12th October 2010

The NFB Announces Full Get Animated Schedule

National Film BoardThe National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is launching the fourth edition of Get Animated!, a series of free animation screenings and activities from October 26 to November 7, 2010, in cities across Canada. An internationally renowned producer of auteur animation, the NFB created Get Animated! as its contribution to International Animation Day, October 28.

Get Animated! will feature new releases from the NFB’s Oscar-winning animation studios, a Fairy Tales for All program for all ages, master classes by renowned NFB animators as well as additional programming in selected cities. The NFB website will also offer a special Get Animated! playlist.

Get Animated! kicks off in Toronto at the NFB Mediatheque, where it runs from October 26 to 31, followed by Montreal at the NFB CinéRobothèque (October 28–31), Winnipeg (October 28–31), Edmonton (October 28), Halifax (October 28–29, November 6–7), Vancouver (October 28–November 1), Moncton (October 31) and Calgary (November 6–7). Please visit the Get Animated! site for the complete schedule.

New releases

Ten new animated releases will be featured in Get Animated! this year, including Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life, a puppet-animated work by Oscar nominees Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski (Madame Tutli-Putli), based on the book by Maurice Sendak, featuring the voices of Meryl Streep and Forest Whitaker and produced in association with Warner Home Video. Read the rest of this entry »

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11th October 2010

Animal Mechanicals Debuts In USA Today

dhx mediaDHX Media is pleased to announce the US television premiere of its pre-school hit TV series Animal Mechanicals. The preschool series premiered today at 10:00am EST on the new Hasbro/Discovery Communications children’s network ‘The Hub’.
animal mechanicals
The Hub will air Animal Mechanicals Monday-Thursday at 10:00am and 12:00pm, as well as Saturday mornings at 7:30 EST. The series consistently achieves high ratings amongst 4-6 year olds in many territories around the world.

Animal Mechanicals is produced by DHX Media for CBC in Canada, where the series is one of the highest-rating preschool shows. The Disney Channels in the UK and Asia; Radio-Canada, Discovery Latin America, Romania’s HOP, EBS in Korea; okto Singapore; Al-Jazeera Children Channel have all licensed the series along with Prava I Prevodi, who acquired the title for Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. Animal Mechanicals is an action adventure series for preschoolers that combines fantastical worlds, mythical animals and cool quests.

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4th October 2010

Fearless Fred Named as Teletoon At Night Host

teletoon at nightSundays on TELETOON At Night – a programming block for older teens and adults – gets an extra punch of hilarity and absurdity this fall with the launch of TELETOON’s first-ever hosted block, Fred At Night. Featuring host Fred Kennedy, Fred At Night airs every Sunday beginning Sunday, October 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

The post-10 p.m. block will include a series of eight hosted segments throughout TELETOON At Night’s exclusive Sunday night programming line-up of Robot Chicken, The Dating Guy, Archer and the TELETOON At Night Pilot Project. Fred will be hanging out with viewers over the course of the two-hour block, introducing series’ episodes for that night, sharing his views on the animation style, characters and storylines, and providing commentary on his many passions from music, comics and movies to technology, celebrities and current events. Periodically, Fred will also interview various show creators, fans and voice actors during the block.

“Fred At Night is a dream gig for me. It’s hard to believe that I actually have a job where I can rant about the things that I absolutely love like cartoons and comics,” said Fred Kennedy, Host of Fred At Night on TELETOON At Night. “I can’t wait to give my take on the Sunday night line-up, women I’d like to date like Tifa from Final Fantasy V11 or the life lessons I’ve learned from Star Wars.”

With a succesful career in radio and concurrently the host of the afternoon drive show on Toronto’s 102.1 the Edge, Fred makes his debut as a television host on Fred At Night, bringing with him his love of cartoons, superheroes and comics. fred kennedy

Born and raised in Nova Scotia in a military household, Fred spent his pre-teen years in Belgium and lived in a number of different cities across Canada. During his adolescence in Edmonton, Fred would tune in to Drive Time with Matt and Jake on 100.3 The Bear on his way home from school. Eight years later he wound up hosting that same time slot and renamed it Fearless Fred’s Radio Extravaganza, a radio show which won him the Steve Young Broadcaster of the Year Award in March of 2009. The attention he earned from the award led to an offer of hosting afternoon drive on 102.1 the Edge and he made the move to Toronto in fall 2009 with his wife and cat.

Fred has not only been dissecting cartoons since he was five years old, but he is an avid reader and writer of comic books, loves playing video games, has a very respectable t-shirt collection, enjoys cupcakes, and even trains his cat to rob banks.

“The TELETOON At Night viewer craves edgy, smart comedy and wants to interact with people who share their appreciation for this kind of programming,” said Alan Gregg, Director, Original Content, TELETOON Canada inc. “Fred is the archetype of the typical TELETOON At Night viewer and along with his amazing store of animation, superhero and cartoon knowledge, he makes the perfect host to connect with this programming block’s audience and develop a community of like-minded viewers – both on-air and online.”

In addition to the on-air content, Fred At Night will produce and offer exclusive online content for teletoonatnight.com to further engage with TELETOON At Night viewers. Fred will create blog posts weekly; topics will include a regular video review of TELETOON At Night’s upcoming Saturday Night Movie, a “Top 5″ video segment featuring a different theme each week, a blog series titled “She’s Too Good For You” focusing on Fred’s object of affection for the week and Fred’s review of the series’ weekly episodes. Viewers will also be able to follow and interact with Fred through social media networks including Twitter and Facebook.

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23rd September 2010

Get Animated And A Digital Storytelling WorkShop

National Film BoardOctober 28 is International Animation Day, and to mark the occasion, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is presenting free screenings of great NFB animated films in cities across Canada as part of its Get Animated! series.

The full schedule has not yet been announced, but here is what we can look forward to here in Vancouver:

As part of the Vancouver Short Film Festival, you can see NFB New Releases on Thursday October 28 at 2:45 pm (Vancity Theatre)

Saturday October 30
1pm Master Class with Matthew Talbot-Kelly (Trembling Veil of Bones) (Vancity Theatre)
4pm NFB New Releases (Vancity Theatre)

Sunday October 31 – 10am Fairy Tales for All (Vancity Theatre) – Fairy tale lovers, young and old alike, will be charmed by this selection of animated shorts, including Molly in Springtime, awarded Best Animation at Banff World Television Festival 2010.

Monday November 1 – Ron Diamond’s Animation Show of Shows (Emily Carr University of Art & Design)

The NFB New Releases Program allows viewers to discover the latest works by NFB’s award-winning filmmakers, including Higglety Pigglety Pop!, an adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s book from filmmakers Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski (Oscar® nominees and Genie Award winners for Madame Tutli-Putli), featuring the voices of Meryl Streep and Forest Whitaker.

Emily Carr University of Art and DesignEmily Carr University of Art & Design is offering a new immersive 4-day workshop on Digital Storytelling. Course participants will come with ideas for a story, family legend, or a piece of personal non-fiction, and leave with a 2 to 3-minute video, formatted for web-broadcast, family viewing or DVD distribution.

Digital storytelling, which sprang from The Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, California in the mid-’90s, was designed as a method of personal and community empowerment, bringing the tools of digital media production to the tech-wary and those usually kept on the other side of the lens. It has become a worldwide and dynamic movement to humanize and personalize fields as varied as health services, multimedia journalism, education, historical projects, literacy, marketing and communications, community development, tourism, research and evaluation. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st September 2010

Retro City Rampage Is Ready For PAX

Wild Games StudioNew indie house Wild Games Studio Inc. has announced the title and genre of their first game in production, an open-ended RPG/Adventure game. The game, which will release a trailer in October, will be set in third person view. Dhaila’s Adventures will be a game for PC, Mac, PS3 and Xbox 360, with a playable demo coming soon.

Featuring Dhaila, a young fairy whose powers are bound to nature, the game will rely on gameplay taking place in an open world where the player will update the origins of Dhaila and help fulfill her destiny. In Dhaila's Adventuresaddition to the main quest, Dhaila could fill hundreds of side quests depending on the choices and actions proposed. Puzzles and large dungeons filled with traps and monsters will be part of her adventure to enhance the gameplay. Furthermore, Dhaila will be accompanied with a friend that can be controlled by another player to help Dhaila during certain puzzles through teamwork.

Orphaned in the fantasy world of Martania, Dhaila possesses unknown extraordinary powers. She has special skills, including one which can absorb the energy of nature directly through its DNA. She can also absorb the DNA of other creatures, making the heroine able to acquire their shape at any time. Living in one of these valleys, the village seems protected by an unknown magical force, more powerful than in other villages. Dhaila will leave to research her origins, while trying to release Martania of the influence of Dysan, a tyrant who has subjugated the people, forcing them to labour under the threat of the dragons he also holds sway over.

vblankSelected as one of the glorious PAX 10, Retro City Rampage from VBlank Entertainment will be showcased at PAX Prime this weekend at booth 3017, where visitors can meet the dev team, play the game and get some fantastic swag.Retro City Rampage

This unbelievable FREE swag includes:

* Retro cartridge labels (stick ‘em on NES carts)!
* Retro game boxes* (stick your cart in it)!
* Retro plastic case inserts (with BLURST processing)!
*Retro game rental case inserts (“INDESTRUCTIONS”)!

As an added Bonus, the team will also be having a daily draw to win a Retro City Rampage cartridge case in the box! The team does caution, however, that due to the indie budget and a recent price increase on Ramen Noodles, the “box” is a cleverly designed and exciting arts and crafts project. Simply cut out and fold it yourself for some analog fun Alternatively, you could frame it and stick it on the wall of your local museum.

CAPCOMCapcom will be taking up residence at PAX in Booth 652, where you can drop by and try out their upcoming lineup of titles including Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Okamiden and Blue Castle Games‘ Dead Rising 2 – shipping on September 28.

Ubisoft will have three booths at the show. You will find them in spaces 632, 622 and 712. Each booth will feature a variety of Ubisoft’s upcoming releases and lots of fun prizes for booth visitors.

UbisoftFor the first time in the U.S., PAX attendees will get to try out various titles from Ubisoft exclusively for Kinect™ for Xbox 360®, including Your Shape™: Fitness Evolved and MotionSports™, in addition to seeing the first public demo of Child of Eden™. Consumers will also get an opportunity to play H.A.W.X® 2 multiplayer, and see a sneak peak of Outland™, one of Ubisoft’s digital games for PlayStation®Network and Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. In addition, Just Dance® 2 will be available to play onsite at the show.Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

PAX attendees will have a chance to play Assassin’s Creed® Brotherhood, which will be playable on Xbox 360 and the PlayStation®3 at the Ubisoft booth before its November release. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood fans who pre-order the game onsite at PAX will receive an exclusive Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood T-shirt, and there are also opportunities for consumers who fan the Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Facebook page to win Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood posters. Other giveaways include a Just Dance–themed t-shirt for anyone who pre-orders the October release of Just Dance 2 at PAX. Read the rest of this entry »

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25th August 2010

Bioware Announces New DLC for Dragon Age

Bioware CorpMy 360 is going to be very busy Morrigandownloading new DLC from Bioware next month. Earlier this week the studio announced The Lair of the Shadowbroker for Mass Effect 2, which is due out on September 7th. Also coming out on the same day is Witch Hunt for Dragon Age Origins. It appears that this DLC chapter will cost the same as Leliana’s Song, 560 MS Points or $7.00.

The dreaded Archdemon has been slain and the advance of the darkspawn halted by a lone, heroic Grey Warden. The kingdom rejoices, but at least one question remains: what happened to Morrigan? The sorceress joined the Wardens cause, but it is said her true purpose was not revealed until the eve of the last battle. She vanished into the shadows, and while rumours claiWitch Huntmed she crossed over the mountains into Orlais, no trace of her path could be found. She was never heard from again… until now. Nearly a year has passed since the Archdemon’s death, and word has reached the Wardens that Morrigan has returned to Ferelden. She has been sighted in the southern wilderness where she was first encountered, but is it truly her? If it is, then why is she here and what secret does she carry with her? The Warden heads into the forest to find out and tie up this last loose end once and for all.

Key Features:

* Confront Morrigan in this dramatic conclusion to the Origins storylineWitch Hunt
* Earn powerful rewards that transfer into your Awakening and Origins campaign
* Import your character from Origins or Awakening or create a new, high-level hero

Witch Hunt will also introduce Ariane, a new character who is a gifted Dalish warrior, and her clan’s best hunter. When an ancient artifact belonging to the clan’s Keeper is stolen, one with a history tied to the very roots of the elven people, Ariane is charged with the task of reclaiming it. She is determined to carry out her solemn duty, and when her task turns out to intersect with the Warden’s quest to find Morrigan she realizes that there may be far more to the artifact’s disappearance than simple theft. There are two more character links, but as of right now they are both “sealed” – perhaps more will be revealed in the coming days?

UnityUnity Technologies has announced that Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games, will keynote at Unite 2010. Unite 2010 is Unity Technologies’ fourth annual developer conference for artists, programmers, designers, researchers, publishers and enthusiasts taking place November 10-12 at the historic Marché Bonsecours in Old Montreal, Canada following the Montreal International Game Summit.

Jesse is a lauded author and lecturer on the subject of games design and his Schell Games studio is using Unity to develop ‘The Mummy Online’ in collaboration with Universal and Bigpoint. This Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) is set to launch in Winter 2010.

“I’ve been dreaming for years about a ubiquitous 3D solution for web browsers, and Unity is that solution,” said Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games. “It’s changing the face of online game development, and we’re just at the beginning of what is possible.” Read the rest of this entry »

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10th August 2010

Canadian Partnership Against Cancer Launches Online Series

partnership against cancerBefore I get into today’s digital media news, I want to let you know about this very important resource, because pretty well every Canadian has been touched in some way by cancer, and common themes along the way have the potential to provide insights that can help to improve care and understanding. This is the idea behind the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s new online video series, The Truth of It. Developed in collaboration with the Health Design Lab, part of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, The Truth of It features interviews with Canadians diagnosed with cancer who were asked to share their story so others could learn from their experience. By providing candid accounts of the personal impact of cancer, the video series will serve as an educational resource for health care professionals as well as patients, survivors and others with a personal connection to cancer.

Reflecting that there is no one common experience in coping with a cancer diagnosis, the people interviewed for The Truth of It range in age from 20 to 73 and have been diagnosed with different types of cancer including breast, colorectal, lung, testicular, and ovarian. Viewers can choose to watch individual stories or compilations of multiple interview clips that deal with challenges common to the cancer journey such as receiving the diagnosis, telling friends and family, talking to kids, body image, and practical advice. The Truth of It series, with 30 videos currently available, was created in collaboration with accomplished filmmaker Wendy Rowland and Dr. Michael Evans, Director of the Health Design Lab of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“The Partnership has created this series as part of our work to better understand and improve people’s cancer experience,” said Dr. Margaret Fitch, a psychosocial expert who is Chair of the Partnership’s Cancer Journey Advisory Group and co-lead of the Patient and Family Support Program at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre. “By helping health care professionals to tune into the patient’s perspective, The Truth of It will help to enhance patient care – while also serving as a unique resource for people with a personal connection to cancer who can benefit from insight and information from others who have walked the cancer journey.”

Jennifer Smith is one of the people who shares her story in the videos. In 2003 at the age of 38, she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia and has since undergone chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. She is married and has two children.

“If this resource were available when I was diagnosed, it would have helped me navigate the many uncertainties and range of emotions that I experienced,” said Jennifer. “Because hearing from others in similar situations can be such a helpful way of coping, I’m hoping that other people can learn from my story.”

The Truth of It is part of the growing collection of cancer control resources, information and services available at Cancer View Canada, the online portal launched by the Partnership with and for the cancer control Canary Derbycommunity.

“Technology is radically changing the way people seek answers to their health questions, but hearing about someone’s actual experience — their ‘story’ — is still the most powerful tool,” said Dr. Michael Evans, family physician and Director of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. “In marrying technology with stories, The Truth of It enables people to engage with other Canadians whose experiences resonate with their own. These firsthand accounts offer a range of perspectives that make this series useful to both patients and professionals.”

The above article can also serve as a reminder of several upcoming fundraiser events that we hope you will help support. The Canary Derby will run in Vancouver/Burnaby on September 25th. This is a soap box derby Canadian Breast Cancer Foundationfor technology companies who want to help fund early cancer detection research, and as an added bonus, the derby is a ton of fun.
Pink Day in Lion's Arch
October 3rd is CIBC’s Run For The Cure, Canada’s largest single day, volunteer-led fundraising event dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research, and education and awareness programs. Who will you be running for?

For Guild Wars players, you can get involved by supporting the Gamers Give Back resurrection of Pink Day in L.A. (Lion’s Arch), which will take place on October 16th. If you don’t play Guild Wars, you can still support the event via its Canadian Cancer Society donation page.

Bioware CorpDragon Age players - today is the day for the latest DLC chapter. Bioware invites you to delve deep underground in Golems of Amgarrak to save a missing dwarven expedition in search of ancient secrets for creating monstrous constructs. Only you can uncover the gruesome fate that befell them.
Golems
Put your Warden back in action and adventure through new environments, meet new characters and defeat never before seen creatures. With an engrossing new storyline and challenging puzzles this is one add-on for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 versions that you don’t want to miss.

* Import your character from Origins or Awakening or create a new, high-level hero!
* Face an all-new terrifying creature
* Earn powerful rewards that transfer into your Awakening and Origins campaign
* An advanced challenge for even the most experienced adventurers Read the rest of this entry »

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6th August 2010

Happy Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day

Today is Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day. Let those responsible for your hours (or years) of exciting, frustrating and triumphant adventures in the digital world of weird realms, interesting characters and immersive stories know how much you appreciate their labours. Buy their games, play their games, and recommend them to your friends so that you have someone’s butt to kick in multi-player mode.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has announced that Jordan Mechner, creator of the Prince of Persia franchise, will deliver the Keynote address at IN 2010. There is an impressive line-up of speakers presenting sessions at this year’s conference. IN 2010 will be divided into the following streams: Mobile, Social Media, Games, Cross Platform and Visionary. Make sure you register soon, the Early Bird tickets are only available until August 20th.Canadian Video Game Awards

Building on the success of their inaugural event held this past May, the Canadian Video Game Awards will be returning on May 18, 2011 at the Centre For The Performing Arts in Vancouver. If you are in business and considering using Twitter as a tool, then the Twitter for Business Workshop is an event you may want to attend. Lead by social media pros Monica Hamburg and Tanya Roberts, this seminar will be held at the ING Direct Café Boardroom on August 21st and is Bookcamp Vancouverdesigned to help you understand how to use Twitter to build your brand and interact with clients.

The second Vancouver BookCamp will be taking place at the SFU Downtown Campus – Harbour Centre on October 1st. This free (registration required) full day event brings together a variety of stakeholders in the publishing industry to discuss digital publishing, digital reading experiences, the book’s evolving role and how publishers can leverage themselves for success in the digital age.

frima studioFrima Studio has put Zombie Tycoon on sale on the PlayStation Store for only $2.49 until August 9, 2010. Normally $4.99, Zombie Tycoon is one of the most successful PlayStation Minis of all time and unlike any zombie game you’ve played before!Zombie Tycoon

Frima’s team thought that it was about time to turn the tables on those living dead stereotypes…again and again, you find yourself having to survive some kind of undead apocalypse. Well, no more! In Zombie Tycoon, you get to control your very own horde of ravenous zombies! This unique tale of intrigue and betrayal spans over 10 challenging levels, complete with animated cutscenes, in-game dialogs, and a bunch of humorous references. Equip your slavering, putrescent swarm of undead minions with over 100 quirky items and send them shuffling after humans like wolves on cattle, laying waste to town after town as they spread their blight across the globe.

If you haven’t seen it already, here is the latest trailer for Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. In this trailer, hear from Spider-Man creator Stan Lee as he discusses the latest iteration of his web-weaving super hero.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions is scheduled for release on September 1st for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii (developed by Quebec’s Beenox Studios) and Nintendo DS (developed by Griptonite Games). There is a variety of pre-order bonuses available, depending on where and how you place your order.

“Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions delivers an original storyline that bridges four unique worlds,” said Rob Kostich, Head of Marketing, Activision Publishing, Inc. “Each action-packed universe will have its own detailed art design and thrilling missions, challenging gamers to use new skill sets to defeat United Front Gamesenemies as they unlock powerful new moves and progress through the game.”

Those waiting for the resurrection of the True Crime franchise will have to wait a little longer. Activision has pushed back the anticipated release date for United Front’s upcoming open-world action title, True Crime®: Hong Kong. Instead of being released in 2010, it will now be making an appearance in 2011, stating that they are giving the dev team more time to polish the title in order to give gamers a high-quality playing experience.

Toon BoomToon Boom Animation has released its first iPad app. Available for free, Flip Boom Lite will help you learn how toFlip Boom Lite animate and create cartoons on your iPad. Along with the included demo project are features such as:

* Intuitive user interface with collapsible drawing slider, full-screen drawing, adjustable line width
* Brush, eraser, undo, reset view, bright colour selection, scale and translate
* Previous and next drawings display, flexible frame rate and send to photo library

There are also features which are unique to the app version of Flip Boom Lite: Cool Shake to StoryBoard Pro 2undo a previous action, Magic Grab to reset your drawing to original position and Finger Pinch to scale and translate your drawing.

Also new over at Toon Boom is StoryBoard Pro 2, and along with new features is a new licensing option – Toon Boom is now offering a rental option, letting users rent the software for a full year at a cost of $299.99 USD for either Windows or Mac operating systems. Visit the StoryBoard Pro 2 page to see what’s new in this latest version.

sillysoftVancouver’s Sillysoft Games has released the first screenshots of their upcoming turn-based strategy game Castle Vox, slated for PC release in September 2010.
Castle Vox
Castle Vox features simultaneously planned turns, as players vie to out-strategize each other on a variety of war maps. Multi-player modes allow both relaxed one-move-a-day games as well as fast speed wars. Board game fans will particularly look forward to Castle Vox, which mixes elements from Diplomacy and Axis & Allies and includes maps spanning many eras and mythologies, such as the American Revolution, Hades, Japan, Napoleonic Wars, Native America, Outer Space, and the Roman Empire. A map editor will let players create their own boards.

Toronto publisher Dreamcatcher Gamers, JoWooD Entertainment and the BVT Group announce that the DreamCatcherrelease of the “ArcaniA – Gothic 4” Playstation 3 version is set for release in the first half of 2011. The successor of the internationally successful Gothic series will be released on current-gen consoles for the first time, additional to PC systems. Xbox 360 and PC versions will hit the stores on Oct. 12th 2010.

The focus during development of ArcaniA – Gothic 4 rested on a well-founded quality assurance. Playstation 3 gamers will experience the same, high quality product as Xbox 360 and PC customers. This has caused the adjustment of the release date but conversely sets the course for an outstanding gameplay experience on all platforms.

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada is pleased to announce the selected feature film projects from minority French- and English-language communities across Canada that have been selected under the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives, respectively.Feature It 2010

Targeting eligible Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers, these initiatives are part of Telefilm’s Official Languages Activities (OLA) Program to develop market-driven feature film projects and to expand the available pools of these creators:

- Écrire au long targets eligible Francophone creators from Quebec communities outside Montreal and from Francophone communities outside the province of Quebec;
– Feature It! targets eligible Anglophone creators working in Quebec.

Participating writers and producers receive development funding in the form of an advance for a later phase of their projects and take part in four-day workshops to review the fundamentals of film development and scriptwriting with industry experts. In addition, participants will subsequently receive personalized, professional support from scriptwriting advisors or producer-mentors.

Toronto-based Francophone writer Maxime Desmons sees his acceptance into the 2010-2011 Écrire au long program as an opportunity to improve both his project and his scriptwriting skills.

“To participate in Écrire au long and receive financial support fFrench Language Project Outside of Quebecrom Telefilm for such an early stage of a project increases my credibility as a scriptwriter,” he said. “Working with a mentor who will challenge me and critique my work professionally will make me work even harder on my project and strengthen me as a writer.”

Montreal-based Anglophone writer-producer Debra Kouri raved about her 2009-2010 Feature It! experience and how it helped her project Oh, Christmas Trees.

“In my 12-plus years in the film and television industry, the Feature It! training was the best I have ever received. We had extremely experienced lecturers and industry professionals share their experiences with us. The lessons we learned have already proven invaluable and I’m sincerely looking forward to writing my next draft. I wish this type of training was mandatory for all Canadian writers and producers!”

“At their cores, the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives give minority Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers such as Maxime and Debra the hands-on mentoring that is so essential to the fine tuning of their work as fiction feature film creators,” said Sheila de La Varende, Telefilm Canada’s Director of National and International Business Development. “Through this program and others, we are making progress on our goal to enhance industry skills,French Language Projects Outside of Montreal increase the number of feature-film scripts, and improve creators’ access to our main funding programs for the eventual production of their projects,” she added.

Telefilm collaborated with the following organizations to deliver each initiative’s training components:

- The Creative Women Workshops Association is delivering Feature It! training components and held a four-day workshop session that ran from June 19 to June 22, 2010, in Montreal.
– The Institut national de l’image et du son is delivering the Écrire au long training components and will hold a four-day workshop session that will be held in Montreal from August 30 to September 2, 2010.

Since the launch of the OLA program in 2006, Telefilm Canada has been seeking to expand the talent pool of Anglophone and Francophone creators working in minority official language communities across the country. A total of 36 English-language projects and 48 French-language projects have been supported following calls for entries issued to both of these communities. The Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives conducted under Telefilm’s OLA Program have received financial support from Heritage Canada through the Interdepartmental Partnership with Official-Language Communities.

This is the fifth and final year for the Écrire au long program, and the fourth and final year for the Feature It! program. Telefilm will review results of both initiatives this fall to determine how best to support the professional development of minority-language Francophone and Anglophone creators moving forward.

mytownSFO-based social web and mobile entertainment company Booyah has officially launched international support for its popular location based app MyTown. Now available exclusively for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad across Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, MyTown is the first to support global check-ins utilizing the recently launched Places Web Service via the Google Maps API.

“Booyah is the premier mobile and social gaming company on top of the exploding location graph,” said Keith Lee, CEO, Booyah. “Our launches in the UK, Australia and Canada are just the beginning of bringing real world gaming to players across the globe.”

MyTown’s location data is provided by the Places Web Service, a feature of the Google Maps API which returns the 20 most popular places near a given location. Blending location-based services and social gaming features, Booyah’s MyTown is the first and largest consumer channel to utilize the Places Web Service.

Currently more than 2.8 million users in the United States are actively buying properties, collecting rent and checking-in to real places in MyTown. Last week, Booyah introduced the product check-in, allowing players to scan barcodes of real-world products to unlock points and earn exclusive virtual items, creating real-life scavenger hunts, brand discovery and engagement.

rare methodCalgary’s Rare Method Interactive Corp. has appointed Mr. Joshua Ius to the position of Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Ius obtained his Chartered Accountant designation articling with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He also holds a Master’s in Professional Accounting and a Bachelors of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management. His background includes both Industry and Public Practice experience.

bv mediaRogers Media Inc. and BV! Media Inc. have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Rogers Media will acquire all of the issued and outstanding Common Shares of BV! Media for $0.40 in cash per share. The all-cash consideration of $0.40 per Share values BV! Media at approximately $25 million and represents a premium of approximately 100% to the volume-weighted average trading price of the BV! Media shares for the past 20 trading days on the TSX Venture Exchange.

“We are thrilled to have the BV! Media team join the Rogers family,” said Claude Galipeau, SVP & GM, Digital Media, Rogers Media. “BV! Media has an extensive line of ad solutions that we will incorporate into our existing digital media sales offerings. In addition, the BRANCHEZ-VOUS! network of sites in Quebec will give us greater reach in the Francophone market. Upon closing, Rogers Digital Media will have an impressive set of content offerings and digital sales solutions, including premium brands, exclusive sales inventory on partner sites, channels targeting key demographics, and performance media.”

“We are very pleased with this transaction for many reasons: it reflects BV! Media’s true value and exemplifies our commitment to maximize value for all our shareholders,” commented Gino Coutu, President, Ad network and co-CEO of BV! Media. “Furthermore, it is occurring with a strategic partner that has already demonstrated its respect for our organization and our people, and it ensures total continuity with our trusted partners and clients. This transaction is fully supported by the senior management team.”

“After fifteen years as a successful standalone business we are eager to become part of one of Canada’s largest media companies and to have our team and assets contribute to Rogers’ expansion in both digital media and the Quebec market” commented Patrick Pierra, founder and co-CEO of BV! Media.

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5th August 2010

Go On A Scavenger Hunt in History of Biology from Spongelab

spongelabOntario educational game company Spongelab Interactive is set to launch their new History of Biology game on September 7th, just in time for the upcoming school year. History of Biology gets high school students to unlock the secrets behind biology. Students Grades 8 – 12 act as detectives to decipher the truth behind some of the greatest monoliths in science. History of BiologyHistory of Biology, presented by Spongelab Interactive is an online science-themed scavenger hunt where students learn about the key figures and discoveries throughout history which have influenced the field of science. The game will lead players to discover the impact of these people and events on today’s society, ethics, politics and culture.

This new game is just one of the interactive simulations available for play in the Spongelab Biology educational game portfolio. Last February, Spongelab Interactive took home first prize in the National Science Foundation’s 2009 Visualization Challenge in the Interactive Media Category for their award winning Genomics Digital Lab (GDL) which allows students to explore the story of energy and ‘play the biology’. Currently used in over 65 countries, GDL has been transforming the way students and teachers interact with biology in the classroom, at home and from any internet connected computer they have access to.

Products like Spongelab Interactive’s GDL and the soon to be released History of Biology are helping teachers connect to their students in a fresh new way. “It can be a challenge for students to visualize the parts of the cell and the processes that occur within them; Genomics Digital Lab not only gives students a great visual tool but allows them to explore the biology. Good resources in French are particularly difficult to Genomics Digital Labfind, and GDL offers their product in both English and French,” says
Sabrina Amato, Grade 11&12 Biology Teacher, French Public School Board (CSDCSO).

“Our students have changed and so must our education system. It is our duty to prepare our graduates for a technology and innovation based work force. The ability to interact with technology has the potential to play an enormous role in student development and their future success,” says Dr. Jeremy Friedberg, co-founder of Spongelab Interactive.

With enrollment in Science and Math declining it’s critically important that we get students engaged, but is Canada ready? In Texas, the legislature adopted a bill in 2009 that provides funds and supports technology for e-textbooks. States like Indiana and Michigan have purchased software for schools that, much like History of Biology and all Spongelab Biology products, have included metrics and assessment tools to give teachers an accurate understanding of how their students are learning. and progressing through the content, while facilitating grading. In June 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his support in adopting e-textbooks and e-learning. It’s imperative that Canadian Ministries and School Boards also take steps to ensure that our students have access to technology and are supporting Canadian businesses committed to innovative learning and educational assets.

College alliance proves winning combination for game development When Spongelab set out to create the History of Biology in a way that teachers, students and gaming enthusiasts would connect with, we knew that the game had to deal with this subject matter in a very unique way and would require a specific game engine.

The result gained through a solid partnership with Centennial College’s Paula Demacio, biotechnology professor and students from Centennial’s Game Art and Design program; is an interactive on-line scavenger hunt. Alex Maslov, Centennial student and now employee with Spongelab’s parent company, was challenged to build an engine that randomizes types of missions posed to players and how the answers are received to ensure different experiences for each player.

The project has been partially funded by the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation. The partnership between Spongelab Interactive, Centennial College and its Applied Research and Innovation Centre has proven to be a strong one. The Applied Research and Innovation Centre connects students to businesses like Spongelab Interactive. The results are noteworthy as seven Centennials students contributed to the development of the History of Biology game.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterVancouver ACM SIGGRAPH is pleased to announce its 3rd annual SPARK Animation Conference and Festival, after a very successful SPARK FX Conference and Festival in January. In its third year, this prestigious 3-day speaker series and 5-day film festival is intended to educate and inspire professionals, pioneers and enthusiasts in the world of animation.

Taking place September 8 – 12, 2010, SPARK Animation ’10 will be filled with informative and inspiring learning sessions, panels and presentations. Previous events have attracted a coveted line-up of some of the most talented animators and innovators in the industry from such acclaimed studios as Blue Sky, LAIKA, Disney Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Pixar Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks. Spark Animation 2010

This strong presentation series will be complemented by screenings chosen to exemplify innovation and excellence in the field held in the evenings at the Vancouver International Film Centre,1181 Seymour Street (& Davie).

Early Bird special pricing for this 5-day conference is available until August 15: Members $175 and non-members $225 (HST included). Regular pass admission is $275 for non-members and $225 for members (HST included). A-la-carte tickets for the individual presentations will go on sale on August 30. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th July 2010

Contests Pitches and New Games Make For A Great Day

There are some contests going on across the country which I feel will be of interest to most, if not all, of you. 3podFirst, recruiting agency 3pod is holding a summer referral contest. If you refer a successful career position candidate to their office (see contest details), you could be the proud owner of a shiny new gaming console. You will need to refer a friend before September 30th, and that friend will need to be successfully hired by December 31st 2010. Village Gamer needs a PS3…is there anyone out there needing a referral?

Toon BoomToon Boom Animation and Sci-Fi industry community MyOuterSpace.com are joining forces to make the greatest talent in the creative galaxy come forward and shine! This contest will challenge your creativity and originality and show the universe your support for MyOuterSpace.com. With the animated William Shatner starring in your lead role and three audio voiceovers to choose from, this is your opportunity to showcase your skills as a top-notch animator. Watch this video for more information about the upcoming contest, which will open for entries in August 2010:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Gemini Awards 2010Not exactly a contest, but still worthy of mention, the Gemini Awards are looking for your best artwork. In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Gemini Awards, organizers are creating a very special piece of Canadian art. According to their web site, they are looking for a unique way to tell the story of the 25 years of excellence in Canadian programming behind us, and many more years of innovation to come. This will take shape with ‘Gemini Nights’ which will in part be made up of user submitted images that are iconic in nature and instantly recognizable. It could be a show title, a screen shot from a promo poster, a character everyone knows, or a logo that speaks to success. Organizers ask that images be submitted by Wednesday, August 4th via their online form. Take note that you must have rights to any images which you submit for consideration.

Ottawa International Animation FestivalWant to pitch a product to and get feedback from the likes of Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and TELETOON? Get yourself over the Ottawa International Animation Festival’s web site and find out all of the details. The deadline to apply is September 1st, so don’t delay.

Pitch Participation Requirements:

* Project synopsis, including target audience, technique, format, rough budget, (1-2 pages)
* One episode synopsis
* Bios of key executives
* Short paragraph indicating your current stage of development and any additional information (i.e. interactive components, merchandise, etc.)
* Concept art (2 or 3 images)

xmg studioXMG Studio would like you all to know about the upcoming launch of Cannon Cadets, its latest mobile game available for iPhone and iPod Touch users, rocketing into Apple’s App Store in early August 2010.

From the award-winning company that brought you Drag Racer, Little Metal Ball and Marine Sharpshooter, XMG Studio’s Cannon Cadets is a supremely addictive physics game with 80 visually stimulating and diabolically devious levels to challenge children and adults alike.Cannon Cadets

In this new game, you are Rocketboy, who must save your team of Cannon Cadets from Gordo, an evil lab monkey, and his robot army, that are determined to rid the universe of all that is fun. Players will shoot their cadets at the robots, trying to knock them out while dealing with complex structures that follow advanced physics rules including rolls, slides and hinges!

Each level is a new challenge, from basic structures to complex Rube Goldberg-esque machines that will test the skills of even the bravest cadet. As players advance, the Cannon Cadet team members will need to rescue fun new friends and add to the player’s arsenal of special powers to use against Gordo. Read the rest of this entry »

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