Robert Lang Discusses the BANFF World Media Festival

Robert Lang, Kensington’s President and an Executive Producer for many documentaries chatted with me (Amanda Connon-Unda – social media lead at Kensington) about the insights he has on the BANFF World Media Festival. 

It’s not the first time he’s attended the event over the years, so I wanted to hear from him about how to make the most of an international interactive media and broadcast conference like this.


Were there any surprising insights you heard from speakers?

Robert Lang profile pictureNina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment, was interviewed for the Keynote at BANFF – She’s responsible for bringing audiences the CSI franchise, the Good Wife, the Big Bang Theory and other huge hits that have made CBS the most watched network in the US for the last 10 out of 11 years. When asked, after all the successes she’s had, what she really would like to do that she’s hasn’t done yet, she answered “to present ‘real’ documentaries on the network.” Not the journalistic stuff they already do so successfully on CBS News and Current Affairs. She thinks there’s a good audience out there, she’s just trying to figure out a way to make it work for her audiences – that’s the challenge.

What new things would you like to try, after attending BANFF?

One day I’d like to make a short piece specifically for the web that is is aimed at the largest possible viral audience, 50 million or more – clearly it will have to be silly and involve animals. I can do that…haha.

What advice do you have for producers attending BANFF?

Talk to anyone and everyone you meet at international events…don’t just focus on pitching the few hand-picked execs you think might be your ticket to ride. You never know what great developments can emerge from the free exchange of ideas. And today’s ‘nobody’ could be tomorrow’s big deal.

What are your final impressions after this year’s BANFF

TV still pays the freight for a lot of financially successful production, but I gleaned little new from the TV presentations and panels. That was in stark contrast to the NextMedia events, which featured the exciting new ideas and collaborative work emerging from the digital/interactive production sector. I’m impressed with the energy, creativity and innovation of the wild west of the digital webworld. The corporate broadcast media will only rarely nurture innovation – mostly it’s a numbers game, driven by caution and imitation.

Have any of your own ideas about the BANFF Festival? Tell us below, or here.