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Canada gets cash back at Banff

Media Fund receives $27 million infusion

BANFF, ALBERTA — The 28th annual Banff World Television Festival kicked off Sunday with a renewed infusion of cash — C$29 million ($27.3 million) over two years — for the Canadian New Media Fund, courtesy of Heritage Minister Bev Oda.

The folks at federal cultural agency Telefilm, which administers the fund, knew delegates at the NextMedia: The Future of Digital Content two-day confab that wrapped Sunday, would be pleased with the move. But it was actually something of a consolation prize for producers hoping that the minister would enrich tax incentives for lensing in this country as the Canadian dollar is trading at its highest rate in more than three decades.

Also Sunday, the BBC’s Mark Thomson received the outstanding achievement award. During the presentation, he offered delegates a peek at BBC iPlayer.

Industryites traveling to this resort town were off to something of a bumpy start as they were greeted by unprecedented flooding and large-scale construction on the main street of Banff.

An environmental panel and series of “green” initiatives at the fest this year seemed highly apropos as the Bow River, which runs through the town, swelled well beyond its banks after an unusually rapid spring runoff. Banff Mayor John Stutz last week declared a state of emergency, and low-lying sites around the town have been sand-bagged against further flooding as businesses and residents remain poised to evacuate.

In addition, harried delegates faced a particularly slow trip to the festival site at the Fairmont Banff Springs as much of the downtown core is backed up with construction.

Monday kicks off with a speech from new Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission chair Konrad von Finckenstein, a keynote speech from ITV’s Dawn Airey and a raft of panels and master classes.

Fest runs through Wednesday.

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