There’s a glut of film festivals worldwide. Whether it’s an indie affair catering to specific cities or international industry staples like Cannes or Sundance, the film festival world is not hurting for new additions. But Nick Urbom and Mark Lieber think otherwise.
The two former media marketing guys turned live event producers have created the Infinity Film Festival, a four-day event in Beverly Hills starting November 1 that aims to bridge the gap between the tech and film industries.
“When we were communicating with our content studio partners and our technology company partners, everyone was acknowledging that content is kind of all over the place at this point but it’s very much driven by technology,” Urbom says. “We recognized that between Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach, and Hollywood, we might be in a position to establish a new marketplace that celebrates story advanced by technology.”
“No matter what piece of content is created, it all starts with the story–but there are so many different technologies available,” Lieber adds. “So we want to make sure that the creative community is aware of what’s out there, and we also wanted an opportunity for the technology community to meet with the creative community.”
IFF’s programming includes 75 hours of screenings, 30 technology exhibitions, more than 100 speakers, and panels focused on blockchain, art created by algorithms, and immersive storytelling. As a presenting partner to the festival, Epic Games, the video game developer behind the smash hit Fortnite, will host the IFF Tech Lab, a training session on film and virtual production. Urbom and Lieber have also tapped several noted industry leaders, including Lucasfilm exec Vicki Dobbs Beck as the keynote speaker and 20th Century Fox’s chief technology officer Hanno Basse as chairman of the awards committee. (Fast Company is also a media partner with the Infinity Film Festival.)
Festivals like Tribeca have opened its offerings over the years to include more tech-focused programming around AR and VR storytelling. However, the difference between IFF and other festivals, Urbom say, is that IFF is thinking tech-first across the board and not as an add-on.
“Something we’ve really been working hard to accomplish is to establish a credible marketplace for content and technology,” he says. “There’s a great opportunity to create a framework where people can come and do business and buy and sell content that’s specifically geared towards all these new devices created with new devices.”