Updated: Tuesday, 7th April 2020 @ 8:10am

Cowabunga! Simpsons writer named patron of Salford International Media Festival

Cowabunga! Simpsons writer named patron of Salford International Media Festival

| By Zoe Starbuck

The American writer behind the world’s most well-known family, The Simpsons, has been named the first official patron of the Salford International Media Festival. 

The festival, which is hosted by the University of Salford and co-produced with industry partners, is now in its 22nd year and a vibrant forum for media stakeholders to debate the current climate and future for the sector.

Josh Weinstein, famed for his work on the legendary animated comedy series that followers Homer and Marge and their kids Bart, Lisa and Maggie appeared at the 2013 Festival in MediaCityUK as a guest speaker.  

Whilst there, during a conversation event with DJ and musician Clint Boon, Weinstein praised the creativity of Manchester and pronounced its potential to eclipse Los Angeles as an international focus for the media industries.


'MANCHESTER TO ECLIPSE LA': Weinstein praised the city's creativity and potential

He said: “Since I was first involved with the Festival in 2013, I’ve been aching to do it again.   I haven’t felt a pull like this since I started as a writer on The Simpsons.  It’s because Creativity is there.

“It’s the spirit of creativity that may still be found in pockets in places like LA or London, but Manchester – and the University of Salford as one of its most important brain centres – and this Festival positively pulse with it.”

At the heart of the festival lies the Nations & Regions Media Conference which serves as a forum for professionals to come together to learn about the latest issues influencing the sector.

With firms like Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix becoming bigger players in areas formerly dominated by broadcasters, the 2015 Conference has been given the theme of ‘serving digital audiences’.

Over the years the conference has been a prominent voice in discussions leading to key developments in UK media including the introduction of out of town London production quotas, the decentralisation of the BBC and its move to Salford Quays. 

Joining Weinstein at the festival will be fellow American Michael Rosenblum. Rosenblum has been on the cutting edge of the digital ‘video journalist’ revolution for over 25 years.

The acclaimed TV producer and pioneering video journalist will be acting as a keynote speaker as part of the Nations and Regions Media Conference.

Following the digital theme, Rosenblum, through a searching and thought-provoking talk will aim to make sense of the ‘digital revolution’ for the changing world of broadcast media.

He said: “There is an old expression that says ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. In point of fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

"In reality, new technologies come along uninvited and they turn the world upside down.  Now the media industry is about to be remade, driven by the digital revolution. 

“Old long established businesses are going to disappear. New ones will be born.  How do you survive in a period of creative destruction?  

“I’m looking forward to discussing this, and I’m sure much more, at the Nations and Regions Media conference.”

On top of the interesting talks to be featured at the conference, delegates will also have the opportunity to hear from and discuss ideas with high profile TV and radio commissioners in bookable one-to-one sessions.

Salford International Media Festival Director Beth Hewitt said: “This year is very much about moving the festival on into the digital era, giving broadcasters and independent producers the opportunity to meet those working in the digital industries and vice-versa.

“We’re delighted that Josh Weinstein and Michael Rosenblum, both key figures in the broadcasting and digital industries, will be joining us at the festival, where we're sure to have a lively debate.”

The Salford International Media Festival runs from Monday 16 November to Thursday 19 November.  Tickets and further information on all events can be found on the website

Main image courtesy of 20th Television, via YouTube, with thanks.