Trends on tap at biz expo

Entertainment industry leaders and top tech specialists will converge tomorrow at Variety ShowBiz Expo West: The Evolution of Production, which will be held Friday through Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Under the direction of Variety and Reed Exhibition Cos., the three-day show includes exhibitions of the latest technology in the film, television and interactive industries. This year’s event will offer more than 45 symposiums covering entertainment industry business and tech trends.

“With last year’s expo, Variety committed to the creation of a thought-provoking and comprehensive conference program covering key issues and trends,” said Gerry Byrne, VP and publisher of Daily Variety and Variety. “We achieved that goal and put in place a solid foundation for this year’s conference.”

Upwards of 500 exhibitors and 25,000 attendees are expected at this year’s event. according John Lewinski, Reed Exhibition’s VP of media & entertainment. Expo floor space has been expanded 25% compared with last year.

On Friday morning, ShowBiz Expo’s keynote panel, “What Makes a Blockbuster: Creativity or Technology?” will be moderated by Jerry Brandt, publisher of Variety’s On Production. Panelists include Bob Scarabelli, prexy of Rainmaker Digital Pictures; Bill Scanlan, the Film Factory’s director of digital special effects; Blake White, director of entertainment marketing of Silicon Graphics; and Tim Sarnoff, exec VP and general manager of Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Later on Friday, Variety senior columnist Army Archerd will moderate “Look Who’s Talking: Covering the Entertainment News Beat.” Panelists include, attorney David Berke, Turner/CNN producer Paul Clinton, JAG Entertainment prexy Jo-Ann Geffen, E! Entertainment reporter Linda Grasso, “Extra” senior segment producer Pete Hammond and CNN reporter/producer Dennis Michael.

In addition, Variety reporter Ray Richmond will moderate “Producing for TV: Get With the Program.” Panelists include “Cosby” producer Joanne Curley Kerner, and exec producers Chris Keyser, Amy Lippman and Graham Flashner, as well as Showtime senior VP of programming Peter Karamidas.

On Saturday, Variety reporter Rex Weiner will moderate a panel on film marketing, entitled “To Market, To Market.” Panelists include Dean Blagg, IKON Creative Services’ co-founder and audio visual director; Don Levy, Sony Pictures Imageworks’ exec director of advertising, publicity and promotions; Chris Pula, Warner Bros.’ prez of theatrical marketing; Terry Press, DreamWorks head of marketing and publicity; and Liz Manne, Fine Line Features’ exec VP of marketing.

This year’s event will also include ShowBiz Digital, a 30,000-square-foot area designed to feature companies at the forefront of the digital revolution. ShowBiz Digital suites, called Gallery FX, will showcase special effects, post production, interactive and new media studios, and animation design houses.

Attendees may register at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Full Conference fee is $295, single-day conference admittance (Friday and Saturday only) runs $175, single symposium tickets cost $50, and show- floor-only tickets are $35.

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