Thursday, August 18, 2011

TIFF introduces TIFF Nexus for gaming and interactive media

New series unites the world of film, games and interactive media, enhancing TIFF’s commitment to the art of the moving image. Video introduction available at

Toronto – TIFF announced today an exciting new initiative designed to equip a new generation of Ontario storytellers with the network, skills and partners that they need to succeed in a rapidly evolving and growing digital media landscape. Launching this fall, TIFF Nexus will support Canada’s film, game, digital and new media communities as well as foster integrations between academics, industry members and enthusiasts. Complementing such other TIFF programmes as Future Projections, Talent Lab and the Student Film Showcase that are dedicated to supporting filmmakers and visual artists, TIFF Nexus will encourage relationships between the existing and emerging sectors of film, gaming and interactive media and utilize the cinema, educational and exhibition spaces of TIFF Bell Lightbox as an opportune home for its activities.

With the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) and several key programming partners, TIFF Nexus will bring together members of diverse creative industries for a series of activities and discussions beginning this September. Hands-on “creative jam” sessions – collaborations between game designers, electronics hackers and traditional screen-based artists – offer participants the chance to conceive and prototype innovative gaming experiences. These creative jam sessions will explore a range of emerging trends in interaction design, including locative media, women in digital media, children’s new media literacy, and the intersection between gaming and comic books. Other events include one-day conferences that encourage individuals from across these creative industries to meet and share ideas. Ultimately, TIFF Nexus will help develop new business models and management skills for Ontario film, new media and gaming professionals, expand competencies and encourage cross-sector integration through the creation of long-term, collaborative relationships and foster imaginative exploration of technology to produce new creative content. 

“TIFF is committed to leading creative and cultural discovery through the moving image and, building on our nearly four decades of support for Canadian film and media communities, TIFF Nexus takes our support of new modes of moving image storytelling, namely gaming and interactive media, to the next level,” said Shane Smith, Director of Public Programmes, TIFF. “We believe that gaming and interactive media share many potential opportunities with filmmaking and we hope that the exploration and dialogue encouraged by TIFF Nexus will help build upon the impressive reputation that Canada has across all three sectors.”

Phase one of TIFF Nexus will comprise of: 
  • Creative Jam 1: The Peripherals Initiative (July 2011 – October 2011): putting game developers together with hardware hackers to innovate in the areas of interface. 
  • Conference 1: Presented as an Innovation Day in partnership with Digifest 2011, this industry-focused day will explore emerging themes and practices in locative and mobile media as well as showcase the results of the Peripheral initiative. 
  • Creative Jam 2: The Difference Engine (August 2011 – December 2011): a game-making incubator that will introduce interested women from various media sectors such as film, interactive, fine arts, mobile and publishing to approachable, point-and-click game-making tools within a supportive, peer-mentorship based group. 
  • Conference 2: The Women in Games, Film and New Media conference event is intended to address the gender imbalance across diverse media making silos. This event, produced in partnership with Women in Film & Television – Toronto, will demonstrate the results of the Difference Engine game-making incubator. 
  • Creative Jam 3: New Media Literacy (December 2011 – April 2012): joins children’s content producers in films, games and alternate reality or social media systems to experiment and collaborate on new forms of storytelling across media, social practice and physical spaces. 
  • Conference 3: New Media Literacy Day at TIFF Kids International Film Festival 2012 will bring together cross-sector media makers, academics, businesses and educators to discuss issues and foster new relationships to further emerging modes of literacy as a driving function in youth-oriented media production. This event, in partnership with TIFF Kids International Film Festival industry programming will also demonstrate the results of the New Media Literacy Creative Jam. 
  • Creative Jam 4: Comics vs. Games (December 2011 – May 2012): inspired by the successful “Art X Games” art shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco, will create five refined collaborations between independent comic and game creators.
  • Conference 4:  During the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF will present a day of industry programming exploring the salient cross-overs in film, game and interactive media. 
TIFF Nexus creative jams are comprised of industry professionals, by invitation only. Conferences will be open to the public and each will be followed by a networking event.

TIFF Nexus will have its official launch during the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival with a panel in the Filmmakers’ Lounge, located at the Hyatt Regency hotel. On Wednesday, September 14 President and CEO of Bedlam Games Trevor Fencott, film producer Jay Firestone, director and screenwriter Vincenzo Natali (via Skype) and Francesca Accinelli, Director, English Market, Canada Media Fund, will discuss the Neuromancer film / game cross-over. The panel will be moderated by Mark Askwith, Producer, Special Projects at SPACE, and will be followed by a networking event.  

Funded by the OMDC, phase one of TIFF Nexus was designed by the TIFF Gaming and New Media Think Tank – a brainstorming and action group comprised of industry experts, practitioners and advocates, functioning to advise TIFF on gaming and new media programming –  along with many new media and digital professionals. TIFF Nexus Programming Partners are Ryerson University, the Hand Eye Society, and Interactive Ontario. Additional Programming Partners are DDiMIT, Digifest 2011, Site3 coLaboratory, Ubisoft Toronto Studio, and Women in Film & Television – Toronto. TIFF Nexus is sponsored by Autodesk.

“TIFF Bell Lightbox will act as a hub for connecting diverse people, companies and creators in order to build working relationships and foster creative collaborations, but it is the range of partners involved that is the key to the success of TIFF Nexus. The diversity and skills each brings to the table will make for incredible cross-sector collaboration and, most importantly, the engagement will result in actual shared projects,” added Smith.

Further details on each TIFF Nexus creative jam and conference will be issued over the coming months.

TIFF Nexus was made possible through The Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
TIFF Nexus is sponsored by Autodesk.   
TIFF is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC and BlackBerry, and Major Supporters the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto.

About TIFF
TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $170 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman
family  (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels ), The Daniels Corporation, Major Sponsor and official bank RBC, Major Sponsor BlackBerry and Visa†. For more information, visit

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