21st August 2011

EndGame Fans Voice Their Passion For The Show

endgameThis weekend has seen a coming together of the fans of Endgame, a TV series produced by Vancouver’s Thunderbird Films for Showcase, a Shaw Media television station. This ragtag group of people, who hail from all over the globe have been chatting up their love for the show and its actors on Twitter, FaceBook, through hangouts on Google+ and on IRC, hoping beyond hope that there will be at least a Season Two for the show – especially now that the show has been nominated in five categories by the Gemini Awards, including one for the interactive episode that puts you behind the eight ball with a challenge to solve the crime.

The fans of the TV show banded together when it was learned that Showcase had cancelled the quirky crime drama after its inaugural season. Prior to the nomination announcements, Showcase had removed Endgame from its show list, but it was hastily re-added to the site shortly after the Gemini Awards press conference.

For those not familiar with the show, Endgame is set and filmed in Vancouver, with the Westin Bayshore taking on the central role as The Huxley, a hotel in which Russian chess master Arkady Balagan (Shawn Doyle) has unwittingly become imprisoned. At the start of the season, and in small clues doled out as the weekly drama unfolded, viewers would learn that Arkady’s beloved fiancee Rosemary (Lisa Ray) had been the victim of a violent and lethal attack in front of the hotel. Witness to the attack and her death, Arkady has become an agoraphobic unable to walk out the front door of The Huxley.

As a chess master, Arkady has become adept at solving very difficult puzzles with his mind, and it is through this talent that he is able to remain the sole tenant in one of The Huxley’s penthouse suites – much to the chagrin of endgame casthotel security chief Hugo (Patrick Gallagher) and hotel manager Barbara Stillwell (Veena Sood), who would much rather see the self-absorbed and world-renowned barefoot genius vacate the hotel. Arkady works his way through each episode’s puzzle – everything from a kidnapped boy to saving a polar bear from ending up as bear steaks – with logic and visualization. With his inability to leave the hotel, Arkady depends on hotel staff members to assist him in finding the missing pieces to bring each case to the right conclusion.

Arkady’s right hand man is college student Sam (Torrance Coombs), who is studying to become a game designer. As a fan of the chess great, Sam willingly runs errands and gathers information in exchange for chess matches with Arkady. Also aiding Arkady are bartender Danni (Katharine Isabelle) and chamber maid Alcina (Carmen Aguirre). Added to the mix are security assistant Gurjit (Gary Gill), and Rosemary’s sister Pippa (Melanie Papalia).

As the season unfolds, viewers are brought deeper into the lives of each of these central characters, catching glimpses of their pasts and personal mysteries. The central plot to the show is of course who killed Rosemary, and web journalist Pippa is determined to solve the crime, often butting heads with the grieving Arkady, who alternates between wanting to solve the one puzzle whose solution eludes him and wanting to let go. Pippa continues to overturn rocks, often disturbing what lies beneath, and the first season ended with a cliffhanger that saw a staff member dead and Arkady bound with duct tape, driven around the city, threatened,  before being dumped on The Huxley’s front drive.

Fans of the show, ourselves included, were extremely disappointed by Showcase’s decision to drop the show, and began a public-awareness campaign to reach Endgame fans around the world, calling them to action in a last-ditch effort to save the show. A web site was launched, followed by a petition, which led to the Facebook page and a growing community of viewers who did not want to see Endgame fade to black forever. The petition currently has 6137 signatures, with more added every day. Next came an auction of Endgame memorabilia, which is open for bids until September 21st, 2011. The community members held a vote, and decided that proceeds raised through the auction would be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association in honour of Arkady Balagan and to draw attention to the very real conditon of agoraphobia.

What is perhaps most surprising is the number of international fans Endgame has won over – considering the show has only aired on Showcase Canada. Finding the show through various online channels, these people have come together to fight to keep Endgame in production. Over the course of this weekend, the fans have gotten to know each other on a more personal basis, talking together on irc – where they have been treated to conversations with some of the show’s stars – Shawn Doyle, Torrance Coombs, Patrick Gallagher, Melanie Papalia  and Gary Gill have all been present throughout yesterday and today, discussing Endgame’s plots as well as their careers – and expressing their thanks for the effort to get Endgame on the air with a new season. As I was writing this, efforts were being made to get Veena and Carmen to pop by for a visit as well.

They have all been real troopers, answering many, many questions (when they could) about life behind-the-scenes at The Huxley, what they’re working on now, as well as general chat. The actors have shown another reason why they, and Endgame, are fan favourites – their chemistry and camaraderie both on and off the set, their approachability, excellent humour and all-around human-ness. Also stopping in for a brief chat was Alyssa Campanella – the reigning Miss America, Canucks fan and significant other of Torrance Coombs. She came in for a visit while awaiting her flight to the Miss Universe Pageant taking place in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The chat room has also seen a few Vancouver actors stopping by to express their support for Endgame.

Since the Gemini nominations, Endgame has been getting more and more attention, being listed as the Number 1 show to watch by the Globe and Mail in its daily “5 Shows to Watch Tonight” feature on August 9th, and several publications, including The Vancouver Sun, have taken note of the efforts to keep Endgame going. It is the group’s  firm belief that with proper promotion and an appropriate time slot, possibly on another network such as Global, Endgame and its story will flourish, and it is this belief that fuels the support of the show’s global fan force.

This weekend has proven the power of social media in bringing together a group of strangers from around the world, uniting them in a common cause to save not only a high-quality television show, but in putting their passion towards helping the well-being of those inflicted with mental health challenges.

Are you listening, Showcase? We’d like our show back. Thank you.

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Editorials, Events, National News By: | Print This Post Print This Post

20th August 2011

Federal Government Promoting Children’s Art Tax Credit

Government of Canada The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, accompanied by Ed Holder, Member of Parliament for London West, today visited the London Children’s Museum to promote the new children’s arts tax credit, a new non-refundable credit passed this year in the 2011 federal budget.

“Parents whose children participate in paid artistic, cultural, recreational, and developmental programs will now enjoy the same benefit as parents whose children participate in paid programs of physical activity. Our Government believes whether a child is inspired by Justin Bieber, Karen Kain, Brett Lawrie, or The Tragically Hip, parents should receive a tax credit to help pay for the programs that will help their children live out those dreams,” said Minister Shea. (Editor’s note: what if your child is inspired by ReBoot, How To Be Indie, Club Penguin or their favourite iPhone app? Are these considered Visual or Creative Arts? The broad language of Canada Revenue leaves much to interpretation and the whim of the tax auditor, it seems.)

“One need not look further than the London Children’s Museum to be reminded of the infinite curiosity and thirst for knowledge our kids possess. I am pleased that our government’s Children’s Art Tax credit will help London families enrich their children’s lives in developing their cultural knowledge and creativity” added Ed Holder.

In addition to fitness programs covered by the children’s fitness tax credit, parents can now claim money spent on programs that focus on fine arts, music, performing arts, outdoor wilderness training, learning a language, studying a culture, tutoring, and more. When parents claim the children’s arts tax credit—up to a maximum of $500 of the cost of programs—they save as much as $75 at tax time per child claimed.

More Information From The Art Tax Credit Web Page:

1. What is the Children’s Art Tax Credit (CATC)?

For 2011 and subsequent years, the budget proposes a new non-refundable tax credit based on eligible expenses paid for the cost of registration or membership of your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child in a prescribed program of artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activity (eligible program). Read the rest of this entry »

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Government, National News By: | Print This Post Print This Post

20th August 2011

QuickMobile Closes Funding Round

quickmobileQuickMobile, a supplier of mobile solutions for the meetings and events industry has closed a $2.3 million round of funding. The investment, a combination of debt and equity from angel investors, will be used to support new product development, innovation and to expand QuickMobile’s customer base internationally.  QuickMobile is on pace in 2011 to record a 500 percent increase in bookings compared to 2010.

“Already the market leader in mobile event management, QuickMobile is continuing its rapid growth by adding significant new Fortune 100 clients quarter after quarter,” said investor Steve Harmer. “QuickMobile has the right team, strategy and solutions to clearly stand out in this rapidly evolving mobile application space.”

“We have seen exponential growth over the last year as meeting planners have moved away from traditional print-based media and adopted our mobile conference app to fully leverage the ubiquity and interactive capabilities of mobile devices,” said Patrick Payne, chief executive officer of QuickMobile. “As evidenced by our growth, both conference organizers and meeting attendees are looking for more efficient tools and environmentally friendly solutions to their static event program guides. Our apps are much more than simple replacements for the paperbound agenda, providing an unprecedented level of interactivity, connectivity and engagement while also dramatically reducing paper and printing.”

In the United States alone there are 1.8 million meetings per year with more than 205 million attendees. The size of the market and ever-increasing reliability on mobile technology, coupled with the fact that less than 10% of events use mobile applications, creates a major opportunity for QuickMobile.

Payne added, “The growing reliability on mobile devices and increased usage of social media is changing the way event planners and organizers use technology for managing their events. This new investment will help us capitalize on the growing market for mobile apps, allowing us to pursue and fund our aggressive growth strategy.”

QuickMobile’s mobile meeting applications vary in complexity, customization, interactivity and features. Based on the needs of individual customers, QuickMobile can develop a branded, highly-customized, robust application for events of all sizes and budgets. Among other features, the apps include social media tools, real-time content updating, surveys, audio and video streams and game-style incentives and are available for nearly every mobile device and operating system. In addition to expanding its customer base, QuickMobile continues to generate an 85% renewal rate from its global customers such as Accenture, Cisco, Dell, Disney, World Economic Forum, Global Business Travel Association, Google, Hilton Worldwide, Intel, Microsoft, PhocusWright, SAP, Salesforce.com, and the San Francisco, Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals.

Among the features available in QuickMobile’s custom applications are the following:

•   Mobile analytics and instant user feedback, so that clients can understand end-user behavior and preferences
•   Mobile sponsorship and advertising
•   Integrated Social Networking – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, FourSquare and others
•   PUSH messaging
•   Program guides or event schedules
•   Personal scheduling
•   Speaker and Attendees Lists
•   Participant messaging
•   City Guides
•   Surveys, polling and real-time audience interaction
•   mCommerce capabilities
•   Personalization and privacy setting
•   User-generated content such as Photo Gallery and speak-out boards
•   Rich media – podcasts, videos and other content
Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Business News, Digital Products, National News By: | Print This Post Print This Post

20th August 2011

Can Stock Photo Surpasses Five Million Images

can stock photoCan Stock Photo’s independent library of images has surpassed the 5 million mark, reaffirming the company as one of the world’s biggest independent stock photography collections. The microstock photography company has seen strong library growth in the past year, largely attributed to significantly increasing contributor earnings and a file submission process that is widely regarded as one of the fastest and most efficient in the industry. This has enabled the company to add over 2 million new images in just the past year.

The prestige of having over 5 million independent images in Can Stock Photo’s library is something that few stock photography companies in the world can match. While many competing agencies share and distribute their images to one another to increase their advertised image count, Can Stock Photo’s library is independent of such sharing & licensing agreements.

“Every single image on our site was submitted directly to us, inspected by our staff, and is maintained by us. We don’t license outside images. Our approach is increasingly rare among our competitors, and provides us with the significant advantage of being able to provide more accountability to our customers. Our clients know exactly where our images came from, and know that they all meet our high independent standards.” – Duncan Enman, general manager

The news of reaching the 5 million image mark comes on the heels of another major announcement by the company last month, who launched a new version of its website, complete with a high-tech search engine that is billed as one of the fastest in the industry. By combining their new design, search engine, and growing library, Can Stock Photo aims to provide one of the biggest independent stock photography collections with one of the quickest stock photo search engines.

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Business News, Digital Products, National News By: | Print This Post Print This Post

20th August 2011

Telefilm Canada Support Four English-Language Feature Films

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada has announced its support of four English-language feature films from the Atlantic, Quebec and Ontario & Nunavut regions under the selective component of the Canada Feature Film Fund (CFFF).

“This new crop of regional English-language projects is very promising,” said Michel Pradier, Director of Project Financing at Telefilm Canada. “The subjects are diverse and the creators are talented. Telefilm believes these bold, innovative projects will contribute to the development of Canadian talent and have wide audience appeal at home and abroad.”

To be eligible as a regional project, the project must have a budget under $2.5 million and request a contribution of less than $750,000 from Telefilm.

Atlantic Region

Beat Down
Director: Deanne Foley
Writer: Iain MacLeod
Producer: Pope Productions Ltd.

Fran, 18, wants to wrestle. Her single father, Whitey, is a former pro with broken dreams who won’t let her follow his example. Fran is determined though and when Whitey’s old rival, Jimmy, comes to town she runs away with his tour. But Jimmy’s only using Fran to get at Whitey and ultimately daughter and father have to reunite and defeat the villain.

Quebec Region

Canada-Ireland coproduction
Director and writer: Wiebke Von Carolsfeld
Producer: Amérique Film inc.

Stay tells the story of an unlikely love between Abbey, a young Canadian, and a much older Irish man who has lived for years as a recluse in a remote Irish fishing village. Through their failures they ultimately find redemption, hope and love.

Ontario & Nunavut Region

Dead Before Dawn
Director: April Mullen
Writer: Tim Doiron
Producer: Way of the Tosser Inc.

Casper Galloway is afraid of everything in life, especially his future.  With only two weeks until college graduation he still lives with his mother, has never touched a girl and is one credit away from failing.  But just when Casper thinks things couldn’t get any worse, he and his friends accidentally unleash a curse that causes people to kill themselves and turn into Zombie Demons, aka Zemons.  That’s right… Zemons. Armed with a slew of homemade weapons and a Winnebago the team races through the night, killing Zemons and fighting time, frantically searching for a way to reverse the curse.  But as the Zemon army starts to overpower the team, Casper finds himself with no choice but to face his fears and become the unlikeliest of heroes.  Will Casper be able to reverse the curse and save the world, or will he and all his friends be “dead before dawn”?

The Mithras Conspiracy
Director and writer: Chris MacBride
Producer: Resolute Management Group Inc.
Distributor: Entertainment One Films Canada Inc.

Two childhood friends and filmmakers make a documentary about the incredible growth of the global conspiracy culture.  But their tiny project takes a mysterious turn when the chief subject of their film disappears without a trace.

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Government, National News By: | Print This Post Print This Post

20th August 2011

AstraQom Moves HQ To Ottawa

Telecommunications operator AstraQom, a company which specializes in hosted pbx, home phone, co-location, and fax to email, announces a move to new headquarters in Ottawa. The new office is located fifteen minutes from downtown Ottawa and twenty minutes from the Ottawa Airport.

The facility, with plenty of spacious room, will provide generous capacity for AstraQom’s marketing, accounts, product management, human resources, sales, research, development and engineering departments. The new facility enables AstraQom to effective combine its existing Canadian sites in one “campus.: This will improve communication, lower cost, and increase efficiency. It will assist the company to collaborate with its satellite groups in other nations such as USA, Mexico, Philippines, United Kingdom, and Colombia.

“The new headquarters will provide a convenient location for business visitors as an AstraQom conference area for our current and potential clients, colleagues and partners. I am excited to be a part of moving our resources of people to a place they can be proud of and moving our products showcase to this impressive and convenient facility. Ottawa is the best place for technology companies,” states Jonathan Sowah. “Our new place will enable us to meet the growing demand for AstraQom to be accessible to our global visitors easily from the airport and will assist us to speed up the new AstraQom development projects lineup.”

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Business News, National News By: | Print This Post Print This Post

20th August 2011

Digital Journal Launches Online Project to Commemorate 9-11

digital journalToronto’s Digital Journal has announced an online editorial project to commemorate the 10th anniversary of September 11. Launching across Facebook, Twitter and the Digital Journal media network, Digital Journal’s “Remembering 9/11” project aims to provide large-scale coverage and commentary about the anniversary of one of the most important events of modern history.

People from around the world are invited to submit blogs, images, video and comments about how Sept. 11 impacted them, and how they’ve changed since.

“As one of the most respected user-generated content networks in the world, Digital Journal has become a destination people visit in order to get the perspective of the people and to hear the voice of the crowd,” said Digital Journal Managing Editor, David Silverberg. “Digital Journal looked at the upcoming anniversary of 9/11 as an opportunity to showcase the best stories and memories from people everywhere. We wanted to provide a forum for people to tell their stories directly and commemorate a really important day in history.”

Digital Journal’s “Remembering 9/11” project has been launched in the following places:

  • A Facebook Page called “Remember Sept 11” was created to invite people to post comments, upload images and video and tell their story about how 9/11 impacted them.
  • A Twitter page called “Remember Sept 11” was created to engage with people and hear stories about how 9/11 changed their lives. Twitter users can use the hashtag #RememberSept11 to collectively help commemorate the anniversary and Digital Journal will share stories and content submitted over the next month.
  • The public is invited to submit stories and content directly to the Digital Journal media network participants can post blogs, upload images, share video, join Groups and publish commentary.

“As media outlets everywhere look to cover the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Digital Journal will be offering the voice of the public,” said Silverberg. “We want to hear how the day has changed individuals, and we are happy to provide an outlet for people to share their stories with others.”

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Events, National News By: | Print This Post Print This Post

20th August 2011

Globe2Go Now Available For Android

Newspaper DirectThe Globe and Mail’s Globe2Go ePaper service, developed by NewspaperDirect, has enjoyed unparalleled success since its release in 2010. Now NewspaperDirect and The Globe and Mail have launched the much-anticipated Globe2Go Android app, which is now available for download from Google’s Android Market.

Unlike other news applications that offer a slimmed-down version of the newspaper, Globe2Go gives its readers the complete daily newspaper, including all advertisements, plus instant access to all the regional editions of the publication. The daily edition is available for download at 5:30 a.m. local time. So, for most people, The Globe Globe2Go androidand Mail will be available on their mobile devices or tablets well before the print edition lands on their neighbour’s doorstep.

“NewspaperDirect enabled us to quickly deploy the Globe2Go ePaper service and allowed us to offer electronic portability of our newspaper on multiple platforms. The original Globe2Go app was introduced on the same day the first tablet was made available in Canada. It has been very popular with readers and we expect the Android version to be a huge hit as well,” said Andrée Gosselin O’Meara at The Globe and Mail.

Globe2Go is based on the same technology as NewspaperDirect’s PressReader app for Android devices, which delivers touch-optimized browsing of complete editions of top news publications and offers:

  •     Daily automatic download of user-selected titles
  •     Fast navigation using thumbnails or tables of contents
  •     Intuitive reading experience: flip, pan and zoom articles and photos, and view them in stunning clarity
  •     Support for full graphic page views or easy-to-read text views of articles
  •     On-demand audio that narrates a spoken version of any news article
  •     Sharing of articles by email or by posting on social network sites

In 2010, NewspaperDirect and The Globe and Mail developed the Globe2Go ePaper electronic edition of The Globe and Mail using NewspaperDirect’s proprietary PressDisplay.com technology, making the full digital replica of The Globe and Mail printed edition available on numerous platforms and devices, including PCs, Macs, smartphones, tablets and eReaders — at no operational cost to the publisher. It also ensures that as new devices hit the market, Globe2Go readers will be able to enjoy their favourite publication on the latest handsets and tablets.

“The Globe and Mail is the top national paper in Canada and is renowned for its superior reporting and editorial. Globe2Go apps are perfect for delivering the complete newspaper to users wherever they are, while retaining the quality of the print edition, which has recently gone through a major redesign,” said Alex Kroogman, CEO of NewspaperDirect. “We’re truly delighted to partner with them to deliver their award-winning content on all the devices their readers choose to use.”

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Digital Products, National News, New Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

20th August 2011

Shaw Direct Launches 13 Additional Channels Across Canada

Shaw CableEffective August 22, Shaw Direct customers will have access to more local channels in markets across the country, including additional Global, CTV and CityTV channels along with French language offerings like TVA, SRC, Métro, Teletoon Retro French and TFO. TFO will be available to customers beginning August 29.

The latest additions follow the release of the Shaw Direct Essential HD receiver, Canada’s most compact and affordable satellite receiver. Customers can access the new channels launched in their provinces through Shaw Direct’s basic packages.

“Delivering the most advanced technology to our customers is just one of the reasons Shaw Direct has the highest customer satisfaction rating of all satellite TV providers,” said Peter Bissonnette, President, Shaw Communications Inc. “Our latest programming additions continue to bring customers the best in local, Canadian content they have come to expect.”

The following channels will launch as part of Shaw Direct’s latest offerings:

  • Global: Regina, Okanagan, Maritimes (Saint John)
  • CTV: Kitchener, Saskatoon
  • CityTV Winnipeg
  • TVA Abitibi
  • CBC Charlottetown
  • SRC: Trois Rivieres, Regina
  • Métro 14
  • Teletoon Retro French
  • TFO

Customers can enjoy the new programming on Shaw Direct’s receivers, including Advanced HDPVR, the Advanced HD Receiver, and the Essential HD Receiver. Shaw Direct’s receivers are HD and 3D compatible and ready for future technology advancements.

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Business News, National News By: | Print This Post Print This Post

19th August 2011

Federal Government Invests in GRAND

Government of Canada FedDev OntarioWestern Canada’s digital media sector will receive a major boost thanks to federal funding through Western Economic Diversification Canada. This investment will help Graphics Animation and New Media NCE Inc. (GRAND) improve technology transfer and research commercialization. The announcement took place at the first annual Design Thinking UnConference in Vancouver.grand

Our investment in GRAND will help provide enormous benefits for B.C.’s vibrant and growing digital economy, said Andrew Saxton, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. This project will provide new technologies, exciting knowledge-based jobs and stronger, more competitive companies.

Funding will help deliver a two-year targeted small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) outreach, commercialization, and technology transfer program. The program will take place first in British Columbia and then be expanded to Alberta in the second year.

The program will build partnerships and educate the digital media community about GRAND’s activities. Initiatives include targeted work with local SMEs on technology transfer and business creation projects, including the development of research that could form the basis of new companies, and workshops that teach businesses how to attract start-up funding.

The program expects to develop nine technology prototypes, conduct 40 technology demonstrations and bring nine technologies to market. WD funding signals the federal government’s continued support for Canada’s flourishing digital media industry.

GRANDis uniquely positioned to deliver cutting research to the marketplace, explained Kellogg Booth, scientific director, GRAND. Digital media research conducted within our network has the potential to directly impact the products, services and businesses of tomorrow and the everyday lives of Canadians. GRAND researchers are active all across Canada. The WD investment will be a catalyst for our western initiatives.

GRAND NCE is a multidisciplinary, federally funded research network focused in the areas of New Media, Animation and Games. Based in B.C. at the Great Northern Way Campus, GRAND has 24 university members across Canada (including the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, University of Victoria, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan and University of Manitoba), and more than 30 industry partners.

Western Economic Diversification Canada works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Education, Government, National News By: | Print This Post Print This Post

  • Archives

  • Subscribe to our Newsletter

  • Select a list:

  • GWEN Radio
  • Gamers Giving Back