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15th June 2011

Sum Fighter bursts out onto Xbox Live Indie Games

on the fly entertainmentNew Brunswick indie studio On The Fly Entertainment has announced the launch of the studio’s first Xbox Live Indie Games release, math-based puzzle fighter Sum Fighter. Choose from one of six high school archetypes, use their unique abilities to bury sum fighteryour opponents and rise to the top of the school math competition.

To crush your opponent, rapidly add numbers to destroy blocks on your board and drop them into your opponent’s board. To destroy your blocks, you must drag adjacent blocks together, combining their face values. Once you’ve connected as many groups together as their face value the blocks disappear (players would connect five groups of the value 5 to destroy them or two groups of the value 2 and so on). The first player whose blocks reach and stay at the top for ten seconds loses. Our narrated tutorial steps the player through our mechanics before their first match.


Each character has their own path through story mode with their own unique character interactions and ending. The Jock, Nerd, Emo, Tagger, Principal and Librarian each have a unique ability they can unleash on their opponent, in order to be crowned the Sum Fighter Champion!

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Sum Fighter Features:

  • A fully animated intro
  • A narrated tutorial
  • 2 Player vs Mode and Story Mode
  • 6 Animated characters at a gorgeous 720p
  • 6 Character Endings
  • 8 Expertly composed and varied music tracks

Sum Fighter is available now on Xbox Live Indie Games for 240 Microsoft Points.

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15th June 2011

Lots of Events Going On Around Here

I only have a few minutes left before I have to head off for work, so here is a quick rundown of event news:

* If you haven’t yet registered for SIGGRAPH 2011, you should do so now, because ticket prices go up at midnight on June 18th.  Having the conference in Vancouver this year is a huge opportunity for our many-faceted digital media industry, and I hope that you all take advantage of it. We’ll be at the show, and we really hope to see you there, too.

* The Full Indie Game Jam that is happening this weekend at the Centre for Digital Media is sold out, but there is a waiting list. Registration is also now open for the June 23rd Full Indie meetup event, and with limited space available, I suggest signing up now. Games from the jam will be featured at the meetup.

* SIGGRAPH Vancouver Chapter presents The Art of Lighting and Rendering Rio next week at District 319. Jim Gettinger, Lighting Supervisor, will discuss lighting and lighting design as it pertains to the overall aesthetic of Blue Sky Studios’ latest animated hit, RIO. This talk will explore the developmental work pursued by Jim and his team taking the listener through many stages of the production process at Blue Sky. Lighting and lighting techniques will be presented from concept art, through pre-visualization, master lighting, and compositing.

* The next Women In Games Vancouver Martini Night is June 23rd at Guilt & Company. Ladies, come out for a relaxing evening of socializing with other women from the interactive media industry. RSVP on the event’s Facebook page.

* Annex Pro is hosting three (and free) software events in Vancouver; please click the event links for more information and to register. The first is happening tomorrow – Test-Drive Native Performance with new Avid Pro Tools|HD Native will be held at Annex Pro. Don’t Just Edit. Finish. Autodesk Smoke for Mac OS X takes place at Vancouver Film School on June 22. On June 28th, you can spend An Evening with The Foundry: Nuke 6.3, NukeX 6.3, Mari at Rainmaker Entertainment.

* New Media Manitoba presents iPad User Interface Design on June 21st. Chris, Olga, and Lee of Velocity Branding will guide you through their methodology for project management and designing for Tablets. This is a free event, and will take place at the NMM offices from 5-7pm.

* Interactive Ontario presents Interact Networking Mixer: Special Documentary Edition on June 29th at The Annex Live from 6 – 8pm. This event is free for DOC & IO Members or $10.00 for Non-Members. You are invited to come out and mingle with professionals in the interactive and documentary media industries, with the opportunity to uncover new possibilities for creative and business partnerships. This event is co-presented by docSHIFT (an initiative of the DOC Toronto) and Interactive Ontario.

* Tech Cocktail is coming to Vancouver on July 9th. The event will be very much focused on the future as we partner with Futurists:BetaLaunch as part of the World Future Conference by the World Future Society, a 45-year old non-profit organization dedicated to advancing ideas of the future. We’re also looking to engage with the local Vancouver tech community, inviting them to participate in this exciting event.

* Amazon invites you to come out and meet the Amazon Vancouver team, where you can learn about all the job opportunities at one of Amazon’s newest Software Development Centers in Canada. Meet and mingle with all the different teams that are growing and hiring at the new office. This will be a great opportunity to meet our engineers, learn about our culture, and find out about the exciting opportunities Amazon Vancouver has to offer. Have a drink and appetizers on us, but don’t forget to bring your resume. RSVP through LinkedIn required.

* The nationwide DEMO Innovation tour is back – it will be in Vancouver on June 23rd, Toronto on June 26th, and Montreal on July 15th.  Matt Marshall, DEMO Executive Producer and the DEMO team will travel around the country to connect with the DEMO community in search of the best innovation to showcase at DEMO Fall 2011, and they invite you to submit an application for a 30 minute private meeting with the DEMO team and leading Venture capitals in a city near you. There are ten spots available per tour stop. Each company selected will also have the opportunity to address a larger audience at the DEMO Tour party in the evening open to the entire DEMO community of VCs, investors, media and PR professionals.

Remember this is just a very small sampling of upcoming events – visit our Events Page for more listings.

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15th June 2011

Amaya Gaming Group Closes Bought Deal Private Placement

amayaMontreal-based regulated-gaming industry developer Amaya Gaming Group Inc. has closed its previously announced bought deal private placement of 3,300,000 common shares of its share capital (the “Common Shares”) at a price of CAD$3.10 per Common Share for aggregate gross proceeds of CAD$10,230,000 (the “Offering”). The Offering was conducted through a syndicate of underwriters led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. and including Laurentian Bank Securities Inc. (collectively, the “Underwriters”).

In addition, Amaya has granted the Underwriters an over-allotment option exercisable at any time, in whole or in part, up to 30 days from the closing of the Offering, to purchase up to that number of additional common shares of Amaya equal to 15% of the Common Shares sold pursuant to the Offering, to cover over-allotments, if any, and for market stabilization purposes (the “Over-Allotment Option”). If the Over-Allotment Option is exercised in full, the total gross proceeds to Amaya will be CAD$11,764,500.

Amaya intends to use the net proceeds of the Offering for the Chartwell acquisition announced on May 12, 2011, for various online gaming initiatives as well as for general corporate and working capital purposes.

Amaya has paid the Underwriters an aggregate underwriting commission of CAD$613,800 and has granted the Underwriters compensation options (the “Compensation Options”) to purchase an aggregate number of 198,000 Common Shares, representing 6% of the total number of Common Shares sold pursuant to the Offering, at a price of CAD$3.10 per Common Share until June 15, 2013.

Amaya has received conditional listing approval from the TSX Venture Exchange for the Common Shares sold under the Offering, and the common shares underlying the Compensation Options.

The Common Shares issued as part of the Offering are subject to a four-month plus one day statutory resale restriction ending on October 16, 2011.

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities in the United States, or for the account or benefit of U.S. persons (as such term is defined in Regulation S under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended).

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15th June 2011

Saskatchewan Robotics Challenge Workshop

Saskatchewan Science CentreThe Saskatchewan Science Centre has partnered with IBM and its subsidiary, ISM Canada, as part of IBM’s Celebration of Service through which IBM  employees, retirees and business partners donate their time and expertise in communities around the world during IBM’s Centennial year.

On June 15, the Science Centre is hosting the third of many robotics workshops planned for this year using special educational robotics kits and laptops donated by IBM and valued at $10,000. Volunteers from IBM, ISM Canada, and the Science Centre will lead today’s robotics workshops for Imperial Community School students from Grades 6 through 8. Over the course of 2011, about 100 volunteers from IBM and the community are expected to participate in the program.

“The Saskatchewan Robotics Challenge workshop is a perfect fit for us, truly inspiring minds through science and innovation,” said Saskatchewan Science Centre Executive Director Sandy Baumgartner.  “Our volunteers make learning fun and accessible, and they help the students see the possibilities for futures in science.”

The Saskatchewan Robotics Challenge places special emphasis on reaching out to young people from First Nations and Aboriginal schools. “We’re finding that our First Nations are under-represented in science and technology careers, and we want to help change that,” said Hugh Hudson, IBM’s Senior Location Executive for Saskatchewan. “The Robotics Challenge workshop is a way of opening career doors. Students become more aware of the possibilities, and we hope they discover that the experience of building a robot with one of our mentor-volunteers sparks their interest in learning more about future careers in technology.”

In recognition of 100 years in business, the 2011 IBM Celebration of Service spans more than 120 countries where IBMers live and conduct business. The Saskatchewan Science Centre offers over 20 curriculum-based workshops designed to supplement what educators are teaching, or to introduce new concepts using resources not available at every school.

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15th June 2011

theScore Brings HBO Series Eastbound & Down to Canadian Sports Fans

scoremediaScore Media Inc., home of theScore Television Network, theScore.com, ScoreMobile® and theScore Satellite Radio, has added the hit HBO comedy series Eastbound & Down to its programming line-up. The story of Kenny Powers, a former star pitcher whose arrogance and bad behavior knocked him out of Major League Baseball, Eastbound & Down is a hilarious, no holds barred comedy that takes viewers on Powers’ journey as he struggles to get back in the game.

Starring comedian/actor Danny McBride, directed by David Gordon Green and Jody Hill, written by Shawn D. Harwell & Jody Hill & Danny McBride, and with a star-studded line up of executive producers including Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy, Eastbound & Down has become a hit since its launch on HBO in 2009.

“We’re really excited about adding Eastbound & Down to our line-up,” says Greg Sansone, Vice President, Television, Score Media Inc.  “I really think our viewers will enjoy watching Kenny Powers’ hilarious path to self-destruction.”

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15th June 2011

Game Of Thrones Season 1 Concludes Sunday Evening

hbo canadaFollowing last Sunday night’s talked-about plot twist in the penultimate episode of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones, the epic first season comes to a conclusion on HBO Canada, a multiplex channel of Corus Entertainment’s Movie Central (Western Canada) and Astral’s The Movie Network (Eastern Canada) on Sunday, June 19 at 9 p.m. In the finale episode, “Fire and Blood,” the stakes are high for the Stark House as aspirations and ambitions, secrets and feuds come to a head in the quest to control the Iron Throne.Game of Thrones - The Lannisters

Seeing audience growth week over week, Game of Thrones has connected with subscribers, becoming one of the top three performing series on HBO Canada since the channel’s launch. Based on its success in the US, Game of Thrones has been renewed for a second season by HBO.

The season finale premieres Sunday, June 19 at 9 p.m. ET/MT on HBO Canada and the entire season will be available:

  • On The Movie Network OnDemand, Movie Central On Demand, and HBO Canada On Demand
  • In Western Canada via Movie Central Online with participating television providers
  • In Eastern Canada via Bell TV Online, Rogers On Demand Online and Videotron’s Illico Web

Based on the bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones is a 10-part epic fantasy series that follows kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they vie for power and control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

I already know where the story goes, because I’ve read the books (still waiting on the next one, Mr. Martin…) so the burning question I have is – WHEN IS SEASON 2?

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15th June 2011

Storyville Vancouver Call for Submissions

viffThe 26th edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival’s Film & TV Forum runs from September 27th through 30th, and New Filmmakers’ Day is on October 1st. The 2011 Forum is proud to stimulate the development, co-financing and co-production of the creative documentary by creating Storyville Vancouver, an opportunity for filmmakers based in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest to pitch their projects to an international forum of commissioning editors. Please Download the entry form and regulations (Excel .xls 151kb) from the Storyville page for complete information.

Storyville Vancouver, in partnership with BC public broadcaster Knowledge Network Corporation is scheduled for presentation during The Forum.  The Forum and Knowledge Network are delighted to have attracted some of the world’s leading broadcasters to Vancouver to help our filmmakers develop long-term strategic relationships and enhance project development. This initiative is inspired in part by the Amsterdam Forum organized by IDFA and with a nod to Nick Fraser’s BBC strand.

Pre-selected creative, feature length (minimum TV hour) documentary projects, at various levels of development, from BC and the Pacific Northwest will be publicly pitched to international commissioning editors with accredited Forum observers in attendance.

Not sure what The Forum is looking for? According to the Storyville page, “the creative documentary is the crown jewel of the non-fiction world – passionate, cutting edge, filmmaker-driven, in-depth, up close and personal…These are projects that take the writer’s/director’s point of view on a real-life subject in a ‘creative’ manner and require significant writing and research before filming begins.

The format for a creative documentary is therefore relatively free form and open to the creative team’s interpretation of the subject at hand. The style and approach used in the cinematography, editing and final composition of the film makes a statement in and of itself and reflects the filmmakers underlying POV on the topic or person being considered.

The film should be complete and contained and thoroughly explore a tangible subject or person. A creative documentary is not: open ended, investigative, educational, “DIY” in style nor like a news report, a docusoap or a reality show. A creative documentary can examine a historical event or person but, once again, it must be done in a unique and creative fashion and not simply recount the past.”

To date, the following key commissioning editors have been confirmed:

  • Nick Fraser (BBC)
  • Mette Hoffman Meyer (DRTV)
  • Axel Arno (SVT Documentaries)
  • Olaf Grunert (ARTE TV)
  • Tom Koch (PBS)
  • John Lindsay (KCTS9)
  • Murray Battle (Knowledge Network)

The Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28th through October 14th, 2011.

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15th June 2011

Bell Media Picks Up Options On Novels By Three Canadian Authors

bell mediaBell Media has announced that it has begun early development on three unique projects, based on the work of some of Canada’s most respected and best-selling authors. Bell Media has optioned the television rights on two novel series, one written by William Deverell and the other, Giles Blunt, two of Canada’s foremost award-winning mystery writers. In addition, Bell Media and Shaftesbury are in development on an adaptation of Old City Hall, written by acclaimed criminal lawyer-turned-author, Robert Rotenberg.

“Our acquisition of these options is a great opportunity for Bell Media,” said Corrie Coe, Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. “A diverse mix of stories, these projects exemplify our commitment to developing great Canadian programming. And we are equally delighted to be working with terrific Canadian screenwriters to adapt these novels and bring them to the screen.”william deverell

The first project in development is based on a witty and intelligent crime series written by British Columbia-based writer William Deverell (Kill All The Judges, April Fool and Mind Games – McClelland & Stewart), the creator of the popular and long-running drama Street Legal, and the winner of the Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North America for Crime Writing. To date Deverell’s books have been translated into 14 languages selling more than one million copies worldwide. Deverell is described as “a master of the laugh-out-loud crime novel” by the Vancouver Sun. Deverell’s series of novels feature lawyer Arthur Beauchamp defending his clients in taut urban courtroom dramas while trying to balance his personal and home life in a Gulf Island community full of eccentric and complex characters. Renowned Canadian screenwriter Andrew Wreggitt (One Dead Indian, Shades of Black and Mayerthorpe) has been attached to the project to adapt Deverell’s work for television.

giles bluntThe second project in development is based on a chilling crime series penned by Toronto author Giles Blunt, focusing on his main character Det. John Cardinal. Winner of Britain’s Silver Dagger Award for Fiction, the New York Times describes Blunt’s work as “forceful…surprising” while the Los Angeles Times describes his work as “riveting [and] relentless”. Blunt’s first storyline delves into the mind of a serial killer and the tormented police officer assigned to the case – a story for those who love to be entertained with one eye open. Giles Blunt (Crime Machine, Black Fly Season and Forty Words for Sorrow – Random House Canada) will adapt his own material for television.

Additionally, in partnership with Shaftesbury, Bell Media is in development on a project based on Toronto native robert rotenbergRobert Rotenberg’s acclaimed first novel Old City Hall (Simon & Schuster). “Clever, complex and filled with an engaging cast of characters, Old City Hall captures the vibrancy and soul of Toronto,” said Kathy Reichs, author of the Bones series of novels. Published in March 2009 and named a “hard-boiled classic” by The Globe and Mail and “masterful debut” by Maclean’s, Old City Hall uncovers the complexities and human drama of the criminal justice system when a popular radio host is arrested for the murder of his wife in a seemingly open-and-shut case. An international bestseller, Old City Hall has been sold in 11 countries and translated into nine languages. Shaftesbury is currently in negotiations with a top-Canadian screenwriter to pen the script. Rotenberg’s second novel, The Guilty Plea, was released in May 2011 and currently sits on The Globe and Mail’s bestsellers list.

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15th June 2011

Patrice Desilets Joins THQ Montreal

THQTHQ has announced that industry heavyweight Patrice Désilets has joined the THQ studio system as a creative director, working out of its Montreal video game development studio on a yet to be created title. Fresh off a yearlong break from the industry, Désilets will be charged with leading a dynamic team that will create and develop original intellectual properties for THQ.

“The creative freedom that THQ gives its artists and developers–and their willingness to make games that truly reflect an artistic vision–really drew me to THQ,” said Désilets. “I plan to build an incredibly talented team at THQ, and am very anxious to get started on creating a new project.”Patrice Désilets

“Working with the top talent in the industry is one of THQ’s key strategies for creating bold, original, and high-quality games,” said Danny Bilson, THQ’s Executive Vice President of Core Games. “Patrice Désilets is one of the most innovative minds in games, and has proven it by leading the teams behind some of the most influential games of the past and current consoles. Needless to say, THQ can’t wait to unleash his talent.”

Patrice Désilets will join THQ’s already impressive roster of notable industry artists, including Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, Guillermo del Toro, who is teaming with THQ’s Volition, Inc. to develop inSANE, and Valhalla Game Studio’s Itagaki-san as he develops Devil’s Third.

Before joining THQ, Désilets served as a creative director on the Assassin’s Creed franchise, as well as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Désilets holds a bachelor’s degree in film studies from the University of Montreal and he is represented by the Creative Artists Agency.

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