So much for updates… guess I’m not going to be hired as a live blogger any time soon! I got so distracted in Banff I never posted anything and now I’m already in L.A. for the Great American Pitchfest. More on that later…
Folks in the industry just say “I’m going to Banff” and colleages know they mean the festival, even though visiting Banff any time of year is a treat.
Banff is a town located in a national park on the southwest border of Alberta, Canada. It’s so stunning that photos don’t do it justice and it’s impossible to get used to the views.
(bit of trivia: Because the town rests inside the national park, there is no freehold land available. The town pays $550,000 annually to the Government of Canada to lease the land within its municipal boundaries.)
The top photo is the Fairmont Hotel where conference attendees schmooze. The bottom is the Rundel Range, just one of the stunning mountain views. (photos from the Banff National Park website)
This year was the 30th anniversary for the Television Festival. It is known as THE place to be if you want to know what’s happening in the industry and/or you want to meet with decision makers to pitch a show. The hotel was crawling with attendees and pitch meetings were taking place everywhere from the lobby to the bars to the cafe.
Banff is not cheap. The “rookie rate” (for newbies) for the festival is $1,000. More if you’re a seasoned pro. Add transportation, accommodation, and food and you’re easily looking at $2,500 – $3,000. Everyone swears it is worth it and it is indeed a good time. I think industry folks love it because it’s such a beautiful spot. The mountain air loosens everyone up.
If you are an attendee you can schedule face-to-face meetings with agents, take creative interactive workshops, learn about the biz via panels and speakers, take master classes, network at parties, lunch (and bowl) with decision makers, etc. Major players in the industry attend Banff each year.
If you don’t have the money for a delegate pass or don’t have a show to pitch, you can do what I did and just go to hang out. I went to support a friend who was piching a TV show. I attended all the parties. Sat in on a pitch session. I was even kidnapped by a Russion TV producer and taken to a private party. I made new friends and connections, some I know will last for years to come.
There’s plenty to do even if you’re not a delegate. Everyone ends up in a local bar at the end of the evening. Women in Film and Television Alberta puts on a party for a $5 donation the first night of the festival. And if you get tired of industry talk you can wander the town or go for a hike.
I highly recommend attending if you’re interested in Television (or Digital Media, because there’s a 3 day component before the TV fest begins). You won’t learn as much in such a short amount of time than at Banff. But if you’re tentative, try what I did and go with a friend who is a delegate so you can suss out the situation and return the next year knowing how the festival works.