The TIFF Gaming & New Media Think Tank is a brainstorming and action group comprised of industry experts, practitioners and advocates, functioning to advise TIFF on gaming and new media programming.
TIFF Nexus is the first project of the TIFF Gaming & New Media Think Tank. The goals of TIFF Nexus are to develop new business models and networks for Ontario film, new media, and gaming professionals, to foster and encourage cross-sectoral and long-term collaborations, and to foster imaginative exploration of technology to produce new creative content.
Meet the Members of TIFF’s Gaming & New Media Think Tank
Ryan Henson Creighton
Jason Della Rocca
Ryan Henson Creighton is the President and founder of Untold Entertainment Inc., a boutique studio in downtown Toronto specializing in games and apps for kids, teens, tweens and preschoolers. Since 2007, Untold has provided interactive services for many broadcasters and teevee production companies including Corus Entertainment, Teletoon, TVOntario, Sinking Ship Productions, marblemedia, and Secret Location, and has created dynamic websites for Yowza Animation, Sony VAIO and the Samsung Galaxy Note. Untold’s original properties include Putty Crime (a game modeled entirely in clay), Spellirium, and Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure, which became a worldwide viral hit after Ryan co-authored it with his five-year-old daughter Cassandra. Ryan has taught game development and computer skills at both elementary and post-secondary levels, and is the author of the Unity 3.x Game Development by Example Beginner’s Guide from Packt Publishing.
Sales Development Manager, Games Technology Group, Middleware at Autodesk
President / CEO / Owner at Sherpa Games
Since November 2001, as President of Sherpa Games, Warren brokers business deals within the interactive entertainment industry. There are four primary areas of business that he focuses on: 1) acting as an agent, working with independent game developers and helping them get game publishing deals for their original IP game titles, 2) working with established game development studios and helping them get ‘work for hire’ projects (i.e., porting or conversions), 3) working with license holders for TV, Film or Book properties and helping them find a development, publishing contract in the video games sector, and 4) consulting services for various businesses who wish to work within the video games sector.
Warren has had the pleasure of having worked with the following past and present developers: Microsoft, Sega, Take2, EA, Trauma Studios, Frogster Interactive, Breakthrough Films and Television (Atomic Betty), Klei Entertainment, SilverBirch Studios (Superman Returns: Mobile, Constantine: Mobile), Metanet (N+), Queasy Games (Everyday Shooter), and many others. In 2005, he worked with THQ and assisted them with setting up their new New York City based game development studio called Kaos which produced the title Frontlines: Fuel of War.
Warren has also served as a member of the Serious Games Summit advisory board from 2005 until 2007 and produced a few Serious Games projects includingShield of Freedom, a training simulator for the U.S. Coast Guard.
As well, he is involved with numerous speaking engagements including moderating panel discussions and delivering keynote presentations (Asia Pacific Conference in Melbourne Australia, Regio Summit in Berlin Germany, and Saskatchewan Interactive) as well as the occasional appearance on CTV Newsnet (a national all-news channel) as a subject matter expert.
Kate Dickson is a public relations specialist with over seven years of communications experience working across the fields of film, television and politics. In her current role as Communications Manager for Astral’s Kids brands she oversees the communications efforts of three national networks; generating compelling media pitches as well as producing engaging events and award-winning national campaigns such as Family Channel’s Bullying Awareness Week program. An enthusiastic fan of video games and new media, Kate Kate volunteers as programming assistant and media relations coordinator for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is a member of the TIFF Gaming and New Media Think Tank and is working on PR guide for independent game developers.
At the age of three, Shaun received his first videogame: a tabletop arcade version of Pac-Man. He soon learned what it was to be obsessed. Not only had he become enamoured with the little yellow character, but he also grew a fond appreciation for games. Around this time, he also became obsessed with The Transformers and Star Wars. Shaun basically still loves all the stuff he did when he was three.
As a teenager, he‘d read gaming news magazines obsessively, often daydreaming about how awesome it would be to work in the videogame industry. After graduating from Journalism at Humber College, Shaun became a contributor of a national music magazine, eventually stumbling into gaming coverage. In 2007 he started his own gaming news site with some friends, making more friends along the way, particular in the Toronto gaming and game-making community (he‘s even made a few indie games, himself!).
But gaming isn‘t the only thing keeping Shaun busy. When he isn‘t busy researching stories and interviewing people, he likes to flex his creativity by smashing his drum kit to pieces in his rock band Cobra or making danceable and dark electronic tunes with his Korg DS-10 Plus and Kaossilator synthesizer. Halloween is Shaun‘s favorite time of the year, and he plans out costumes months in advance. Sometimes he wears them around the house just to lounge around. While in costume, he likes to re-arrange his gaming consoles in an effort to reduce wire clutter. He‘s weird like that.
Ian is President & CEO and founding Director of Interactive Ontario (IO), the member- based industry trade association representing interactive digital media companies in Ontario, Canada. At IO, Ian is responsible for the long-term strategy and has grown the organization over 500% in the past two years. Ian also created and was the Executive Producer of ICE: the Interactive Content Exchange and IN09: The Interactive Exchange, Canada’s largest annual cross-platform event dedicated to the business of interactive media.
In 2007, Ian was elected President of the Canadian Interactive Alliance / L’alliance interactive canadienne (CIAIC), the united voice of Canada’s Interactive Media associations from coast to coast. As a strong advocate for the Interactive Media industry both provincially and nationally,
Ian is a member of Ontario Game Strategy Steering Committee, CONCERT (Consortium on New Media, Creative and Entertainment R&D in the Toronto Region) Steering Committee, Trade Team Canada – Cultural Goods & Services, the Cultural Human Resources Council New Media Steering Committee and the Co-Chair of the Ontario Media Development Corporation’s Digital Media Advisory Committee. Throughout the past 14 years Ian has worked as an executive and creative producer with a number of Interactive and television production companies including Primitive Entertainment, MediaLinx Interactive LLP / Sympatico, and TotalNet Inc.
Richard Lachman is an Assistant Professor, Digital Media in the School of Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson University. The Gemini-award winning producer is also a creative and technical consultant for new media projects, primarily focused on entertainment and transmedia media properties. He is a computer-science graduate form MIT, holds a masters degree from the MIT Media Lab’s “Interactive Cinema” group, and is completing a doctorate in Computer Science at UNE in Australia. His research interests include convergent media, interactive documentary, and new forms of storytelling. He teaches classes in digital media, interactive art, animation, virtual environments, and digital culture.
Devon Mallory is Senior Web Developer in the Toronto International Film Festival’s Interactive Services department. Previously, Devon was a project manager with Centennial College’s Applied Research & Innovation Centre. In addition to coordinating applied research projects in a wide variety of areas, Devon has co-created two multi-player online games focused on large-scale disaster simulation and an online graphic novel teaching research literacy. Devon is a graduate of the New Media Design program at Centennial College, and has previously worked in film and television post-production and freelance web design.
Jim Munroe is a “pop culture provocateur” according to the Austin Chronicle, and an “independent press icon” to Time Out Chicago. After leaving HarperCollins for political reasons, he founded No Media Kings and published five books, the most recent one a post-Rapture graphic novel called Therefore Repent! He also started The Perpetual Motion Roadshow, an indie touring circuit that sent 100 artists on the road between 2003 – 2007, and currently he is running the Artsy Games Incubator, a writer’s-circle style group helping creators without programming skills make videogames. He lives in Toronto with a crafty ladyscientist and their bafflingly attractive baby. More information available at http://nomediakings.org/about
Nick Pagee consults on Gaming and New Media initiatives for TIFF Bell Lightbox, and is a programmer for Sprockets, Toronto International Film Festival for Children, specializing in animation. In 2010 Nick was on the Canadian Programming Committee for the Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto, ON. Previously, Nick Pagee developed Family and Youth Education programming at TIFF and programmed for Sprockets, the Toronto International Film Festival for Children, specializing in animation and student film. In these roles, he researched tech-driven programming with the intention of fostering community development and media literacy in areas such as video-gaming, interactive entertainment, and digital storytelling.
Nick attended festivals, conferences and other events as a selection committee member / programmer for Sprockets and assisted in research and acquisitions for the John VanDuzer Children’s Film Collection. Nick has been a jury member for the National Screen Institutes’ Online Film Festival, the Student Shorts Film Festival and several other film programmes including the SYTYKM filmmaking contest. Nick organized the Toronto showing of Into The Pixel – an exhibition of artwork from Video Games – as part of the Future Projections programme during the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival.
Jade Raymond is the head of Ubisoft Toronto, a fast-growing game development studio in the heart of the Junction in West Toronto. She is perhaps best known as the Producer of Assassin’s Creed and Executive Producer of Assassin’s Creed II. Well, maybe Jade’s not best known for Assassin’s in some of the danker corners of game fandom, but hey, thanks to Jade’s incredible team, Assassin’s Creed is the fastest selling original IP in video game in history – the franchise has sold over 17 million copies and counting and Assassin’s II is widely regarded as one of the best games of 2010. Jade got her start in games at IBM and Microsoft while she was studying Computer Science at McGill, and took her first full time job in the game industry at Sony Online where she started the company’s first R&D team. After Sony, Jade was recruited by EA/Maxis to be a Producer on The Sims Online.
Matt received his PhD from the University of California, San Diego in 2003, writing his dissertation on the social organization of the Linux development community. Following this, he completed a 2 year post-doc at the Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information (NIWI) and in 2005 helped create the Virtual Knowledge Studio for the Humanities and Social Sciences in Amsterdam (VKS-KNAW). In 2005, he was awarded a Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO) grant to study the use of computer simulation and modeling technologies in Archaeology and in 2007 was given a 1 year fellowship in the HUMlab, an innovative digital humanities laboratory located at the University of Umea, Sweden. He moved to the University of Toronto in 2008.
Previous research by Ratto has addressed the interplay between social organization and software code, the ramifications of particular software design sensibilities on our ability to function as citizens and as members of expert collectives, and the role of digital commons-based peer production in scientific communities.
His current research focuses on how hands-on productive work – making – can supplement and extend critical reflection on the relations between digital technologies and society. This work builds upon the new possibilities offered by open source software and hardware, as well as the developing technologies of 3D printing and rapid prototyping. These technologies and the social collectives that create, use, and share them provide the context for exploring the relationship between ‘critical making’ and ‘critical thinking.’
Ratto is currently director of the Critical Making lab at the University of Toronto. This facility provides students and faculty researchers with basic electrical, craft, and computing equipment that can be used to design, develop, and explore material fabrication and technical prototyping.
Jason is the founder of Perimeter Partners, a consultancy that provides strategic level guidance and expertise to companies and organizations on the boundary, or perimeter, of the game industry. For nearly nine years, he served as the executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), a professional society committed to advancing the game industry and the careers of developers. Jason was honored for his industry building efforts with the inaugural Ambassador Award at the 8th annual Game Developers Choice Awards. He continues to be an advocate for the expressive power of games and their capacity to change the world.
Game Industry Strategic Consulting
Perimeter Partners is a consultancy focused on the game industry and provides strategic level guidance and expertise to companies and organizations on the boundary, or perimeter, of the game industry. Our clients seek help in understanding the ever-changing complexities of the game business, along with access to the appropriate people and knowledge. Perimeter Partners serves as the go-between for our clients and the industry.
At a high level, Perimeter Partners delivers value via the following:
Shane Smith is Director, Public Programmes for TIFF Bell Lightbox at the Toronto International Film Festival. Before taking this position he was Executive Producer, In-flight Entertainment at Spafax Canada Inc., where he oversaw all in-flight entertainment initiatives for Air Canada. Prior to this he was Director of Programming for the digital TV channels Movieola- The Short Film Channel and Silver Screen Classics, and from 2000- 2006 he was Director of the Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto. Shane is the former Programmer for the Inside Out Festival, is a member of the Organizing Committee of the International Short Film Conference and was formerly on the Board of Directors of the Centre for Aboriginal Media, presenters of the imagineNATIVE Film Festival (2003- 2007). He directed the short film Goodbye To Love, has written about film for the Canadian publications Xtra! and Cinema Scope, and is the Founder and Co-Director of OzFlix: Australian Film Weekend in Toronto and Vancouver. Shane has spoken, juried and curated at film festivals all over the world, and from 2006-2010 he was a Short Film Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival.
Nathan Vella is one of the co-founders of Toronto-based independent game developer Capybara Games (or Capy for short) and began as the studios’ Art Director. Later he transitioned into the role of President and runs the studio with the help of the other co-founders Matt Repetski, Anthony Chan, Sean Lohrisch and Kris Piotrowski.
After spending their early years as an award-winning mobile developer, Capy has transitioned to iPhone, DS and ‘console downloadable’ development. Recently Capy developed & published the arcade-puzzler Critter Crunch for PlayStation Network, and developed the Ubisoft-published puzzle/RPG Might & Magic Clash of Heroes for Nintendo DS.
Emma is Assistant Professor in Game Design and Director of the game:play lab at the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) University in Toronto, Canada. She has worked in the game industry for over 17 years: in development, research and the academy. She achieved international recognition for working closely with Douglas Adams as producer for the best-selling CD-ROM Adventure Game, Starship Titanic (1998, Simon & Schuster). Since then, Emma has built up a worldwide reputation for developing original as well as popular game projects.
Emma has been invited to present her work at many prestigious venues including BAFTA, the Tate, the Banff Centre and DIGRA. Between 2001-4, Emma directed the zerogame studio for The Interactive Institute in Sweden, where an impressive body of applied research was created under her leadership. More recently she has been Games Research Fellow at NSAMD, UWN where she organized 2007’s Women in Games conference.
Lisa has recently made a transition into the internal strategy group at BMO. Prior to this Lisa was an Associate Principal for SECOR in the Toronto Office. Lisa is a senior strategy consultant with over eight years of consulting experience in strategic planning & analysis, growth option development & evaluation, analytical problem solving and large-scale project management. She has advised major Canadian corporations across multiple sectors, including media & telecommunications, financial services, retail, and the public sector. Lisa is also a recognized researcher in the area of merger & acquisition effectiveness. Before joining SECOR, Lisa’s experience included corporate strategy development and implementation for the global consulting firms of CapGemini and Ernst & Young, as well as work with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care in Ontario.