Trending Global Media and Entertainment News Events for January 2016

CES is trade-show for consumer technology happening annually in Las Vegas. The Consumer Electronics Show is not open to the general public. To attend, you must be affiliated professionally with the consumer technology industry. Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, will deliver the Conference Keynote on opening day, January 6 in the Palazzo Ballroom of The Venetian. CES is produced by the Consumer Technology Association, the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry. All profits from CES are reinvested into industry services, including technical training and education, industry promotion, engineering standards development, market research and legislative advocacy.

Jayen Varma bass player
Bassist Jayen Varma arrives in North America for the first time to perform at NAMM and other activities.

Technology is a transformation agent of the entertainment industry and is rapidly creating choices in how to produce, monetize, market and distribute content for today’s increasingly digitally savvy audiences. The Variety Entertainment Summit at CES 2016 will bring a substantive feature event to CES 2016 with focused conversations from some of the best minds to lay out strategies across TV, film, gaming and digital media. Innovators of the entertainment industry will share how they are taking risks and finding opportunities to succeed within the ever changing digital landscape.

In one keynote presentation, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Consumer Technology Association (CTA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro, participate in two 30-minute conversations about the challenges they face as their agencies navigate the rapidly changing technological landscape. And in another presentation termed “Partnerships for the Sharing Economy,” presented by the Internet of Things World, a panel of experts and innovators will share insights into maximizing effective marketing channels, debate the best strategies to create true value from IoT, and highlight partnership models for the future shared economy.

At this year’s CES, there’s a sizable selection of special events and activities to go to besides the Variety Entertainment Summit. For starters there will be the Startup Night Downtown Vegas, happening a day before the official Convention open on January 5. Activities include a selection of CES’ tech startups on display, along with food, libations and more. The event is at the Freemont downtown Vegas venue, The Gold Spike. And with the start of the normal convention functioning, visitors can expect to have – Gary’s Book Club, International Matchmaking Reception, CTA Member Party, Shark Tank Open Call, eSports showcase, Wearable Tech Awards, CTA Alliance Community Reception, NBA on TNT Live Broadcast, Mark of Excellence Reception, Leaders in Technology Dinner, Last Gadget Standing – as CES activities they can take part in. The January 9 CES Closing Party marks the end of the convention.

The National Association of Music Merchants Show (NAMM) is a trade-only event – not open to the general public – and held bi-annually over four days in Anaheim in January (21-24) and July in Nashville. There is also a NAMM Russia event serving Europe. As The NAMM Show brings together all facets of the music products industry, buyers attend looking to find new state-of-the-art products, and exhibitors can connect with customers that are their target audience.

Musical performances and demonstrations are a big part of The NAMM Show experience with many “Artist Event” sessions scheduled throughout. Three members of the Trans-Atlantic, world music, fusion band – The Khayal Groove – will be in attendance at the 2016 NAMM Show. Among them, Drummer, Jean Davoisne , Toulouse, France; Guitarist and Berklee alum, Angie Swan, Los Angeles, California; and Cochin, India native, Jayen Varma, who will be making his first appearance at the NAMM Show, and his first visit to North America. Jayen Varma is known for innovating the technique of Indian Slap Bass by applying tabla and mridangam based finger movements on bass guitar. He is also a playback singer having recorded a single in the Malayalam Bollywood movie, ‘Koothara’. Jayen Varma and Jean Davoisne will perform together at the booth of The Museum of Making Music ( on January 23 at 15:00 and at the Gruv Gear booth on January 21 at 17:00.

The NAMM lobby will contain an exclusive Member Center, digital media hub, new product showcases and more. NAMM U, the learning and education arm of the convention, features NAMM U Online, a full and varied library of videos, articles and interviews that supplement live Breakfast Sessions and Idea Center Sessions at NAMM shows; Breakfast Sessions, featuring industry insiders sharing their thoughts, ideas, and strategies for doing business in today’s aggressive marketplace, happening every morning before the show floor opens; Idea Center Sessions, which are short, focused “How to” sessions that take place right on the show floor and start every 30 minutes.

Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists and audiences. It conducts the Sundance Film Festival from Park City every January seeking new ways to introduce more people to the original works it selects for screening. Originally founded by actor Robert Redford in the mountains of Sundance, Utah, the Institute seeks to discover, support, and inspire independent film and theatre artists throughout the globe, and to introduce audiences to their works, not just through the annual festival, but other year-round programs it runs as well. In addition to discovering filmmaking’s newest talents through the Festival’s program of documentary, dramatic, and short films, Festivalgoers experience live music performances, panel discussions with leading filmmakers and industry figures, cutting-edge media installations, parties celebrating the Festival community, and more.

The January 21 opening night of the festival will present, NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU – the latest project from documentarians Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady – chronicling producer Norman Lear’s successful career in television history and how he introduced provocative subjects like war, poverty, and prejudice to the masses while converting these themes into laughable moments. Following the screening, the festival programming commemorates the tenth anniversary of their New Frontier program with an interactive keynote presentation from the ‘Godmother of Virtual Reality,’ Nonny de la Pena. Admission proceeds directly benefit Sundance Institute’s mission to support independent artists and the art of storytelling.

The Sundance Institute’s #ArtistServices program is set up to give filmmakers help finding their way in the evolving business of independent film. Deploying online resources, live workshops and a network of partner organizations, the program provides support and insight on creative funding, distribution and marketing. Institute alumni benefit from a wide array of digital distribution opportunities, promotion and consultation for Kickstarter campaigns, and strategies for audience engagement through #ArtistServices. Past, current and future Institute-supported film and select films from allied nonprofit film organizations, are eligible to be part of a distribution deal that gives preferred and direct access to the leading online digital retailers. Sundance closes January 31.

Opening just one day later on January 22 and concluding three days earlier, Slamdance Film Festival rivals neighboring Sundance Film Festival in the snow-capped mountains of Park City to provide its own version of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema. Festival discoveries have included directors Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight), Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace), Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite), Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses), Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister), and Lena Dunham (Girls).

Slamdance’s Special Screenings, Beyond, and Shorts programs for 2016 will offer DIY films by a variety of acclaimed and visionary filmmakers from all over the world and include 23 World, 13 North American, and 13 USA premieres. The Festival opens with a special screening of Adam Rifkin and Penn Jillette’s DIRECTOR’S CUT. Special screenings also include sci-fi features LET’S BE EVIL, from Martin Owen and EMBERS from Claire Carre, which will close the Festival. Slamdance’s 2016 Oscar Qualifying Shorts competition showcases 39 American and 32 International productions in the Narrative, Documentary, Animation, Anarchy, and Experimental sections.

Slamdance Presents, is a new distribution arm established to arrange broader distribution of independent films made or acquired by Slamdance Studios. The goal is to build the popularity of independent films and support filmmakers on a commercial level through theatrical release. In January 2015, Hulu partnered with Slamdance Studios to offer a new film collection from festival alumni. The newly implemented program which has gained momentum now allows viewers to access Slamdance Studios on Hulu at: In November, 2015, Slamdance announced DIG, a new digital, interactive and gaming showcase dedicated to emerging independent artists working in hybrid, immersive and developing forms of digital media art.

Founded in 2001, DocPoint Helsinki is an influential documentary film festivals among Nordic countries, simply because it is focused solely on documentary films. DocPoint, this year running January 25-31, expanded to Tallinn in 2010, which gives DocPoint a presence in two countries happening at the same time. In addition to film screenings, DocPoint also includes seminars, lectures, clubs and a Masterclass. There is a Documentary Film Event for Children and Youth called DOCKING which has been part of DocPoint since the beginning of the festival. DOKKINO’s program consists of short films that are selected thematically. The event spotlights social issues and promotes media literacy. In addition to film screenings DOKKINO organizes documentary film-making workshops and sessions in which school children can meet the filmmakers. At the present time, DOKKINO tours in 16 cities all over the country. DocPoint also organizes Doc Lounge clubs in Helsinki. Doc Lounge is a Nordic network of special film events taking place at 16 Doc Lounge clubs across four countries, screening the newest documentary films in a relaxed club setting. Doc Lounge screens selected documentaries with a mix of the local, national and international in sixteen cities in the Nordic countries. In Helsinki, Doc Lounge is organized once a month at Korjaamo Culture Factory. Doc Lounge Helsinki clubs are organized once a month at Lavaklubi.

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) offers twelve days of international, independent, innovative and experimental cinema and visual arts, talkshows, installations, parties, food and drinks. The festival’s Official Selection includes some 220 feature films and 320 short films out of 60 countries. It aims to organize and stimulate film-related activities in Rotterdam. From January 27 it screens selected fiction and documentary feature films, short films and media art. The festival’s Tiger Awards Competitions, Bright Future and Spectrum sections generally feature world premieres. In its Signals section, IFFR presents retrospectives and themed programs. IFFR showcases new and adventurous filmmaking talent through its co-production market CineMart, its Hubert Bals Fund, Rotterdam Lab and other Industry activities.

A special feature, IFFR Live, screens five films that will they have their premieres at the 45th International Film Festival Rotterdam, simultaneously in more than forty cinemas worldwide in addition to live online audiences. Like last year, filmmakers will be present at the premieres in Rotterdam. Viewers, regardless of their location, can take part in a Q&A session after the film screening on Twitter which will be further enhanced by additional live elements such as music. Another featured program, ID Check, examines how we see ourselves, how we treat the other, and how we can build a society together. Specific programs – ID: Gender Net, ID: The Generic Self, ID: Community Cameras, ID: Burma Rebound – will be developed around this theme within four program sections: Bright Future, Voices, Deep Focus and Perspectives. Together, these four programs will shed light on the theme of ID Check.

The main goal for Goteborg is to be the springboard that sends new Nordic film out into the world. It also brings films from all over the world to Goteborg. The Goteborg Festival has also cultivated a marketplace for contractors in the movie industry. There are around 40 seminars as well as music, art and many other activities surrounding the core of films. The festival’s industry section, with the Nordic Film Market, grew from 2014 and is an important meeting place for industry visitors from all over the world. The festival’s main award is the Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film, which recognizes feature film productions among competing Nordic countries.

As in past years, the festival will offer TV Drama Vision, an international annual seminar showcasing TV drama in the Nordic countries with a global outlook, including discussions of current trends, presentations of works in progress and a comprehensive overview of upcoming Nordic TV-series as well as master classes from key industry professionals. Also, Nordic Film Lab is an exclusive meeting place for newly established, professional filmmakers in Scandinavia. It provides opportunities for participants to deeply explore the artistry of film and networking, hopefully leading to increased cooperation between the film industries in the Scandinavian countries.

Italy will be in focus at the upcoming Goteborg Film Festival. This focus on Italy will include new, talked-about films as well as a retrospective in which the festival’s honorary chairman, Roy Andersson, will present a selection of his Italian favorites. The festival’s Italian focus will include 15-20 films. One of the festival’s Italian guests is the director, Luca Guadagnino (I AM LOVE), who will bring his new film A BIGGER SPLASH – starring actors Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, Matthias Schoenaerts and Ralph Fiennes – along with him to Goteborg. Several titles and guests will be presented at a program release event set for January 12.

Goteborg will host the Nordic Film Market from February 4-7, an opportunity to meet, mingle and interact with industry professionals involved in Nordic film and TV productions. Invited buyers, distributors, sales agents and festival programmers from all over the world. Attending offers an exclusive opportunity to see new and upcoming films and discover fresh talent from this region. Nordic Film Market is supported by Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Region Vastra Gotaland, City of Gothenburg, Scandinavian Films and Film i Vast, and screenings take place at BioPalatset, situated at Kungstorget 2.

The above events are only a sample of what is fully listed. Complete details are on the “Media, Entertainment and Performing Arts Industry News and Events” page. If you like this report and other content found on The Actor’s Checklist, please consider liking the Facebook page. This month’s photo placement displays featured subjects that are part of: The Khayal Groove Trans-Atlantic band at The NAMM Show, Slamdance Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Goteborg Film Festival. If the photos do not appear in this post please visit the blog page to view them. With the holidays now behind, here are some upcoming international industry events that deserve your attention: The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival is in Clermont-Ferrand, 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival is in Santa Barbara, the Sedona International Film Festival returns to Sedona, the 2016 Country Radio Seminar will be in Nashville, the 58th Annual Grammy Awards returns to Los Angeles, the 2016 BRIT Awards will be in London, the 88th Academy Awards comes on the last day of the month from Los Angeles.