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will.i.am to Discuss AI, Future of Creativity at Edinburgh TV Festival

will.i.am to Discuss AI, Future of Creativity at Edinburgh TV Festival

The Edinburgh TV Festival has unveiled will.i.am and producer Warren Littlefield (The Handmaid’s Tale, Fargo, Dopesick) among its first patch of speakers.

Clarkson’s Farm executive producer Andy Wilman will also speak at the 49th Edinburgh TV Festival in August.

“The speakers also feed into two new areas of expansion that have been introduced to look at the future of the industry in a practical and inspiring way,” organizers said. In a new addition to the regular Spotlight Sessions, panel discussions and program Masterclasses, new creative director Rowan Woods is expanding the festival’s international focus and also launching a new strand called Frontiers, both of which have been developed with the help of two new advisory committees of relevant industry professionals to advise on, and produce, sessions that delve into some of the hot topics affecting the industry and shaping its direction of travel.

As talent, program makers, broadcasters and brands move with increasing fluidity between different mediums and platforms, the Festival’s new strand, Frontiers, celebrates creativity, convergence and new forms of storytelling. Programming will explore the intersection between the traditional TV space and other sectors, including podcasting, tech and digital. It will also look at state-of-the-art programme making and provide insight from some of the world’s foremost creative innovators as well as practical guidance on how to adapt your business and working practices for a new digital age.

In its first year, the Frontiers strand features a headline speaker in multi-hyphenate Grammy Award-winning musician, producer, creative innovation advisor, and tech entrepreneur, will.i.am who will be in conversation with Dr Alex Connock, academic in media and artificial intelligence at Oxford University to discuss the future of creativity and what role AI will play in it. With his ground-breaking work as the Founder & CEO of FYI, a trailblazing web 3.0 AI creative productivity platform, will.i.am is uniquely positioned to offer invaluable insights into AI’s impact on content creation, distribution and audience engagement.

With an increase in TV financing and partnerships going global, the Festival is also growing its international focus, finding opportunities for creative exchange and the sharing of ideas and inspiration with producers and execs from around the world.

The former network chief and architect of NBC’s “Must See TV” era, developing and overseeing such series as Friends, Seinfeld, ER and Cheers, Warren Littlefield will be In Conversation, discussing his work on both sides of the commissioning line.

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Now forging a new career as a producer of high-end drama, Littlefield is behind multi-Emmy and Peabody Award-winning shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, Fargo, Dopesick, The Old Man, and the forthcoming Amanda Knox drama co-produced by Knox and Monica Lewinsky. Littlefield’s career has mirrored many of the big shifts in the industry and he will be discussing the evolutions, the current state of scripted drama, talent relationships and where the next big shows will come from.

Andy Wilman, executive producer of The Grand Tour, Clarkson’s Farm and Top Gear will be in conversation with Nutopia CEO and Founder, Jane Root. Whilst the average TV viewer may not have heard of Wilman, they will almost certainly have watched one of his shows. From playing a seminal role in turning Top Gear into the biggest unscripted show in the world, co-creating Prime Video Original The Grand Tour; producing five epic seasons for a huge global fanbase, and bringing the day-to-day life of a farm in Oxfordshire to millions of households across the world with the record-breaking factual series Clarkson’s Farm (Prime Video), Wilman is behind three of the biggest unscripted shows ever created. As Clarkson, Hammond and May take their final bow on The Grand Tour, Wilman speaks to Jane Root – who in her role as BBC Two Controller greenlit the reboot of Top Gear that started it all – about creativity, talent wrangling and the secrets of his success.

Woods said: “It’s such an exciting moment for me to be able to unveil our first session announcements for the 2024 Festival. They hint at three of our key priorities this year: expanding our international programming, reflecting the increasingly porous boundaries between TV and other sectors and the creative opportunities this brings, and celebrating the success and impact of UK talent and programme making. We have lots more news to share in the coming weeks and look forward to convening the industry in Edinburgh in August to reflect on a challenging year and chart a way forward.”

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