Banff is back. The Banff World Media Festival is returning to a live, in-person conference this June after two years of going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, a favorite of execs and producers thanks to its beautiful location at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada, will take place between June 12 and June 15.
Among this year’s major sessions is Universal Studio Group chairman Pearlena Igbokwe, who will participate in a keynote conversation on June 14. The festival will also include an ‘In Conversation With’ session with global health and pandemic expert Dr. Ashish K. Jha and philanthropist and entrepreneur Frank Giustra to discuss the impact of misinformation and disinformation on public awareness and the responsibility of the media and entertainment industry to combat it.
“We couldn’t think of more fitting speakers to kick off the festivities than the head of Brown University’s School of Public Health, Dr. Ashish Jha, a visionary leader who has given useful and politics-free advice to millions during the pandemic; Frank Giustra, founder of Lionsgate which has grown from a start-up in 1999 to a leading content, distribution, and platform studio today, and who was recently named Co-Chair of the Crisis Group; and Pearlena Igbokwe, Chair of Universal Television Group, one of the most prolific television studios operating in Hollywood today,” said Banff Board chair and Lionsgate Television group chair Kevin Beggs.
Banff also includes the Rockie Awards International Program Competition, which features entries from more than 55 countries annually including an international jury of 150 industry professionals. Category winners, including the Grand Jury Prize, the Francophone Prize and other special prizes, will be announced in-person during the festival on June 13.
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome the industry back in the Canadian Rockies this June,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, executive director, Banff World Media Festival. “The Banff Board of Directors, Content Advisory Board and our team are working to bring you the best edition of Banff yet, and we’re thrilled to be launching this year’s content slate with the announcement of keynote conversations featuring global leaders Pearlena Igbokwe, Dr. Ashish Jha and Frank Giustra.”
The Banff World Media Festival is now in its 43rd year. The international conference features delegates from more than 50 countries, and spotlights top creators, producers, showrunners, talent, networks, studios, streamers, press and media companies.
Also, the Banff Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media, supported by the government of Canada, has revealed the 100 participants for this year’s program, which offers training, mentorship, and access to potential strategic partners to women entrepreneurs in media.
“Since its inception, the overarching goal of Banff Spark has been to support the launch and growth of significantly more Canadian women-owned media companies that excel both here at home and on the global stage,” said Kuzmyk. “We could not be more proud of what the program has achieved so far. Over the past two years, the women-owned companies which have taken part in Banff Spark have formed key partnerships, moved projects and business forward in the market, and contributed to the creation of a more fair and equitable media industry.”
Additionally, the Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative aims to assist in the careers of up to 100 Black, Indigenous and People of Color producers and creators.