Grand Jury Spotlight Interview: Krzysztof Biedalak

New York Festivals 2018 TV & Film Awards Grand Jury represents 32 countries on 6 continents. Known for its powerhouse jury comprised of prominent international broadcast and film industry executives, NYF’s jurors are award-winners themselves and are passionate about excellence and innovation. Their reputation in diverse areas across all platforms provide each entry with the utmost of attention and make them qualified to select the World’s Best TV & Films.

NYF’s Grand Jury Perspective offers an intimate glimpse into the thought process and creative insights of the award-winning industry superstars who serve on the TV & Film Awards Grand Jury.

Grand Jury member, Krzysztof Biedalak, together with Piotr Wozniak, founded SuperMemo World in 1991. He served from 1991 to 1997 as SuperMemo World’s Vice President and Managing Director; responsible for finances and international marketing, courseware design, licensing, and … receiving heads of state. Since January 1998, Krzystof’s been at the helm as CEO and member of SuperMemo World’s Supervisory Board responsible for strategy and Financial Director at Vulcan Media, an associated PWN company. Supermemo World earned the 2016 TV & Film Awards Gold World Medal for”Olive Green,”  the first ever full feature interactive movie available online designed to teach English, combined with computer games.

Left to Right, SuperMemo Olive Green Executive Producer, Alicja Jankowiak with SuperMemo CEO,Krzysztof Biedalak accepting the Gold World Medal at NYF's TV & Film Awards Gala NAB 2016

New York Festivals: What are some of the tools you use to keep your audience?

Krzysztof Biedalak: Story, interaction and functionality. Since what we do at SuperMemo has always been e-learning, functionality is at the core of our products. We provide services and apps that let people learn effectively. Using a tool that allows you to reach your learning goals is motivating in itself. But it’s not very entertaining. We would all rather watch a good movie or read an interesting book than sweat over memorizing another 100 words in Chinese. That is why we have long strived at SuperMemo to introduce elements of story into our products and make them a part of the learning process. That’s how Olive Green was created, an action feature film with a script designed along the requirements of a course of English. On top of that we use interactions, like dexterity games, puzzles or decision points that challenge the user with alternative action threads. These helps keep viewers even more focused, entertain and help to achieve educational goals.

New York Festivals: What projects are on the horizon for you?

Krzysztof Biedalak: In terms of content I would love to continue the series started by Olive Green, which won the world gold medal at NYF TV & Film Awards in 2016. Right now, the Spanish sequel is most advanced but actual sequence may depend on business interest of investors that we are trying to attract. The new film would naturally come along with new ideas in interactivity. In terms of technology, I’m planning the use more and more artificial intelligence, including speech recognition and synthesis, natural language processing combined with access to translators and Internet databases. This shall ultimately lead to intelligent speech interface and conversational modules in our products for learning. Which means that our users will be able to easily find out knowledge and learn by conversing with our apps rather than by performing sequences of clicks, searches and edits before they actually start learning.

New York Festivals: Talk about how story structure has changed with the spread of mobile?

Krzysztof Biedalak: In case of Olive Green, the story is not that much influenced by the platforms, which we serve universally of course, as by the educational requirements imposed on it as part of the combined film-course product. I don’t know of any other feature film based on a script created with a grid of vocabulary, grammar and communication requirements, imposed on it from the first to the last scene. To satisfy these requirements seamlessly in an exciting action story was definitely one of the major challenges of this project. I hope this case is inspirational in how a purely entertaining story may become the core part of an otherwise utility product.

New York Festivals: How will storytelling continue to evolve to keep pace with the omni-platform environment?

Krzysztof Biedalak: Going omni-platform is inevitable. On one hand it’s just a technical diversification which does not necessarily impose content or storytelling innovation. On the other, the whole spectrum of new possibilities appears primarily related to interaction and feedback from the consumer. I believe we are only entering an interesting period when these new ideas will be tested against the natural inertia of well-established standards.

To view the 2018 NYF TV & Film Awards Finalists, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/tvfilm/main.php?p=2,38

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