Banff World Media Festival Details Plans for Virtual 2020 Event

Courtesy of Justina Mintz/TNT
TNT's 'Snowpiercer'

The online-only festival will kick off with a May 26 master class by 'Snowpiercer' creative and cast, led by Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs and Alison Wright.

The Banff World Media Festival on Tuesday unveiled details for a virtual event due to COVID-19.

And unlike Banff's earlier editions of the past 40 years, which usually took place over four days at the Banff Springs Hotel in the Canadian Rockies, the streaming version will span four months through September. The 2020 Banff World Media Festival, initially set to run June 14-17, was earlier canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The replacement online-only festival will kick off May 26 with a master class for the TV adaptation of Snowpiercer, which airs on TNT and Netflix internationally and will stream for free on the official Banff website. The online panel will include lead cast Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs and Alison Wright, along with showrunner and exec producer Graeme Manson, exec producer Marty Adelstein and Netflix vp of content Larry Tanz.

That will be followed by Banff's Rockie Awards to stream the announcement of winners June 15, followed a day later with Banff Day, an annual daylong showcase of industry panels and events. Nominations for the Rockie Awards, with American and British TV producers dominating the competition, were announced in April.

More announcements on master classes and other virtual events will be made in in the coming weeks. "The Canadian and global entertainment industries have been hard-hit by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, and with the strong support of our grand patrons and partners, we are offering the majority of the festival's programming including panel sessions, master classes and other content free of charge to the industry," Jenn Kuzmyk, executive director of the Banff World Media Festival, said in a statement.

Other Canadian media festivals like the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and the Fantasia genre film festival have already announced they go online this year amid the pandemic, and the Toronto Film Festival is exploring digital and in-person festival options for its September event.

Banff festgoers can register at banffmediafestival.com to access most of the program free-of-charge, via a Virtual Pass. And curated online one-on-one meetings and speed meetings with top industry executives, agents, network buyers and streaming executives can be had via registration for a Virtual + Networking Pass for $250.

International media companies already signed up to participate in the virtual sessions and exclusive networking offerings include Netflix, Warner Bros., CNN, A+E Networks, Amazon, CBC, AMC Networks, WarnerMedia, Bell Media, Corus Entertainment, Hulu, CAA, CBS All-Access, Walt Disney and Lionsgate.