Spiderman: Far From Home

Global Conference for Media Freedom is the brainchild of the UK and the Canadian government in a partnership, with Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, to create an international campaign to defend media freedom and improve the safety of journalists who report across the world. Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Jeremy Hunt, the UK Foreign Secretary, will co-host the event. It will bring together global leaders and representatives from the media industry, journalists, civil society and academia.” This inaugural conference which will happen in the Canada Water lake and wildlife refuge of south-east London, from July 10-11, has support from the Society of Editors that the Foreign Office’s vision will also be able to answer ongoing questions of how press freedom is maintained in the UK.

Amal Clooney, Jeremy Hunt and Chrystia Freeland speaking at the G7 event in France.
Image ©Licensed to i-Images Picture Agency. 05/04/2019. Dinard, France. Jeremy Hunt and Amal Clooney. The Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt accompanied by Amal Clooney travel to Dinard, France, for the Media Freedom Press announcement, as Jeremy Hunt appoints Amal Clooney as a media freedom ambassador to fight for free speech globally. Picture by Andrew Parsons / i-Images

The conference will bring together global leaders, place the spotlight on media repression and begin building a coalition of governments committed to a stronger diplomatic response when media freedom is curtailed. The UK and Canada are committed to promoting media freedom across the globe. It is an essential component of economic prosperity, social development and resilient democracies. It is a right to which all governments have committed, as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Special Envoy for Media Freedom and human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney (wife of actor, director, producer George Clooney) will also attend.

The Global Conference for Media Freedom is part of an international campaign to shine a global spotlight on media freedom. It will bring together global leaders and representatives from the media industry, journalists, civil society and academia and is supported by global philanthropic organization Luminate. According to sources the world is becoming a more hostile place for journalists. Reporters Without Borders called 2018 the deadliest year on record for journalists. UNESCO confirms that at least 99 journalists were killed, a further 348 imprisoned and 60 held hostage. Freedom of expression is being stifled and barriers are preventing the functioning of an independent media. Initiatives presented so far to address these dangers have included pledging 60 new scholarships for journalists across Africa, as part of their vision “Defend Media Freedom.”

XR:WA runs in parallel with the Revelation Perth International Film Festival and is made possible through the support of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and the City of Perth. XR:WA is programmed to explore immersive technologies in a way that it hopes will deliver a unique experience to the audiences of Western Australia. Using computer and tabletop games, VR, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, XR WA showcases locally developed technology and productions, then inserts them in a globally projected showcase leading to discussion, testing and exploration. With a nine-day public exhibition program across the city and a three-day conference and expo that concludes July 14, XR:WA is meant to be more than a gathering place for those working in digital screen-based art, entertainment, education, research and business, and hopefully an “ideas market” for screen-based and immersive industries in Western Australia.

For practitioners of traditional and more recent media formats, XR:WA includes: a major three-day screen conference, exhibition and testing opportunities, B2B opportunities, keynote speakers, networking and social functions, workshops, panels and masterclasses with local, national and international peers and the ability to discuss projects with audiences and users. Expect to hear from industry practitioners, Nathan Bazely, ABC News; Doug Bester, Sentient Computing; Lawrence Crumpton, HoloLens/Microsoft; Tania Chambers, Feisty Dame Productions; Luke Gibbs, ABC Behind the News; Priscilla Harris, HTC VIVE Australia/New Zealand; Pradeep Khanna, Virtual Reality Augmented Reality Association; Alice Wolfe, Finalist, 2017 SXSW Interactive awards.

To visitors, XR:WA plans a display of immersive technologies through a specially curated program of events. For those wanting to explore broader opportunities within the screen industry, XR:WA also features the Screen Industry Field and Career Day, free games and immersive emporium on the conference floor. Daily activity sessions (panels, workshops, exhibitions, demonstrations) will include, Opening Keynote: Unity According To John Sietsma; Full Body VR Gameplay: Ready Team One; Microsoft Keynote: Demystifying Mixed Reality… and Why it Matters; 360′ VR Cinema: This is Climate Change Parts 1 and 2, 360′ VR Cinema: This is Climate Change Parts 3 and 4; Panel/Workshop: Listen Up – Immersive Music Audio; Panel/Workshop: New Tools for Pre and Post Production; 360′ VR Cinema: The Antarctica Experience; Talks: Cinematic VR and myths of audience, plus Trends for the writing, development and project conceptualisation for cinematic VR; Workshop/Panel: Adventures in Immersive Storytelling; Trade exhibits & Screen Industry Field & Career Days; and more topics than can be mentioned here.

The Revelation Film Festival enters year 22, This year co-located with, but running in tandem with, XR:WA. Taking place across Perth and Fremantle, Revelation combines a program of moving image art, live music, film and interactive and immersive media forms. In greater detail, that includes live music at cinemas, campuses, cafes, bars, nightclubs, galleries, found spaces, libraries and public spaces. Revelation will consist of its core invited program and actively take in other activity generated by other venues and organizations that mesh with concept and content. Revelation was originally structured to showcase ideas “at point” in contemporary independent film and find a place for them in a conservative cinema and social environment. Revelation also includes an academic component (introduced in 2012), industry discussion sessions, live performances, masterclasses, visual art exhibitions and other hybrid activity generated by the event or independent curators. And Revelation welcomes independently curated or initiated programs and ideas and actively embraces creative professional development and mentoring opportunities.

The Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) of New York City is organized with a focus towards the marketing of Spanish-language alternative music. There are also daily and nightly showcases of Latin music reflecting fresh sounds that cross over into other traditional genres such as rock, hip-hop and electronica scenes. This six-day event concluding July 13 provides networking opportunities for leading artists, label executives, journalists, managers, marketers, retailers and programmers. LAMC features an annual “discovery” contest, in search of rising new talent. Winners receive a chance to perform at an LAMC concert, inclusion on the LAMC compilation CD, a write-up on the LAMC website, and other prizes. Although most events, such as registration, panels and exhibits, are conducted through Stewart Hotel, show case and performance events happen at various venues and field locations throughout the city, such as Summerstage Central Park Rumsey Playfield, DROM, Summerstage Queensbridge Park, SOB’s and other venues that will be announced.

With the sole objective of showing how Latin music fits into the wider musical ecosystem, LAMC has programmed industry panels with speakers from the entertainment and business world. Speakers you can expect to hear from include, Angelica Garcia, ESPN; Gil Gastelum, Cosmica Artists + Records; Maria del Pilar Lopez, Prager Metis; Matthew Limones, SoundExchange; Mayra Cortez, Universal Music Publishing Group; Manuel Moran, Live Nation; Jesus Malverde Gonzalez, Universal Music Latin; Azu Olvera, Pandora; Leila Cobo, Billboard; Delia Orjuela, BMI; Bruno del Granado, CAA; Yvonne Drazan, Peermusic; Polo Montalvo, La Buena Fortuna; Jorge Gimeno, Sony Music Spain; AJ Alvarez, Symphonic; Fofito, La Respuesta; Leslie Arredondo, Viacom; Maria del Pilar Lopez, Prager Metis; Jason Joven, Chartmetric; Kiko Sumillera, El Volcan Musica. Topics addressed in the past have been Marketing to Urban Latino Culture, Approaches to Retail, Print Media/Television/Radio, Advertising and Sponsorship, International Markets, Music in Film, and others.

Comic-Con International happens in San Diego

The best known comic convention in the USA, Comic-Con International show opens in San Diego, making it the country’s longest continuously-run comics and pop culture arts convention and marking its 50th anniversary. July 17 is planned as the preview night for the five-day event. Comic-Con International is a nonprofit educational (umbrella) organization dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular artforms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture. In spite of its sprawling program format, these are the feature categories to consider along which San Diego Comic-Con 2019 will be broken down: Special Guests, Anime, Art Show, Autographs, Children’s Film Festival, Films, Games, Masquerade, Portfolio Review, Artists’ Alley, Fan Tables, overall Exhibit Hall.

Comic-Con continues to offer a comprehensive comics and pop culture convention experience. There is a sizeable programming schedule featuring comics and all aspects of the popular arts, including hands-on workshops and educational and academic programming such as the Comics Arts Conference, anime and film screenings (including a separate film festival), games, the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards – the “Oscars” of the comics industry, a Masquerade costume competition with prizes and trophies, an Autograph Area, an Art Show, and Portfolio Reviews bringing together aspiring artists with major companies.

In an exclusive events that set 2019 apart from previous years, this year marks Comic-Con’s 50th event, making it the longest continuously-run comics and pop culture convention in North America. This year’s program book theme, “Cover Story: The Art of Comic-Con 50,” is a new exhibit at the future home of the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park. Visitors can see the past 50 years of Comic-Con covers through original art and process pieces that explore the creation of a cover – from thumbnail sketches to finished pencil and ink art to fully-colored finished pieces. Additionally, there will be a recent find of previously “lost” interior art from the Program Books of the 1970s and ‘80s. This art includes originals and reproductions by creators such as Carl Barks, Ralph Bakshi, Marie Severin, Jack Kirby, and some of the top syndicated newspaper cartoonists of those decades, created especially for Comic-Con. This exhibition, which has been open since March 23, will continue to run on additional select dates through August 4, 2019 in Balboa Park.

Which industry guests can be expected to attend San Diego Comic-Con 2019? A partial listing of special guests that are already confirmed will include: Leigh Bardugo – Author, Shadow and Bone trilogy, The Language of Thorns; Carey Pietsch – Cartoonist, The Adventure Zone, Lumberjanes; Stan Sakai – Writer, artist, Usagi Yojimbo; Scott Snyder – Writer, Batman, American Vampire, Wytches; Jim Lee – Artist, Justice League: Origin, Suicide Squad; DC Comics publisher/chief creative officer; William Stout – Artist, Fantastic Worlds: The Art of William Stout; Marv Wolfman – Writer, editor, Tomb of Dracula, New Teen Titans; Neal Adams – Artist, Batman, X-Men, Green Lantern/Green Arrow; bony Flowers – Writer, artist, Hot Comb; Jae Lee – Artist, Batman/Superman, The Inhumans, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower; J. Michael Straczynski – Writer, producer, Babylon 5, Sense8, Becoming Superman; Willie Ito – Cartoonist, animator, Disney, WB, and Hanna-Barbera cartoons; Paul Levitz – Writer, editor, publisher, 75 Years of DC Comics, Legion of Super-Heroes; Todd McFarlane – Writer, artist, Spawn creator, Venom co-creator; CEO McFarlane Toys, and President, Image Comics; Floyd Norman – Artist, animator, The Jungle Book, Toy Story 2; Alitha Evelyn Martinez – Artist, Black Panther: World of Wakanda, Riverdale; Steranko – Writer, artist, publisher, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America; Diana Schutz – Editor, 300, Grendel, Usagi Yojimbo; Mike Royer – Artist, Kirby’s Fourth World series, Eternals, Captain America; Frank Miller – Writer-artist, 300; writer, Superman: Year One; artist, Cursed; Beth Holley • Former Comic-Con VP, publicity and publications; VP, exhibits; and many others that couldn’t be mentioned in this space.

It used to be that if you bought a four-day badge to Comic-Con, you automatically gained entry to Preview Night which served as a sneak peek at the convention floor before it was fully ready for the official opening. But for some time now Preview Night has become a marquee event in its own right along with the rest of the Comic-Con convention. It has been announced that for 2019 Warner Bros. won’t be holding its annual and anticipated Hall H presentation this time around. But Warner Bros. will have a Preview Night presence, combining with New Line to offer a horror-focused theme. Expect the studios to show off clips from two upcoming movies, plus panels featuring cast and directors. Also planned, is an invitation-only mixer beforehand. A Batman Comic-Con Museum Character Hall of Fame event inducting Batman into the Comic-Con Museum Character Hall of Fame is planned. In a separate event, but related to Batman, Comic-Con and Warner Bros. Television Group offer pilot screenings of the new series “Batwoman” and “Pennyworth,” exclusively for the Comic-Con audience. Additionally, WBTVG will screen the pilot of the highly anticipated FOX dramatic thriller “Prodigal Son,” starring Tom Payne and Michael Sheen; the world premiere of DC UNIVERSE’s animated comedy series “Harley Quinn”; a never-before-seen episode of the hit Cartoon Network series “Teen Titans GO!” and more.

Comic-Con conducts Portfolio Review conducts sessions with attending companies that include comic publishers, movie and TV studios, video game companies, and others. While the sessions may not always result in job offers, they strive to offer honest and professional appraisal of the portfolio from seasoned industry insiders. When submitting material for review, recommended formats to submit are 6-10 pages of revised sequential storytelling. And located in the Sails Pavilion upstairs at the Convention Center, the Art Show contains original works for sale by both amateurs and professionals. It also displays the nominated books and comics for this year’s Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and houses a special exhibit devoted to members of the Will Eisner Hall of Fame. Requests to appear in the Autograph Area at Comic-Con International 2017 are being accepted. Please contact cci.autographs@comic-con.org for details.

This year Comic-Con’s 45th Masquerade Costume Competition will start at 20:30 on July 20 in Ballroom 20 of the Convention Center. The Comic-Con International 2019 Masquerade event will display approximately 100 costumes recreated from various sources and genres, as well as completely original designs, will take their turns on the theater-style stage. While no purchased costumes are allowed in the competition, those attending in the audience can dress as they like. The event will run for about three hours, including an intermission for judging and the presentation of awards. The judging panel, assembled from costuming professionals, will select the winners of the Comic-Con Masquerade awards in various categories. The Corps Dance Crew will take to the stage for an Avengers-themed show in honor of Avengers: Endgame and the sad passing of Marvel Comics icon, Stan Lee.

Following the Corpsmen will be a special new Star Wars-themed lightsaber show by members of the Saber Guild performance group. Through screen-accurate costuming, music from the films, and sharp choreography, this Lucasfilm-approved group is acclaimed for its authentic reenactments and interpretations. DC Comics representatives will once again present a statuette from their ShopDCEntertainment.com website store to the to the top costume portraying DC Comics themes and characters. Other representatives of companies and organizations set to be present and take part include, Will Eisner Spirit of Storytelling Award, Costume Designers Guild IATSE Local 892, David C. Copley Award for Most Innovative Costume, Motion Picture Costumers Union, Local 705, Art Directors Guild (IATSE Local 800, Costumer’s Guild West, Inc. Comic-Con International: San Diego is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular artforms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.

Keeping abreast with the evolving mediums of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality, the 2019 SIGGRAPH Los Angeles convention will highlight an Immersive Pavilion and VR Theater that are planned to go along with a large array of immersive programming, including world-premiere experiences. Both spaces offer daily first-come, first-served content in addition to timed VR Theater screenings that are by ticket only. World-premiere experiences set to make their debut during the conference include: “Undersea” from Magic Leap (Immersive Pavilion), “a kite’s tale” from Walt Disney Animation Studios (VR Theater), “Mary and the Monster: Chapter One” from Parallux and New York University’s Future Reality Lab (Immersive Pavilion), and “Il Divino: Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling in VR” from Epic Games. Immersive content at SIGGRAPH 2019 is available in five separate showcase spaces across two programs. In the Immersive Pavilion, work can be experienced across three physical spaces – the Arcade, Museum, or Village – while the VR Theater offers both five-film, one-hour screenings daily and individual viewing kiosks.

Victoria Alonso-at ACM

The SIGGRAPH 2019 Production Sessions offers behind-the-scenes reveals in the “making of” some of the year’s notable productions in film, streaming, cable, games, and VR. So for example, The Making of Marvel Studios’ ‘Avengers: Endgame’ will have SIGGRAPH 2019 Keynote Speaker Victoria Alonso (pictured), take the stage with production professionals from Marvel Studios, Digital Domain, ILM, and Weta Digital to discuss how the epic culmination of 22 interconnected films and diverse collection of superheroes of different environments were sewn into the climactic final chapter that is “Avengers Endgame.” BioWare’s technical artists and rendering engineers reveal the production challenges of its ‘Anthem’ interactive content and integrating the unpredictable array of volatile sequences into the storyline. The program will also offer the Production Gallery daily during the conference week. A museum-style showcase, the Gallery features costumes, artwork, props, and more, allowing participants the chance to see the work of industry artists and craftspeople up close.

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), is an educational and scientific computing society, of educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue on the field’s challenges. ACM SIGGRAPH is a special interest group where researchers, artists, and technologists meet to review progress applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. The SIGGRAPH conference is the annual educational experience for inspiring transformative advancements across the disciplines of computer graphics and interactive techniques.

The above events are only a sample of what is fully listed. Complete details are on the “Calendar of Global Media and Showbiz Industry Social Networking Events” page. If you like this report and other content found on The Actor’s Checklist, like the Facebook page at this link. In this month’s photo placement (starting at the very top), After 10 days of release, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” has registered just shy of $600 million from the international box office. Next, Amal Clooney, and other speakers at Global Conference for Media Freedom, XR:WA Immersive in Perth, Comic-Con 50th Anniversary in Anaheim, Victoria Alonso-at ACM. Next month is August, well into the summer vacation period so calendar dates are still at a low level. But the following event dates are certainly worthy of attention. Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival will be held in that city, Lollapalooza 2019 opens in Chicago early in the month, Broadcast Worldwide 2019 (BCWW) will be held in Seoul, International Forum on Digital Infrastructure and Platforms for Converged Broadcast Media will be in Johannesburg, Anime Revolution is in Vancouver, Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition (MEME) is in Winnipeg this year, Anime Fest takes place in Dallas, D23 Expo trade exhibition for Disney lovers is in Anaheim

XR WA Perth Ideas Market, Latin Alternative Music Conference 2019, 50th San Diego Comic-Con International, SIGGRAPH 2019, Los Angeles, are calendar highlights in July’s media and showbiz industry events