In 2007 the conference was held in Lillehammer, Norway. Its theme was "Consuming, Choosing, Creating". Main speaker was Mark Bamford, an American filmwriter, who spoke about how media is shaped by us and vice versa.
In April 2007 a humble but professional cooking team welcomed more than 160 hungry youth in Lillehammer. They had come to this cold Norwegian city from the entire Western hemisphere!! Well, ok, not the entire hemisphere, but from Europe. More specifically the Nordic countries, but some 30-40 participants came from the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. Some other countries as well.
It is not a secret that a large proportion of the media has taken a materialistic course during the last decades. As consumers, we are daily bombarded with messages focused on our money, our physical appearance, all the stuff we supposedly want to own. Is there ever any heartwarming message on TV? Yes, sometimes, but far from enough. There is a lack of a spiritual dimension to the content of the media.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, that may sound pessimistic. However, as Thor Henning Lerstad, who was one of our two speakers, pointed out, media has become more participant-oriented. Speaking from his background as journalist, he pointed out how we have gone from being passive CONSUMERS, to active CHOOSERS of the media that are presented to us. Hopefully, we will continue and CREATE content for those media. That means that you (or was it YouTube?) have recently become a really influential decisionmaker of the focus and content of media.
"So, can we create stuff that will be so powerful as to change this trend?" the Organisers thought among themselves. "Hm, why not invite some Hollywood filmmaker to answer this question?". And so they did. Suddenly, they found Mark Bamford standing in front of the hungry (foodwise and spiritually) audience as main speaker. He explained that many moviemakers and songwriters are so anxious of following the current trends that they overlook opportunities to start trends themselves. Others start well, but are too much affected by their environment. During the lecture "Spiritual lessons of the Black-Eyed Peas" he demonstrated how a famous band turned from promoting love and understanding to becoming "fergilicious, so delicious". So where is the love? Where is the spirituality?
The inhabitants of Lillehammer (those who had not travelled south to avoid the cold) were invited to attend an evening show set up by the participants. Local radio channels and newspapers covered the show, which featured musical and theatrical talents. Talents and skills were also shared among the participants during the evening workshops, which included various topics like song and music composition, internet journalism and story telling. The enthusiastic and happy youth warmed up the atmopshere of the conference, with the possible exception of the basement toilets. But then again, there weren't enough youth in the basement to warm it up.