August 10, 2020

Azure Helps the Show Go On for Chattanooga Film Festival

More than two-dozen films were screened at the Chattanooga Film Festival in May, which filmmaker Q&A, screenwriters sharing their process, group sessions on story pitches, festivalgoers chatting with one another, award sessions, and more.

And it was all done digitally, with Microsoft Azure and media tech company among those partnering up to pull the event off in just a matter of weeks.

“We realized that filmmakers had lost their voice,” Marco Rota, director of technical strategy for media and entertainment at Microsoft said May 27 during a presentation at the Hollywood Innovation and Transformation Summit (HITS) Live event, referring to the pandemic lockdown. “They weren’t quite sure to expect. We broke down what people enjoy when going to a film festival, and tried to replicate it.”

It worked: some people stayed for the entire film festival, he said, either sleeping at their computers or pulling off a 24-hour experience with no rest. “The end result was this fantastic package, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” he said.

The event proved that most anything is possible in entertainment nowadays, with content creators and distributors being more reliant on cloud technologies to continue providing great experiences.

“Our collaboration with Microsoft allowed us to do things in a different way very quickly,” said Erik Ramberg, VP and head of global business development at MediaKind. “Expectations are evolving, and they’ll continue this way for a while. The cloud has become more important than ever, for both linear and digital distribution. The value was already there. Now the value is paramount.”

Joel Sloss, senior program manager for Microsoft Azure, said the festival was pulled off because all the tech players behind the scenes not only knew what they were doing, they made security a top priority.

“It’s important to have an enterprise-class system designed to handle the security of content and the security of participants,” Sloss said. “It has to guarantee the integrity of what’s being broadcast.”

To learn more, click here for audio of the HITS presentation. Click here for the presentation slide deck.

The May 27 HITS Live event tackled the quickly shifting IT needs of studios, networks and media service providers, along with how M&E vendors are stepping up to meet those needs. The all-live, virtual, global conference allowed for real-time Q&A, one-on-one chats with other attendees, and more.

HITS Live was presented by Microsoft Azure, with sponsorship by RSG Media, Signiant, Tape Ark, Whip Media Group, Zendesk, Eluvio, Sony, Avanade, 5th Kind, Tamr, EIDR and the Trusted Partner Network (TPN). The event is produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) and the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), in association with the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA) and the Smart Content Council.

For more information, click here.

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