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The 6 Best Movies With Conferences In Them

by festology on March 1, 2011

Iron Man 2: Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark at StarkExpo 2010.

We love movies at Festology. It’s one of the reasons why we love powering real film festival sites. But if we could make websites for fake conferences or conventions, it would be these ones. (Minor spoilers ahead.)

6. Iron Man 2 (Jon Favreau, 2010)

Convention: StarkExpo 2010

Was it a great movie? No. But was it a great convention? Hell, yeah! With an appearance by the Iron Man himself, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), StarkExpo 2010 was a do-not-miss fake movie convention. The Expo is also the site of the movie’s absurd robobattle climax. And how often do you get to see an action movie climax set at a convention? Well, on this list…

Bonus: Movie conferences are fake, but they are great opportunities for product placement! Iron Man 2 won the 2010 Product Placement Award for Achievement in Product Placement in a Single Film with 64 identifiable brands represented. Scroll down on the fake site for a very real list of sponsors.

5. Shattered Glass (Billy Ray, 2003)

Conference: The National Assembly of Hackers Conference

The New Republic’s Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) created fiction and called it journalism. The film shows how the fraud was unraveled when a skeptical online journalist began questioning the existence of a National Assembly of Hackers conference.

Bonus: Check out Glass’s feeble attempt at designing a web page and passing it off as the website of a science software company called Jukt Micronics: We considered making a theme based on this design, but we were afraid people would use it, so we didn’t.

4. Galaxy Quest (Dean Parisot, 1999)

Convention: Galaxy Quest Convention 18

In this sci-fi comedy, the cast of a Star Trek-like TV show play their roles for real when they become enmeshed in an alien war. No Star Trek parody is complete without its own Star Trek convention parody and that’s how this film starts, at Galaxy Quest Convention 18.

3. Wonder Boys (Curtis Hanson, 2000)

Conference: WordFest

The weekend is not going well for Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas), an unfocused novelist/professor who smokes pot and wears a pink bathrobe. Tripp’s got a series of problems — the least serious of which is a long-overdue manuscript — and they bubble up on this particular weekend because it’s the university’s annual WordFest writing festival.

Bonus: You can’t have a better opening line to a keynote speech at a writing festival than this: “Good evening. I… am a writer.”

2. The Fugitive (Andrew Davis, 1993)

Conference: Alternatives to Cardio-Non-Invasive Arterial Plaque-Reducing Therapy Convention

We all remember the one-armed man, the near miss with that train, the dive from the dam, the lines “I didn’t kill my wife!”/”I don’t care!”, and of course, the interruption of the keynote speaker at the Alternatives to Cardio-Non-Invasive Arterial Plaque-Reducing Therapy Convention. You can’t call it an action movie without one of those. (See #6 on our list!)

1. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

Convention: Security & Surveillance Convention

Between The Godfather Part I and Part II, Francis Ford Coppola wrote and directed The Conversation, an under-appreciated work of pure cinema. Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is a surveillance expert who violates his own professional principles, becoming obsessed with the impact of a recent recording. When Caul attends a security and surveillance convention, he is the envy of exhibitors, but we soon learn how vulnerable he is when he himself is bugged.

Bonus: Learn from Harry Caul’s mistake: If you ever attend a surveillance convention, don’t accept the swag!

Got your own favorite conferences in movies (now that you’re thinking about it)? Let us know in the comments! You can follow us on Twitter @eventwebsites or get Festology for your conference at

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  • Tahira Endean

    Vatel. Amazing how massive events were undertaken in the 1600s.

  • Jody Urquhart

    I love comedies…. some classics like old school, a conference with adults who refuse to grow up?….hmmm
    Or liar, liar…. people who have a hard time telling the truth

  • Anonymous

    Great one! Vatel should’ve sparked a subgenre of films about conference organizers! C’mon, Hollywood! :)

  • Jake Traverse

    I like watching romantic comedies and action adventure movies, though i am not a huge Si-Fi buff, i kind of like the inspirational speech from the President of the U.S. to the pilots of the world, in the Independence Day.

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