With the aim of creating a third annual signature event to join The Big Easy’s world-famous Mardi Gras and Jazz & Heritage Festival, Los Angeles-based H.S.I. Productions and the Louisiana Institute of Film Technology have partnered with the City of New Orleans to announce the first annual NEW ORLEANS MEDIA EXPERIENCE (“The Experience”) to take place October 26 through November 1, 2003.

The Experience will be a first of its kind “MediaFest” highlighting the convergence of film, advertising, music and interactive content, while bringing together industry leaders, artists, professionals and consumers in an enlightening and entertaining multi-arts celebration during the week of Halloween. The Experience will feature exhibition of and competition among selected content from those four fields, including music videos, feature films, short films, commercials and videogames. All films in competition will have a convergence theme: each film will include elements from the mediums of advertising, music, or interactive content or utilize non-traditional techniques in either the means of production or distribution of the film. Additionally, playing on the Halloween Week timing, the film competition will have a special section for horror films.

The Experience’s Board of Advisors include such prominent industry leaders as Head of ICM’s New Media and Video Game Division Keith Boesky, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola; The Hon. C. Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans; world-famous chef and television personality Emeril Lagasse; award-winning commercial and music video director Paul Hunter; writer, actor and humorist Harry Shearer; Lava Records President Jason Flom; Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences President Paul Provenzano; Atlantic Records Senior Vice President Michael Caren; world-renowned fashion photographer and commercial and music video director David LaChapelle; Association of Independent Commercial Producers President Matt Miller, Interscope/Geffen A&M Reocords Executive Vice President Steve Stoute, Music Video Production Association President Pam Tarr, and Young & Rubicam Managing Partner/Director of Broadcast Production Ken Yagoda. The New Orleans Media Experience will be programmed and produced in consultation with organizations representing the four major industries, including the Music Video Production Association and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.

In addition to hosting world premieres and featuring established and emerging talent, this “MediaFest” will also include cultural events, symposia, and various forums focusing on the increased interrelation between these industries. Panel discussions will include topics such as “Marketing Music Via Videogames,” “The Future of Madison Avenue,” “Videogame Consoles—The Trojan Horse for the Digital Entertainment Future?,” “Co-Branding and Product Placement in Music Videos,” “Cross-Media Licensing—Successes and Failures,” and “Interactivity and the Film Business.”

Within the festival, Slamdance will run its “By Filmmakers For Filmmakers" Bootcamp, a three-day workshop and panel discussion with such industry leaders as writer-director-producer Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging, Grace of My Heart). The Bootcamp emphasizes a grass roots approach on how emerging directors/producers/artists can get their films made. One particularly unique feature at The Experience will be the opportunity for participants to learn how to DJ by New York’s Scratch DJ Academy, which was founded over a year ago by Rob Principe, Reg E. Gaines (Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk) and the late Jam Master Jay (Run DMC).

Another highlight of the “MediaFest” will be the screening of Sony’s “Dreams” Project 2003, entitled “Joy.” Eight short films created by such extraordinary directors as Rocky Morton and Bryan Buckley and made with Sony’s 24P CineAlta digital camera system will be featured in the short films competition. Each film is based on the creators’ versions of the concept of "joy."

The Experience’s music video screenings will feature the winners from the 12th Annual MVPA Awards, including content featuring such artists as Christina Aguilera, Johnny Cash, Eminem, Elton John, Madonna, Moby, No Doubt, Justin Timberlake and directed by some of the world’s leading short-form directors including, David LaChapelle, Francis Lawrence, Joseph Kahn and Mark Romanek.

In true New Orleans style, The Experience will feature nightly entertainment events that will allow participants the opportunity to mingle with colleagues in the unique party atmosphere that only New Orleans can provide. The festival will culminate with an awards show recognizing outstanding achievement in each medium and a benefit concert for The Experience’s charitable partner, Rock the Vote, the non-profit organization dedicated to protecting freedom of expression and empowering young people to change their world through political and civic engagement. More than 500 recording artists, actors and political activists have worked with Rock the Vote over the years including such diverse personalities as Madonna, Tom Cruise, Queen Latifah, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Robin Williams, and Sheryl Crow.

Filmmakers and producers who wish to submit their commercials (specs included), music videos (specs included), short films, feature films, or videogames may visit www.neworleansmediaexperience.com for details regarding the application process.