“There is a universal language of television and film which connects us all – giving us the ability to meet directly in each other’s imagination and guided by the textures of sound and montages of images to understand each other... Indian content has earned awards certainly means that it is competitive in the eyes of our Grand Jury members”
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | October 27, 2014
As the entries are already underway for 2015 New York Festivals Television & Film Awards, what are the new initiatives and how do they add value to this year’s competition?
What is the purpose of awards? They inspire, they encourage, they reward. They help build careers. They can change your life. They mark achievement. They engage the spotlight and focus attention on pure creativity. They reward courage and intensity.
That is why we added a dozen new categories and renamed some others – to include all genres into the spotlight for potential winning submissions and to keep our Awards in synch with the industry as a whole. By doing so, we create an arena that appeals to the best creatives worldwide It is an organic ecosystem and we have room for all sorts of work – Lifestyle, Movie Trailer, Drama Special and Culinary to name just four.
We see online shows making way to the competition considerably. How do you see online categories shaping up in the future?
Time doesn’t stand still in the TV and Film industries - new ways of reaching audiences and new ways of telling the important stories of our day drive change. This year, we increased our online categories – breaking out Online Comedy, Online Drama from our previous Online Entertainment category.
The way audiences consume and interact with content has undergone a sea-change from a decade ago – and will no doubt continue that trajectory into the future as technology makes more and more distribution avenues possible and economically viable.
How would you justify the addition of a Video Art and Experimental Film category to the Awards this year?
By including two Video Art & Experimental Film categories – showcasing emerging and avant-garde work from digital media artists – New York Festivals takes a leadership position in recognising outliers and pioneers whose work in many cases has cultural influence and is the source of trends in the commercial side of the industry.
As the competition keeps expanding its range of categories every year, what growth do you register on year-on-year basis in terms of number of entries and participants across the world?
We have experienced a growing footprint over the past five years – so that we now attract entry submissions from 50 countries and coming from hundreds of production companies. Our participants range from independent filmmakers to multi-national production companies and national television networks.
What are the challenges in judging Television & Film Awards with such a wide range of categories, especially when it is online? How difficult is to implement the jury process like Advertising Awards?
Our Grand Jury panel is made up of over 200 directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, art directors, filmmakers, composers and programming executives who are all award-winners themselves. They are actively involved in what is being made today – in over 35 countries! That mix of perspectives is one of the strengths of this jury process. Technology allows that online process to take place – so jury members can watch long-form programs like mini-series and drama over three months without pressure of time limits.
How would you observe Indian television and film space in comparison to the other parts of the world when it comes to evolution of content in terms of creativity and quality?
At our awards gala in 2013, a special award celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Indian Cinema was presented to Dr Kamal Haasan. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing this legendary film actor, screenwriter, producer and director. The Indian TV and Film space exhibits creativity and quality and has done so for many years.
How important is the competition for Indian content creators? What makes them feel confident enough to compete at the world level?
There are no geographical boundaries for talent and innovation, so we have no boundaries in our entry process and we have no quotas. We do not make any distinction between where something was created and where it plays. Our Grand Jury members come from all over the globe – and our entries get an international audition in the online judging process. You could call it the World Cup of content.
Is language and content for local consumption a barrier for them to enter the Awards?
There is a universal language of television and film which connects us all – giving us the ability to meet directly in each other’s imagination and guided by the textures of sound and montages of images to understand each other.
Among 2014’s winning programmes were entries in Arabic, Chinese, English, Filipino, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Welsh.
Many awards competitions are national in scope or are by invitation-only or have other restrictions limiting eligibility. Our rules make it clear: one world, one competition, one show.
What difference do you see in the production value of Indian content versus worldwide content? Is the gap too wide to fill?
We here at New York Festivals are very proud to recognise the diversity, creativity, innovation and quality from all continents in all languages. The fact that Indian content has earned awards certainly means that it is competitive in the eyes of our Grand Jury members.