Third Annual Creativity Conference Exhilarates Audience, Putting the People Behind America’s Creativity and Innovation Front and Center

April 24, 2015

Today, in partnership with Microsoft and ABC News, the MPAA hosted the 3rd annual Creativity Conference at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The conference brought together leaders in entertainment, technology and government to kick off the White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekend with meaningful conversations about creativity’s role in spurring economic opportunity and how to best support American innovators.

Throughout the morning, hundreds of audience members were treated to panel discussions and presentations reinforcing the important nexus that exists between content, technology and our nation’s economy. Before introducing Fred Humphries, Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs at Microsoft Corporation, and Tom Cibrowski, Senior Vice President of ABC News Programs, News Gathering and Special Events, MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd stated, “Today is a celebration of the creativity and innovation that continues to make the United States a cultural and technological leader.”

In a conversation with Senator Dodd, U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), House Democratic Leader, reflected that sentiment, discussing how creativity and the arts are the inspiration and motivation for innovations that drive America’s global competitiveness. “Technology is essential to fulfilling the creative spirit that people have,” said Pelosi. “And it is a job creator.”

Pelosi continued to make the important point that the men and women that create content and rely on intellectual property rights deserve to be compensated for their hard work. “Talent should be rewarded,” said Pelosi.  “In fact it has to be rewarded so that people can make a living, support their families, and be a part of our economy.”

During a one-on-one conversation with ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5), House Republican Conference Chair, discussed the importance of trade and focused on the people that are behind the innovations that positively impact all of us. “It all starts with people. Smart, creative, hardworking people that have ideas.”

The audience was also treated to an inside look of the motion picture industry from Fox Searchlight Pictures President Nancy Utley, and Harley Jessup, production designer at Pixar Animation Studios. Utley, in a one-on-one interview with ABC News Political Director Rick Klein, emphasized that strong and original stories are the driving factor behind success at her studio. Jessup, in a separate presentation called “Imagining the Worlds at Pixar,” shared the ins-and-outs of working at Pixar, including anecdotes about the many hours of work that go into a single production and the importance of looking at stories from new perspectives.

In addition to the on-stage discussions, the audience experienced a number of cutting-edge exhibits that included, among others, a demonstration from Aerial MOB of how small unmanned aircrafts are being utilized in today’s film and TV productions. Aerial MOB shared footage from their work on the Warner Bros.’ production “The Mentalist” and even flew one of their small unmanned aircrafts on stage, sharing a live-stream of its footage with the audience.

Some of the day’s other highlights included: a great panel with Barbara Hall and Lori McCreary, the Executive Producers of “Madam Secretary”, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational & Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan, and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) discussing, among other themes, bringing Washington to life on screen; and U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Daniel H. Marti speaking to the importance of protecting intellectual property on the eve of World IP Day.

The audience also saw a few short films highlighting the men and women behind-the-scenes of the film and TV industry including: Lara Green, a seamstress; Phillip Boutte Jr., a costume illustrator; and Jason Allard, a carpenter.

Here is what some of the speakers and attendees shared on Twitter:

Photo Credit: Ralph Alswang