Global Cities and the Future of Entertainment

This year's Futures of Entertainment 5 conference launched with a special event, hosted by the MIT Communications Forum, which specifically highlighted the international dimensions of our work, and it closed with a Technobrega performance at one of Cambridge's hotter night clubs. Both reflect our ongoing engagement with the cultures of Brazil and specifically with the City of Rio. Early in the Creative Cities event, my good friend, Mauricio Mota, Chief Storytelling Officer for The Alchemists, a transmedia company based in Rio and Los Angeles, took to the stage to share a personal message to the attendees from the Mayor of Rio. During my trip to Brazil last summer, Mauricio and I sat down with the Mayor to discuss his vision for the future of the city, which will be playing host to the Olympics and the World Cup over the next few years, and which has been undergoing dramatic changes in terms of the development of its economic and media infrastructure. Over the course of this trip, we hatched a plan together to develop a Center for the Futures of Entertainment in Rio, which would bring the best of what we've been doing at MIT and USC to Latin America. The Mayor quickly got the vision of what we wanted to accomplish and jumped at the chance to provide seed funds to get this venture underway.

The Center will be a collaboration between the Futures of Entertainment Consortium (which evolved from the Convergence Culture Consortium and is now under the leadership of Sam Ford), the Annenberg Innovation Lab (which is under the leadership of Jonathan Taplin), The Alchemists, The City of Rio, and a range of corporate and academic partners, which include Petrobras, RioCriativo (State Government Culture Department) ESPM (Academic Partner), Western Kentucky University, and RioFilme (City of Rio film distribution company). Brazillian partners have long contributed support to the Consortium and they have been early backers of the Innovation Lab, so we welcome the opportunity to work more closely with them in the years ahead. (On a personal level, this country has been incredibly welcoming to me and my work. After the United States, the highest percentage of the readers of my blog and my Twitter flows come from Brazil, and the Portuguese edition of Convergence Culture has been the international version which has had the widest readership.)

Apart from the connection to our new Brazil project, I also want to speak with enormous pride about the contribution here from Parmesh Shahani, a graduate of the Comparative Media Studies Program, and someone who has emerged as a major cultural thought leader in India, and with deep appreciation for my Dean, Ernest Wilson, who was willing to come to MIT and share his rich vision.

Global Creative Cities and the Future of Entertainment.

Today, new entertainment production cultures are arising around key cities like Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro. What do these changes mean for the international flow of media content? And how does the nature of these cities help shape the entertainment industries they are fostering? At the same time, new means of media production and circulation allow people to produce content from suburban or rural areas. How do these trends co-exist? And what does it mean for the futures of entertainment?

Moderator: Maurício Mota (The Alchemists)

Panelists: Parmesh Shahani (Godrej Industries, India), Ernie Wilson (University of Southern California) and Sérgio Sá Leitão (Rio Filmes)