First Batch of Speakers Announced for XpoNorth 2019

Taking place across the 3rd - 4th July 2019 at Inverness’s Eden Court Theatre and Cinema, the 2019 edition of XpoNorth will again see a diverse host of speakers from across the international creative industries gather in the Highland Capital to discuss the key themes and trends impacting and shaping the current creative landscape.

Further extending the scope and range of the conference, this year’s edition will see the broadest gathering of regional, national and international participants to date. As the festival continues to generate a truly coherent multi-genre offering, 2019 is shaping up to be the most relevant, exciting and innovative yet.

Free Delegate Registration along with Music and Film Submissions are live on the XpoNorth website and there will be a series of exciting announcements over the coming months.

Initial highlights include a very special Keynote with Oscar Winning VFX Supervisor, Ian Hunter (Co-Founder / Creative Director, New Deal Studios). Hunter is a highly innovative storyteller in the field of motion picture visual effects and has overseen the production of many complex sequences from some of the great blockbusters of our time. Securing numerous awards for his work in both features and commercials, Hunter has won several VES Awards for his work on sequences for the likes of 'The Dark Knight', 'Inception' and the Bafta and Oscar nominated, 'First Man'; he was also recently a visual effect supervisor on the film Interstellar. A true visionary, Hunter deftly utilises his experience in visual effects and film design into the cutting-edge virtual reality world.

Continuing to develop the Page to Screen element of the conference, the festival is delighted to be joined by Jason Lust as he delivers a must-attend Keynote exploring Screen Adaptations of Children’s Content. Producer Jason Lust and his company Soluble Fish Productions has set-up a wide variety of movies throughout his career, most recently The History of Tom Thumb. Previously, Lust had a producing partnership with Animal Logic Entertainment, and during his tenure there the Lego Movie was produced. Lust was responsible for contracting over $1 billion dollars’ worth of pipeline business, in conjunction with setting up approximately fifteen features including Peter Rabbit (Sony) which was the second highest grossing feature in the UK for Sony in their company’s history behind James Bond. While serving a 7-year tenure as head of Jim Henson Company’s feature film division, Lust built a feature slate which includes Guillermo Del Toros 'Pinocchio' (Netflix). Lust is one of two founding partners at Circle of Confusion ('The Matrix' and 'The Walking Dead'), where he began his practice of using visual material to support the development and sale of genre movies.

There will also be a discussion on the impact of screen on book sales with Annie Stone from Bookbub. Stone leads BookBub’s publisher relations group, working closely with partners across the US, Canada, UK and Australia. The company helps more than 15 million readers internationally discover new titles and authors whilst facilitating thousands of publishers and authors to reach those audiences with their books. Before joining BookBub, Stone was an editor at Harper Collins.

The event will also be exploring International fashion markets with a host of speakers including Angela Quaintrell (AQ MARKET). Formally Head Fashion Buyer at luxury store Liberty, she was one of the first to buy McQueen at the early stages of his career and now mentors young emerging designers from the Fashion Scout Programme and MIA students at the London College of Fashion. This session will also feature Consultant Anne Ritchie, alongside representatives from UKFT and Textiles Scotland.

The Circumpolar Crafters Network session will look at a fascinating, multi-dimensional collaboration organised by the Government of Nunavut and involving makers from Scotland, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Sami and Norway. This discussion will bring together makers including Netty Soppata (Diggory Brown), Deirdre Nelson, Jannelle Kennedy and a representative from the Government of Nunavut.

The role of music and the moving image remains an important area and XpoNorth is delighted to be working with long-time collaborators Score Draw Music to offer an international aspect on Music Supervision. Amongst those set to offer their perspectives are Dan Butler (SVP, Business Affairs & Legal- Music, Paramount Pictures), Sue Crawshaw (Founder and Owner, Pick and Mix Music), Simon Pursehouse (Global Director of Music Services, Sentric Music), Roxy Shah (Music Supervisor, Record-Play) and Score Draw Owner, Mark Gordon. Between them they have worked on projects for clients such as Disney, Adidas, Google, Netflix, HBO, Paramount, Amazon, the BBC and many more.

The Music Producers Guild (MPG) will again return to XpoNorth with an all-star panel of producers as they discuss the different ways they make hit records and what the magic ingredients are.

The festival will also be announcing details on a very special A&R Worldwide Keynote with one of the industry’s most respected voices in the next festival release.

The ever-popular XpoNorth Listening Room: Your Songs in the Spotlight session will make a welcome return and offer acts the opportunity to receive constructive feedback from a range of leading music industry figures.

Certainly not to be missed, one of XpoNorth’s stand-out panels for 2019 will see legendary authors, journalists and broadcasters Stuart Cosgrove and John Robb offer a fascinating discussion on The Story Behind the Music.

Timo Vuorensola will present a very special session on the story of Iron Sky and offer an insightful overview into its multi-media spin offs across the film, video game, comic and board game arenas.

Presenting a fascinating understanding into how place creates the story, Outer Hebrides based filmmaker Beatrix Wood from multimedia company, TrixPix Media, will be joined by author Dr. Chibundo Onuzo. Born in Lagos in 1991, Dr. Onuzo is the author of ‘The Spider King’s Daughter’ and ‘Welcome to Lagos’. She won the Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, Commonwealth Book Prize and The Encore Award. Her work has been commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and The Guardian. Dr Onuzo is a highly regarded historian with a special interest in the emergence of 20th century West African nationalism.

One of the most highly anticipated seminars is titled NASA: Reverse Engineering a Global Brand & Keeping it Local. Whilst the NASA logo is recognised globally, this session will explore how their coherent narrative was created – developing from cutting edge science to tourist attraction. Dr. Ed Hoffman will take delegates through the reverse engineering process that ensured a clear story that maximised the impact and value of the NASA brand. He retired from NASA as a Senior Executive after a thirty-three-year career which included a position as their Chief Knowledge Officer. Having also served as the Founding Director of the NASA Academy of Programme / Project and Engagement Leadership (APPEL), the academy was the top-rated Project Management Academy in the world. He also received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2010.

Donald Campbell (CEO, MG Alba) will also chair a session featuring Na'alehu Anthony (Director, Oiwi TV) and Basque TV’s Itziar Azpeitia Iruretagoiena (Head of Special Projects ETB) for a fascinating discussion called Re-orientating the Map: Minority Languages in the Creative Industries.

Another new introduction for this year is The Market - offering a host of regional businesses a pop-up destination to showcase and sell their work.

The festival will be making a series of exciting announcements on their Focus Market for 2019 along with the next batch of speakers set to participate in this year’s conference over the coming weeks.

Iain Hamilton, Head of Creative Industries at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: ‘It’s important that we continue to develop the range of areas XpoNorth covers and ensure the event remains as vibrant, innovative and relevant as possible. Delivering a multi-genre destination for our attendees to connect with leading local, national and international voices from across the Creative Industries is vital in maintaining our reputation as a fantastic platform to exchange ideas, develop new networks and discuss the key issues impacting and shaping the sector.’


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