Film industry leaders set to speak at annual Biola Media Conference
Students interested in filmmaking will have the opportunity to network with more than 22 speakers and some of the film industry’s leaders at the 18th annual Biola Media Conference on May 5 at 9:00 a.m.
“The vision is to give people’s creativity back to them to remind them to be the artist God created them to be,” said Sandi Nicolaides, Biola’s cinema and media arts department assistant to the chair and co-producer of the Biola Media Conference.
Introducing new features
For the first time in eight years, there are new directors for the conference. Nicolaides’ co-producer, Kean Salzar, head of special projects in the Biola cinema and media arts department, also said the conference is meant to help people find their spark and reignite their artistic passion.
“The cool thing is that in this transition, all the things that have been built will stay intact. Newness brings fresh eyes and fresh vision. I’m excited,” said the previous director Peggy Rupple.
She explained how she had been praying since August 2011 about what direction she should go in, and God called her to give her attention to other things in the film program that needed to be built up.
“Last year, we had 17 states and a few different countries represented. It’s the largest international conference for Christian entertainment professionals working in mainstream media. That’s given us a huge voice in the industry and I pray it continues to thrive.” Rupple said.
Good number of attendees from all aspects of film
Salzar and Nicolaides have been orchestrating the conference around the theme “Finding Your Creative Breakthroughs.” Aside from two main sessions, there will be two breakout sessions, with four workshops apiece. These include topics such as recapturing your creative spirit as an actor, as a screenplay writer and as a producer of short film content.
Biola is expecting more than 700 people to attend, according to the conference website. Attendees will be those who are actively involved in every aspect and arena of filmmaking, television production, news media, digital media, animation, music licensing, radio production, media management, financing and technologies, according to the website.
Regardless of these opportunities, some film students feel as though they would rather work on their own projects than attend the conference.
“I'm not going. I'm shooting something that weekend so it’s an inconvenient date for me. Beyond that, it’s not something that I've seen change anyone's life,” said junior Lydia Dunham, a cinema and media arts major.
Encouraging anyone with a passion for media to attend
Registration began on Nov. 29, 2011, but tickets can still be purchased at the door for $180. The ticket price for cinema and media arts students is $25 and for all other students it is $50, according to Nicolaides. For more information about tickets, students need to contact the Biola cinema and media arts department. Also, cinema and media arts students may receive one unit as part of the CNMA 470 Biola Media Conference Seminar course.
“It’s awesome. It gives people a chance to get their foot in the door in Hollywood for their future career,” said junior cinema and media arts major Taylor Burr.
Nicolaides encourages anyone who has a passion or interest in the media to attend. The conference’s values statement says that the event offers anyone working within the media the opportunity to learn from leading industry professionals about their field.
The conference at the CBS Studio Center will feature keynote speaker DeVon Franklin, the vice president of production at Columbia/Sony Pictures, and producer of “Sparkle.” Other prominent speakers, including Simon Swart, Gavin O’Connor, Marc Forster, C. McNair Wilson and Stan Williams, will talk about how to break into Hollywood.
There will be a media street fair where speakers and vendors will be selling the speaker’s materials. The Biola Media Conference is put on with the help of sponsors such as CBS Studio Center, FrontGate Media and the Christian Film Festival.