Shaftesbury and Smokebomb to launch new original science fiction digital project, State of Syn, starring Jewel Staite and David Hewlett

  • 3D-enabled motion novel (10 x five-minutes) for digital platforms with associated interactive web and app-based activities
  • Starring Jewel Staite (Firefly, L.A. Complex), David Hewlett (Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis), and Rainbow Sun Francks (The Listener, Stargate: Atlantis)
  • Production to commence in early April 2012, launching summer 2012
  • Sam Egan (Sanctuary) and comic book legend Jimmy Palmiotti (Ghost Rider; Deadpool) serve as creative consultants

TORONTO/CANNES, March 28, 2012 /CNW/ - Shaftesbury and its award-winning digital media division, Smokebomb Entertainment, today announced casting and production details for State of Syn, a groundbreaking science fiction digital project. Starring Jewel Staite (Firefly, LA Complex), David Hewlett (Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis), and Rainbow Sun Francks (The Listener, Stargate: Atlantis), State of Syn (10 x five minutes) is a 3D-enabled digital motion novel for online, smartphone and tablet devices that combines live-action photography with animated hyper-real backgrounds. Commencing production in Toronto in early April, State of Syn will launch to consumers in summer 2012 and will also be offered to buyers as a standalone property for multiple platforms at MIPTV 2012 in Cannes.

"State of Syn combines the best of traditional sci-fi storytelling with the type of immersive user experience that only digital platforms can offer," said Daniel Dales, CEO and Executive Producer, Smokebomb Entertainment. "Fans of the genre will experience a thrilling mystery presented in an eye-popping layered animation style with interactive elements that will deepen the story world." 

Featuring 10 five-minute narrative episodes, State of Syn takes place in a futuristic society where instability reigns but one commodity remains accessible to all: technology. The storyline follows Annika Drake (Staite) and her friends who, following the unexplained death of her father, are pulled into a twisted mystery surrounding his former company, emerging tech giant Psylosense. Now run by her father's former business partner Aslin Kane (Hewlett), Psylosense is manufacturing a highly addictive new sensory experience called Vibe - a digital technology simulating a neurological condition called synesthesia - which is poised to become the new opiate of the masses. 

Audiences will be able to enhance their experience of the narrative through an interactive content layer that will allow additional story information to be revealed upon demand via text, audio or images throughout each episode. They can also choose to view State of Syn in 3D through the use of a 3Dee Slide (available for purchase from 3DeeCentral), or on any 3D-enabled device.

State of Syn is created and produced by Daniel Dales and Jarrett Sherman for Smokebomb Entertainment and executive produced by Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie and Shane Kinnear for Shaftesbury. Sam Egan (Sanctuary) and comic book legend Jimmy Palmiotti serve as creative consultants.

State of Syn is a joint initiative of Shaftesbury and Smokebomb Entertainment, and has been funded with the participation of Spatial View, the Canada Media Fund's Experimental Stream and the OMDC's Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit.

Shaftesbury and Smokebomb Entertainment have been nominated for a 2012 International Digital Emmy award in the Digital Program: Fiction category for Murdoch Mysteries: Curse of the Lost Pharaohs, a 13-part original online series created as an extension of the fourth season of Murdoch Mysteries.

About Shaftesbury
Founded in 1987, Shaftesbury is an award-winning creator, producer and distributor of original content for television and multiple platforms, with programming available in more than 120 countries worldwide. Recent productions include three seasons of The Listener for CTV and Fox International Channels; five seasons of Murdoch Mysteries for Citytv, UKTV and ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment; and Ken Finkleman's audacious new comedy series, Good God. Shaftesbury's slate of programming for kids and families includes the global hit series Life with Derek and the movie follow-up to the series, Vacation with Derek. Shaftesbury's divisions include Shaftesbury Factual, which is focused on non-fiction storytelling across a broad spectrum of genres; Smokebomb Entertainment, the company's digital media division responsible for the development and production of original multiplatform series and companion web experiences for Shaftesbury's slate of properties; and Shaftesbury Sales Company, which manages international sales and distribution for the company's content. Shaftesbury recently launched Shaftesbury U.S., a new division focused on development for the U.S. market located in Los Angeles, California.

About Smokebomb Entertainment
Smokebomb Entertainment is an award-winning pioneer in the digital media world, led by co-founders and co-heads Daniel Dales and Jarrett Sherman. Smokebomb creates original, interactive multiplatform content as well as media-rich online and mobile companion experiences for broadcast television series. At the core of every project created is a focus on character and storytelling, and how those elements speak to and engage target audiences. Smokebomb has developed several original series for digital deployment, including Backpackers and Focused, as well as Totally Amp'd and State of Syn, two groundbreaking digital projects for multiple platforms that blend episodic content with a suite of interactive elements.

Image with caption: "Shaftesbury and Smokebomb Entertainment's new original science fiction digital project, STATE OF SYN, stars Jewel Staite and David Hewlett (CNW Group/Shaftesbury)". Image available at:

SOURCE Shaftesbury

For further information:

Katherine Wolfgang
VP, Communications, Shaftesbury
Office: 416-363-1411
Mobile: 416-669-2823
MIPTV Stand R27.12

Tanya Koivusalo
Communications Coordinator, Shaftesbury
Office: 416-363-1411
Mobile: 416-575-4671

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