BANFF 2020 goes virtual with four-month content and events program

The festival's 41st edition kicks off May 26 with a master class session featuring post-apocalyptic drama Snowpiercer.

Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has unveiled a four-month content and events program as part of its virtual 2020 edition.

Set to run from May to September, this year’s festival – reimagined as a virtual event after the 41st edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic – includes panels, master classes, interactive video sessions and online networking events.

The first event gets underway May 26 at 1 p.m. (EST) with a master class session featuring a sneak peek of post-apocalyptic drama Snowpiercer, which airs on TNT in the U.S. and Netflix internationally (excluding U.S. and China). The session will include a discussion with showrunner and EP Graeme Manson, Netflix’s VP of content Larry Tanz and cast members Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind), Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) and Alison Wright (The Americans).

The festival’s four-month programming lineup will be led by BANFF Day (June 16) and the Rockie Awards (June 15).

BANFF Day will feature panel discussions with international media leaders, a showrunner super-panel, and virtual meetup events, with additional programming and details to be announced in due course.

Meanwhile, the annual Rockie Awards will be live-streamed at 3 p.m. on June 15. Thirty-seven Canadian projects are in contention for prizes. A full list of the nominees can be found here.

Media companies currently locked in to participate in sessions and networking offerings include A+E Networks, Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC America, Bell Media, Blue Ant Media, CAA, CBBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, CBS All-Access, CNN, Corus Entertainment, Disney, Endemol Shine, eOne, Hulu, ITV Studios, Keshet, Netflix, Lionsgate, OUTtv, PBS, Rogers Sports & Media, Starz, Tomorrow Studios, Groupe Media TFO, UKTV, Vice Canada, Warner Bros., WarnerMedia, YLE and ZDF.

“We are pleased to provide an opportunity for the industry in Canada and around the world to join together for this Virtual Edition of BANFF,” said Randy Lennox, president, Bell Media, and chair of the Banff World Media Festival board. “While we’ll miss the mountains, this is a unique opportunity to connect, inspire, and support one another from a distance.”

“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,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, executive director of the Banff World Media Festival.