Thursday, December 8, 2011

TIFF Nexus Women in Film, Games and New Media Day

TIFF presented the first ever TIFF Nexus conference on October 28 that explored locative media. Now they're back with their second conference that focuses on the women's market.

Presented in partnership with Women in Film & Television – Toronto (WIFT-T), Women in Film, Games and New Media is a one-day conference that explores gaming, digital media and film with an emphasis on creative opportunities and analysis of sectoral gaps.

The event will be hosted by Nora Young. She is the host and creator of Spark, a show about technology and culture that airs nationally on CBC Radio.

The featured speakers Leigh Alexander, game culture journalist and editor at large for Gamasutra; Kate Hartman, Assistant Professor at OCAD University; Mare Sheppard, President of Metanet Software; Kirsten Forbes, COO of Silicon Sisters Interactive; Heather Webb, Executive Director of WIFT-T; Caitlin Fisher, Associate Professor and Director of York University’s Augmented Reality Lab; Pearl Chen, Research & Technology Manager of the CFC Media Lab; Alex Leitch, Co-founder of Site3 coLaboratory; and Emma Westecott, Assistant Professor of Games Studies at OCAD.

The TIFF Nexus Women in Film, Games & New Media takes place Friday, December 9 from 1pm to 7:30 pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West.


In partnership with Women in Film & Television – Toronto, second TIFF Nexus conference explores
gaming, digital media and film, with an emphasis on the emerging women’s market

Full conference details and tickets available at

Toronto – Hot off the heels of the sold-out, first-ever TIFF Nexus conference last month, TIFF has announced the details of the next series conference taking place on Friday, December 9 from 1pm to 7:30pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Presented in partnership with Women in Film & Television – Toronto (WIFT-T), the conference will explore gaming, digital media and film with an emphasis on creative opportunities and analysis of sectoral gaps over the course of a jam-packed day of presentations, discussions and interactive sessions led by some of the most notable and talented women working in these fields. Hosted by Nora Young, host and creator of Spark, a show about technology and culture which airs nationally on CBC Radio, the conference includes sessions ranging from an introduction to emerging technologies and industry workforce insights to videogame demos and focused networking opportunities with creative industry leaders.

“As media sectors continue to converge, our need to understand emerging trends and opportunities – particularly the opportunities for women in the traditional and digital media industries – also intensifies,” explains TIFF’s Director of Public Programmes, Shane Smith. “At this conference, game developers, filmmakers, hardware hackers, interactive developers and transmedia specialists can meet, network and discover ways to take their projects to a whole new platform or audience.”

Guests include keynote speaker Leigh Alexander, game culture journalist and editor at large for industry website Gamasutra; Kate Hartman, Assistant Professor at OCAD University; Mare Sheppard, President of Metanet Software; Kirsten Forbes, COO of Silicon Sisters Interactive; Heather Webb, Executive Director of WIFT-T; Caitlin Fisher, Associate Professor and Director of York University’s Augmented Reality Lab; Pearl Chen, Research & Technology Manager of the CFC Media Lab; Alex Leitch, Co-founder of Site3 coLaboratory and Emma Westecott, Assistant Professor of Games Studies at OCAD.

The TIFF Nexus Women in Film, Games and New Media Day will also present the results of The Difference Engine game-making incubator – TIFF Nexus creative sessions developed and led by the Hand Eye Society that encouraged women from various media sectors such as film, interactive, fine arts, mobile and publishing to experiment with videogame design. Games produced through The Difference Engine will be available for hands-on play during a networking reception following the presentation.“Beyond celebrating the incredible achievement of these leaders in media, this is an exciting chance to gain an understanding of the huge potential of new storytelling perspectives,” said Heather Webb, Executive Director, WIFT-T.

Highlights of the conference include:

Keynote Speaker: Leigh Alexander, game culture journalist and editor at large for industry website Gamasutra.
Gaming culture is beginning to embrace the idea that it needs more diverse perspectives both on the player side as well as in game development, and there are many positive examples – yet it still has further to go. Ms. Alexander discusses how we can reach audiences with a message of equality, and why it is important not just for games but for all kinds of media for entertainment and learning.

WIFT-T Industry Workforce Study, Framework II
Canada’s increasingly diverse population is a source of enormous creative and economic potential, and a key factor in the screen-based industries’ global competitive advantage. Heather Webb, Executive Director, WIFT-T, Susan Ross, Partner, ISM Access, and Julie Whelan, Consultant with Nordicity, present research highlights, policy issues and compelling market opportunities for diversity in the digital industries.

Feminism and Games – A Call to Action
Game design scholar Emma Westecott presents a state-of-the-nation address on effecting equity in the gaming ecosystem. Revealing the importance of building sustainable and ongoing initiatives, this call-to-action announces and invites engagement in the recently funded Feminists in Games SSHRC Network Development Grant. This session presents a set of creative interventions that exemplify best practices in working towards diversity in this space. Participants include Kristen Forbes, COO of Silicon Sisters Interactive and Nick Taylor, Post-doctoral fellow at York University.

Unveiling of the TIFF Nexus Difference Engine Initiative
Over the summer and fall, TIFF Nexus creative jam sessions were held that introduced 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. Introducing new gamemakers from under-represented groups into the indie gaming community, the Difference Engine Initiative aims to diversify of the kinds of videogames being made.

Diving Into Emerging Creative Forms
This workshop will inspire attendees to broaden their horizons through a crash-course in three creative forms driving  the DIY digital evolution. Alex Leitch, Co-founder of Site 3 coLaboratory, looks at DIY Fabrication, Pearl Chen,  Research & Technology Manager of the CFC Media Lab, explores the significance of computer code in creativity, and  Kate Hartman, Assistant Professor at OCAD University, discusses how DIY electronics, sensors and interfaces are  revolutionizing the landscape of creative expression in media.

Hands-On Workshop 1 – Intro to DIY Making Presented by Autodesk and Site3 coLaboratory
Join us in the RBC Learning Studios for introductions to the basics of the DIY maker movement and how to make a 3D model with nothing more than your camera. Space is limited.

Hands-On Workshop 2 – Future Stories Presents a Hands-on Workshop with SnapDragonAR Augmented Reality Software
Due to overwhelming response, York University’s Caitlin Fisher is back with her guided immersion into SnapDragonAR, a unique tool for artists, educators, and storytellers of all ages. Attendees will experiment, prototype and tell new stories with this latest platform out of York University's Future Cinema Lab. Fisher holds a Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture in the Department of Film at York University and is a co-founder of the university’s Future Cinema Lab and Director of their Augmented Reality Lab. Space is limited.

Networking Reception and Technology Demo
A networking reception allows attendees from the film, gaming and new media sectors to not only meet each other and the Women in Film, Games and New Media Day presenters, but also get a closer look at the videogames resulting from the TIFF Nexus Difference Engine Initiative.

TIFF Nexus conferences are open to the public and each is followed by a networking event. Tickets for the Women in Film, Games and New Media Day are on sale now for TIFF members and TIFF Nexus partners ($60) and for nonmembers ($99). Student discounts are available ($30). Group rates are available, for more information contact Full conference details can be found at

Beginning this December, TIFF Nexus’s third creative jam, focused on Children’s New Media Literacy, brings together 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. The result of this creative jam will be integrated into the third TIFF Nexus conference, Children’s New Media Literacy Day, at TIFF Kids International Film Festival 2012. Children’s New Media Literacy Day 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.

TIFF Nexus is a new ongoing 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. The series supportsCanada’s film, game, digital and new media communities as well as fosters integrations between academics, industry members and enthusiasts.

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 ThingTank (formerly DDiMIT), Digifest 2011, Site3 coLaboratory, Ubisoft Toronto, and Women in Film & Television – Toronto. TIFF Nexus is sponsored by Autodesk.

Further details on future TIFF Nexus creative jams and conferences 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. For more information, visit

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