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First programme details announced for Celtic Media Festival 2015
20 Mar 2015 : Seán Brosnan
Three day celebration of film, television, radio and digital media runs from April 22-24
Organisers of the Celtic Media Festival today have revealed the first details of this year’s festival programme, due to take place in Inverness over 22nd - 24th April.

The programme celebrates the influential media industry of the Celtic nations and regions and includes sessions on some of the biggest news stories in recent years – the Scottish Independence Referendum and Edward Snowden’s revelations on the workings of the National Security Agency.

Over three days the programme will look at the opportunities for indigenous independent productions in light of key broadcasters’ increased commitment to supporting nations and regions, the quest for a formula for success in Formats and a look at whether Celtic broadcasters’ breadth of output is debasing the languages they seek to promote.

Celtic Media Festival 2015 programme highlights will include:

The festival’s keynote speech delivered by its founder, MSP Mike Russell. Former Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning and current MSP for Argyll & Bute, Russell is a published author, television director and producer. Having founded the first Celtic Media Festival in 1980 he returns in 2015 to discuss the festival’s beginnings and the changes in broadcasting since the festival began.

2014’s Scottish Independence Referendum made headlines globally and sparked the emergence of many new media platforms attracting huge traffic, particularly from pro-independence supporters who felt disenchanted with claims of an agenda from “mainstream media”. This panel, chaired by David Harron (BBC Scotland’s Executive Producer for Commissioning) and featuring Stuart Cosgrove (former head of Creative Diversity at Channel 4), Maurice Smith (owner of TVI Productions, creators of the Torc Award nominated The Bridge: Fifty Years Across the Forth), Irish Times media correspondent Laura Slattery and The Scotsman’s senior reporter Martyn McLaughlin, will discuss the challenges now faced by traditional media following the growth of unconventional outlets.

‘Citizenfour’, Laura Poitras’ film documenting Edward Snowden’s revelation of evidence of illegal covert surveillance programmes run by the NSA in collaboration with other intelligence agencies worldwide, picked up both the BAFTA and Academy Award for Best Documentary, and counts the award-winning Steven Soderbergh as executive producer. Celtic Media Festival brings together the key players from The Guardian who were responsible for breaking one of the biggest stories of the decade, a story which lead to The Guardian and Washington Post receiving the highest accolade in US journalism: the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Stuart Millar, the Guardian’s Head of News, and Ewen MacAskill, the Guardian’s Defence and Intelligence Correspondent were key members of the small team responsible for the media outlet’s coverage of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations and the Scots, along with Luke Moody of Britdoc, the film’s distributor, will provide unprecedented, behind the scenes information on the making of the award-winning documentary in this BAFTA Scotland sponsored session.

Channel 4’s session on the opportunities now available to indigenous independent production companies as a result of key broadcasters’ increased commitment to supporting nations and regions, features representatives from Channel 4 and the BBC including Martin Davidson, BBC’s Head of Specialist Factual, and questions whether size matters when it comes to landing a commission.

A simple idea can spiral into a worldwide phenomenon, but is there a formula for Format success? Evan Chamberlain, the producer/director responsible for founding Good Company Productions whose credits include TG4’s ‘Feirm Factor’ and RTE One’s ‘Hector’, is joined by Channel 4’s Commissioning Editor for Formats Danny Carvalho, who’s work includes ‘Made in Chelsea’, the Nigella Lawson-fronted ‘The Taste’ and ITV’s daytime hit ‘The Chase’, and Keiran Doherty of Belfast based production company Stellify Media, a company formed in 2014 as a joint venture between Sony Pictures Television and experienced TV executives Keiran and Matt Worthy.

S4C, TG4 and BBC ALBA have garnered much praise for the breadth of their output and the accessibility of their content to those out with the broadcasters’ core audiences, but this Celtic Media Festival session debates whether the popular programmes responsible for promoting Celtic languages run the risk of alienating loyal viewers and debase the Celtic languages.

The previously announced Sky Arts’ session will take place at the festival on Thursday 23rd April. Sky Arts Amplify, designed to encourage arts organisations and production companies to pitch collaboratively for up to £1million annually on new TV ideas, will host a “speed dating” session, allowing delegates the opportunity to meet with arts organisations, invited by Sky Arts, to brainstorm initial ideas.

Delegate registration is open now – visit www.celticmediafestival.co.uk for more information. Delegates are able to access to the full daytime programme of events, as well as the Torc Awards for Excellence, which celebrate the very best of film, television, radio and interactive media to emerge from the Celtic nations. More information on the Celtic Media nominees can be seen here.

Festival Producer, Catriona Logan said: ‘We’re so pleased to be able to bring some of the leading figures in the media and broadcasting industry to Inverness for Celtic Media Festival in April. From sessions focusing on some of the biggest news stories of the past decade, to speed dating events providing a platform for collaborative pitches to potentially secure funding, this year’s festival will be a great few days celebrating the best in outstanding productions in broadcasting across the Celtic nations and regions and beyond.’

The 36th Celtic Media Festival, held at Eden Court Inverness from 22nd - 24th April 2015 is supported by the Highland Council, VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund, Inverness Common Good Fund and Creative Scotland as well as broadcasters and broadcast authorities from the Celtic nations and regions.

More programme details are set to be released by the organisers soon.




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