Ontario Technology Corridor at GDC 2010 in San Francisco to Attract New Or Expanding Gaming Companies
Ontario via GDC – Executives from the Ontario Technology Corridor are attending the Game Developers Conference (GDC 2010) in San Francisco to show digital entertainment companies that Ontario is the best place in North America to expand or relocate their businesses. The Canadian province offers a deep talent pool, strong and stable economy, and targeted incentives.
Ontario’s fast-growing entertainment and creative cluster produces $15 billion in revenue and over 200,000 jobs, contributing $12.7 billion to the province’s GDP. In addition, gaming and digital media graduates from Ontario colleges and universities have proven to be prized employees at companies like Pixar Animation Studios, Electronic Arts, Walt Disney and Microsoft.
“Our job now is to add to our tremendous home-grown crop of companies. 35 Ontario gaming companies are at GDC 2010 to showcase their world-class creations, make business connections, and help demonstrate that Ontario is a prime destination in North America for gaming investments,” said Larry MacKinnon, Director, Business Development, Technology with the London Economic Development Corporation, an Ontario Technology Corridor partner. The list of companies based or with operations in Ontario and attending GDC 2010 includes Digital Extremes, Ubisoft, FileCatalyst, and Frozen North Productions.
Ontario’s Media Development Corporation (OMDC) is the central catalyst for the province’s cultural media cluster, and offers the following targeted tax incentives:
· Ontario Intellectual Property Development Fund – refunds 30 per cent of eligible early stage development costs to bring screen-based content properties closer to production;
· Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit – refunds 35-40 per cent of production costs;
· Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit – 20 per cent of labor costs;
· OMDC Interactive Digital Media Fund – up to $150,000 in project production funding. So far in 2010, the OMDC has announced $2.9 million in funding support.
About the Ontario Technology Corridor
Employing nearly 272,000 people among 6,700 companies, the Ontario Technology Corridor includes the Greater Toronto area, Ottawa region, Waterloo region, city of London and the Niagara region. The Corridor also welcomes in partnership the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade as well as the federal government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.
The Ontario Technology Corridor offers a highly educated workforce, excellent growth opportunities, a low-risk business environment, and generous R&D tax credits that are the envy of other countries. The Corridor is supported by the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA), Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI), Canada’s Technology Triangle, the London Economic Development Corporation and the Niagara Economic Development Corporation.
Oakville – Waterloo’s Institute for Computer Research and Sheridan’s new Toronto-based digital media research and training centre has been awarded $4.9 million in research funding from Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation. Total funding including contributions from both educational institutions and private industry partners is $14.7 million over five years.
Research and innovation will be focused on providing Ontario’s production companies and creators with technological innovations and best practices that will help them produce content for multiple types of delivery including film, television, gaming, interactive, and mobile. Collaborative research combining Waterloo’s computer expertise with the production expertise and innovation at Sheridan’s new Pinewood Toronto Studio-based digital media centre will create a base for development of technologies and practices that will provide a strong competitive advantage to Ontario’s screen-based industries.
“One of Sheridan’s key strategic initiatives is to increase its applied research, building on its advanced curriculum in animation, live action filmmaking, and other arts areas,” said Jeff Zabudsky, President, Sheridan Institute. “Working together with Waterloo, a world leader in academic research, will help us develop our research capacity and practices at the same time as we help build these capabilities among Ontario’s digital media industry partners.”
Tamer Özsu, Director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo observed, “As a global leader in the digital media sector, Ontario has great opportunity to combine Waterloo’s knowledge in data management, security, computer algorithms and human-computer interaction with Sheridan’s knowledge of production technologies and imagination to create innovative solutions for the growth of Ontario companies.”
Pinewood Toronto Studios, in the heart of Toronto’s film and television studio district, is the perfect location for the Centre for Real-time Production (CRP), Sheridan’s new digital media sound stage and post-production facility that will link expert researchers, content and service companies, and creative and technical craftspeople. The CRP will provide a physical space for research that allows for interaction of students, faculty, and various industry and academic partners involved in individual as well as joint projects.
The Centre will look at both 2D and 3D stereoscopic production processes, what’s often referred to in the industry as the “workflow” or “pipeline”. Moviemaking practices and processes used in films such as `Avatar: will be researched and adapted to lower budget scenarios.
Different industry groups from both production and post-production (producers, directors, cinematographers, visual effects artists, etc.) and from film, television, and gaming will collaborate on projects so that Ontario will become known as a centre where both advanced technologies and the people who use them to tell stories integrate seamlessly.
This exciting new alliance brings together two of Ontario’s top digital media academic institutions and a wide range of partners from Ontario’s screen-based industries. Waterloo is recognized globally for the strength of its information technology graduates and its digital media research, spinning off companies such as Open Text, the largest Canadian software company and builder of digital content management tools. Sheridan’s reputation is built on its national and international success in graduating award winning animators, filmmakers, and designers with a focus on creative storytelling using advanced production technologies. Sheridan has achieved international acclaim for its success in working with studios, digital media tool builders and other industry partners. This funding links these two digital media centres, and also furthers Ontario’s strategic initiatives by facilitating major collaboration between two key digital media areas of the province (the Kitchener/Waterloo-Stratford digital media corridor and the Greater Toronto Area).
Dan McLellan, Deluxe Postproduction’s Executive Vice President for Canada and New York added: “As a major postproduction facility that has established strong working relationships with both these schools, we encourage and support this new collaboration. We believe this research will be of direct benefit to the production industry in Ontario and elsewhere, and will develop even more graduates who are thinking about the current and future technologies that will fuel the growth of Ontario’s production and postproduction industries.”
One of the key strengths of the joint venture is the range of industry partners involved in various aspects of content production and delivery. Individual companies as well as a cross section of Ontario’s guilds and unions representing film and television production and post-production personnel are key partners, ensuring that research projects and results will be closely tied to production needs. Commercialization of innovation through its rapid integration into content production practices will be facilitated.
Project partners include:
Side Effects Software
Rogers Communications Inc.
International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE 667)
Directors Guild of Canada – Ontario
Pinewood Toronto Studios
C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures
QNX Software Systems
Students emerging from this project will have unique skills which will be highly sought after due to their blend of creative knowledge and their ability to create software to apply new ideas in production. It is groundbreaking research that will enhance the bottom line for producers, while establishing Ontario’s reputation as a global leader in innovative technologies and the production of digital content.