2nd March 2011

Women In Film Festival This Weekend In Vancouver

The 6th Annual Vancouver Women in Film Festival (VWIFF), presented by Women In Film & Television Vancouver (WIFTV), will be held from Friday, March 4 to Sunday March 6 at the VIFC Vancity Theatre on Seymour Street, with the Women In Film & Television International (WIFTI) short film screening on Tuesday, March 8th at Langara College to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Note: Advance online ticket sales close at midnight tonight, March 2nd.WIFV Film Festival 2011

“It’s been yet another tough year in the industry, yet women continue to thrive in front of and behind the cameras,” says Festival Director, Roslyn Muir. Telefilm Canada’s 2010 report on the state of women in the Canadian Feature Film Industry states that while women receive more training than men and attend film school in equal numbers, they work on lower budget films and have “less access” to public funds than their male counterparts.

Muir continues: “With the help of our volunteers, staff and sponsors, we’re very excited about this
year’s Vancouver Women in Film Festival. Submissions and audience numbers continue to grow every year and to me, that proves to me that there’s a need to have women’s stories seen, heard and celebrated in the public arena.” Five features and over 40 short films will be shown, made by both first-time and veteran filmmakers, and spanning all genres.

The festival opens on Friday, March 4 with the return of the Digital Media Forum panels during the
day, followed by Danishka Esterhazy’s Black Field, and the festival’s Opening Reception. The festival will also present the Spotlight Awards, the Legacy Awards, given to the top 3 BC filmmakers at the festival, and the Women in the Director’s Chair (WIDC) Feature Film Award, a $100,000 in-kind award administered by Creative Women Workshops Association. Other festival events include Pitching sessions, an Industry Showcase, the free WIDC Panel, Receptions, Film Screenings on Saturday and Sunday, as well as a Networking Lunch Presentation on “Making your first low budget feature.”

Other films of note include Canadian shorts in the Aboriginal Short Film Showcase, curated by Metis/Cree Director Barbara Hager:

  • Wendy Ord & Glen Samuel’s short film TORA, set in the Japanese Internment Camps in World War II and starring David Suzuki in his first acting role
  • Sisters in Arms, Beth Freeman’s feature documentary on three military women sent to fight in Afghanistan
  • A Window Looking In, Tara Hungerford’s short documentary profiling 12 BC-based artists, including William Gibson and Sarah McLachlan
  • John Zaritsky’s feature documentary Leave Them Laughing, on ALS-fated singer/comedienne Carla Zilbersmith
  • Katrin Bowen’s Amazon Falls.

CTV WIDC CAM Panel: Thriving on the Curve of Change: Moderated by Carol Whiteman (CWWA / WIDC), industry insiders including Trish Williams (CTV), John Dippong (Telefilm Canada), and MaryAnne Waterhouse (Anagram Pictures) will discuss the current shifts in the marketplace and what it now takes for content creators to tell their stories and sustain healthy careers while navigating the relentless curve of change. This panel is presented by Creative Women Workshops Association through the support of the CTV-CHUM Tangible Benefits and in collaboration with the Vancouver Women In Film Festival and WIFTV.

The Digital Media Forum takes place from 9:30am – 5:30pm on Friday, March 4th and is presented by the BC Film Commission and Telefilm Canada.

9:30 am – 11:00 am – Focus on Innovation: A group of visionary digital media professionals discuss the next-gen applications of technology. From the implementation of new communication technologies to the gamification of everyday life, the discussion will touch on how digital media will affect the future. Moderated by Justine Bizzochi. Panelists: Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, Rochelle Grayson, Rae Hull.

11:15 am – 12:30 pm: New Trends in Social Media: Social media mavens, veterans and upstarts discuss the new trends in socializing and marketing. How can Twitter grow? Have Facebook members revolted against the marketing machine? What’s next?
Moderated by Sarah Muff. Panelists: Nadia Aly, Rebecca Coleman, Nimisha Mukerji.

1:30 pm – 2:45 pm: Start-Up Upstarts: Digital pioneers partnering in new technologies. Profiling women entrepreneurs in all areas of the digital realm: communication, gaming and social media marketing. Moderated by Danika Dinsmore. Panelists: Kirsten Forbes, Angel Pui, Moyra Rodger.

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Nice Work if You Can Get It: How do you turn your passion for digital media into a career? Where do you start and what skills do you need? Panelists include: an experienced game producer, a writer new to the gaming world, and a front-line social media marketer.
Moderated by Dina Grskovich. Panelists: Bryna Dabby, Bonnie Jean Mah, Melissa Wood.

4:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Networking Reception: Join panelists and industry professionals to continue the conversations in an informal atmosphere. Included with the purchase of a Digital Media Forum pass.

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2nd March 2011

Not All Of The Action Is At GDC 2011

Note: The Toronto International Film Festival (September 8 – 18th) is now open for submissions.
Event: WaveGuide™ Technical Workshop: Samsung Bada Code Camp presented by WaveFront. This free seminar takes place tomorrow in Vancouver from 1:30pm – 8:00pm. Pre-registration is required.
Event: Global Insights Conference is taking place in Victoria on March 17th.
Event: The Basics of Intellectual Property is a free seminar on March 10th presented by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and hosted by nGen.

Decapod StudiosVancouver’s Decapod Studios, creators of one of my favourite XBLIG games, Murphid, has released iStopwatch for Windows Phone 7. The free app is a simple, fast and elegant stop istopwatchwatch. It features a stopwatch timer, split timer, lap timer and countdown. It supports logging unlimited split and lap times and shares results via email.

The studio has also submitted an update for its measurement units converter app, Convert Units PRO for Windows Phone 7. The update includes faster application loading and adds in-app feedback options. The update will be available for free for all existing users once it receives Microsoft certification.

Convert Units PRO features include:

• U.S., Imperial and metric units.
• Convert length, mass, area, volume and temperature with ease.
• More than 100 measurement units are supported.
• Rarely used and old units are available.
• High precision conversion.

industrial brothersIndustrial Brothers has released a new 99 cent USD game on the iTunes Store. 2Bit is a challenging 2Bit The Gridretro-inspired puzzle game that will challenge your nerves and co-ordination as you try to navigate through The Grid, a landscape full of dangers. Yes, that’s right, The Grid is rife with shooting turrets, trip wires, hydraulic plugs, screwblades and more dangerous too frightening to talk about. At launch, 2Bit offers 20 challenging levels contained within 2 Grid areas, each with 10 levels of puzzles to negotiate.

2Bit’s current features include:

• Select between 2D or 3D views
• Personal High Scores and Global Leaderboard and Online Registration
• Original retro-themed sound effects and music
• Additional Grids and Levels to be released over the next few weeks at no extra cost

The Cavechild has released his first non-narrated gameplay video for Dawn of War II: Retribution by Relic Entertainment. His army is the one decked out in patriotic red and white, in Last Stand on The Anvil of Khorne as the Space Marine Captain.

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

Strangeloop has partnered with Exclusive Concepts, Inc. to offer its proprietary Site Optimizer service to Yahoo! store merchants worldwide. Yahoo! Merchant Solutions is Strangeloop Networksthe largest hosted platform for ecommerce stores, with more Internet Retailer® Top 500 retailers using Yahoo! than any other hosted solution. Exclusive Concepts, the leading resource for online stores seeking to convert online shoppers into loyal buyers, provides a breadth of marketing services – from advanced search engine marketing to conversion testing – to more than 800 merchants around the world. As an authorized Yahoo! partner, Exclusive Concepts will be the exclusive provider of Strangeloop’s website acceleration technology to this market.

The Strangeloop Site Optimizer, utilized by companies such as Petco, Travelocity, Visa, Sodexo, and O’Reilly Media, is the only automated web performance optimization solution that functions at the scale demanded by global ecommerce sites and enterprise applications. Through partners like Exclusive Concepts, Site Optimizer can be offered as a hosted service, making Strangeloop’s advanced optimization technology accessible to businesses of all sizes.

vaencoCalgary tech company Vaenco, Inc. has officially launched its interactive media platform called ZoweeTV. An end-to-end multi-screen media platform that delivers movies, TV shows, music, games and other interactive media to Internet-enabled devices including TVs, Blu-ray players, media extenders, set-top boxes and game consoles for both ‘over-the-top’ delivery as well as integrated solutions for service providers and operators.

Key features include a fully integrated cross-platform user interface that includes a media management system for consumers as well as social networking capabilities through ZoweeTV’s proprietary system-wide network. zoweetvZoweeTV was built for content owners by content owners, offering a fully customizable content management system enabling dynamic ‘self’ distribution with a turnkey content management dashboard including asset management, metadata integration, windows, pricing, territories and other key policies with detailed ‘back-end’ reporting.

According to recently released In-Stat research, Web-to-TV Video content revenue will grow by 750% to $17 billion by 2014. “We built ZoweeTV from the ground up, built for complete customization for any platform, any video format on any device, anywhere in the world — ZoweeTV will optimize content distribution opportunities for content owners and deliver a robust, quality user experience to the end user” said Ronald Domes, CEO.

ZoweeTV will be widely available to consumers Worldwide by Summer 2011 through strategic partnerships with device manufacturers as an operating system or through stand-alone apps and web browsers. More announcements will be made in the upcoming weeks.

Government of CanadaFour initiatives that support northern innovation and knowledge will move forward thanks to investments by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor). The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, has announced an investment of $426,000 for research and training projects to help the Northwest Territories and Nunavut strengthen information technology (IT), energy, and educational sectors of the economy. With additional contributions from project proponents and the Territorial governments, the projects have a total value of more than $500,000.

“The Government of Canada recognizes that by investing in research and training, we are enabling the long-term sustainability of communities and businesses across the North,” said Minister Duncan, who is also Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians.

“Research has shown that there is a strong positive correlation between investments in IT infrastructure, capacity development and economic growth,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Member of Parliament for Nunavut, Regional Minister for the North and Minister of Health. “These investments will create new educational, social and business opportunities in both territories that will provide long-term benefits for northerners and northern businesses.”

CanNor’s funding will support four projects in the NWT and Nunavut, including new mining and remediation training programs, research into the potential to use local willow as biomass fuel, and two projects to assess and support the potential for establishing broadband internet in Nunavut.

Funding for these projects came from CanNor’s Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) program, which provides funding for northern projects that contribute to long-term economic growth, economic diversification, and capacity building in the three territories. SINED is one of a number of economic development programs delivered by CanNor in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

RCMPOn this past Sunday, February 27th, members of the London RCMP Detachment Federal Enforcement Section seized thousands of pirated DVDs from a booth at the Gibraltar Trade Centre on Dundas Street East in London.

Pirated DVDs in flimsy plastic sleeves were openly displayed for sale at space rented by the accused at the Gibraltar Trade Centre, where it is alleged they sold the pirated movies. The accused were found in possession of approximately 4000 movies for sale including recently released DVD movies, movies still in the theaters and others yet to be released. Titles included: The King’s Speech, The Fighter, Black Swan, True Grit, and Inception amongst many others.

“This isn’t a victimless crime,” stated Inspector Dwight Blok, Officer in charge of the RCMP London Detachment. “We are committed in our efforts to combat this type of criminal activity.”

The accused, a 25 year old man and a 24 year old woman from Toronto, face charges under the Copyright Act for allegedly offering for sale an infringing copy of work where copyright subsists. If convicted the accused could faces fines not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.

bits republicBits Republic Technologies, Inc., a Vancouver-based developer of cloud security applications and licensed technologies, has unveiled the new name for its popular ultra-secure Document Management System. The application formerly known as MOnet has been renamed PrivyDocs in order to better reflect the complete privacy that this application provides.

PrivyDocs is entirely browser-based. Unlike past versions, PrivyDocs requires no software installation and can be run on Mac or PC through most major browsers. This represents a major unique advance in cloud computing in that security and privacy are so complete that neither the application host nor storage hosts have access to stored data, yet control by the user extends to file sharing with other parties replete with advanced file and folder permissions.

“PrivyDocs is designed to replace a key part of in-house systems; that part that deals with guarded data dissemination both within and outside the organization.” explained Charles Chung, owner and founder of Bits Republic Technologies, Inc. “In the past, placing such data online and managing it `through the cloud` has necessitated complete trust in the application provider – they can see your data. With our solution, professionals and enterprises retain control of their sensitive data and the providers have no access to it. Our solution enables the users to control advanced permissions by file, to track file access and versions, and even to customize the look and feel of the application for their particular needs”.

PrivyDocs uses the patent-pending Bits republic security engine which provides a very flexible platform for client-side encryption and server side ‘blind’ hosting and management. This technology assures that only authorized users are able to access secured data and metadata, and that not even the application or storage hosts have access to it themselves.

dhx mediaDHX Media Ltd has been authorized to purchase at market price up to 3,629,576 common shares of the Company being approximately 10% of its public float of 36,295,762 common shares as of February 28, 2011, and representing approximately 5.9% of its issued share capital, by way of a normal course issuer bid (the “Bid”) through the facilities of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). As of February 28, 2011, there were 61,617,565 common shares issued and outstanding. DHX is making the bid to reduce the number of outstanding shares in the corporation and to improve earnings per share. The Bid will commence on March 4, 2011, and end no later than March 3, 2012, observing the purchasing restrictions during ‘black out’ or ‘close’ periods.
Kid vs Kat
The Company intends to implement an automatic share purchase plan to allow it to purchase shares under the Bid while in such ‘black out’ or ‘close’ periods. The Bid will be funded from the Company’s existing cash resources. Any shares purchased under the Bid will be cancelled. The TSX rules permit DHX to purchase daily, through TSX facilities, a maximum of approximately 26,467 common shares under the Bid, being 25% of the average daily trading volume of 105,870 over the last six months.

In the opinion of the Company’s board of directors and senior management, DHX shares may occasionally trade in a price range which does not adequately reflect the value of underlying assets based on the Company’s business and financial position. Consequently, the Company may, from time to time, purchase common shares of the Company under the Bid. DHX has not purchased any shares of the Company pursuant to a normal course issuer bid during the preceding 12 months.

veerCalgary-based Veer, a provider of affordable visual elements that makes it easier to be creative, today announced the launch of an exclusive new font collection named Agency 26, as well as the addition of fonts from the Filmotype foundry and several other leading designers.

The new Agency 26 collection has 10 new typeface families and 23 fonts, all of which are Veer Exclusives.  The collection is inspired by the bold wood typefaces of 19th century America, and takes a modern slant on the traditional representations of these historical fonts with the addition of features like a full Western European character set, alternate widths, lowercase and other features not found in their historical counterparts.

All Agency 26 fonts are designed by Brian Jaramillo, who has been designing typefaces for more than 10 years, but typically kept them for his own custom projects. He is inspired by the graphic language of the surf and skate industries, and a childhood of drawing band logos on notebooks. Brian’s previous font designs for VersusTwin Foundry can be found in Veer’s Umbrella™ Collection. Brian is also the force behind the blog Lettercult, a showcase of hand lettering arts.  The Veer creative team has produced an animated short to help show off Agency 26.

Veer also welcomes Filmotype, a foundry that brings 16 new fonts evoking classic American lettering of the 1950s and 60s. At the historical crossroads between lead type and the computer revolution, the original Filmotype library grew to encompass several hundred fonts available to designers, providing typeface designs on 2-inch filmstrips. Filmotype initially manufactured a manual phototype machine enabling headline and display typesetting using a photochemical development process, helping to revolutionize the process of advertising layout and lettering.

In 2006, Stuart Sandler and Font Diner revived the Filmotype marque, intending to create high-quality digitizations of this historic collection, adapted for the modern age. A gallery of Filmotype fonts on Veer.com reveals that they have a retro vibe and contain lots of brush scripts and condensed gothic sans, particularly Filmotype Zanzibar and Filmotype Macbeth. The original designs have been brought up to date with the inclusion of a full international character compliment, automatic fractions, ordinals, and a set of automatic alternate contextual characters and ligatures.

“Agency 26 is a fun, playful font collection that evokes the days of wood type broadsides and wanted posters,” says Joe Newton, Product Manager, Type for Veer. “The fonts include playful details like alternate widths, lowercase and ornaments that are perfect for evoking the worn, weather look of vintage leatherpress, or for lending rustic charm to food packaging and signage.”

Other new additions to the Veer font collection include:

•   Steinweiss Script – Known as the father of the album cover, Alex Steinweiss’ distinctive “scrawl” has been faithfully recreated by Michael Doret in homage to the original. Available in three weights, each including a number of variations including simple, fancy and tilting. Steinweiss Script is part of the Umbrella Collection.
•   Yana – Designer Laura Worthingon set out to create a versatile, swashy serif usable in logos, headlines and body copy. Along the way it gained an old-style Victorian aesthetic, upper and lowercase characters, over 200 swash capitals, and regular, bold and italic variants. Yana is part of the Umbrella Collection.
•   Torino Pro – Originally designed in 1908 by Alessandro Butti, Torino is a modern italic Didone that has been revived, redrawn and expanded by Jason Walcott. It contains a large number of elegant swashes, discretionary ligatures and lining figures. Torino Pro is a Veer Exclusive and part of the Jukebox Collection.
•   Hiatus – This is a contemporary script that blends casual and formal elements with the warmth of hand lettering. Stephen Rapp’s low body height and full connection of the characters make for a versatile script. Hiatus, which includes a large number of swash alternates and ornaments, as well as extensive international language support, is a Veer Exclusive from the Umbrella Collection.

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2nd March 2011

IBM Survey Confirms Shoppers Are Getting Tech Savvy

IBMAn annual IBM global survey of 30,000 consumers in 13 countries, including more than 2,000 Canadians, reveals shoppers here are adopting new shopping technologies faster than most. In fact, the number of Canadians willing to use mobile technologies to shop increased by 160 per cent year-to-year, second only to the US in uptake.

The survey also shows the number of Canadian “instrumented” consumers — who use two or more technologies such as a website, mobile device or in-store kiosk — increased by 65 per cent over last year’s results, almost double the global result, which reported a 36 per cent increase year-to-year.

“It would appear Canadians’ conservative attitude toward adopting new consumer technologies is changing rapidly to the point that consumers are ahead of retailers,” says John Dawkins, IBM’s Canadian retail sector lead. “Wider access to bandwidth at lower rates, an increase in the number of Canadian wireless service providers, adoption of social media and a comparatively faster economic recovery are driving the emergence of a more complex, competitive and sophisticated shopper.”

The study reveals a portrait of the quintessential Canadian shopper: female; frugal but optimistic about her income; influenced more by family and friends’ opinions than retailers; and who regularly shops for more than people in her household such as parents or grandchildren.

The survey polled consumers from a dozen other countries, including both mature and emerging markets and show globally, shoppers have adopted attitudes during the recession that continue to dictate their behavior: they buy what they need, search for items on sale and wait longer to purchase; and they have embraced the use of technology throughout the process to save time and enhance the experience.

Other findings include:

* Shoppers are leveraging social media from Facebook to Twitter, to blogs, YouTube and reviews, more than ever before to discuss retailers, products and brands with friends, family members and strangers.
* Consumers are checking prices in store, where 70 per cent of final product selection happens, using smart phones and UPC tags to check competitive offerings.
* Consumers want a personalized shopping experience and will spend more and be more loyal to retailers who offer them quality, service and promotions on items they regularly buy and remember things such as their preferred payment methods.
* Consumers want to shop seamlessly across channels, check product prices wherever they are, get promotions based on the items they scan, and use a personal mobile device to avoid the checkout lane.

“A new approach to customer intimacy is critical in the new economic environment and this necessitates a stronger commitment than ever before. Organizations that are best at extracting previously undiscovered insights from vast amounts of customer information have a huge advantage in deepening existing connections and creating new relationships,” said Diane Brisebois, president and CEO of the Retail Council of Canada.

The IBM survey of 30,624 consumers was conducted in October 2010 in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, United Kingdom and United States.

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