February 22, 2018: This Film Festival For Kids Also Attracts Adults, HBO Will Bring Actual ‘Westworld’ Park to SXSW, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir Will Host Olympics Closing Ceremony

1. THIS FILM FESTIVAL FOR KIDS ALSO ATTRACTS ADULTS: The New York International Children’s Film Festival, which kicks off Friday, is attracting both its target youth audience and adults, too. The New York Times: “A festival for ages 3 through 18 that isn’t afraid to challenge its audience, it offers 15 features, nine shorts programs and its first virtual reality mini-fest. ‘The core nature of the festival is about this kind of wonderful chaos,’ Maria-Christina Villaseñor, its programming director, explained in an interview. ‘There’s definitely very calculated curating and programming, but it’s also bringing so many different kinds of storytelling and image-making together.’ The aim is diversity, not only in films but also among their makers: About half this year are female. But the festival has always celebrated girls. Long before #MeToo, it began offering ‘Girls’ POV,’ a shorts program exploring the female preteen and teenage perspectives. This year, it’s added ‘Boys Beyond Boundaries,’ whose short films feature not only the children of ‘Hello Salaam,’ but also a boy who furtively cross-dresses and one who’s the only male entrant in a baton-twirling contest. The 21-year-old festival has also expanded with “Friends & Neighbors,” a shorts program initiated in 2017, with films this year from the Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia, in Mexico. … Adults also help select the festival’s winners. While audience voting determines a majority of the awards, a jury of professionals—this year it includes the directors Sofia Coppola and Gus Van Sant—decides on the best animated short and best live-action short, which then become eligible for Academy Award consideration.” http://nyti.ms/2sKlYyO

2. HBO WILL BRING ACTUAL 'WESTWORLD' PARK TO SXSW: HBO is letting fans of its sci-fi western drama series Westworld visit a replica of the show’s amusement park during South by Southwest in Austin. Entertainment Weekly: “The network is building a version of the show’s iconic town of Sweetwater outside Austin, Texas, during the upcoming South by Southwest festival. Billed as a ‘Live Without Limits Weekend’ experience, the network has rented out two acres of land for a Westworld-themed park that features recreations of locations and elements from the hit HBO drama series, including The Coronado hotel and the Mariposa Saloon. ‘No guidebook, no orientation, no regrets,’ teases a video for the attraction below.  The simulation will start before guests arrive at the park, with fans being picked up in Austin in a ‘Delos Shuttle’ and getting assigned a black hat or white hat. At the park, fans can interact with the park’s ‘hosts,’ sample western-themed food and beverages, touch non-robotic horses, and hunt for clues to the show’s many mysteries.” http://bit.ly/2EYowy3

3. TARA LIPINSKI AND JOHNNY WEIR WILL HOST OLYMPICS CLOSING CEREMONY: NBC's enthusiastic figure-skating commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are slated to host the Winter Olympics closing ceremony on Sunday. NBC: "The team, along with play-by-play partner Terry Gannon, made the announcement during Tuesday night’s broadcast of the ladies’ short program. Lipinski, Weir and Gannon will commentate the pageantry from PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, which will feature the Parade of Nations, interviews, profiles, musical performances and more. The figure skating analysts will join the ranks of past hosts such as Mike Tirico, Mary Carillo, and Ryan Seacrest for Rio 2016; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Vladimir Pozner for Sochi 2014; and Bob Costas, Michaels, and Seacrest for London 2012. 'Parades, K-Pop, fireworks, costumes, dancing – who better to host the world’s biggest party than Tara, Johnny and Terry,' Jim Bell, President, NBC Olympics Production and Programming, said in a press release. ... Lipinski and Weir are known for having more fun than anyone else at the Olympics. They recently gave a glitter makeover to Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones and learned more about K-Pop in Korean culture." http://bit.ly/2CerYnt


The Event Service Professionals Association (E.S.P.A.) has appointed Amy Cabe president. Cabe is the director of convention and visitor services for Visit Spokane. 


COAST TO COAST:  Windstar Cruises and James Beard Foundation have signed a multi-year agreement to continue their partnership through 2021. The partnership will include six new culinary-theme cruises in 2018. 

AUSTIN:  The Moontower Comedy Festival, which takes place April 18-21, has announced that its new Moontower Podcast Series lineup will include live editions of SiriusXM’s The Bonfire, Raised by TV, The Jack and Laurie Show, and Unmasked

BOSTON:  MGM Springfield, a $960 million resort and casino from MGM Resorts International, will debut in the third quarter of 2018. The resort has announced that its culinary portfolio will include chef Michael Mina’s Italian concept Cale Mare, as well as original concepts the Chandler Steakhouse, South End Market, and TAP Sports Bar. 

LOS ANGELES:  Create & Cultivate will host its annual conference on February 24 at City Market Social House. Speakers will include Kim Kardashian West, Chrissy Teigen, and Lauren Conrad.

The Los Angeles Convention Center has opened its new 9,500-square-foot rooftop garden that grows produce such as vegetables, herbs, and citrus for in-house caterer Levy Restaurants.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

NEW YORK:  The seventh edition of Frieze New York will take place May 3-6 at Randall’s Island Park. The art fair will feature work from more than 1,000 artists. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  This year’s Global Pet Expo will take place March 21-23 at the Orange County Convention Center. 

TORONTO:  The 39th Rhubarb Festival, an experimental new works festival highlighting theater, dance, music, and performance art, will run February 21-25 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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