HPA Tech Retreat and MovieLabs share vision for profound change
With four solid days of impactful programming ahead, Leon Silverman takes a look at what’s to come
By Adrian Pennington
As HPA’s Tech Retreat approaches its 30th anniversary in 2025, the event appears to be even more relevant and stronger than ever. With brisk, record-setting ticket sales, and programming that touches on the most important topics, the retreat remains prescient.
“The HPA Tech Retreat has evolved way beyond Hollywood and beyond post production,” according to Leon Silverman, HPA founder and past president, who currently serves on the HPA board, in addition to his role as MovieLabs’ Advisor for Strategy and Industry Relations. “The Tech Retreat is increasingly recognized as an important international event reflecting the increasingly important role that technology plays in enabling creativity as well as the entire media ecosystem.”
This global reach and technological evolution are nowhere more apparent than in the MovieLabs 2030 Vision. What started as a high-level vision of thought leadership five years ago from the major motion picture studios has become a roadmap not just for Hollywood but the entire M&E industry from scripted content to broadcast to indie creators.
“We’re approaching five years into our odyssey towards ‘ProductionLandia’ – an aspirational place where media creation workflows are interoperable, efficient, secure-by-designdesign, and seamlessly flexible,” Silverman said. “It is the destination – and the 2030 Vision is our roadmap to get there. What we are finding is that this Vision resonates well beyond Hollywood and that the HPA Tech Retreat has become the vital meeting place for fellow travellers to learn all about MovieLabs’ work while MovieLabs gains visibility into pioneering developments that would otherwise go under our radar.”
On the Thursday morning of the HPA Tech Retreat, beginning at 8:45 AM, MovieLabs has a full morning of programmed sessions demonstrating that the 2030 Vision is not just aspirational but is becoming reality, with several principles of the vision put into practice and deployed today across multiple workstreams and companies. The MovieLabs session will illustrate that the goals of the 2030 Vision are not unique to Studios but one shared across the industry.
“At Movielabs what we really love about the HPA Tech Retreat is learning how deeply the concepts of the 2030 Vision are resonating. The Tech Retreat enables attendees to catch up, but I’d go further and say that if you are not up to speed on the 2030 Vision, then you are not a part of the industry’s conversation.”
The table is set with a “State of the Vision” mini keynote by Mark Turner, Program Director, Production Technology, MovieLabs that outlines where we are on the road to “ProductionLandia”, highlighting industry progress and also identifying gaps that need to be filled, as well as updates on important MovieLabs initiatives.
Next, Turner will host two “speed date” case studies: Avid and Amazon will discuss lessons learned from their joint efforts to create a 2030 Vision aligned “Studio in the Cloud” and how they plan to move forward. Underlining the extent to which the MovieLabs 2030 Vision is resonating worldwide, Japanese post production house IMAGICA will explain how it is beginning to implement software defined workflows in the context of the 2030 Vision.
While the topic of Ontology might not be at the top of many people’s industry radar, the vital role metadata and common data models like MovieLabs Ontology for Media Creation (OMC) plays in enabling an interoperable industry will be the focus of the next MovieLabs Session, led by MovieLabs CTO, Jim Helman. Presentations from France-based Digital Asset Management company, Perfect Memory will demonstrate the role OMC plays in streamlining workflow and enabling interoperability. Australasia based Rebel Fleet will provide a case study on the role OMC and metadata played and its impact on the HBO Production, Our Flag Means Death. This session will also feature an important industry discussion presented by Google and Paramount which will make the case for an Open Standard for the Exchange of Metadata, based on the MovieLabs Ontology for Media Creation (OMC).
The last MovieLabs session of the day will be also led by MovieLabs CTO, Jim Helman. Joining Jim will be representatives from Studios and key industry tool providers who will not just be talking about interoperability but demonstrating and revealing significant new products and industry initiatives.
“These sessions as well as the rest of this year’s Teach Retreat will be important to all those looking to not just be up to speed, but to be in the “room where it happens.” This year will be a full immersion course that will provide deep context across the many industry technology topics that are impacting, disrupting and empowering our industry,” Silverman noted. “Especially now, at this critical and challenging time in our industry – miss it at your career peril.”
Artificial Intelligence is a massive topic reflected in the HPA agenda where attendees will be guided through some of the latest AI technologies and ways to approach its use. This includes an HPA Supersession ‘Deconstructing an AI Created Animated Short’, a presentation on the ‘Use of Gen AI as a Screenwriting Partner and Preproduction Assistant’ and the future of ‘The Computable Studio’ delivered by Yves Bergquist of the ETC. A vital studio perspective on AI’s role in content creation is provided by Tony Guarino, EVP of Worldwide Technical Operations at Paramount Pictures.
Round tables, illustrative case studies and Q&As form the backbone of a packed four-day HPA Tech Retreat conference program that deeply explores the nuances of technological concepts embracing production, virtual production and content creation in all its forms.
“Most conferences and trade shows focus on product marketing. Simply not the case at the HPA Tech Retreat, which is authentically about sharing deep technical knowledge among peers,” Silverman said. “Its success is thanks to the generosity of our attendees who are committed to moving the industry forward. Hundreds of the smartest, most influential and geekiest people in our industry come to the desert to learn from each other in formal and informal discussions across four days from breakfast to the bar way past midnight. There is not one day that can be missed.”