Advance Awards 2020 : Introducing the Commercial Creative Finalists

WATCH > Introducing Jess Conoplia


A global leader shaping film and television industry policy, Jess Conoplia has actively lead on-screen sector development, diversity and advocacy for members world-wide. As President of the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) Jess is at the helm of the only global organisation bringing together film commissions, government stakeholders and industry to inform on best practice and drive economic growth. She works to ensure connectivity between these parties in the continents where AFCI members operate. Under Conoplia’s leadership, AFCI has grown to include members in countries such as Mongolia, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Greece, Panama, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Estonia and Cyprus. She advocates for a strong screen sector where both infrastructure and professional development are supported in a fair, sustainable and diverse manner. Further, she believes that, the might of the film and television industry can play a significant role in fostering economic recovery post-COVID. 

Jess has over 20 years of experience across both public and private sectors including Global 500 companies. She has held senior roles with the British Film Commission and Screen Queensland, which attracted billions of dollars in inward investment and, resulted in resulting in sizable industry growth during her tenure (The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn TreaderStar Wars: The Last Jedi, The MummyTransformers: The Last KnightJurassic WorldAvengers: Age of UltronOutlanderThe Night Manager. In addition to her Film Commission work, she was Global Executive Director of the China Hollywood Society is a member of BAFTA LA and was elected to its Film Committee in 2020. She is also a member of the Advisory Board for WIFTI (Women in Film and Television International) alongside other leaders in the global screen sector. In the last 12 months at AFCI, Jess has founded and helmed a number of critical studies including the first-of-kind, worldwide Diversity Report 2020 in partnership with TIME’S UP Foundation and the Best Practice in Screen Sector Development report, conducted by Olsberg SPI (UK). This report is considered the blueprint for sector development, globally. 

WATCH > Charles Caldas


A paradigm shifter in the global independent music industry, Charles Caldas has earned his reputation fighting to ensure artists share in the profits from the digital music revolution. Charles was chosen by the sector to fire up digital rights agency, Merlin, in the UK in 2007. For the past 12 years, Charles has been CEO of the global not-for-profit enterprise, allowing independents to compete with the big multinational labels. While empowering artists, Charles also played a role in democratising the music industry for listeners, enabling users access to the widest range of independent music possible,  from 66 countries around the world. Today a significant force in the global music industry, Merlin represents the most commercially significant set of music rights outside of that held by the major labels. 

A long-time champion of independent music in Australia, Charles is a Monash arts graduate, and spent more than 16 years at Australia’s largest independent label Shock, including nine as CEO. Under his watch, Merlin grew to represent 20,000 independent record labels and distributors from 66 countries. In 2018 it transferred US$845 million to its members, and by the end of 2019 had paid out over $2.5Bn to its members. At Merlin, Charles struck deals with key digital services including Spotify, YouTube and Pandora. He has served on the boards of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) and the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) and is in demand as a speaker at conferences around the globe. Charles received IMPALA’s annual outstanding contribution award in 2013, as well as the UK’s Association of Independent Music’s “Independent Champion” award in 2019. He has been featured in multiple Billboard and Variety power lists, including Billboard’s ‘2018 and 2019 Power 100 Lists’, recognising the 100 most influential figures in the global music business.

WATCH > Introducing Tim Kentley Klay 


Tim Kentley Klay is a creative and technical entrepreneur. He describes himself as a painter, designer, animator, film-maker, trouble-maker and thinker. Tim has demonstrated his versatility, vision and business acumen, having founded and grown three successful businesses – Zoox, XYZ Studios, and Crayon. Tim is hard-wired to expand what is possible, re-imagining product experiences at the intersection of art and science. He takes a hands-on approach to leading teams in frontier technologies, inventing solutions that will benefit our communities and environment.

As the co-founder of Zoox, Tim built the autonomous mobility start-up into a company valued at $3.2B, with $800M raised in two rounds in its first four years (2014-2018). Tim architected the development of a ground-up, vertically integrated autonomous mobility ecosystem, on a mission to completely disrupt the global automobile industry. The sale of Zoox to Amazon in June 2020 validated the original vision of Tim and the Zoox team. While CEO of Zoox, Tim sat on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation and was invited to testify to the Senate Commerce Committee on autonomous mobility policy. Tim has personally received over 50 awards for his work, including: the Boards ‘Motion Designer of the Year’; Urban Music Awards ‘Music Video of the Year’; Phoenix Awards ‘Best New Director’ and ‘Commercial of Year (Animation)’; and London International ‘Best Direction’ and ‘Best Animation’. Today Tim leads XYZ Studios, which specialises in commercial animation, and Crayon, a self-contained post-production studio. Both companies work globally in the creative arts and their work has been recognized with well over 100 awards including ‘Cream O’ Crop’ via Motionographer. 

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