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The Global Film Village: Hollywood Focuses on the Future by Marla Lewin

ESCA 2009: This is a conference about the nuts and bolts that drive the Entertainment Industry and was held at the Luxe Hotel in Los Angeles over two days. The Studios feel that Blu-ray is the wave of the future.


The question remains how to keep the quality and cost effectiveness for both machines and product.  It is important for the consumer to be aware that if you are not paying for the top end models of players, then all products may not be compatable at this time.  


Internationally DVDs are still the system of choice for sales which everyone has at this time. However piracy is still an issue in this format.

The key is that the studios, and manufactures work together to make sure that this part of the business continues to keep its value, regardless of the disc format it is using.


Program Day 1 Covers topics dealing with the Future of Hollywood.



David Cohen from Variety moderated this panel which included the technical operations heads from Paramount, Warners, Sony, Walt Disney, and the Fox Group. They discussed the economic realities of the industry's digital transformation and the integration of the DVD supply chain.  Topics included emerging technologies, outsourcing, release window schedules, and future business models for Hollywood service providers.  They all agreed that DVDs play everywhere, globally.  The disc experience is alive and well, and they all are building the bridges toward Blu-ray's co-existence with DVD. They all want to provide consumers with the best integrated systems, that maintain quality while addressing price considerations.  Convenience is key. Collectability, Portability, Internet Access are all being considered during the transition.


The panelists stressed that customers should be able to see content in theatres, on tv, cable, and on all ancillary formats. They talked about the need for various windows where profits can be maintained to insure future product, while allowing customers to have access to on demand fullfillment of product.  Apple has proven that people like gadgets that provide ease of use in meeting their needs and studios are working to fullfill consumers demands for entertainment.


The Digital Consumers of the Future.  Everyone is wrestling with how to promote digital content amidst the changes effecting traditional advertising supported models. There are new concepts for advertising emerging but nothing has replaced the system that has existed since the birth of broadcasting. Digital Copy offers opportunities for content holders to educate and strengthen their relationship with their customer as these game-changing ideas evolve in the marketplace.  


Jane Buckingham, President of Trendera, who sold her last company to CAA, brought down the house with her proven strategies regarding how to integrate and create marketing strategies for the Generation x, y  and z consumers. She discussed how to utilize Facebook, and other social media sites to promote content through quizzes, games, and interactive programming. Dark Knight and Angels and Demons are using the same marketing tools available to independents.  She said, Generation X feels misunderstood, and advertisers are finding it hard to market to them.  The 70's, 80's demonstrated a breakdown of the family unit in America, high divorce rates left children insecure.  The 90's children where living in the Boomer generation's shadow. Recently there has been a return to family values. Gen Y is happy, smiley, and feel entitled. The empowerment age however can lead to under achievement, with their basic needs met they often feel that have nothing to strive for. 


Today's marketers must understand the diversity of people.They are part of another tech boom, and now see people coming from a credit card life style, to one which is changing.  There is a need for us all to be more creative, more flexable, and willing to learn.  The future is not fixed in place, we are co-creating the future, as a global virtual reality.  Generation Z was born after September 11th. They will look at the world with new eyes, either fearful, or fearless, and often rebellious.


Richard Bullwinkle, titled Chief Evangelist at Macrovision, spoke on Monetizing Content Now and For the Future.


We are all analyzing, figuring out how to monetize content.  What are the products for the digital entertainment transformation. There is Blu-ray, and tradition dvd and digital copies.There is  gemstar, tv guide, and mega data for sale.  There is the cloud, hula, itunes, Youtube, cinemanow, and nobody is in charge or dominant.  We are looking at cyber digital lockers, preparing assets and tools which will be effective in creating new tv models.  New ways are needed to manage these mega files which need to be stored and moved around quickly.  Anew infrastructure has to be envisioned and deployed  so that it is seamless for the consumer in the market place.  


Consumers want to have 3D in their living rooms, their dens and bedrooms.Distibutors and other providers are now dealing with how it will be delivered?  3D is in the beginning phase of establishing itself in the theatres. Already manufacturers and distributors are competing to determine how it will next be marketed at home through regular cable programming to provide sports and games.  There is a massive appetite for 3D delivery and Sky Sports is expected to be ready by this year's end. Viewers could be watching the 2012 London Olympics in 3D if the technology takes off as planned. Sky demonstrated the technology using footage shot at rugby and football matches. Many television manufacturers are working to ensure that their current and next generation technology will be capable of delivering 3D into homes by 2010.  DLP HDTVs are famous for offering perhaps the best full HD, 1080p picture quality. The extreme speed of the DLP chip, combined with 3D technology, makes it all possible. These sets are offered by either Mitsubishi and Samsung. LG is set to release its first 3D TV -- the 47-inch 47LH50 LCD -- into the Korean market next month. The industry estimates that the 3D television market will exceed 30 million units by 2012 


There has been a slow down in DVD sales. My feeling is that confusion on the part of consumers along with the economic effects we are experiencing is slowing down consumer purchases. The industry has been promoting Blu-ray along with up-converting DVD players that provide near HD viewing. Now with the future advent of 3D capability consumers are hesitant in these times to make major purchases with products that wil be obsolete in the near future. In the last two decades we have adapted to Betamax being replaced by VHS, VHS being replaced by DVD and now Blu-ray. With 3D just over the horizon is their any question that the public would want to see where it is all heading before investing in a new entertainment system or continuing to invest in DVDs. Regarding buying Blu-ray players, if purchasing less expensive models, be sure that software you are buying will be compatible with your model. Early adopters beware there is a cost to be paid for being on the edge of technology. Remember how early DVD players would not play DVD-R discs and many other variants the same will be true of Blu-ray variants.


IDMA/DVDA EXCELLENCE AWARDS:  International Digital Media Alliance is a  trade group with the mission of promoting excellence and best practices in digital and interactive media and represents the interests of digital media publishers and creators. Bruce Nazarian,  President, IDMA/DVDA and these awards were for excellence in the creation of both DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles.  The award for Excellence in Music Disc went to the Chris Botti for his program with the Boston Pops, which played on PBS and starred Sting, Steve Tyler, Josh Groban, Yo Yo Ma, and more. 


The 2009 IDMA/DVDA Excellence Awards

Complete List of Winners

For a complete list of winners click here.


ESCA Europe will take place in London on September 23 and 24, 2009 at the Millenium Gloucester Hotel & Conference Center.

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About MarlaLewinGFV

Lewin Marla
(Global Film Village)

Marla is a producer, playwright, screenwriter, publicist and now a journalist. She attends 12 to 20 film festivals per year. She has spoken on filmmaking at many festivals including Cannes and SXSW.


Los Angeles

United States

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