The Cross-Media Forum, 11-14 Oct – a taste of what’s to come

By Rosie Lavan

After founding Blind Spot Pictures in 1997, Tero Kaukomaa went on to produce and co-produce more than 15 feature films. With bases in both Helsinki and Zürich, Kaukomaa is currently producing Iron Sky, the forthcoming anarchic sci-fi comedy from the makers of Star Wreck which follows the descendants of a troop of Nazis on the dark side of the moon in 2018 plotting a return to earth. Iron Sky developed the crowd-sourcing model that propelled Star Wreck from home-made movie to internet phenomenon, and Kaukomaa will be presenting his experiences of how he and the Iron Sky team have made this collaborative model pay. This “community point” is what he will emphasise at the Forum, he says, “the crowd-sourcing which led to crowd-funding and finally to successful crowd-investing. All this is mirrored through my own experience from very traditional film producing.”

Katerina Cizek comes to the Forum from Toronto. She will be presenting Out My Window, part of her Emmy-winning HIGHRISE project which crosses national as well as media boundaries, fusing innovative documentaries with community-led projects around its central focus on urban life all over the world in the ubiquitous tower block. Cizek’s pioneering work in social documentary takes her to international events which are often concerned either with the documentary genre, or with the issues with which her work engages. The PttP Forum strikes a different note, she says. “It’s always really interesting and exciting to be part of an event that I imagine will open my eyes to what’s going on digitally in other genres.”

Dan Efergan’s work as creative director of digital at Aardman helped the company to a BAFTA earlier this year for Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention. He will be attending the Forum for the first time, and he sees the mix of creativity and pragmatics as a great strength. “It’s unusual to have a forum which takes on the slippery, murky, multifaceted subject of cross-media, and not only discusses the ethereal elements but attempts to fill it with solid definitions, real business practices and genuine tangible processes,” he says.

Efergan will talk on The Tate Movie Project, developed as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad with the Tate galleries and the BBC and with funding from the National Lottery and BP, and devised by and for children aged 5 to 13. It is, he says, “a simple premise, getting the nation’s kids to help Aardman make a movie, but a premise that led us to a project that is truly symbiotic across platforms.” He will show how the project was put together, and highlight the things other practitioners can learn from it.

Rebecca Denton of Turner Broadcasting, spent four years building cross-platform storyworlds for Cartoon Network series taking properties to scores of countries, before being appointed senior producer at Turner in March 2011. She saw the children’s game show Ben 10 through from its initial stages to broadcast in 12 different languages. Most recently, she has overseen the global online design and production of The Amazing World of Gumball, which premiered in the UK earlier this month, and she will be presenting a case study of this project. “Power to the Pixel’s Forum continues to be one of the top digital events in the calendar and I’m very excited to be part of this year’s speakers’ line-up,” says Denton. “I look forward to sharing the initial results from our exciting online presence for The Amazing World of Gumball.”