×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Banff fest flies U.S. flag in windy TV biz

Attenborough awarded lifetime kudo

TORONTO — The Banff Television Festival will kick off Sunday with a loaded slate, against a background of continued U.S. moans about runaway production, local fears over the cash-strapped TV industry and Toronto’s outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

All this is underlined by the fest’s salute to the neighbor to the south. “We made this (U.S. tribute) decision some time back, but I think it’s absolutely the right time to do it,” Banff Television Foundation prexy-CEO Pat Ferns told Daily Variety.

Ferns noted that the U.S. is Canada’s major trading partner and that Hollywood is thickly populated with ex-pat Canucks. “American productions are going to continue to produce in Canada, even if the Canadian dollar continues to go up.”

The tribute will include the award of excellence for “The Sopranos” creator David Chase and lifetime achievement awards for sitcom veteran James Burrows (“Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Friends”), HBO’s Sheila Nevins and PBS’ Peter McGhee.

British filmmaker, producer, broadcaster and host David Attenborough is skedded to receive a special lifetime kudo, Banff’s highest honor, which has only been awarded four times in its 24 years.

In the race

U.S. producers and broadcasters lead the pack with 18 nominations in the Banff Rockie TV Awards. HBO received nine, including mentions for “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in comedy, and “Oz,” “Sopranos,” and “Six Feet Under” in drama. PBS’ WGBH took four noms, including “Daniel Deronda” (produced with BBC) for miniseries and “Nova” and “Secrets of the Dead 3” (both U.K. co-productions) in the science and natural history category.

The industry south of the border is traditionally well represented at Banff, with Americans making up about 10% of the six-day fest’s 1,800 delegates, and Ferns predicted the U.S. tribute will bring a wider range of American industryites to this picturesque town in the Rocky Mountains.

Also on the slate at Banff is a 50th anniversary celebration for Japan’s NHK, which will include a live high-def feed from Antarctica; a 60th anniversary shindig for actors union the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Arts; and an outstanding achievement award for German pubcaster ZDF.

Ferns said that attendance numbers are similar to last year. Concerns over SARS prompted some delegates to fly to Banff through Montreal instead of Toronto, where the outbreak is confined primarily to hospitals, and a delegation from Singapore and two from China have canceled.

Between economic fallout from the war on Iraq and concerns about SARS, “it’s been a tough year,” Ferns said. “We’ve seen a lot of large events that have had drop-offs, so we’re quite relieved to be doing really well.”

More Film

  • Berlin Film 'The Ground Beneath My

    Berlin Competition Film 'The Ground Beneath My Feet' Sold to Germany's Salzgeber (EXCLUSIVE)

    Salzgeber has acquired the German rights for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” from sales agent Picture Tree International. Variety has been given exclusive access to the film’s trailer. Salzgeber will release the film, directed by Marie Kreutzer, mid-May. Trailer for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” [...]

  • Donald Glover'Atlanta' TV show premiere, Arrivals,

    Childish Gambino Surprises Beverly Hills Crowd With Reimagined 'Redbone'

    Donald Glover made an unexpected appearance at Film Independent’s “An Evening With…” series tonight (Jan. 15), held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and presented by the HFPA. Joining “Black Panther” composer and Childish Gambino collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who was the subject of a Q&A conducted by “The Treatment” host Elvis [...]

  • 76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS --

    Film News Roundup: Glenn Close Selected for Oscar Wilde Award

    In today’s film news roundup, Glenn Close gets an honor, AFI names its Directing Workshop for Women participants and Teri Polo gets cast in a Christmas drama. CLOSE HONOR Glenn Close will be honored on Feb. 21 by the US-Ireland Alliance at the 14th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards, held at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot in [...]

  • Jason Reitman Ghostbusters

    Jason Reitman to Direct Secret 'Ghostbusters' Movie

    Sony Pictures is getting the wheels in motion for the next installment in the “Ghostbusters” franchise, and it knows who it’s going to call to direct: Jason Reitman. Sources tell Variety that Reitman, whose father, Ivan, directed the first two “Ghostbusters” movies, will direct the latest pic in the famous franchise. Reitman has also co-written a [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON in Glass. M.

    ‘Glass’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Glass.” Ads placed for the superhero thriller had an estimated media value of $9.89 million through Sunday for 1,183 national [...]

  • Danny Glover

    Danny Glover Joins 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' Sequel

    Danny Glover has joined the cast of Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” sequel. His role is being kept under wraps, as is the storyline. Glover will star opposite Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, all of whom are set to return. Awkwafina is in final negotiations for a significant part in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content