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National Association of Television Production Executives (NAPTE)

National Association of Television Production Executives (NAPTE)  A Feeding Frenzy Of New & Re-Purposed Content

MIAMI BEACH, FL (January 28, 2011) – NATPE-Content First, Conference and Exhibition made its first appearance in Miami after a twenty year stint in Las Vegas. It is set to return to Miami Beach in January 2012.   President/CEO Rick Feldman  announced highlights and figures from the market, a global nonprofit organization committed to serving as a catalyst for the convergence& content revolution.

According to Feldman, whom we interviewed , “It has been very gratifying to see a substantial growth in the number of guests attending NATPE-Miami.  There were 4504 registered attendees an approximate  22% increase over last year’s gathering in Las Vegas.  “Registered buyers represented 25% of that number,” ventured Gabriel Trujillo, of NASA Creatives who was on the prowl for SOMOS and their 3 new cable stations.

And buying, licensing and bartering they did; in an atmosphere of robust deal making, elbow bumps and high fives.   The four day confab played out at a fever pitch throughout the luxurious Fountainebleau Hotel–Miami Beach and adjacent Eden Roc Hotels. 

The top tier film and T.V. trade event and conference saw a flurry of production companies, independent and major broadcast stations and cables all converge in a flurry of acquisition activity.  Whether on the buy or sell side of the equation, attendees have adjusted to the ‘new normal’ with its concomitant fiscal restraints and downsizing. Most appeared to be thriving in this lean time, hard scrabble climate.

 NATPE’s Conference and Exhibition made its first appearance in Miami after a twenty year stint in Las Vegas.  Celebrating over 40 years serving  the ever-evolving global television industry, NATPE continues to redefine itself and the services.  According to the Associations web landing page, “What has remained constant is NATPE’s commitment to keeping members apprised of the changes occurring daily in the global media environment”.

Though the celebrity quotient was not on par with the concurrent Sundance Film Festival in Park City- Utah, there was a good smattering of house hold faces.  ‘Burn Notice’ series star, Gabrielle Anwar and stunt sidekicks broke bottles on the landscaped expanse of the Fountainebleau- Miami Beach.  Regis Philbin was both a speaker and grand master mascot, Illeana Douglas was spotted and Ben Silverman’s Electus announced a new production partnership with MTV Alum Tony DiSanto.    On the Divinity spectrum both Father Alberto Cutie, the defrocked priest and now host of the Fox Chat series ‘Father Albert’ and Elvira’s Movie Macabre both floated in.

Sylvia Caminar, Producer of three long running series hosted by Samantha Brown aired on the Discovery/Travel Channel is taking the ‘Yellow Rick Road’ bio pic to NATPE. Starring 80’s heart throb Rick Springfield and his Devoted Fans. Springfield was one of the world’s biggest stars, cranking out excellent power-pop hits like “Jessie’s Girl”.

Caminar met with Patrick Jaucaud, who helms DISCOP Africa and sponsored in part NATPEPatrick Jucaud , expressed interest in Caminar’s latest opus and announced plans for his upcoming Discop Africa located in Kenya in early February and the next edition planned in September 2011.  Jucaud, founder of Discop Budaphest, Istanbul, Africa et al, said that DISCOP was formed as a platform for content purveyours and buyers to meet on their own terrain while ameliorating the costs normally associated with the mega markets such as the AFM, Cannes,Toronto and Berlin markets.  Discop, ‘has adopted the world’ by bringing content driven trade fairs to smaller but viable markets along the road less traveled.

NEW COMMUNICATION FACILITATES SALES

Feature film & TV Producer/Director,  Andrei Zinca who’s company A to Z Films  spans two and a half decades attributed the industries comeback to companies,  “Who steer the course, by exercising fiscal restraint and do not drift into the excesses of boom and bust economies”.  Too ramp up revenue Zinca revived his dormant sales arm while continuing to pursue elusive pockets of nationally subsidized film financing in his native Rumania.

When asked how he managed the expenses of attending markets, (trailers, sales material, staff & client dinners at The Forge) he responded, “With the myriad of advanced communication devices we have at our fingertips from ipods to VoIP; face time with my buyers/producing partners is but one option.  I know their tastes and budgets and most transactions take place via phone, email, and youtube.com for broadcasting the trailers”.

Alan Miller of A One Entertainment and Julio Neri of LAIN Cinemania Network and Stuart Goldman of the SGC Distribution Company have survived the steps and ladders economy.  Prospecting for licensing deals, the ad hoc trio worked the floor offering new or repurposed content while on-the-alert for new libraries up for grabs and the occasional unheard of advance.  Julio Neri of L.A.I.N. reported the acquisition of a 100 title library that boasts Bob Yari’s Academy Award winning CRASH.

All three are veterans of many NATPE’s and they claim their attendance is predicated, “as much on the prevailing haute glamour that permeates the event as the necessary building and sustaining ties and relationships“.  All are seasoned content providers and agree these are the times when barnstormers and storm troopers definitely have the advantage over behemoth media conglomerates.

Diversification and widening revenue streams is another way companies are rebounding. In the case of Bruce and Selene Soloway of New York’s Solo Vision (solovision.com); the duo got into the test kitchen at the inception of the networks feeding frenzy.  Their multi-faceted production, distribution and product placement company first produced “Food Bites” for airing between regular programming on the Food Network ™.  In most cases the clips were either sponsored or contained product integration or both.  Developing food clips for the Food Network catapulted Solo Vision onto the top tier of the food chain.

Cooking and Foodie Shows were served up on every isle. Celeb Chef’s Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen came off network and entered national syndication.  The London based podco Raycon the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster has The Chefs in development.

The intimacy of NATPE in Miami with groves of palms silhouetted by an oasis of infinity pools…mojitos and rum punch flowing.  Appetizers ran the gamut from coconut shrimp on skewers and sublime pasta ala formage in little porcelain cups.  This is one Trade Show done up in style where not a detail was overlooked. After all, the Fontainebleau was the haunt of Sinatra, Sammy and Dean.   As legend would have it The Pack would close their act (name of Fontainebleau club in the 50′) and head over to Liberty City now called the new Design District and Winwood. For a quick study, see Frank Capra’s ‘Hole in the Head’, with Sinatra and Edward G. Robinson (hyperlink to Trailer)

At NATPE Miami – everything seems as fresh as tomorrow’s headlines and as entertaining as its old school predecessors, when content reigned supreme and everything else in the film making process was relegated to the backlot.  In the words of Patrick de Bakay, Chief Executive of the  Miami World Cinema Center, where burgeoning talent with stories to tell are being nurtured in an environment out of the glare of Los Angeles and New York.  His cherry picked roster of young talent channels Sundance Institute founder and visionary Robert Redford. As a Ex French Patriot from the nation of cinema vierte, de Bakay and his associate Jose Luis Martinez understand that without a script that resonates everything else becomes ‘tres superfluous’.   Such was the case with NATPE 2011. (website Miamiworldcinemacenter.com. )

Las Vegas is such a shlog. Who wants to trek the equivalent of 7 football fields to take a meeting with a licensor from Turkey?  Las Vegas is so yesterday, sorry Steve Wynn.  The Beach is back.  And this time, note to media, “Are you listening? shhh do not tell everyone. South Beach was killed by avarice and over hype”.

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