Banff World Media Festival Details Plans for Virtual 2021 Event

Banff Springs Hotel - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Banff Springs Hotel

The TV fest's 42nd edition includes a first-time Marketplace Week for industry dealmaking as part of an overall June 14 to July 16 run.

The Banff World Media Festival will run as an online-only event from June 14 to July 16, 2021, organizers said Tuesday.

Any hope the 42nd edition of the TV festival could return to the Canadian Rockies for an annual industry retreat have been dashed by COVID-19 infection rates rising this winter in Alberta. "Banff has always been about bringing people together, and this year’s festival will do that on a grand virtual scale,” Jenn Kuzmyk, Banff fest executive director, said in a statement.

Banff will shorten its upcoming pandemic-era edition to just over one month, compared to a 2020 edition that spanned four months after also being disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis.

In place of the regular physical Banff festival, organizers have built their own digital platform and plan a new Marketplace Week for real-time industry networking, pitches and dealmaking from June 14 to 18. Banff will also bring online its Summit Series keynotes and master classes and winners of the Rockie Awards international competition will be unveiled on June 15.

Banff's bespoke digital platform also promises virtual Pavilions with multiple meeting spaces, and each delegate will have their own private video conferencing room and messaging and scheduling tools.

Nominations for the Rockie Awards, a competition that American and British TV producers traditionally dominate, and announcements on master classes and other virtual events for the 2021 edition will be unveiled in the coming months.