot and get feedback and apply time and time again for festivals and moneys and then rework the narrative yet again.
NYF TV & Film:  How did the work you did on the Two Escobars influence the way you work on project now, and what advice do you have for the next generation of storytellers?

JZ:  Traditionally, many documentary films are structured in an essay format or according to a strict chronology.  We find that employing a 3-act structure and applying the rules of narrative screenwriting to nonfiction films greatly increases the audience a documentary can access and the amount of emotion it can illicit.  We encourage the next generation of storytellers to study and apply narrative structure to their documentary films, with the aim of reaching beyond target audience to spectators who otherwise might never have been interested in a specific topic or story.

The 2013 New York FestivalsInternational Television & Film Awards gala will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 9th at NAB Show


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NYF Television & Film Awards Spotlight Interview: Alexander Hahn, Electronic Media Artist

Each month,  leading up to the 2013 New York Festivals Television & Film Awards® taking place at NAB in Las Vegas, the NYF TV & Film blog series will continue its conversations with game-changers ,thought leaders, and visionaries from the Television & Film industry. This month’s spotlight interview features Alexander Hahn, a New York/Zürich-based electronic media artist.

Alexander HahnAlex received his MFA from the University of Fine Arts, Zürich/CH and is a 1981 fellow in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. His videos, installations and computer prints are exhibited worldwide, most recently at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Kunstmuseum Solothurn/CH, the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Ferrara/IT, and the National Art Museum of China, Beijing/CN. Among his awards are the New York State Council on the Arts Grant, Zurich Work Award, and the Swiss Federal Grant.

NYF TV & Film: You are considered a pioneer in electronic/new media art, what inspires you to create in 3-D, video and virtual reality technologies?

Alexander Hahn "Public Spaces"
AH: In about 1977, while still in art school, beset by a painterly crises, I discovered
in the photo department a neglected video camera and a recorder. My first experiment was to dolly the camera over a linoleum floor, which on the black and white TV screen gave the illusion of flying high above a wavy ocean. Right away I was and still am fascinated by this material transformation, which would become a characteristic of my video work, expressed by the seamless, dreamlike transitions between scenes.

When I arrived in New York in 1981, I quickly realized that living and working in a
diminutive tenement apartment with a painterly propensity would be impractical given
the reduced spatial circumstances. As though to gallantly make a virtue out of
necessity, the very apartment has been playing a principal role in many of my pieces,
from the 1983 Unit 174, an 8bit computer animation on the legendary Texas Instrument
TI-99/4A, the 3-D computer graphics inkjet print series The Artist’s Studio As
Encryption Lab (1995 and ongoing), to the 2007 interactive DVD Luminous Point
( In the latter, I recreated the flat in a 3D program and
turned it into a memory architecture where the walls are texture-mapped with images
from places I have traveled to and transitional movies lead from one room to the
other. By this digital sleight of hand my apartment not only turns into an expansive
pictorial space but also embraces a vast time span.

NYF TV & Film: Can you tell me about your artist residency project in India, which is in part sponsored by The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia? I know you will participate in this
project for the next three months, what do you hope to accomplish during that time?

AH: Artistic projects remind somewhat of paint by number pictures. I prefer to expose
myself to the world out there like a blank video tape that is electrified by the
sounds and sights the lens captures; an intrepid stance, maybe, since the haphazard
records might harbor nothing of interest. This is particularly true for India which
has already been trawled by filmmakers, photographers and writers for both its
beautiful and tragic sides. Currently in dazzling Varanasi and half-way into the
artist residency, I still gather footage and sift through the massive amount of data,
on the side posting vignettes from my travels to a video blog which can be seen at

(The image below lifted from , “Tanjore Painting”  was videotaped at the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, New Delhi.)
Tanjore Painting - videotaped at the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, New Delhi

A second project is the production beginning early in December of a stop motion HD-video with a cellphone and low budget apps for the Sarai Reader 09 at the Devi Art
Foundation in New Delhi.

Two assigned actors so far: a Plexiglass-encased beetle and an Indian plumb line. I had originally bought the China made beetle as a model for a 3D computer graphic
image that was inspired by the scientific discovery that dung beetles use celestial compass cues such as the sun, the moon and the pattern of polarized light formed around these sources to orient themselves.

Back in New York, I have been using a plumb line to switch on the ceiling lights.
Although put in place years ago, I only recently discovered that, when seen from
below, silhouetted against the luminous sphere of light above, and put in swinging
motion, the bob creates the elusive teardrop shape observed when a transiting planet
makes contact with a stellar disk’s edge – a kind of homespun cosmology.
Motion of beetles (microcosm) + celestial bodies (macrocosm), thoughts of migration,
travel, continuous change …

NYF TV & Film: Your most recent exhibition” Cao Chang Di Road On November 24, 2009 I Stood There Waiting,” a HD video projection with surround sound, at the Digital Media Arts Center Harvestworks in New York consisted of four video installations, what was the inspiration?

Anamorphoses - Max Mathews, an homage to the late computer music pioneer

AH: The original plan was for the main exhibition space to premiere Cao Chang Di Road, a HD video projection with surround sound and to show two more recent HD monitor works based on footage I covertly shot in public spaces. Since the beginning of the 80s, I have worked with various forms of anamorphoses, and in 2002 created a series of video loops where people who have passed away since I recorded them re-appear as anamorphic cylinder illusions. When the small backroom at Harvestworks became available, I immediately thought of making a piece in honor of the recently deceased Max Matthews. I felt that this was the right place to exhibit it because Harvestworks also offers classes in the Max Jitter software, named after the computer music pioneer. The video shows Max Matthews in 2007 introducing his computer-love Swansong as an anamorphic reflection on a mirrored cylinder. (

NYF TV & Film:  Your videos, installations and computer prints are exhibited worldwide, at prominent museums , where and when is your next exhibition? And what would be the location of your dream exhibition and why?

AH: The next exhibition is at the Devi Art Foundation in New Delhi as part of the Sarai
Reader 09 and will open on December 15, 2012.

A few days ago, the sad news of the sudden death of a friend of mine has reached me.
It brought back the memory of a fabulous trip together to the Venice Biennale in
1978. The art, the Giardini with its pavilions, but most of all our adventures in the
City made an indelible impression on me. When I first read your question about the
location of my dream exhibition, I couldn’t think of one, but now Venice would be
such a place.

NYF TV & Film: How would you describe your creative process? What is your timeline from inspiration to execution to exhibition?

AH: Record, review, filter, archive, retrieve and assemble – much like the workings of a
dream. The linear time line in my work is no more. There are always several pieces in
progress, on some I toil over a lengthy period of time, while others come into
existence instantly, almost by merely pressing the record button – at the right time.

NYF TV & Film: Your works of art have extremely large file-sizes. How does that impact their creation and exhibition?

AH: Video files, especially if they are HD and uncompressed, naturally tend to be large -
the price for the fine detail, texture, saturated color and highly defined wide angle
shots, previously the exclusive hallmark of film. Even though I work with a fast
machine, there is always a substantial amount of rendering time before a composition
can be first viewed in real time. So, you have to be intuitive about the outcome,
like a composer writing a musical score.

Storage and exhibition of the finished pieces are much easier than in the early days,
when things video spelled bulk and high cost. Still, on platforms that require
compression, such as the internet or DVDs, a lot of the fine detail, particularly
grain or stippling will be lost. To this date, I have not yet been able to pull off
an online version of Cao Chang Di Road that adequately displays its crisp,
pointillist grain. I cringe every time I see its smudgy web delivery.

NYF TV & Film: Could you describe the technical process you use?

AH: I overtly and covertly gather video, photo and audio material with a variety of
cameras, all on the consumer end because of their small size. From start to finish of
a project, I work by myself, on rare occasions commission a hardware related task,
such as customizing off-the-shelf hardware or building a machine of my own design. In
the early years, I edited on 3/4” U-matic, bartering expensive studio time for client
work. With the acquisition in 1990 of a Mac IIci, a New Vista video card, Photoshop,
Premiere, and a beta version of Macromind 3D I was for the first time able to do the
compositing and editing at home. Initially, hardware and software limitations made
this a slow and cumbersome process, but technological advances have greatly enhanced
the workflow from production to post-production, very much akin to the way from sketch
to finished painting in traditional artistic studio practice.

NYF TV & Film: What or who inspires you?

AH: Often, I’m inspired by a place, domestic or foreign – now it’s India, New Delhi the
first stop. One of the first things I noticed about the City was the abundance of
surveillance cameras, maybe more prominent than in other urban landscapes that I have
visited in the past. Ubiquitously present in even the seemingly most inconspicuous
places, they monitor day-to-day activities for any imminent perpetration they might
harbor. Never blinking sentinels, they see things overlooked or unseen by the human
eye. Algorithms that sift through their massive visual feed decipher what is really
going on, like clairvoyants expected to peek into the future and identify criminals
before they can do any harm.

While at first glance this feels straight out of a scenario from a Philip K. Dick
novel, I cannot but think of the workings of memory and dream. We travel through
daytime, permanently switched on like mobile recorders, and soak up all sorts of
mostly uninteresting information. During the night – only seemingly at rest – we
remember, extract and recombine these diurnal records in dream and might just come up
with a most striking image or scene that ripples into waking, leaving us with the
sensation of having touched upon something unmistakably real.

This method of making the invisible become visible through image is the way I have
come to work as a video/electronic media artist: first by abandoning my role as
director, then, step by step, eliminating the implementation of preconceived ideas
and instead embracing chance and coincidence, the attitude of a visitor or visitant -
the perfect predisposition for my present travels in India.

The place I’m now staying at is Varanasi, in the former residence of Alice Boner, an
artist and scholar of Indian temples. In one of her books I found the following
observation: “You first capture the seen materially, by and by it becomes freer, more
spiritual and symbolic, and the execution develops according to the task. This means
“self-emptying,” to work without reminiscences and preconceived ideas, to follow
impulse and one’s own vision, alert and attentive in every instance.”


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Rose Anderson, NYF’s Television & Film Awards Executive Director Discusses the Digital Dilemma at 9th Annual International Film Festival Summit

Rose Anderson, New York Festivals® Television & Film Awards Executive Director, joins a panel of prominent industry thought leaders for the second year in a row as a featured panelist at the The 9th Annual International Film Festival Summit taking place in Austin, TX December 2-4th.  Ms. Anderson will lend her expertise and creative vision to an IFFS sponsored panel discussion titled: “The Digital Dilemma: Managing Submissions and the Future of Film Festivals in the Digital World”, exploring the paradigm shift in media use and the questions and challenges it raises for the festival community. The panel discussion will be held Monday, December 3rd at 2:45 – 3:45 pm at the Hyatt Regency Austin.

Ms. Anderson commented on the recent digital transformation at New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards: “Having already gone through the analog to digital transformation on the network level, going through it at NYF has meant opening your mind to so many possibilities.” 

Rose Anderson, Executive Director, NYF Television & Film Awards

Ms. Anderson will join the following industry experts and together they will analyze the problem, explore solutions, and discuss how one festival turned an expensive screening process into a success.

Moderator and Panel Member: Mark Fishkin, Executive Director, California Film Institute & Mill Valley Film Festival

Tim League, Director, Fantastic Fest & Alamo Draft House
Kenbe Goertzen, President & Founder, Quvis
Lisa Samford, Executive Director, Jackson Hole Wildlife

The 2012 International Film Festival Summit (IFFS) is the largest international organization representing the film festival industry. The IFFS mission is to promote and strengthen the global film festival industry through education, networking, dissemination of information, and the cultivation of high standards for the industry. This year’s summit features a robust agenda offering keynote presentations, informative panel discussions, breakout sessions, social activities, and the IFFS Excellence Awards.


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NYF Television & Film Awards Spotlight Interview: Michael Prupas, President and CEO of Muse Entertainment

Each month, leading up to the 2013 New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards  ceremony taking place at NAB in Las Vegas, we will feature conversations with respected game-changers and thought leaders from the Television and Film community.  The conversation continues with this month’s spotlight interview featuring Michael Prupas, President and CEO of Muse Entertainment, and Executive Producer for 2012′s NYF TV & Film Awards Grand Trophy winning entry The Kennedys.

Michael Prupas, President and CEO of Muse Entertainment

Emmy Award nominated and multiple award winner Michael Prupas is a 33-year veteran of the Canadian and international film and television industries. A former entertainment attorney and senior partner at the law firm Heenan Blaikie, Mr. Prupas launched Muse Entertainment Enterprises in June 1998 and Muse Distribution International in 2000. Muse Entertainment has become a major international production company, known around the world for its high-quality, award-winning films and television programs.

Mr. Prupas most recently executive produced the miniseries Bomb Girls along with television event miniseries The Kennedys and The Pillars of the Earth. He is the executive producer of two seasons of the paranormal series, Being Human. He also executive produced event miniseries Ben Hur and The Phantom, as well as the television movie Cyberbully.

NYF TV & Film: When creating The Kennedys, how did you make this version of an often told story such a stand-out?

MP: We in fact started with an original, family driven, take on the Kennedy story. How did this family get imbued by such a strong sense of purpose and such a clear vision of leadership? Once we knew our theme, the story told itself. There was so much in the life of Joseph and Rose Kennedy and their children that illustrated what we were talking about and so much of it had been familiar to the public before (such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the integration of “Ole Miss.” that our theme driven story flowed naturally. Of course we were led by an exceptionally good director, in Jon Cassar and a fantastic acting ensemble, in Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Katie Holmes and Tom Wilkinson, all of whom being emotionally engaged in their characters, that we had the chemistry to make a great show.

The Kennedys, Barry Pepper, Tom Wilkinson, Katie Holmes and Gregg Kinnear

NYF TV & Film: The Kennedys reached 17.5 million viewers in its first run; to what do you attribute this huge following?

MP: The American public has always had a fascination with the Kennedys as the one great family that could truly be seen as a Royal dynasty, the way the Queen is in England. The huge successes and spectacular tragedies of this family were already familiar to that public, but our series gave them the chance not simply to reconnect with it, but to understand as if they were putting on a new set of eyes.

NYF TV & Film: The Kennedy family is considered American Royalty. How did you decide what historical and personal elements to include?

MP: Difficult choices had to be made but we were driven by our theme, how did Joe Kennedy build such an influential position for his family in American life and who were the key players who made that happen. So focusing on Joe and Rose, Jack and Jackie and Bobby and Ethel came naturally.

NYF TV & Film: How did REELZ come to pick up your project and why do you think REELZ CEO Stan E. Hubbard made the decision to purchase the series that other networks were afraid to air?

Stan E. Hurbbard, CEO of the ReelzChannel

MP: Stan Hubbard has a strong moral core and he made it clear from the very beginning that he would not have touched The Kennedys if he thought that it was a hatchet job, or sensationalist or badly made. He took the time, with his wife Jennifer, over a very long weekend to watch all 8 hours of the final producers cut of the programme and was able to see for himself, that far from being any of those things, The Kennedys was a first calibre show that succeeded in doing what it set out to do, namely to show the true story of the Kennedy family (during the period ending in 1968) with both the moments of great triumphs and the moments of weakness.

In addition to being awarded the NYF TV & Film Award Grand Trophy, Director Jon Cassar earned outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television & Mini Series in the Directors Guild of America Awards and in Canada, among other notable awards. How important are awards to the creative team and networks?

MP: The awards are proof to our team, awarded by their peers in the industry, that the work that they had dedicated themselves too fulfilled their own aspirations of making a project that was worthy of the great family that we were portraying, even if the family itself did not care to watch it.

NYF TV & Film: What are you working on now?

MP: Our company, Muse Entertainment, has several programmes on the air, including the television series Bomb Girls about the women who for the first time got out of their homes and went to work, as part of the Greatest Generation, building bombs in World War II. It is also broadcast by Reelz in the U.S. We are also developing a sequel to The Kennedys which we hope will be on the air in 2014.

Bomb Girls

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NYF Television & Film Awards Spotlight Interview: Janis Mackey Frayer

In the coming months we’ll be getting up close and personal with respected game-changers from the Television and Film community.  This month the spotlight is on award-winning Canadian journalist and NYF Television & Film Awards Grand Jury member Janis Mackey Frayer.

Janis Mackey Frayer is Asia Bureau Chief & Correspondent for CTV – Canadian Television. Previously she was posted in South Asia, as Bureau Chief from 2009 to June 2012, where she reported extensively from Afghanistan, Libya and Pakistan.  Ms. Mackey was based in the Middle East from 2003 to 2009 and covered both the region as well as reporting wars in Lebanon and the Gaza strip.  She has traveled to more than 40 countries with extended periods in Afghanistan and Iraq.  She currently lives in China.

NYF TV & Film> As one of Canada’s foremost foreign correspondents you’ve covered two Olympic Games, the deaths of Yasser Arafat and Pope John Paul II, and reported assignments ranging from forest fires in Greece and political unrest in Thailand, to historic elections in Burma.  Can you tell me about your investigative process?

JMF> For the past decade I have traveled a lot for work, primarily coverage of conflict.   Every assignment has a set of logistical hurdles before you actually get to where you need to be and the reporting work begins.  For live television, especially, you need to be familiar with the story, the country, the culture, and the underlying reasons you are going there before you even land.  I find the most fruitful investigative chains are built by ending each interview or conversation by asking who else I should talk to.

NYF TV & Film> As Asia Bureau Chief & Correspondent for Canadian Television what stories are you covering now?

JMF> Stories in China are more nuanced and trickier to film than the other parts of Asia where I have worked or lived, but that makes it intriguing.  Beyond the day-to-day regional news I am focusing on issues relating to women.  China is now home to 20% of the world’s women and I find that compelling.  So I am also developing writing and multimedia projects around shifts in demographics, work, and marriage.

NYF TV & Film> Your brilliant coverage of acid attack victims in Pakistan “Pakistan Beauty Salon” was awarded the United Nations/UNDPI Gold Medal at the 2010 New York Festivals.  How did this story come to your attention and what were the challenges in telling the story?

JMF> I heard about the acid attack victims from a photojournalist colleague of my husband.  I tucked the idea away, hoping I might get the chance to meet them someday.  It took two years!  In 2009 I was reposted to cover South and Central Asia, and I was in Pakistan for the Swat Valley offensive.  So I arranged to spend a couple of days in Lahore to finally do the story.

NYF TV &Film> What was the timeline from reporting to broadcasting the final news story?

JMF>We did two days of interviews and filming before traveling back to Islamabad and then on to Kabul.  I did the scripting and editing there and it aired on CTV National News about a week later.

NYF TV & Film> How did earning the UNDPI Gold Medal help draw attention to the plight of Pakistani women?

JMF>I tend to work in places where it is really hard to be a woman.  Many are raised to accept violence against them as something deserved.  Women scarred by acid, fire or rape, are sequestered or worse to preserve family ‘honor’.  In many countries the need for adequate healthcare for women is lost to massive military budgets.  Fundamental change is not going to come from a two-minute television story, but most of the women I have met over years of reporting say they personally gain something by having a voice.  That, in my opinion, is how change starts.

NYF TV & Film>How has new technology changed your approach to reporting?

JMF>Television news is no longer about one cut-piece for a single newscast; filing for online or social media brings more demands but also more opportunities.  There are always quotes, anecdotes, or other threads that make for rich sidebar storytelling.  I am not a great photographer but I have experimented with creating slide shows and other web features and I have really enjoyed it.

NYF TV &Film>What iconic story in history do you wish you could have covered?

JMF> I had just graduated from high school when the Berlin Wall came down.  I watched it unfold on television.  For me it was less about the sledgehammers and physical destruction of the wall than the images of people being reunited.

NYF TV & Film>Is there a particular story that was a defining moment in your career?

JMF>There are many stories I was glad to see because they felt epic, though with conflict you eventually realize that there will be more of it.  The “decisive battle” you are in one day repeats itself on another day and then in another country because there will always be another set of reasons for man to make war.  A lot of stories have helped shape my career, and a lot of experiences as a consequence have shaped me.   I am writing a collection of essays about some of the women I have met while reporting in the Middle East. North Africa, and Asia.

NYF TV & Film> What advice do you have for young journalists?

JMF> My advice to young journalists:  Trust that hard work will typically take you further than any sense of entitlement, and always be guided by the fact that the story is not about you.  Even before my first ‘real’ job in local news, a seasoned network reporter and anchor posed an important question.  She asked me, “Do you want to be a journalist or do you want to be on TV?” because there is a difference.  The answer has been a compass.


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