Beyond the Headlines: Independent Television Festival coming to Duluth

DULUTH, MN — Throughout December we’ve dedicated this show to looking back at some of the highlights of 2018 across the Northland.

But one highlight in Duluth’s case has us looking months ahead to a new opportunity for the city, and its creative side.

Come next fall, Duluth is set to receive a bit of the national spotlight. In October the city will host a convention for Hollywood executives known as the Independent Television Festival.

ITV Fest is a worldwide community of television creators, and fans, responsible for discovering the best new television programs. According to the executive director of the ITV Festival, the public will get to view new sitcoms and TV shows before network executives even have the chance.

During a news conference in December, city officials said ITV coming to Duluth isn’t driven by financial incentive, but rather because organizers see Duluth as a cultural, artistic, and social match with the convention.

Officials estimate the event–previously hosted in Vermont and Los Angeles–could bring over $1.5 million to the Duluth-area economy.

“The independent TV festival that’s coming to Duluth is all about bringing the buyers and those who create the content together,” says Riki McManus, of the Upper Minnesota Film Office. “We’ll see executives from HBO, Netflix Disney, Bravo, Writers Guild of America. Those people will come in and meet with the creators, and purchase the programming for the next seasons.”

The festival will include screenings, workshops, discussions, and a VIP event. The week-long convention is slated for October 2019.

Officials with ITV Fest say they’re hoping to make Duluth its official hub for decades to come.

In this episode of Beyond the Headlines, we’ll hear from those behind the festival. Dan Wolfe sits down with Riki McManus (Upper Minnesota Film Office), along with ITV Fest Executive Director Philip Gilpin, and co-founder of the Sundance Film Festival, Cirina Catania.

Gilpin says between now and October, Northlanders will have several opportunities to become a part of ITV Fest–from volunteer opportunities, to workshops, and more.

For more information, head to the ITV Fest official website.

Billy Wagness

Billy Wagness


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