9th December 2010

A Whole Lotta Indie News

AnnexProLast evening we had the pleasure of attending Annex Pro’s Expo 2011 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, where we had a chance to catch up with a few friends Kerry Corlettas well as make new ones. The team at Annex Pro put together a great group of vendor booths – it’s a good thing that the CaveChild was not with us, or he would’ve tried to make off with the entire Avid Pro Tools display. As it was, I spent a fair bit of time talking with Bonnie from Wacom, and with a smoking hot sales deal from Annex Pro, my very dated Wacom Graphire 3 is now a medium-sized Intuos 4. Now I am just waiting on my registration emails from Wacom (how long does that take, anyway?) so that I can install the free software tools that purchasers of Wacom tablets receive, and then I can watch my Adobe PhotoShop Elements 4 upgrade to version 8 (oh wow, just learned that Adobe is now on version 9), and maybe in a few months’ time I can take advantage of the Wacom Buyer Privileges and upgrade my PhotoShop 7 to PhotoShop CS5 with the special purchase deal. Oh, and if you think my PhotoShop is outdated….I still use Bryce 5 and PaintShop Pro 8. I won a copy of Corel’s PaintIt on Twitter a few months ago, and have been playing a bit with it – watching the software’s conversion process is quite entertaining.

Annex Pro Expo SponsorsScott’s interest at the Annex Pro event was tweaked both by the keynote delivered by Technicolor Creative Services’ Tom Burns and by the offerings from Atempo, Aspera, Blue Arc, G-Tech, AJA and HP because he likes to geek out over the technical side of things, which are completely out of my realm. As long as our networks connect and the computers and server are working, I’m happy – although I do want the fancy computers & screens they have on CSI and Bones, just because they look cool.

I have always liked the software tools developed by Autodesk, who was also present at the expo, but as I can’t draw and haven’t even mastered Bryce 5, Maya and Max are far beyond my capabilities – I have a healthy respect for anyone who creates product with that software. Craft Animations was also displaying their wares, and I actually have one of their products, which I won at a previous Annex Pro event. Not a clue what to do with that, either. Perhaps we should come up with a contest and offer it as a prize; I’m sure there are some indie devs out there who would benefit greatly from having itGarage Inc.

Transgaming Studios has released the pre-game cinematic for their upcoming title Garage Inc on the game’s Facebook page. The cinematic introduces the player to the characters and sets the mood for this 1920′s Prohibition-era game. Watch as lead character Angelo talks with his cousin Sal during a family Christmas gathering about the garage he dreams of opening.

There are two new indie titles available today – Xona Games is burning up the dev pipe, releasing their second new title this week. Score Rush has Score Rushpassed Peer Review and is now out on Xbox Live Indie Games for 80 MS Points. Built on the Duality ZF engine, this 4-player shoot ’em up features overwhelming firepower, trailing options, full screen bombs, tons of enemies, an intimidating final boss and hundreds of crazy bullet patterns to survive. The 60 fps adrenaline-rush experience is complemented by a hard-rocking Dragon Music soundtrack.

Also out today is RatRod Studio’s Drift Mania Canadian Championship is now available in the Android Marketplace for 99 cents. Previously released in the iTunes App Store, Android users Drift Maniacan now get in on the racing action. Drift Mania Canadian Championships features Online Global Leaderboards with live events, variable throttle system and hydraulic handbrake with adjustable steering sensitivity, 7 uniquely spec’d vehicles, 5 different tracks, 2 acceleration modes and 3 levels of difficulty with 3 camera configurations. If you want to relive the moment, there is a highlights replay system, and you can also listen to either the included A Space Shootersoundtrack or your own music as you tear up the track.

A post made earlier today by Frima Studios‘ Executive Producer Martin Brouard on the official PlayStation blog announced that there will be a new title released by the studio on December 21st. A Space Shooter for Two Bucks will be available for free to all PlayStation Plus subscribers, and $1.99 for everyone else. According to the blog, A Space Shooter is of the classic arcade space shooting genre (in case you couldn’t guess that from the title), and “swarms of enemies filling the screens with hazardous bullets and missiles, heaps of upgrades for your ship and its arsenal, high-paced and constant action requiring deft reflexes, and hordes of alien baddies just waiting to be blown up by your superior space-faring skills.” Plus, to add to your gaming experience, there will be a myriad of interesting characters to encounter and in some cases control.

Kitchener-Waterloo developer Footloose Games has announced that they will be releasing a beta version of their Munchies LunchMunchies’ Lunch title on December 27th. Munchies’ Lunch is a fun adventure-puzzle PC-based game for the whole family. Simply download the game from the Footloose website to embark on an epic journey with the Munchie family as they say goodbye to their homeland and travel the world to find a peaceful place where they can settle down. Mr. & Mrs. Munchie will travel along with their children through far-away jungles, over steep mountains, and across the hot deserts in their journey. Along the way they’ll meet the ravenous Hungries, crafty bird-snakes and perhaps evNight Before Christmasen a tribal tiki or two.

Vancouver developer LoudCrow has released its latest iPad book. Available now, this pop-out version of The Night Before Christmas joins LoudCrow’s previous title, Pop-out Tales of Peter Rabbit in the iTunes store. In this new release, you can see William Denslow’s masterful illustrations brought to life with innovative pull-tabs, spin-wheels, and elements that bounce and spring with the touch a finger. Listen to “O Christmas Tree” beautifully performed on piano while you read and interact with each page of the book. Explore every scene and discover the many delightful life-like interactions at your fingertips.

Bioware has released the first in a series of “Making of” videos for Dragon Age 2. Here is Part One:

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koboKobo has launched Reading Life, an industry first social eReading experience. Readers can now track their personal reading history, check-in with characters and places inside books and earn achievements and awards for simply reading. Readers can also choose to share books, favourite passages, awards and more with their friends on Facebook. Kobo Reading Life is initially available on iPad, as a part of the latest iPad update in the iTunes store now.

Kobo Reading Life for iPad provides an unparalleled experience that enables users to engage in eReading in new ways, connect with friends, and earn awards just for reading: Read the rest of this entry »

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8th December 2010

Silverfish Have Infected The App Store

One of the best parts of being on Twitter has been learning more about the great independent developer community we have in Canada. There is an incredible camaraderie shared by these talented entities, and they are very prone to sharing their knowledge and experience with each other – something I don’t generally see with the bigger conglomerate studios, although I have seen such sharing amongst those designers who are employed by EA, Ubisoft and THQ studios (to name a few), it’s not to the same extent shared by the independents. Naturally, this could be due to contractual agreements and requirements put in place by the big studios, which is understandable for proprietary areas, but experience and knowledge never shared impedes the advancement of our digital industry.

Perhaps it is because in smaller, independent studios everyone is accountable for the success (or failure) of their creations, and this in turn leads to working at improving their publicity efforts as well as their end product. The sharing of opportunity is something else I see much of between the indies, and it’s because of this that I have been able to discover and share information about studios and Canadian-made products that I may have never found if it weren’t for the folks on Twitter passing on leads and links to me, because I, too am an independent, and appreciate the assistance I am given and battle daily to catch up on indie titles I need to play and review, as well as keep up on the news. One such discovery was sent my way yesterday by Celsius Game Studio.

Chaotic BoxChaotic Box touts itself as a one man game making machine. The man behind the machine is Torontonian Frank Condello, and true to the independent genre, he is Chaotic Box’s developer, 2D/3D silverfishartist, music & sound designer. Chaotic Box has released four titles for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad: Flooid, Pollywog, Pinch n Pop, and his newest title, Silverfish, which is currently on sale in the iTunes App Store for $1.99 USD.

According to the game’s info page, Silverfish pits the gamer against swarms of menacing space bugs that the player must weave through and defeat with powerful detonations, combining pure arcade action with stunning visual effects. Silverfish currently offers three game modes with more on the way, leader board and achievements, Retina Display graphics, intuitive swipe-anywhere controls and an original soundtrack.

DreamCatcherDreamCatcher Games is happy to announce the release of Learn Science for Nintendo DS™ just in time for the holiday season! Learn Science let‘s kids learn while having fun. Learn the basic LearnScienceprinciples of: Light and Sound, Physics, The human body, Biology and Geography while playing a variety of engaging mini-games. Unlock new mini-games by scoring high marks in Career Mode and then perfect your skills by mastering unlocked mini-games in Game Mode on one of 3 difficulty levels. Kids can challenge their friends in multiplayer mini-games, or they can co-operate and challenge the AI.

Features:

· Learn the basic principles of: Light and Sound, Physics, The human body, Biology and Geography
· Integrated age check with traffic light system offers gaming fun for every level of knowledge
· Two different in game guides to help with explanations and examples
· Multiplayer mode: Hot seat, Single card and Multi card for common learning with parents and friends through mini games

Learn Science is priced at $19.99 USD and is available in retail stores across North America. Rated ‘E’ for everyone.Mega Jump For Android

Get Set GamesGet Set Games has just announced that their hit title Mega Jump will be coming to Android in the next couple of weeks. Mega Jump is compatible with Android 2.0 and up and will be free to download. Mega Jump for Android makes use of OpenFeint’s great social gaming features including global high scores and unlockable achievements.

Mega Jump has been downloaded by more than 7.5 million people worldwide in the App Store, and the studio is looking forward to inviting Android gamers to join the mix. The exact release date has yet to be decided, but you can be sure that once I know, you’ll know.

Congratulations again to Vancouver start-up Ayogo Games Inc., who won the prestigious “Hottest Digital Media Company in Canada” title at nextMedia in Toronto last week.

Ayogo’s latest Facebook® game, called HealthSeeker™, was the entry that helped win the hotly-contested award. The game is built on Ayogo’s GoodLife Gamification Engine™, and aims to help people living with diabetes habituate healthier behaviour around diet and exercise. Michael Fergusson, CEO of Ayogo, was excited to accept the award.

“Gamification is touching all areas of our lives, especially online,” said Fergusson. “I’m proud that Ayogo, and our GoodLife Gamification Engine™, is being recognized for being at the forefront of this exciting new trend, and for using the power of constructive play to help make people’s lives better.”

xona gamesXona Games, that very talented and award-winning indie team who has been creating some of the most critically-acclaimed indie arcade games to date, announced today that the first of its two Xbox LIVE Indie Games launching this week, Decimation X3, is now available for only for 80 Microsoft Points ($1 USD)! Having been chosen to be a main title featured in the Indie Games Winter Uprising, Decimation X3 features intense shoot-em-up action in a ridiculously affordable package.
Decimation X3
Decimation X3 is the thrilling sequel to one of the most popular 2D-retro shooters on Xbox LIVE Indie Games, Decimation X, which is one of the top-rated Indie Games in Japan (currently #3 out of approximately 1,500). Get ready for intense local four-player action, never-ending waves of enemies and a continual rain of power-ups to significantly improve your offensive and defensive capabilities. Featuring decidedly retro pixel art graphics, an overload of explosion particle effects, normal and challenge game modes, 60 frames per second and a hypnotic trance beat soundtrack from Imphenzia, Decimation X3 is everything an arcade junkie could wish for and will put your reflexes to the ultimate test.

The Indie Games Winter Uprising is a celebration of the best that Xbox LIVE Indie Games have to offer, and was recently expanded from just the first week of December to the entire month. Orchestrated by a group of fellow developers longing to promote the higher-quality games that can be found on the platform, the Indie Winter Games Uprising takes place during December and features 14 top-tier games that they hope will elevate the impression of the Indie Games channel.

UbisoftUbisoft has announced that Your Shape: Fitness Evolved will offer new exclusive workouts and fitness programs available on the Xbox LIVE® Marketplace for the Xbox 360®.

“When we started working on the development of Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, we contacted several renowned fitness experts and trainers”, said Claudine Cézac, game’s producer for Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. “Each trainer insisted on the fact that in order to keep people motivated, it would be important to consistently bring new varieties of exercise to the game. That’s why from the very start, we thought of Your Shape: Fitness Evolved as a comprehensive fitness program that players would be able to enrich at their will. There are many different ways to work out and get in shape, and that’s what we want to offer with the add-on content.”

The add-on content for Your Shape: Fitness Evolved will include personalized workouts, dance-related fitness programs, and a variety of cardio and toning exercises, expanding the overall gameplay experience. The first installment of add-on content will become available in early December 2010 and will include:Your Shape Jump

• The “Toned Body Program”, to strengthen all your muscles and get a firmer body
• “Cardio Boxing Platinum”, a new advanced level of the Cardio-Boxing class

The second installment will come shortly after and include:

• “New Year New You”, a specific program to get back in shape after Xmas and New Year’s celebrations
• “Dance Workout: Bollywood”, a high impact dance workout using popular Bollywood dance moves.

All extra workouts and programs will be offered individually or in bundle packages. In the first half of the calendar year, over 12 new fantastic workouts for Your Shape: Fitness Evolved will be released on Xbox LIVE. All of these extra workouts and programs will be offered individually or in bundle packages. In the first half of the calendar year, over 12 new pieces of add-on content for Your Shape Fitness Evolved will be released on Xbox Live. Pricing will range from 320 to 560 Microsoft points.

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6th December 2010

New In Canadian Games And Apps

Digital LeisureDigital Leisure Inc. has launched Space Ace, the follow up title to Dragon’s Lair, designed space aceexclusively for Nintendo’s DSiWare™ service. Available today for 800 Nintendo DSi Points, Space Ace is a fully animated classic arcade game from legendary animator Don Bluth. In this completely arcade authentic adventure, you’ll journey to rescue the beautiful Kimberly by using your Nintendo DSi™ to move and fire your lasergun. This is the first time the stunning 2D animation has been seen on a Nintendo® handheld format – No pixel graphics here!

In Space Ace you play the heroic Ace who must stop the evil Commander Borf from taking over the Earth! Borf plans to reduce all of humankind to infants and take over the planet. Only two people have the courage and strength to stop Borf and save Earth: the beautiful Kimberly and the heroic Ace. But as they approach Borf’s stronghold, Ace is hit by the Infanto Ray, changing him into a child, and Kimberly is kidnapped by the evil madman! The fate of Earth is in your hands!

source studioSource Studio has released a demo for their space shooter game, ProtoGalaxy, on Steam for the PC ($9.99 USD). ProtoGalaxy is a multi-genre, independent game that features arcade action, smart puzzles and space exploration with a built-in level editor.

Up to four players can team up, configure their ship and upgrade their weapons in order to defend earth from powerful alien invaders. Throughout the game, players brave fierce battles, solve challenging puzzles, and explore the far reaches of the galaxy in order to end the attacks and rebuild a home for the survivors.

“ProtoGalaxy is an action game, but it has growing appeal with arcade and shooter fans,” said Alex Brown, CEO and founder of Source Studio. “The game includes a built-in editor which allows players to easily create entirely new levels. Players can share their creations online and download other people’s levels for endless game play,” Brown added.

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ProtoGalaxy Game Features:

· Level editor to create new galaxies
· Single and multi-player mode (up to 4 players)
· Array of weapon choice
· Ship customization with large selection of parts
· Use physics to solve problems
· Save progress online and play from anywhere

going loud studiosFrom somewhere in Canada, Going Loud Studios is proud to announce that its debut action side-scroller game “Zombie Accountant” is now available on the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace. Download it today for just 80 Microsoft Points. also available on WP7. zombie accountant

In 2010, a terrifying zombie outbreak threatens to consume humanity and you fall victim to the undead curse, doomed to hunger for human flesh. In a startling turn of events, the army actually manages to contain and eliminate the threat. Life quickly returns to normal.

Except you’re still a zombie. And it’s tax season. Complete tax returns as fast as possible without eating your coworkers! With any luck, you can still make it to zombie partner.

Zombie Accountant Features:

* Run to the right! With increasing speed!
* Dodge your coworkers and collect tax returns to increase your multiplier and achieve a high score
* Rise through 8 ranks on your way to becoming zombie Partner
* Wonder if a zombie working for a corporation is symbolic

Celsius GamesCelsius Game Studios has released a new trailer for its upcoming epic inertial space shooter Red Nova, which I first told you about last week. Episode 1, First Contact, opens with the player taking on a routine mission to test a number prototype fighters destined to replace the Earth Colonial Fleet’s aging Starhawk. While on this mission, your carrier, the ECF Red Nova, comes across an unknown alien fleet preparing to stage a sneak attack on the human colonies.

In order to give the Red Nova a chance to escape and warn the rest of the fleet you have volunteered to attack the aliens head-on. With a choice of any of the fighters on deck, you have to use your wits, your guns, and your ample supply of homing missiles to survive for as long as you can.

Take a peek at the video – this game is scheduled for release on iOS this month:

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xmg studioStyle Studio, a fashion design app from XMG Studio now has a Lite version of the only App that lets you create, customize, and share your own fashions. Tops, jackets, dresses, skirts and pants with an endless array of material and accessories. Now with both male & female models and fashions. Personalize designs with your own graphics and even use photos right from your device. The full version of Style Studio is also available on iTunes for $2.99 USD.

Style Studio: Fashion Designer has been featured by Apple as “New & Noteworthy” and a week later made the “What’s Hot!” Also featured as part of Apple’s “Fashion — Apps for the Clothes Minded” feature alongside Top Designer’s such as Chanel, D&G, Gucci, Dior, Fendi and Hugo Boss.style Studio Lite

Have you dreamed of designing your own fashions and seeing them on a magazine cover? With Style Studio you can create your own line of custom designs from casual chic to haute couture. Dress one of the models with your designs, add some props, and lay out your very own magazine cover. Show off your talent by sending your fashions and layouts to friends on Facebook, Twitter or email.

This App Features:

* Lots of clothing items to choose from including dresses, tops, skirts and pants
* Personalize your fashions with a huge variety of materials and prints which can be customized
* Add buttons, belts, bows, pockets and more.
* Import photos and images to make one-of-a-kind designs!
* Try your design on the male and female models or dress up a photo of your friends
* Lay out your own magazine ads and covers using fashions and dressed up models
* Promote your very own fashion label by sharing your designs on Facebook, Twitter, and Email

Also related to fashion, modifaceToronto’s ModiFace has announced the availability of “MakeUp Live” — a new iPhone application that is the world’s first Augmented Reality (AR) virtual makeover tool. MakeUp Live ($0.99 USD) creates a true virtual makeup mirror by using the iPhone camera to apply cosmetics in real time directly onto the user’s own face. The application also gives step by step instructions on how to achieve one of eight trendy beauty looks, including smoky eyes, down to the brush type and shade brand and name. modiface

“MakeUp Live is the next best thing to having your own personal makeup artist in the room with you,” said Nikkie Gatto, mobile project manager and resident beauty expert at ModiFace. “Many magazines offer ‘how to’ guides from beauty experts around the globe, and many virtual makeover tools allow women to see different products on their own photo. However, MakeUp Live takes the beauty guide and makeover tools to an entirely different level by enabling women to work alongside the tool to get it exactly right.”

“Our goal is to consistently push the boundary of what is possible when you apply state-of-the-art computer vision technology to beauty and fashion applications. MakeUp live is a perfect example of advanced technology applied to make a virtual mirror possible right on your iPhone,” said Dr. Parham Aarabi, president and founder of ModiFace.

MakeUp Live is based on ModiFace’s patent pending facial recognition technology that powers the number one virtual makeup application on the iPhone, “MakeUp.” Originally launched in November of 2009, MakeUp is a free beauty tool that allows users to virtually try on different types of makeup, including mascara, foundation, blush and eye shadow, in hundreds of shades from leading brand names like Revlon, Cover Girl, Lancôme and Clinique. On the newest version of MakeUp, users can now use their own Facebook, iPhone album, or iPhone camera photo to test out the most popular cosmetic looks on themselves.

CitytvThe Citytv video iPad app which launched earlier this fall, has released another Citytv daytime favourite LIVE on the free iPad application. As of this morning, fans of CityLine hosted by Tracy Moore, can watch CityLine LIVE on their iPad between 9am-10am ET Monday thru Friday. This new addition on the iPad is yet another first, making CityLine the only Canadian daytime talk show available LIVE on iPad. Full episodes of new and past CityLine programs will also be available on the iPad, in addition to Citytv.com. The Citytv app also includes a number of convenient features, such as a TV schedule and a notification service that allows users to be reminded when their favourite shows are available on the app and on TV. Other features include the ability to share video links on Facebook, Twitter and via email. The app also saves your viewing history and favourites.

“Giving fans of CityLine the ability to watch Tracy and her team of experts every day, LIVE while commuting or at the gym is just another way Rogers is engaging audiences on multiple screens,” says Claude Galipeau, SVP & GM, Digital Media, Rogers Media Inc. “Fans no longer have to miss their favourite morning show once they leave the house — they can take CityLine with them.”

CityLine is the longest running and most successful daytime show for women in Canadian history. Host Tracy Moore brings her energy and enthusiasm along with her charismatic personality and flare for style – making her a perfect fit for Canada’s top source for the latest in home decor, food, fashion, health and beauty. CityLine engages, entertains and informs viewers across Canada with its unique live format and daily themed approach. As familiar and trusted guest experts visit the set, viewers are treated to professional tips covering such topics as décor, entertaining, fashion, beauty, home and gardening.

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6th December 2010

Canadian Technology Continues to Expand

Open TextOpenText provided the social software that helped world leaders, diplomats and policy makers collaborate at the recent G-20 summit in Seoul, South Korea, the second time this year that its solution played a role in the event.The software was first used at the G-20 summit in Toronto in June, marking the first time social media tools had been used at a G-20 to help participants work together during the forum.

The confidential and secure social application has provided a singular, consistent knowledge platform for the G-20 summits this year and, more importantly, offered a way for officials to continue discussions on policies impacting fiscal reform and the global economy between the summits.

As with the Toronto G-20, delegates in Seoul were also able to access the OpenText application from their BlackBerrys, iPhones and iPads. The application supported multiple languages to enhance the ability of participants to collaborate and use the social software productively.

“At the G-20, officials wanted to bring continuity to the way people from around the world work with each other and share knowledge over time,” said James Latham, Chief Marketing Officer at Open Text. “The ongoing international work of the G-20 requires the kind of strong social-collaborative platform we’ve created, and we’ve seen the success so far through two G-20 summits this year.”

Given the heightened focus on security and privacy around the globe, G-20 organizers avoided use of consumer-grade social media tools, which lack enterprise-strength security controls. At the same time, social media offers better ways for people to connect, share and collaborate, than email, so a solution that combined the benefits while reducing the risks was needed. In Toronto, G-8 and G-20 summit participants who used the OpenText social networking application reported that it required minimal training and provided an intuitive web-browser experience tailored to their needs.

The Group of Twenty (G-20) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was established in 1999 to bring together industrialized and developing economies to discuss key issues in the global economy, in response to financial crises of the late 1990s.

Government of CanadaThe Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today announced that the Harper government is fast-tracking innovations from the lab to the marketplace through grants to five new Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). This investment will create jobs and help to foster environments where researchers are able to commercialize their findings to the benefit of Canadians. The five new centres will respectively support microelectronic businesses, regenerative medicine technologies, medical imaging innovations, monitoring technologies used in Canada’s North, and the wireless industry.

“Our government understands that an innovative society and economy depend on creative thinkers whose potential is encouraged and supported,” said Minister Clement. “That’s why we are investing in the ideas, products and technologies generated by these Centres of Excellence to create jobs and businesses, help develop highly skilled people, strengthen our economy and position Canada for long-term prosperity.”

The MiQro Innovation Collaborative Centre (Bromont), the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (Toronto), the Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization and Research (London), Leading Operational Observations and Knowledge for the North (St. John’s) and the Wavefront Wireless Commercialization Centre (Vancouver) will share $61.1 million over the next five years to pursue major discoveries and product innovations and bring them to the marketplace. Each of these new centres was selected following a rigorous peer review process involving expert panels and a private sector advisory board.

Dr. Suzanne Fortier, Chair of the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Steering Committee and President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), said the CECR program plays an integral role in the government’s science and technology (S&T) strategy for a more prosperous, advanced and competitive Canada.

“We welcome these five Centres of Excellence into the NCE family,” said Dr. Fortier. “The centres help translate leading-edge research into practical solutions for Canadians, addressing many of our country’s greatest health, environmental, social and economic challenges.”

The CECR program is a cornerstone of Canada’s science and S&T strategy, launched by Prime Minister Harper in 2007. The goals of the strategy are to encourage more private sector investment in research and development, to ensure that discoveries are translated into practical applications, to build upon our strong research base to position Canada at the leading edge of discoveries, and to develop, attract and retain the highly skilled people that Canada needs to thrive in the global knowledge-based economy.

D-BoxD-BOX Technologies Inc. has signed its first agreement with theatre chain Les Cinémas RGFM, to equip its Drummondville location with 24 D-BOX MFX Seats. The Cinéma RGFM Drummondville will be able to offer motion effects just in time for the release of Walt Disney Pictures’ Tron: Legacy. The auditorium will combine 3D with D-BOX’s motion technology, thus widening the offer to moviegoers.

“We are pleased to be announcing a fourth theatre in Quebec, building up our Canadian presence,” said President and CEO of D-BOX Technologies, Claude Mc Master. “In the last few months, we have made numerous theatre announcements in North America, a demonstration of the popularity our motion systems have on moviegoers.”

“We are thrilled to be offering our moviegoers D-BOX’s motion technology. This innovation blends in perfectly with our company’s philosophy to serve the public the latest technologies. On top it’s a Quebec-based company”, said Marcel Venne, president of Les Cinémas RGFM

gottaconCon fans may want to check out GottaCon, which celebrates its third anniversary this February 4 – 6th at the Pearkes Recreation Centre in the Field House Room in Victoria, BC. GottaCon will run 24 hours a day starting at 5pm Friday and will continue with non-stop gaming until 7pm Sunday night. The convention, which covers 24 000 square feet of space, has a variety of ticket options available at reasonable prices and tournament registrations are open. GottaCon is also looking for volunteers to help out during the event.

GottaCon will have all you need to survive such an adventure; contests, tournaments, vendors, demonstrations, food, drinks, entertainment and of course all types of games:

- Warhammer 40K North American Championships Qualifier
- Warhammer Fantasy North American Championships Qualifier
- Warhammer War of the Ring North American Championships Qualifier
- Warmachine Steamroller GottaCon ChampionshipsTournament
- Miniature Painting Contest
- Xbox 360 Call of Duty: Black Ops tournaments (4vs4 and Free for All)
- Xbox 360 Halo Reach tournaments (4vs4 and Free for All)
- Xbox 360 Rainbow 6: Vegas 2 Tournament (4vs4)
- Xbox 360 Gears of War 2 Tournament (2vs2)
- Xbox 360 Super Street Fighter 4 Tournament
- PC Starcraft 2 Tournaments (2vs2 and 1vs1)
- PC Call of Duty: Black Ops Tournaments (4vs4 and Free for All)
- PC Counter-Strike Source Tournament (5vs5)
- PC Left 4 Dead 2 Team Surviaval Challenge
- PC Team Fortress 2 Tournament (5vs5)
- PC Unreal Tournament Game of the Year Edition Team Death Match with Deathmatch Final
- Magic: The Gathering – VIMC M:TG Open (2011)
- World of Warcraft TCG Ashenvale Forest Realm Qualifer
- Costume Contest
- GottaCon 2011 Gamers Silent Auction

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1st December 2010

TransGaming Announces New Partnership

TransGamingTransGaming, Inc. and UK-based Amino Communications have announced a collaborative partnership to provision TransGaming’s on-demand video game platform, GameTree TV, into Amino Communications’ Freedom hybrid/OTT media centre. The addition of GameTree TV enhances the Freedom media centre by offering a comprehensive and powerful interactive consumer entertainment experience that will address a broader consumer market for operators through a single platform.
gametreetv
Amino Communications is among the world’s leading IPTV and hybrid/OTT (Over the Top) innovators. The award-winning Freedom media centre, based on the Intel® CE4100 Media Processor, offers Managed Service Operators (MSOs) a powerful platform for the seamless delivery of TV, movies, home media, and a new world of television apps to the consumer.

The GameTree TV Platform is the premier on-demand video game solution for consumers, optimized for the next generation of set-top boxes and connected consumer electronic (CE) devices. GameTree TV delivers to consumers an ever-growing catalog of video games that can be transacted through a variety of flexible pricing models. The Platform provides operators with an interactive gaming solution that will enhance their current entertainment portfolio and generate new and sustainable revenue streams by catering to the broad family demographic represented in their subscription base.

“The Amino Freedom platform is an exceptional next generation device that delivers a wealth of media and entertainment options to consumers”, commented Vikas Gupta, CEO & President of TransGaming. “The GameTreeTVaddition of GameTree TV enriches the Freedom media center even further and allows consumers to enjoy all forms of entertainment, linear and interactive, through a singular experience. This collaboration allows both Amino and TransGaming to access a broader consumer marketplace and deliver an even more compelling value proposition to operators and consumers globally”.

The GameTree TV Platform supports the MeeGo™ operating system, a collaboration between Intel® and Nokia®, that is quickly becoming the operating system of choice for a range of next generation devices, including media centers, set-top boxes, net-books, tablets, or smart phones. GameTree TV is being optimized to support MeeGo and a variety of embedded Linux platforms, making it a highly versatile gaming solution for a range of consumer electronic devices.

“We are delighted to work with TransGaming to bring their GameTree TV Platform to the Amino Freedom”, stated Andrew Burke, CEO of Amino Communications. “GameTree TV will bring a rich entertainment experience to the Freedom media centre, by offering consumers a high quality gaming platform, and providing our business partners with a great new revenue stream that also aids in reducing churn within their retail operations.”

TransGaming and Amino Communications are both members of the Intel® Consumer Electronics Network (CEN), a community of hardware, software and services providers that accelerates the development and time-to-market of Internet-connected CE devices.

Budge StudiosBudge Studios invites you to experience Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure like you never have before! This interactive episode brings the experience of reading, watching and playing together in one fun-filled App. Join Dora as she helps Swiper get on Santa’s nice list and as they travel through time to learn the true spirit of Christmas. The app features activities, animation, songs, and is narrated by Dora herself!
Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure
*Play several interactive activities and mini-games designed for preschoolers
*Supports reading and listening comprehension and Spanish vocabulary
*Teaches wonderful lessons on sharing and the spirit of Christmas
*Features a special Christmas song sung by Dora that users can interact with
*Preschoolers can listen to Dora’s narration of the story or turn narration off and read together with their parents.
*The iPad version features stunning HD graphics

Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure is available now in the iTunes App store with a special launch price of $1.99 USD.

Microsoft CanadaDevelopers interested in Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform should register for (and attend) AzureFest, which is taking place at Microsoft Canada’s Mississauga campus on December 11th. Presented in Open House format, there are two sessions, one at 9:00a.m. and the other at 1:00p.m. The event is free and includes refreshments. Windows Azure

By attending AzureFest, you can learn how developing and deploying Azure Applications is fast and easy. You will learn how to set up your Azure account and how to take a traditional ASP.NET application and convert it for Azure. Publishing Applications to the Azure Developer Portal is a breeze. You’ll learn how to set up the Azure SDK and Azure Tools for Visual Studio right on your laptop.

Digital Hot ListCongratulations to the six companies named to nextMEDIA’s 2010 Hot Digital List as the hottest emerging online properties, the most innovative new apps, games and tech solutions, and the freshest ideas from online content creators:

Hot Online Property

Hot Technology

Hot Video Content

VantrixMobile video optimization and delivery solutions developer Vantrix has been awarded the 2010 Frost & Sullivan Mobile Video Optimization Solution of the Year Award for Vantrix Bandwidth Optimizer. Vantrix was selected as this year’s recipient for its solution’s unique approach to improving mobile operators’ economics, while preserving the end-user experience.

“It is an honor to be recognized, for the second year in a row, by Frost & Sullivan. This award further validates our leadership in mobile video optimization for mobile operators,” said Patrick Lopez, Chief Marketing Officer of Vantrix. “As mobile video continues to take a dominant place in our daily lives, mobile networks are challenged to handle the increasing demand. Vantrix Bandwidth Optimizer alleviates this strain and maximizes the mobile operators’ network capacity by making on-the-fly adjustments to the way videos are delivered to end-users. This solution not only stops the ‘waste’ incurred by operators in delivering Internet videos to smartphones, tablets and laptops, but also effectively doubles the capacity of existing network infrastructure, while reducing the OPEX and CAPEX necessary to increase the networks capacity.”

Thanks to iPads, iPhones and Android, people are watching mobile video more than ever before. In fact, it is predicted that by 2015, video will represent more than 70 percent of all mobile traffic. As mobile video becomes ubiquitous, mobile networks are challenged to handle the increasing demand. Vantrix Bandwidth Optimizer optimizes all video content and delivers it in real-time to the recipient, while maintaining the best quality of experience. To highlight the benefit of bandwidth optimization, Vantrix has created an interactive tool called the Vantrix Bandwidth Savings Calculator. This tool enables mobile carriers to calculate the savings they can experience by implementing Vantrix Bandwidth Optimizer in their network.

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29th November 2010

Sarbakan To Develop Two Kinect Titles

Game Prototype ChallengeAttention game devs – Game Prototype Challenge founder Jason Kaplan will officially announce Game Prototype Challenge V2 at noon EST on Wednesday, December 1. The new themes will be announced on December 13th, and the challenge will run from December 13 through December 20th. Get your thinking caps on, limber up those design skills and get ready for some informal designing fun. If you aren’t familiar with Game Prototype Challenge, check out their site and see all of the great ideas that were shared in Version 1.

Sarbakan Game StudioQuebec-based Sarbakan Game Studio has announced an agreement has been signed with a multinational corporation for the creation of multiple games on Microsoft’s Kinect, the controller-free, motion-based gaming device for the Xbox 360, released in November 2010.

Under the agreement, Sarbakan will develop two games, yet to be named publicly, based on the Kinect platform. The games, which will be sold in retail stores across the United States and Europe next year, are just the beginning of what promises to be a new era in video game development. More details on Sarbakan’s Kinect development and this partnership will be available over the upcoming months.

“We are truly poised as a forward-developing studio,” said Guy Boucher, President of Sarbakan. “As we broadened our services to include iOS and Kinect platforms, our existing and potential partners have really Pirates of the Caribbean Cursed Cave Crusaderamped up their creative development with Sarbakan to provide their titles and brands across multiple platforms.”

Along with the partnership announcement, Sarbakan has launched a revamp of its corporate web site. With a new look and high-tech underpinnings, the web site provides Sarbakan clients, partners and friends easier access to all Sarbakan has to offer in innovative game design and development. Although the web site is only it is first phase, visitors can quickly view the company’s latest developments and keep up-to-date on upcoming happenings. New features and information will be added over the course of the upcoming months.

With its indie vibe but larger-than-life ambitions, Sarbakan is on the hunt for talented, high-octane candidates, from game designers to programmers, to fulfill the company’s growing needs. Interested candidates can contact Sarbakan to learn more. Zombies and pencil pushers need not apply.

Previous titles from Sarbakan include The Incredibles save The Day, Pirates of the Caribbean Cursed Cave Crusade and Tron: Legacy Digital DJ web games and Wizards of Waverly Place: Spellbound on the Nintendo DS for Disney Interactive as well as Lazy Raiders for XBLA.

Sunday MuseAs a leading voice actor specializing in animation, Sunday Muse has become the go-to person for those wanting to learn how to become an actor in the animation industry. Her original techniques show students how they can animate their bodies and voice through connecting to the emotions and actions of the characters they’re playing.

Sunday Muse joins Voice Over Experts with her podcast lesson on “How to Introduce Your Child to Voice Acting” to help parents prepare their children for getting involved in cartoon voice acting. Sunday’s podcast is full of industry knowledge, casting expectations and exciting tips that will help parents prepare their child You Can Do Voices Toofor what it might be like to be a working voice over actor. Sunday has also produced a book with CD titled You Can Do Cartoon Voices, Too! and it is currently listed on her site for a limited-time special of 30% off.

The Voice Over Experts is hosted by Voices.com, the online voice over marketplace. The podcasts are an educational library of free voice acting lessons designed for those just starting out and are a treasure trove of resources for established voice actors who want to refine their knowledge and skills from the privacy of their own home and at their own pace. The Voice Over Experts Podcast can be found in the iTunes Podcast Directory and online at the Voices.com Podcast Center.

Whistler Film FestivalWhistler Film Festival 2010 now has an app for that – their new iPhone app is now available in the App Store. Developed by QuickMobile, this free app will allow you to access the 10th Anniversary Whistler Film Festival (running December 1st through 5th) from the palm of your hand. Get inspired by filmmaker interviews, panels, industry programmes, and behind-the-scenes coverage.nextMEDIA Toronto

NextMedia Toronto is currently underway, and if you were unable to attend, there are loads of live tweets to be found, just search the #nextmedia hashtag on twitter. If you are in the Toronto area and would like attend tomorrow, there are still day passes available.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has sent out the announcement for their next iLunch event, which will be held on December 10th at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel. Titled Relationships with Multiple Partners: Can It Work, this session will feature case-studies on creative partnerships, how these relationships were instigated and structured, plus highlights of the challenges and successes producing the resulting properties. Knowing and securing the right partners for your project is paramount to its success, and featured speakers James Milward (Secret Location), Trevor Fencott (Bedlam Games) and Garry Flahive (NFB) will focus your attention on several key points, including cross platform relationships, methodology, ROI, brand expansion, the limitations and benefits of IDM partnerships and much, much more. Purchase your tickets now to get the whole story.

Shaw CableOn the heels of raising 2.6 million pounds of food and $250,000 as part of the Fill the Food Banks campaign (PDF), Shaw has launched Shaw’s Amazing Family Reunion contest, the next initiative in their Together is Amazing movement.

The contest invites Canadians to create a virtual scrapbook page sharing their story of why together is amazingthey would like to reunite their family. Ten deserving families will be chosen by a panel of judges and will create their dream family reunion, each valued up to $25,000.

“There is nothing more heartwarming than seeing families come together,” said Brad Shaw, CEO, Shaw Communications Inc. “Over the past couple of months we’ve had the great pleasure of watching as our communities united to fill food banks across Canada as part of our Together is Amazing movement. Nothing would make us happier than to see that sense of ‘togetherness’ continue.”

Canadians can enter online from November 29, 2010 to January 15, 2011. Entries are limited to one per person, and applicants are asked to create virtual scrapbooks of their family memories and their dream reunion as part of the submission process.flightnetwork on blackberry

flight networkFlight Network, one of Canada’s leaders in online travel, has launched its free iPhone, and BlackBerry mobile applications. Unique to the FlightNetwork.com, this mobile application offers the ability to search and compare the lowest airfares available in the country, then seamlessly book a flight within the native app, without being re-directed to another webpage or having to telephone in payment information.

Additional features of the FlightNetwork.com mobile application include an option to connect instantly with one of FlightNetwork.com’s 65 flight specialists for customer support. Also, easy sharing of airfares with friends and family is available through email, Facebook and Twitter. It also allows customers to book in either US or Canadian dollars and provides secure 128 bit encryption for payments.

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4th November 2010

Catching Up From Yesterday

Wow – one day away and so much went on yesterday! Of course, catching up with yesterday has put me behind for today, but I’ll get all caught up eventually – even on all those games I’ve been trying to get to for reviews. I had a non-digital project to complete and ended up in a very demanding crunch time, because my time line for delivery did not match the deadline that my Mother implemented, and we all know that Mom’s always right…Ubisoft

For those who aren’t already aware, Ubisoft has acquired Longtail Studios’ Quebec City location, and will absorb most of its staff into their own studio. Longtail had contributed to Ubisoft’s Michael Jackson: The Experience, and while this means that Longtail Quebec is no longer in operation, both of Longtail’s maritime studios – Charlottetown and Halifax are still open for business. The Halifax studio recently launched its latest title, Dance on Broadway. By the way, the Halifax studio is currently looking to fill four career positions, including that of Game Tester.

EA Mobile put several of its titles on sale for 99 cents yesterday – if you live in the USA. The only exemption to the USA location restriction is Reckless Racing, which was put on sale worldwide. The other EA Mobiletitles currently on sale in the US App Store are:

Tiger Woods PGA Tour – Skate It by EA – Command & Conquer Red Alert – Yahtzee Adventures – Trivial Pursuit – Boggle – Clue – Spore Creatures – Boggle for iPad – Snood – EA Sudoku – Spore Origins – Star Trek – Lemonade Tycoon Read the rest of this entry »

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7th October 2010

Visimonde Opens Its Doors In Edmonton

visimondeEdmonton’s Ted Bradshaw and Scott Rusnak today announced the launch of Visimonde Inc., a new company that will design and develop virtual worlds and games for audiences worldwide.

“Visimonde will specialize in the creation of games for the purposes of engaging, entertaining, and educating our players and delivering value to our partners,” said Bradshaw, the company’s CEO and President.

The Albertan company is already in production on its first property, which is scheduled to launch in closed beta this visimonde hockeywinter. This full-featured massively multiplayer online game will offer both free and subscription-based features, as well as an innovative new “Instant Trial” that lets players experience the virtual world without the need for a time-consuming registration process.

Bradshaw and Rusnak come from both educational and children’s software and information management backgrounds. Bradshaw was the President and CEO of StudentsAchieve Software. Bradshaw oversaw the company from early stage start-up through to a successful acquisition by SRB Education. Rusnak, Visimonde Creative Director, spent 15 years as Vice President of Management Information Group in Scottsdale, Arizona and Edmonton, Canada. Rusnak has extensive international experience in development and marketing of education and social media software applications.

The company has hired Blaine Graboyes to serve as Executive Producer for its current game. Graboyes is an award-winning Media Architect and Game Designer that has worked with the likes of Dreamworks, Sony, Mattel, NFL Films, Disney, Nickelodeon, MTV and more.

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29th September 2010

Renown Entertainment Begins Countdown To Launch

renown entertainmentExperienced game developers have confirmed the formation of a new independent studio named Renown Entertainment Inc. in Vancouver. Founded in 2009 by James Lau and Bill Li, the company will develop, publish and distribute interactive entertainment for video game systems, wireless devices and online.

President and Creative Director, James Lau, brings more than a decade of experience in the games and visual effects industries to drive the direction of the studio and game Waves Survivordevelopment.

“With today’s software, communication platforms and support for digital distribution, independent developers are empowered to create Triple-A games and reach a worldwide audience. This shift in the industry allows us to focus on crafting high quality games of exceptional value with efficient, multi-discipline teams on any platform including big blockbusters, which are usually reserved for large publishers and developers.”

“It’s a great time to be in game development despite the downturn over the last couple of years. It revealed a lot of issues that need to be addressed in order for developers to keep innovating and remain profitable while maintaining quality. With this in mind, we’re implementing new methods of game development for the rapidly evolving industry.”

Co-Founder and Technical Director, Bill Li feels “Engineering is only a means to an end to realize exceptional gameplay and a memorable experience. Our goal is to emotionally captivate players and keep them coming back for more.”

Waves SurvivorIt is with these philosophies that Renown strives to transcend the artistic and technical aspects of game development to create truly rewarding interactive experiences.

Renown will launch their first game, Waves: Survivor, in October for the iPhone® and iPod Touch®. In this debut game, gamers will be challenged to see how many days they can survive in a rowboat while lost at sea. Obstacles will include riding huge waves and fending off dangerous creatures like the electric jelly fish and hungry sharks. Your character will also require some strong swimming skills as gamers build up their collection of deep-sea treasures and celebrate achievements by rockin’ out on their paddle guitar.

Waves: Survivor will also featuring leaderboards (via Facebook and Twitter), interactive water physics, continuous survival gameplay, touch and accelerometer controls, collectible items and more. Renown Entertainment’s second game (currently referred to as iOS Game D) is scheduled for released this winter. It would appear from the studio’s game listing that they are also working on a Triple A title for console and PC gamers.

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16th September 2010

Digital Extremes Picks up Small Business Award

Congratulations to development studio Digital Extremes who has been named as a winner of The Ontario Digital ExtremesBusiness Achievement Awards Royal Bank Award for Small Business. Digital Extremes is one of a dozen Ontario companies who have been named provincial winners of The Ontario Business Achievement Awards (OBAA) and the Ontario Global Traders Awards (OGTA) by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

“These outstanding award winners exemplify business excellence through innovation, export diversity, entrepreneurial spirit and an understanding that the best investment is in their people,” says Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “This is the award winners’ opportunity to step into the spotlight to celebrate success, not only for themselves but, for Ontario.”

Eidos MontrealSquare Enix revealed today that a new premium-quality action figure based on the central character from the Eidos Montreal game Deus Ex: Human Revolution™, Adam Jensen will be the latest addition to the Play Arts® -KAI- series, and will feature newly-augmented Adam Jensen and even more.
Deus Ex Human Revolution
“The Square Enix Merchandise Division is dedicated to creating collectible action figures that combine high production value and excellent articulation,” said Kanji Tashiro, Merchandise Director of Square Enix, Inc. “The DEUS EX series has captivated fans across the globe since the first game was released, and we are thrilled and pleased to be making action figures for its latest entry. The game’s truly unique style and visually striking technology provides us with a perfect opportunity to do what we do best: craft a high-quality product that brings to life a vibrant universe.”

For those on the career hunt, Eidos Montreal has several positions open, including that for a Brand Manager.

LudiaLudia and FremantleMedia Enterprises have launched The Price Is Right HD for iPad® on the App Store. Now iPad users can “COME ON DOWN!” to an unparalleled The Price Is Right experience, enhanced with stunning new HD graphics and incorporating Multi-Touch game play. Incorporating all the familiar elements of the beloved TV game show, The Price Is Right HD for iPad puts players in Contestant’s Row to bid on items in order to earn a shot at playing popular pricing games, try their luck at spinning The Big Wheel, and experience the winner-takes-all tension of the Showcase.

“The Price Is Right is one of Ludia’s most successful titles across platforms, and we are thrilled to now bring it to iPad owners in HD,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “Game show fans can now enjoy immersive and engaging The Price Is Right fun anywhere, thanks to the iPad’s advanced capabilities.”

The Price Is Right HD features:

* Eye-popping HD graphics designed and optimized for the iPad.
* Two game modes: single player and multiplayer.
* Favorite pricing games to play including Plinko, Cliff Hangers, Punch-a-Bunch & many more.
* Authentic stages, Big Wheel, and other game elements combine with familiar music and Rich Fields as announcer to create a true-to-show experience.
* Customizable 3D player avatars: choose hairstyles, clothing, accessories and more.
* Unlock bonus items as a reward for progress in the game.

astral mediaAstral Media Inc. has launched a campaign that celebrates its contributions to Canadian culture. The two TV messages were conceived by Bos and depict what the film, television and music industries would look like without such crucial financing. Both situations use humor to offset an otherwise very serious issue.

The campaign premiered last week at the opening night of the Toronto International Film Festival, which Astral is a proud sponsor. One of the two trailers was showcased during the Opening Night Gala Presentation of Score: A Hockey Musical, one of 19 Astral supported Canadian Films selected for the 2010 Festival. Other movies include gala presentations of Barney’s Version, A Beginners Guide to Endings, and the Bang Bang Club; and a special presentation of Trigger. Both messages are now airing on Astral’s pay-television and specialty services.

For over 25 years now, Astral has played a leading role in providing private funding for Canadian culture. This dedication to the vitality of our communities and to the arts industry has allowed for ambitious television and film projects to see the light of day, and for now popular musical notes to take flight. Every year, through its pay and specialty TV channels, radio stations and The Harold Greenberg Fund, Astral invests over $170 million in Canadian culture.

“We are fortunate to live in a dynamic, inclusive and creative culture. This unique point of view needs to be nourished and celebrated. We take much pride in the fact that Astral’s investments help great projects come to life, contribute to a creative product of quality, and support the talented artists and artisans behind these projects,” said Derev Antikacioglu, Corporate Marketing Director at Astral.

Astral continues to be the country’s largest private investor in Canadian feature film, funding the development and production of homegrown film and television projects. In the world of music, Astral has worked closely with partners to develop and launch over 20 projects to support Canadian singers, songwriters and performers.

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