The New Orleans Media Experience is angling to be a film fest, an ad showcase, a videogame event and a music confab — as well as a world-class party.
“It’s a forum for people in these four converging media,” says co-founder Randy Winograd, an exec at commercial production powerhouse HSI Entertainment.
HSI topper Stavros Merjos, and execs Winograd and Adam Rosenfelt are partnering with the city of New Orleans to produce the inaugural event Oct. 26-Nov. 1.
While the notion of convergence sounds a little last century, Winograd says NOME will be the place to view cutting-edge media that overlaps areas including features, shorts, commercials, musicvideos and the latest vidgames.
HSI execs, at large in the Crescent City to shoot horror pic “Trespassing,” were already contemplating a multimedia festival to bring together creatives from all those pursuits. They met up with New Orleans cultural officials (“Trespassing” was the first feature to take advantage of the LA Squared Louisiana production incentive) who were looking for a third international festival to complement spring’s Mardi Gras and JazzFest. While Halloween and the Voodoo Music Experience are big draws in the Big Easy, they felt there was room for another angle to promote fall tourism.
“It’s one of those cities that hosts grand celebrations,” says Winograd, who notes that it only took a week for the city to commit to supporting the fest for the next three years.
Screenings and industry panel discussions will take place throughout the day, while each night a party will focus on one of the four media. Party venues include a renovated rope factory for the advertising party, the Contemporary Arts Center for the interactive party, a converted sugar mill for the Film Party, and a Masked Halloween Ball for closing night.
The lower end of Canal Street will be closed off for a lavish Music Video party, where bands will play from several stages. On Nov. 1, a Rock the Vote concert will close out the week.
Fest’s Halloween timing means some of the film events will have a spooky slant, such as an award for horror film, a tribute to the U.K.’s Hammer Films, and drive-in horror screenings on the Mississippi River. Up to 15 features will make up the cinema section of the fest, all with some type of convergence crossover — features directed by commercials and musicvid helmers, digital pics, and titles based on videogames.
Winograd thinks the videogame portion of the event could be an entirely new concept, since events such as Electronic Entertainment Expo are more trade-oriented. NOME’s game expo, in partnership with the GameRiot tour, will feature upcoming holiday titles as well as a celebrity competition in a 76,000-square-foot exhibition space at the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium.
Organizers say the event won’t compete with the 15-year-old New Orleans Film Fest, held two weeks earlier, which focuses on traditional art fare. “They have a very different character than ours,” says Winograd.