by Steve Rotz
New York Festivals (NYF), now in its 55th year, is an International Awards Group recognizing the world’s best work in Advertising, TV, Film & Radio programs. We were able to learn and share what these festivals help industry professionals achieve, aspire and work towards. Speaking with Rose Anderson, Executive Director of NYF, and a 20-year veteran in the industry, helped clarify just what NYF does and how it can launch any creative professional into a star.
Q: What makes the New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards unique from other Television or Film competitions?
A: Great question. We want to honor the very best TV and film being created around the world today. There are no geographical boundaries for talent and innovation so we have no boundaries in our entry process. Our entrants come from hundreds of production companies around the globe and embody the wide spectrum of programming - news, sports, entertainment, promos, films, and brand/corporate image - being made today. Like the Olympics, our competition has a worldwide scope.
For example, in last year’s competition, we received feature films from Germany and China, prime-time drama from the US, New Zealand, Spain, Japan, and the Ukraine; reality shows from Singapore, Canada and the US. Documentary entries came from world leaders in over 25 countries: CNN, PBS, NBC, ESPN, HBO, Televisa, National Geographic and Discovery to name a few - and medal-winners covered a wide variety of subjects ranging from Albert Maysles’ and Sir Paul McCartney’s “The Love We Make” to ZDF’s “On the Trail of Easy Rider - Born to be Wild.”
News and Sports coverage submissions ranged from breaking news of the Arab Spring, recovery from earthquakes in Japan and Haiti to specials commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11
We received pre-eminent communications films, event venue productions, business theater and upfront presentations The Edge UK, St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, CBS News, Lockheed Martin, HBO, Kaleidoscope, NFL, Wilder Films, NDTV, May Events, World Wide Pictures UK, Mercator, Kemper Kommunikation GmbH, VOGEL AUDIOVISION GMBH & CO. KG, ZIGGY mediahouse GmbH, OPIUM effect GmbH, Group.IE GmbH, Frische Brise Film GmbH, weareflink GmbH. 2012 medal-winning stories were seen by audiences around the world - from Abu Dhabi to New South Wales.
Our agenda is simple, to celebrate the achievements of the many talented men and women who make up the worldwide creative community.
Q: What’s new this year for the Television & Film Awards?
A: We took a look at the way we list our categories and freshened up our own terminology to make it more current. And, in keeping with our desire to stay in touch with our entering community, we increased our Performance categories, expanded our programming categories, and added some craft categories. Our categories and eligibility rules fit today’s worldwide production demands for global programming.
Q: In the last few years you have streamlined the TV & Film Awards competition categories while adding innovative new categories that respond to worldwide trends, can you touch on the relevance of these new categories in the ever changing television industry?
A: Producers and directors are always experimenting and their driving curiosity was why we added a category this year for innovation - something digital or mechanical that enhances the viewer’s experience and understanding of a program or by advancing or adding impact to the storytelling.
Last year, we added a category for “Heroes” - ordinary people whose actions touch the lives of people and set an example for others to follow a natural outgrowth of the increase of human interest stories being reported worldwide and reminding us all of the power of a single individual to respond to a problem in his or her community.
Q: Can you discuss NYF’s Television & Film Awards Green initiative?
A: For the past few years, our Green initiative has taken multiple forms. First, instead of a gala program involving printing and paper and transportation, we have developed a mobile app for that. NYF is committed to using technology in a creative way. This app helps both attendees and award winners navigate the creative session schedule at the NAB Show and view the winning entries easily and effectively. Second, we have added special categories for Green Promotion Campaigns, all designed to make us more energy-conscious. Third, our winner’s showcase exists online, giving additional ROI to our winners without increasing our carbon footprint.
Q: What is the most important point or idea you would like entrants to be aware of when entering NYF’s Television & Film Awards?
A: Here at NYF, we think of ourselves as being of service to our entrants. Even before our online jury scores entries, each entry is screened by me. That level of care is very important to us. Every entry is evaluated on its own merits by our international jury. That means that for each entry, you are competing against yourself; it doesn’t matter how many entries are submitted in a given category - and so the odds are totally even. Every entry has the same chance at earning top honors. 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.
Q: As Executive Director, you personally screen all the entries submitted into your competition, what, if any, cultural trends have you observed when reviewing entries?
A: Over the past three years, what I have observed as a universal trend is a shift of tempo which translates into more information packed into the same amount of time of a presentation or piece: sound tracks are more sophisticated, too. So, more ways to capture and hold the viewers’ attention who perhaps are multi-screening themselves.
Q: NYF TV & Film Awards is known for its international jury, how do you go about selecting the jury and what qualities are you looking for when assembling the TV & Film jury?
A: Our Grand Jury is made up of over 200 directors, writers, actors, creative directors, filmmakers, composers and programming executives who are all award-winners themselves. They are actively involved in what is being made today. Last year, the jury members came from over 40 countries and that mix of perspectives is one of the strengths of this jury process. The most common feedback from our judges is the unique experience of viewing programs, stories, and news on a global level. In each of our rounds of judging, the jury members view and score entries based on industry-accepted standards of excellence using a scale of 1 to 10 for the following set of criteria: Production Values, Creativity, Content Presentation, Direction, Writing, Achievement of Purpose and Audience Suitability.
Q: What regions around the world would you like to expand NYF’s Television & Film Awards global footprint and why?
A: At this point, rather than a geographical focus - because we have entries from all continents - we would love to expand the types of submissions. There is so much terrific content being created that could have an even wider impact and even broader audience! For example, we’d love to receive telenovelas from all the countries which produce them.
Q: How does the competition encourage and engage young television content creators and filmmakers?
A: We do this two ways. First, we have seven categories for student work from Best On-Campus Station to Best online program (webisodes) and student film. Second, their work is seen by the same Grand Jury as our other entrants. This puts their work in front of industry experts from around the world - and their encouragement is very generous and genuine.
Q: What is the relationship between NYF and the UN?
A: Since 1990, New York Festivals has partnered with the UN Department of Public Information on a special award for programming. The United Nations Jury honors Finalists on worldwide issues of importance that go to the heart of what the work of the United Nations is all about improving people’s lives. Past UNDPI Medalists have included Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Wolf Films/NBC) and Ladies Detective Agency - Botswana Gem of Africa (HBO).
Last year, UNDPI Medalists were Gold: “L’Arbitre” (BDA/ ESPN) the story of three female referees in the Democratic Republic of Congo whose determination in the face of discrimination was an inspiration for their community; Silver: ”Jeene ki Aasha” (NDTV) a report on dire conditions of childbirth in Central India; and Bronze: ”Heartache and Hope Through the Viewfinder,” ”49 Days of Life and Death” (Higashi Nippon Broadcasting) the eyewitness account of the tsunami which devastated his hometown by cameraman Kenichi Chiba.
Q: As a 20 year veteran of the television industry, what advice do you have for creative talent entering the television and film industry? You personally have won multiple awards for productions you have worked on including five Olympics, to what qualities do you attribute success in award shows?
A: There is no one formula of how to make a great piece of TV or film, but every great program has a level of engagement, a resonance with the people who are watching, that was painstakingly created in the field, on the set, in the mobile unit, in the mix and was a function of passion, dedication, and commitment to excellence on the part of everyone involved. At the end of the day, it is the willingness to put everything on the line that brings success.
Images and content courtesy of: NYF and Google