Inside TV & Film with Rose Anderson, Executive Director, New York Festivals Television & Film Awards
NYF: What is your processing for evaluating and adding new categories?
As focus shifts more and more to what is going on in the world we live in - from climate change to political change - programs reflect that interest. With tremendous technology advances and inventions driving how programs are made and how viewers consume them – producers are taking advantage of every new development from VR and AR to 3D, GoPro and 360 cameras to drive engagement across platforms. So, every year we take stock of our categories to make sure that we can offer that sweet spot for creativity.
Keeping in mind that development for documentaries takes three to five years, our documentary categories are formulated with a long range timeline. These days, many documentaries involve co-productions between major production companies and multiple networks and have shooting schedules measured in months or years.
Our two dozen documentary categories highlight the broad range of nonfiction films created by global filmmakers. We have two long-standing categories: Environment & Ecology and Nature & Wildlife, attracting prominent filmmakers who specialize in investigating the natural world.
2016 Documentaries winners included Racing Extinction (Gold, Okeanos and Discovery present an Oceanic Preservation Society film, USA) and Humpback Whales (Gold, MacGillivray Freeman Films, USA).
2016 Environment & Ecology winners included Vanishing Kings - Lions of the Namib (Gold, Interspot Film GmbH, Austria), Life on the Reef (Gold, Northern Pictures, Australia), The Model And The Bushmen (Silver, Terra Mater Factual Studios, Austria) Secrets Of The Hive (Silver, Terra Mater Factual Studios, Austria), Water is Life (Silver, Public Television Service Foundation, Taiwan) and Amur - Asia's Amazon - Episode 2: The Black Dragon (Bronze, Terra Mater Factual Studios, Interspot Film & NDR in assoc. with Arte France).
2016 Nature & Wildlife winners included Vanishing Kings - Lions of the Namib (Gold, Interspot Film GmbH, Austria), Amur - Asia's Amazon - Episode 1: The Far East (Gold, A Co-prod. of Terra Mater Factual Studios, Interspot Film & NDR in assoc. with Arte France, Austria), Amur - Asia's Amazon - Episode 3: The Secret Springs (Gold, A Co-prod. of Terra Mater Factual Studios, Interspot Film & NDR in assoc. with Arte France, Austria) Wild Sri Lanka - Episode 1: Land Of Lakes (Gold, A Terra Mater Factual Studios production in co-production with National Geographic Channel produced by Mike Birkhead Associates, Austria) The Nature of Things: Jellyfish Rule! (Gold, CBC), Wild Sri Lanka - Episode 2: Forest Of Clouds (Silver, A Terra Mater Factual Studios production in co-production with National Geographic Channel produced by Mike Birkhead Associates), Sumatra’s Last Tigers (Silver, Novista Sdn Bhd, Singapore), Giraffe – Up High And Personal (Bronze, A Production of Terra Mater Factual Studios and National Geographic Channel, Austria)
Last year, we launched Climate Change & Sustainability as a result of growing concern with the effects of global warming. Mana o te Moana - The Pacific Voyagers (Silver, Zoomslide and Oceanic Nature Film Productions, Maori Television, New Zealand) received the first medal in that new category.
This year we are adding Heroes and Ecotourism to the mix - topics attracting the interest of documentarians and next generation viewers.
NYF: UNDPI Partnership & Global Goals
Since 1990, NYF has partnered with the United Nations and every year, nominated finalists are considered for the UNDPI (United Nations Department of Public Information) Awards. The UN’s Global Goals are designed to inspire governments and individuals to take action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Last year’s UNDPI winners Life on Hold (Al Jazeera English), Mom & Clarinet (KBS) and Racing Extinction (Discovery) go to the heart of what the UN is all about – improving people’s lives.
NYF: For 2017, you’ve added Best Use of Technology, why is this an important addition to the Craft category?
Here at NYF, we put an emphasis on storytelling. No matter the genre – journalism, sports, documentary, corporate, promos, films, drama – bringing the viewing audience a more intimate experience is on the top of everyone’s list. With the addition of Best Use of Technology, we can amp up recognition for creative implementation of what is an integral part of content creation and key in enhancing the viewing experience.
IMAX 3D cameras were used by MacGillivray Freeman Films in their Gold Medal winning documentary Humpback Whales giving audiences an up-close look at how these whales communicate, sing, feed, play and take care of their young.
David Hill, our 2016 Lifetime Achievement recipient and father of FOX Sports, came up with revolutionary concepts that included the FoxBox constant score and clock graphic; the on-screen first down line, which has its roots on the FoxTrax glowing hockey puck; improved in-game audio using Dolby surround sound and innovative microphone placement, Diamond Cam, Catcher-Cam and Gopher-Cam; satellite tracking in NASCAR, allowing on–screen identification of cars with speed, race position and data and much, much more.
Technology is such an important part of the industry that we also have three other categories that are technology-driven: Event Venue, Best Technical Production Team and Best Innovation.
NYF: How do they differ from each other?
Let’s start with Event Venue which has been a category since 2010. Advances in digital technology – like advanced projection and LED video technique, 3D visualizations, HD video boards – have meant that live presentations have become more sophisticated in real-time. It was clear that this type of programming deserved its own place at the NYF awards table and so we introduced the Event Venue category to address this global phenomenon that is engaging audiences world-wide at sports arenas, museums, concerts, and corporate showcases.
Story telling combined with technology delivers an immersive value-added experience that gets the attention of today’s easily-distracted audiences – and holds it. As experienced producers and their clients know, the one-to one resonant experience is the ideal take-away. So, far from being a niche category, or an adjunct to Business Theater, Event Venue recognizes creative solutions across genres.
Some early winners were 1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets, a touring educational initiative starring Sir Ben Kingsley, and NFL September 11 Salute - 10 Years Later which was created by the League for the use of all of its broadcast partners. In 2016, the Gold Medal winners were The Essence of Qatar (The Edge Picture Company, UK) and Domotex Event - Paradox of Choice (Norvell Jefferson, Belgium)
In 2012, NYF added Best Technical Production Team which showcases the work of the hundreds of men and women behind the scenes who put together those really complex events. ESPN X Games took home the first medal – a Silver - in this category in 2012 for their remote team in Aspen and repeated with the 2013 X Games with 145 hours of live TV programming of 6 world class events in Aspen, Colorado; Tignes, France; Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; Munich, Germany and Los Angeles, CA.
NYF: You launched Best Innovation in 2013, what are some of the most impressive winning entries throughout the years and why were they a success?
Great question – this sampling of winners really shows the amount of ingenuity in play for creative teams working in documentary, live broadcasts and corporate presentations.
2013 - The Resurrection Tomb Mystery, Associated Producers/Discovery Canada (Gold) for a special robotic arm with tilt/pan/zoom remote cameras that allowed archeologists access a 2,000 year old tomb that lies under a Jerusalem apartment complex.
2014 – There Was A Time, Media Corp/Ochre Pictures Singapore (Bronze) for 3D rendering of 2D old photographs, a technique to bring alive old black & white photos.
2015 - JH/JG Project, Globo TV Brazil (Silver) for creating a rail system with cutting edge technology formed by a six individual piece monitor wall which moves laterally, with robotic intelligence created especially for the project, allowing several combinations of movements, visual resources and interactivity allowing a single studio space to be used for two daily programs Jornal Hoje and Jornal da Globo.
2015 - Holiday Holograms, Finch for Jack Daniels, Australia (Silver) for holographic technology to beam distant friends and family into a Sydney bar to share a chat and a drink.
2015 - In the cell, Studio Louter Netherlands (Silver) –for using GoPro to show the POV of the experience of someone who has been arrested and used as an interactive educational video
2016 – Jornal Nacional, Globo TV Brazil (Silver) for a set that integrates information, illustration and the participation of correspondents, in a more informal way on TV Globo’s prime time newscast – the second time this team has taken home Silver.
2016 - Studio 21, MLB Network (Bronze) for their new state-of-the-art, 8,000-square foot studio that is home to three daily studio shows. Named in honor of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, “Studio 21” changes the way MLB Network studio programming is presented, using at least five multi-camera studio positions and cutting-edge technology adaptable to any show, story or club, from hanging video displays to augmented reality graphic components.
2016 - Future Talk, Big Features, UK (Bronze) for their multimedia theatrical experience at the United Arab Emirates pavilion at the 2015 Milano World Expo. Using a giant peppers ghost installation, it was 23 meters long and 4 meters high utilizing 10 x 20k Panasonic projectors to achieve it. Frame accurate synchronization of video, audio, Lighting and scenic effects (such as wind machines) ensured a seamless theatrical presentation. This experience held 150 people per show and ran every 15 minutes, 7 days a week for 6 months. The overall audience exceeded 1 million.
NYF: How do you see virtual reality being used as new narrative medium within the TV and Film industry?
2016 saw two Gold Medal winning submissions from networks that incorporated VR and AR into their broadcasts. BBC General Election Graphics (Gold) included VR, AR to pre-shot ‘backplates’ and studio AR for the exit poll, 3D and the first use of real world projections in the prow on Broadcasting House for their live coverage of an historic night in the UK.
The Voice “Virtual Reality” (Gold) from NBC Entertainment. This launch promo for Season 9 of The Voice takes the coaches into an animated virtual world where they hear a beautiful tune and fight to get closer. The spot buttons back in the real world when Carson and a tour group stumble upon the coaches pantomiming in their virtual reality goggles.