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Internatl Finance, New Media Experts at Conference

For Immediate Release - 28 September 2006

International Finance and New Media Experts at SPADA Conference 2006
16-18 November, Hyatt Regency Auckland

GROWTH IS the guiding theme of this year’s SPADA (Screen Production and Development Association) conference. The focus will be on international financing structures for screen production and the new opportunities for producers from developments in technology and trends in audience access arising from digital and new media.

SPADA is bringing some of the world’s leading experts in film and television financing and in digital and new media to its annual conference to help guide the industry into the future.

Digital and new media will soon change the shape of the New Zealand screen production industry. With Freeview rolling out in New Zealand next year and other forms of new media just around the corner; increasing awareness of intellectual property rights and concerns over piracy, SPADA is bringing leading digital and new media expert Brian Seth Hurst as a special guest speaker.

A new media pioneer credited with coining the term “cross media platform”, Hurst will discuss new avenues for intellectual property rights, new forms of distribution and terms of trade for new media and digital. Now CEO of The Opportunity Management Company, he was involved in the 1998 launch of TV Guide as the first-ever cross platform brand. His credo “go to where your audience lives” has transformed the relationship between brands such as Discovery, AOL and Lifetime Television with audiences where technology is part of everyday life.

A keenly-anticipated session (on Saturday November 18) will feature representatives from all TV networks outlining the future for local content in the digital age, and Minister of Broadcasting, Steve Maharey.

The conference will also continue its function as a prime networking venue for content providers, featuring guests with global film and television financing and co-production expertise.

The John O’Shea Memorial Address will be delivered by David Gascoigne, a former Chair of the New Zealand Film Commission, and currently the Chair of both the original Film Fund and Film Fund 2. David has been involved with the business of funding NZ films, and deploying public funds for that purpose, for nearly three decades. Why he does it, and what he has learned, will be some of the insights covered in his memorial address.

Michelle Krumm, executive vice president and co-head of acquisitions and co-productions at The Weinstein Company will bring international power to the Conference’s focus on accessing offshore finance. Having scouted for projects and talent in Australia, attendance at conference will introduce her to potential New Zealand relationships.

One of the biggest players globally, Discovery’s international head of Creative Development, Rebecca Batties, will talk about what New Zealand programme makers need to do to produce successful factual lifestyle programmes for an international audience.

Australian David Court has been involved in the financing of many films, including Strictly Ballroom and The Bank. Now director of the Australian Film Television and Radio School and founder of the AFTRS Centre for Screen Business, he will share his international financing experience.

President of Warner Bros Animation, Sander Schwartz, will cover, amongst other things, content and programming for children’s TV. Sander’s full field of expertise is the production of animation for many platforms: theatrical, television, direct-to-video as well as the use of the Warner Bros classic library for non-programming uses.

Other guests include Sara Geater, head of commercial affairs for UK’s Channel 4; Julian Mercer, executive producer, documentaries, BBC1 (Seaside Rescue, It’s Not Easy Being Green, A Life of Grime); Julie Christie, CEO Eyeworks Touchdown, NZ (The Chair, Treasure Island, Changing Rooms, DIY Rescue); Ynyr Williams, producer Salem Films, Wales (BAFTA Award winning documentary Johnny Owen - The Long Journey).

The Conference presents three days of plenary sessions, workshops and masterclasses, exploring aspects of screen production, financing and distribution. Opening night kicks off with the Sky Welcome Drinks on Thursday the 16th, followed by the TVNZ Big Dinner on Friday 17 November, which will feature the presentation of the SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year Award, SPADA Independent Producer of the Year and SPADA / Onfilm Industry Champion Award.

SPADA CONFERENCE 2006 is supported by principal sponsor New Zealand Film Commission, strategic partner New Zealand Trade and Enterprise / Investment New Zealand; premium sponsor TVNZ with sponsors and supporters Auckland City Council, FIUA, New Zealand Film Archive, New Zealand On Air, Oktobor Visual Effects, Onfilm magazine, Park Road Post, Screenrights, Sky Network Television, Sony, South Pacific Pictures, Telecom, TV3, Villa Maria and WIFT.

SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year principal sponsor is Park Road Post, with sponsors Kodak, Panavision, Stage and Screen Travel, FACB and Village SKYCITY Cinemas.


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