Hey, I get it. Attending the Banff World Media Festival without actually going to Banff is like driving to Las Vegas but then never getting out of your car. What’s the point?

Banff, more than any other film and TV festival, is all about the destination itself. It’s the allure of those stunning mountain vistas, the smell of pine forrests and the unholy chutzpah of the brazenly overpriced moose and Mountee souvenirs. There’s a reason it’s not the Brampton World Media Festival. You could host a public stoning of mayor Patrick Brown by the reunited cast of Friends and still no one would go to Brampton.

A virtual Banff, however, does have one thing going for it: a great PR team in Pam Wilson and Cayce Kelly. Thanks to their gentle reminders I’m able to look in today on sessions featuring the always newsworthy Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix and other TV movers and shakers.

It was announced Monday that Netflix Canada and Women in Animation Vancouver (WIA) are teaming to promote the advancement of women in the animation field. The initiative is part of the WIA’s Animation Career EXCELerator Program (ACE) which is open to applicants across Canada, with a special focus on attracting talent from BIPOC communities.

Ted Sarandos

Netflix’s contribution is part of the recently announced Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, which will see USD $100 million invested in Canada over the next five years towards jobs for underrepresented groups in the TV and film industry.

Sarandos has always been bullish on Canadian animation. For several years now, Netflix has been the number one employer of Canadian animators in the world.


That should help us all get used to that Netflix tax.

There are many more virtual session highlights awaiting all week (and well into July) at Banff. Follow this link to the full agenda of sessions and speed networking, plus the annual Rockie Awards live-streaming tomorrow, Tuesday, at 3 p.m. ET.

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