TORONTO — The Banff Television Festival announced Wednesday that it has entered into bankruptcy protection but that this year’s event will go ahead as planned.
Fest has appointed Richter Allan & Taylor as its trustee. Its assets are to be sold to a new not-for-profit foundation whose principals will consist of Canadian industryites.
“It will be the objective of the board to ensure the long-term viability of the Banff Television Festival,” said a fest statement.
BANFF prexy-CEO Pat Ferns is stepping down and will be replaced by Robert Montgomery, a principal at Achilles Partners, a Toronto-based media, communications and information industry investment firm that has been termed the fest’s “white knight.” Firm is making an undisclosed investment in the fest and taking over its management.
Montgomery is former managing director of Kagan World Media of California, in charge of its European and Asian divisions.
“We’re looking forward to providing the same festival as everyone anticipated,” Montgomery told Daily Variety. “It’s business as usual.”
Ferns is expected to remain with the fest as “a key part of the Banff team focusing on international development and content creation.”
The transaction is expected to close early next week.
“Although we are very dismayed that the Banff Television Foundation ran into financial difficulties after such an illustrious history, we are delighted that Robert Montgomery and Achilles have come to the rescue and look forward to a fantastic 25th anniversary celebration,” said Loren Mawhinney, chair of the Banff Television Foundation board of directors.
SARS, mad cow disease, the war in Iraq and old-fashioned overexpansion got the Banff Television Foundation into hot water. The foundation has expanded ambitiously in recent years, with a number of spinoffs “which, unfortunately, had the entity run on the rocks,” Montgomery said.
The Banff TV Festival, the foundation’s centerpiece, is one of Canada’s premier international television events. Festival, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is skedded for June 13-17.