Monday, April 26, 2010

Tweet For Your Ticket

Want to attend BANFF 2010? Tweet for your Ticket!

This year the Banff World Television Festival and nextMEDIA Banff are joining forces to offer you the opportunity to attend the world’s largest multi-platform production and development marketplace and Canada’s premiere digital media trending and technology conference. Whether you are a producer, broadcaster, multi-platform content creator, tech developer, or advertiser - we want to know why BANFF 2010 is your must-attend television and digital media conference.

Using the #Banff2010 hashtag start tweeting the number one reason why BANFF 2010 is for you. We will be keeping track of the tweets and will pick the most original and interesting explanation as our winner. Any reason is fair game! Participants may choose to highlight speakers, sessions, and networking opportunities or their own experiences and ideas.

Make sure to follow our twitter account @BanffTVFest as we will be contacting the winner by direct message.

Contest starts Monday April 26th will close Friday April 30th 2010. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 4th 2010 and will be awarded a complimentary ticket to BANFF 2010.

For rules and regulations please visit the website

Friday, April 23, 2010

Portfolio Launches "In Toon With Tweens" Animation Contest



Option & Development Deal Prizes Totaling $10,000 CDN
Awarded To Top Two Winning Entries

Toronto, Canada (February 8, 2010) – Portfolio Entertainment Inc. unveils its inaugural “In Toon With Tweens” animation contest, an initiative designed to encourage creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking by throwing the doors open to new voices within the global animation community. Portfolio Entertainment invites animators and creators with serious comedy chops to submit their original projects - television or multiplatform - for a chance at $10,000 CDN in cash as part of Option and Development Agreements. The call for submissions officially opens today, entries must be received by June 15, 2010 and winners will be notified on September 15, 2010. The contest was announced today by Portfolio Entertainment’s Co-Founders & Presidents, Lisa Olfman and Joy Rosen.

The challenge is to find original comedy submissions that are fresh, surprising and utterly new for kids 8 to 12 years old. A first prize of $7,500 CDN will be awarded as part of a two-year Option and Development Agreement and a second prize of $2,500 CDN as part of a one-year Option and Development Agreement will go to the runner up.

“Our approach at Portfolio is to break the mold with each new project we develop,” said Lisa Olfman, Co-Founder and President of the company. “What better way to nurture emerging talent and encourage established talent to be fearless, than by throwing open our doors with this animation initiative.”

Through “In Toon With Tweens,” the top 15 finalists, as selected by Portfolio Entertainment, will also gain unprecedented exposure to industry decision-makers in kids’ television and new media. The distinguished panel of Judges will be comprised of Portfolio Entertainment executives, broadcasters and prominent industry veterans who will be announced in the coming weeks.

Eligibility requirements include some professional industry experience. Complete guidelines and instructions for submission can be found online at Winning entries will be selected by the panel of Judges based on the most entertaining, innovative and bold concepts.

Founded in 1991, Toronto-based Portfolio Entertainment is one of Canada’s leading independent producers and international distributors of award-winning television programs for kids, tweens, teens, and adults. Co-Founders Lisa Olfman and Joy Rosen’s commitment to creative excellence and solid domestic and international relationships have propelled their programs onto the world’s most prestigious television networks. The partners have won numerous television industry awards internationally and they consistently rank in Profit Magazine's W100 list of Canada’s Top Women Entrepreneurs. Portfolio Entertainment’s newest series is, The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That!, based on Dr. Seuss’ iconic Cat character. Portfolio Entertainment’s distribution division has an ambitious, eclectic catalogue of over 2,000 episodes of programming as well as access to some of the world’s most established broadcasters and emerging new players.
Portfolio Entertainment is located on the web at

For further information about Portfolio Entertainment, to arrange interviews or to request images please contact Davis Public Relations:

Kat Garcia Stacey Levy
818.986.0323 818.986.0323

For questions about “In Toon With Tweens” submission guidelines please contact:

Anna Mele

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Herzing College - 3D Artistry Presentation, Thursday April 15th, 2010

Herzing College is hosting a Galleria night for family, friends, and various representatives of the 3D industry at the Eaton Center, level 2 of the Galleria. Come check it out.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Canadian effects whiz whips Clash of the Titans into 3D

How do you turn a 2-D film into a 3-D money tree?

Having just talked to Hollywood’s go-to guy at the moment, your guess is as good as ours. He won’t say.

He also won’t directly take on his biggest critic (and former boss) Avatar director, James Cameron. At this point, Chris Bond is still a relative minnow. But come Sunday morning, he could be something else entirely.

Winnipeger Bond has created a software package called View-D that converts 2-D straw to 3-D gold quicker and cheaper (read: a reported $5 million (U.S.) per feature) than anyone else. He recently won the contract to rework blockbuster sword-and-sandal epic Clash of the Titans. Eight-and-a-half go-go-go weeks later, ta da. You’ll see the results beginning Friday.
So, how does it work, Chris?

“It’s artist-driven,” Bond says from Los Angeles, where he’s taking a few days off.

“There are a number of different phases and stages.”


“Basically it’s ..... a ha ha ..... basically it’s patent pending.”


Followed by a long, determined silence.

And, seriously, that’s all Bond will say. Prior to View-D, there were two main ways to render a live-action film shot in 2-D into 3-D, or what Bond calls “stereo.”

There is a number-crunching geometric method that replaces objects in an imaginary three-dimensional space, as in a video game.

Then there is rotoscoping, an animation technique in which objects are cut out and reframed using a collage effect. View-D uses neither geometry, rotoscoping or a third method, frame painting.

According to Bond, everybody else’s tools are primitive, costly and, most importantly, time-consuming when compared to View-D.

“We can do in minutes what other people need weeks to do,” he says.

Bond, 39, has worked in visual effects for a decade. He says that it was during a 2009 Las Vegas trade show – while he was sharing pre-dawn calls with James Cameron on Avatar, but before that film had changed the market – that he had his eureka moment.

“I just looked around at all the 3-D stuff, and it was all really complicated and really difficult,” Bond said. “So I started working on weekends, evenings, my own time, and I came up with a process to convert images to 3-D.”

Eventually, Bond brought the software package to work at post-production and visual effects (VFX) multinational, Prime Focus. He smoothed out the kinks by converting films that his company was doing the effects for. Somebody important noticed.

“The reason we got (Clash) is that last summer we were doing some tests for Harry Po ..... um, I won’t say which movie for Warner Brothers,” Bond said.

I think you just did.

“Um, right. Well, I’m not allowed to say that.”

So what’re you working on now? Besides Harry Po ....., I mean.

“I can’t say.”

Of course.

Whatever he has in the pipeline, everything rests on this weekend, when Clash is released.

“It’s ..... ha ha ..... it’s ..... let’s just say I am watching with great interest,” says Bond. Did we mention that the View-D patents are held in his name, not his employer’s?

Among Bond’s most recent VFX credits are G.I. Joe and the aforementioned Avatar, tortuously and expensively shot using 3-D technology.

Since he built the bandwagon, Avatar director Cameron has spent a lot of time knocking off people like Bond, who’d like to climb on via conversion. He’s been particularly spiteful about Bond’s yet-to-be seen efforts on Clash.

“They ignore the fact that we natively authored (Avatar) in 3-D, and decide that what we accomplished in several years of production could be done in an eight-week conversion with Clash of the Titans,” Cameron told USA Today three weeks ago. “If people put bad 3-D in the marketplace they’re going to hold back or even threaten the emerging of 3-D. People will be confused by differences in quality.”

Bond is careful in responding. There’s a long preamble about Cameron’s achievements (“I’ve loved, um, enjoyed his projects”) and a slightly tortured allusion about different still photographers preferring different cameras.

But it boils down to this: “It’s a little frustrating for everybody that’s worked so hard on the (conversion) project to have people who haven’t seen it make derogatory comments. I’d prefer that they’d wait until they saw the material.”

And there is the small issue of Cameron, conversion’s main hater, wanting to convert and re-release Titanic.

“That’s the irony,” says Bond. “On the one hand, it’s terrible and on the other, (he) may choose to do it (him)self.”

And if he gets a load of Clash and decides to call you up, you’re happy to help out, right?

“Happy!” Bond says. “I think Avatar was a fantastic achievement and I think that Clash looks great. But I don’t want to suggest that the five years of effort he put into the technology on a movie like Avatar is in any way overshadowed by anything we’ve done.”

No, no. Perish the thought.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

CASO Visits India

CASO, with the vital financial support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, sent a small delegation to attend India’s premier entertainment industry business conference (FICCI-Frames) in mid-March. The delegation comprised of Andrew Harvey (Guru Animation), David Steinberg (Starz Animation) and me (Side Effects Software). Our mandate was to recommend whether or not a larger delegation from CASO should be attending next year’s conference, on the basis of there being sufficient business opportunities in India for CASO member companies beyond the less-appealing outsourcing of Canadian work to Indian companies.

The week-long trip was comprised of two parts: the 3-day convention in Mumbai followed by a trip to Pune, a prospering city of 6.5M people, which is placing significant focus on animation/vfx/gaming.

This was the eleventh anniversary of the Frames conference. The program featured many familiar topics found in other geographies such as film piracy, co-production opportunities, developing profitable IP content. With the help of Ajay Ramasubramaniam and Sachin Balpande, both trade advisors working within Mumbai’s Canadian Consulate, we were able to meet with a variety of studios during the conference. While this wasn’t as insightful as actually visiting the studios themselves, it did allow us to get a broader sense of the players because of the all-under-one-roof convenience of the meetings. Unexpectedly, we garnered a lot of value from our impromptu conversations with foreign delegates who were experienced with doing business in India’s animation industry. Ajay also organized an interview with Animation Express - the most popular on-line news source dedicated to our industry and a visit to Crest Studios – one of the larger studios in India, soon to release the country’s first stereoscopic feature animation Alpha and Omega for Lionsgate.

In Pune, we visited four studios and had a constructive meeting with members of their animation/vfx/gaming committee in their chamber of commerce offices. Again part of the greatest value was had through our informal discussions where we had time to delve deeper into the workings of their industry, their own aspirations and ideas, and what they saw as opportunities in working with Canadian companies.

Sachin is currently organizing a trade mission of Indian companies to visit Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto in late May anchored by Vancouver’s Digi Week. We know a number of the facilities participating in this delegation who will want to do business with Canadian companies, in a flavour other than outsourcing.

We submitted our report to Michael and hope to have the opportunity to share our impressions and findings with those CASO members that are interested in India beyond outsourcing.

Richard Hamel

Monday, April 5, 2010

nextMEDIA's Digital Hot List

nextMEDIA's Digital Hot List

"What a rush! The Digital Hot List Rocks! Being nominated, attending nextMEDIA Banff, and ultimately winning the Award, took the Bitchin' brand to the next level of exposure and opportunity. I'd say that our network of interested industry partners - from ad agencies to tech companies - grew five-fold that weekend. You gotta be hot to win, but things really start heating up when you do."
- Digital Hot List winner Josh Dorsey, Bitchin' Kitchen
The 30 second spot is dead. The market for advertising is changing, and you are on the cutting-edge of this change. Your digital property is the hottest thing online – all you need now is the chance to show off!

nextMEDIA - Canada’s premier digital media trending and technology conference, is on the hunt for the next hotshot ready to make their mark on the digital universe! The Digital Hot List completion is open to Canada’s best developers, content producers, and digital superstars looking to be discovered and change the face of digital media.
The Digital Hot List competition has expanded this year to include 4 categories:
• Media (Does your website stand out amongst the rest?)
• Talent (Are you a proven online superstar with millions of followers?)
• Content Proposal (Got the best new idea for online content and branded entertainment?)
• Technologies (Are you creating the coolest apps, games and digital ad solutions?)

Finalists will be promoted at nextMEDIA and showcased in front top agencies like Taxi, Henderson Bas, Proximity, Mclaren McCann, Lowe Roche, and Trapeze looking for new sponsorship opportunities, brand integration opportunities and new creative partners during the event.

Get your name out there and make your mark! The Hot List is your chance to showcase your new, innovative properties and grab the attention of advertisers, looking for exciting brand integration opportunities.
Contest closes May 3rd, 2010

Click here to learn more, and take your hot properties to the next level!
Want to learn more about nextMEDIA Banff? Visit us at
CASO Members - click here to use your CASO Registration Discount!

Enhancements to the Film & Television Tax Credits (OCASE, OPSTC & OFTTC)

Enhancements to the Film & Television Tax Credits (OCASE, OPSTC & OFTTC) OCASE:
We are pleased to inform you that the enhancements to the Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit (OCASE) which were announced in the Provincial Budget of March 26, 2009, were passed into law by Regulatory amendment on March 16, 2010.

The enhancements, which apply to expenditures incurred after March 26, 2009, consist of the following:

• eligible labour expenditures (qualifying remuneration) increased to 100% from 50% of amounts paid to arm’s-length unincorporated individuals and partnerships providing freelance services;
• eligible labour expenditures (qualifying remuneration) expanded to include 100% of amounts paid to arm’s-length incorporated individuals (personal services corporations) providing freelance services;
• if the animation or visual effects are completed after March 26, 2009, the removal of the requirement that an eligible animation or visual effect be created “primarily” with digital technologies

The enhancements to the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (OPSTC), which were announced by the Honourable Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance on June 30, 2009, were passed into law on December 15, 2009. Effective for expenditures incurred after June 30, 2009, the OPSTC has been expanded to include all qualifying production expenditures, being qualifying labour as well as qualifying service contract and tangible property expenditures.

Please note as well that an amendment to the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit (OFTTC) relating to the regional bonus was also passed into law on December 15, 2009. The definition of a “regional Ontario production” has been amended to allow wholly animated productions which perform no more than 15% of key animation outside of the Greater Toronto Area (“GTA”) to qualify for the regional bonus. Previously, all key animation for the production had to be performed outside of the GTA to qualify for the regional bonus.

New Administrative Policy :
As announced over the past few months in our OMDC newsletter, in our continued effort to decrease overall processing time on files, as of April 1, 2010 we will be implementing a new policy. The OMDC Tax Credits & Financing Programs department will only review complete applications received in our office as of April 1st and onwards. It is our hope that by limiting the amount of incomplete applications received and prioritizing the complete applications, we can deliver a higher level of customer service and ultimately have certificates issued sooner.
If you have any questions regarding any of these changes, please call the OMDC at (416)314- 6858.
Jennifer Blitz Director Tax Credits & Financing Programs

LA Trade Mission

Los Angeles Digital Effects Mission
February 24th to 28th

Representatives from Ontario VFX Studios’, Authority FX, C.O.R.E., Guru Studio, Imarion, Invisible Pictures, Keyframe, Mr. X, Optix, Rocket Science and SPIN attended CASO’s 2nd Digital Visual Effects Mission to LA at the end of February. Sponsored by The OMDC and the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Ontario, delegates were introduced to major studio players as well as independent Producers, Supervisors and larger LA based visual effects and animation facilities. Studios offered insight into their needs and valuable intellectual recognizance.

The Business of Producing Visual Effects in Ontario panel was well received and offered valuable insight to potential clients. Working with the VES, an international organization for digital artists and visual effects technicians, as a branded sponsor for the event has opened the doors for future co-marketing opportunities.

Ontario delegates also attended the VES awards Gala, held at The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. Honored guests of the night were Avatar Director, James Cameron and Dr. Ed Catmull, President Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, a renowned industry pioneer. The event provided targeted networking opportunities with key VFX Supervisors, Producers, Post Supervisors, Designers, Consultants and Studio Representatives. Delegates were able to capture current creative intelligence and get a feel for who’s who in the visual effects industry.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

We want you to be heard

Working on a cool project that you want to share? Have some important news members should know about? Have suggestions that CASO can do for it's members?

We want to hear from you. Our members make our association and CASO represents studios of all sizes. Our board consists of independent studios and producers along with some of the largest studios in Canada. Together, the board works tirelessly to support the industry in a wide range of functions. Since 2004, CASO has grown working with studios, producers, Education system, governing bodies and delegates from around the world to continue to grow our VFX and Animation community. Please send us suggestions and comments as we seek membership involvement at all levels. With the industry continually changing, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on how CASO can best serve it's members.

Brazil Trade Mission - 2010

March was a very busy month for CASO. Thanks to the OMDC and the Ministry of Culture, we were able to commission a trade mission to LA, Hong Kong, India and Brazil. I was lucky enough to be apart of the Brazil Trade Mission where the Consulate General of Canada in Sao Paulo organized several studio tours and valuable meetings with broadcasters and Brazil Television Producers Associations (BTVP). The attendee's learned the inner workings of developing joint ventures, the legalities in co-productions and and number of financing models each country may come across. CASO is fortunate to be able to bring 8 studios heads to Brazil to develop relationships abroad. It is with the support of government agencies and CASO members to participate in such events that will continue the growth and profitability of our industry. CASO would like to especially thank Fernanda Whitaker, Elise Raciot, Jaqueline Aguilar and the many others that at the Consulate General of Canada in Sao Paul who organized such great meetings and tours.