The 2011 Biola Media Conference (BMC), held on April 30 at CBS Studios in Los Angeles, California, was once again a veritable treasure trove of information and insights about the future of the mainstream media.
With this year’s theme, “Beyond Digital: What Matters Now,” the annual event now on its 16th year was graced by media luminaries, such as Kevin Kelly, Tom Halleen, DeVon Franklin, and actor Sean Astin. Well-respected media guru Phil Cooke, who emceed the event, rallied conference delegates to engage in a lively and thoughtful exchange of insights and viewpoints about relevant issues in the industry.
The BMC, initially launched to give LA-based Biola University film students an opportunity to learn from working media practitioners, has since become the biggest national meeting for Christian media professionals.
Leading the discussion about trends in the new media, keynote speaker and founder of “Wired” magazine Kevin Kelly pointed out that the electronic screen is the tool of the future in terms of exchanging and disseminating information. The electronic screen, he intimates, is a powerful tool for capturing people’s attention, and often translates to sound business endeavors.
But more than the profit-making aspect of the industry, one of the important highlights of the conference is the growing demand for quality films.
According to “Like Dandelion Dust” producer and ChristianCinema.com founder and CEO Bobby Downes, there is an emerging trend in the film industry that combines the best of mainstream and Christian movies, as reflected in such inspiring movies like “Soul Surfer”. At the Hollywood Economics 101 session, host Bobette Buster observed that movies that reflect the struggles and triumphs of ordinary people tend to do well in the box office and are likely to get the thumbs-up from the public.
Columbia Pictures vice president of production DeVon Franklin also urged Christian filmmakers to zero in on high-quality movies that fully and accurately reflect people’s lives.
Special guest and closing conference speaker Sean Astin of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “Rudy” fame shared the important lessons he learned in the industry and how passion for the craft was an important ingredient to be successful in this business.
One of the core messages that came out of this year’s event was for filmmakers to learn how to tell a good story that shows how real people overcome the odds through faith and perseverence and emerge triumphant in spirit.
For more post-conference notes, visit www.biolamedia.com.