Toronto Digital Media Festival focuses on culture and innovation this October

TORONTO, Sept. 29, 2011 /CNW/ - Digifest, Toronto's international festival celebrating innovation and digital creativity, will take place this year from October 26 to October 30. The general public will mingle with established and emerging designers, technologists and artists, to learn about the latest innovations and experience them firsthand through panel discussions and presentations, demos, interactive exhibitions, workshops, art installations and receptions.

The purpose of the festival is to showcase digital creativity in Toronto, bringing together academia, industry and the public to experience the convergence of interactive and mobile media, gaming, art, design, architecture, science and more. It is a five-day long celebration of the latest achievements in visualization, simulation and interaction in many fields, inspiring and connecting all involved.

Digifest's long-term vision is to brand Toronto as a global leader in digital media and technology, based on the unique breadth and depth of its digital sector. "The School of Design at George Brown is pleased to catalyze and work with industry, government and other colleges and universities in partnership to position Toronto as one of the key global cities for global creativity," said Luigi Ferrara, Director of the Centre for Arts & Design at George Brown College.

Digifest will begin with two Innovation Days on Wednesday, October 26 and Thursday, October 27 featuring the latest research by academic and industry partnerships. These presentations, curated by the Digifest Academic Committee, are each organized into one of the four Digifest streams: play, touch, build, and watch.

This year, "thought leader" lectures will be delivered by Asi Burak, Co-President, Games for Change; Dr. Ron Burnett, President, Emily Carr University; Dr. Ron Dembo of Zero Footprint; Simone Giostra, Founder, Simone Giostra and Partners Architects; Hunter Tura, Bruce Mau Design; and Siamak Hariri, Founding Partner, Hariri Pontarini Architects. Shorter presentations will be delivered by Dr. Ali Arya, Assistant Professor of Interactive Multimedia, Carleton University; Farzin Farhadi-Niaki, Expert/Researcher, PhD candidate, Carleton University; Eugene Fiume, Professor and Co-Director, Dynamic Graphics Project, University of Toronto; Dr. Sara M. Grimes, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto; Michael Jemtrud, Director, FARMM and Associate Professor, School of Architecture, McGill University; Jennifer Jenson, President, Canadian Games Studies Association; Melanie McBride, Researcher, Experimental Design and Gaming Environment EDGE Lab; Dawn Mercer, Faculty, Seneca College, Popcorn.js - The HTML5 Media Framework; Jason Nolan, Director, EDGE Lab; Nuket Savaskan Nowlan, Founder and President, 3D Virtual Crafting; Neil Schneider, Executive Director, S-3D Gaming Alliance; Greg J. Smith, Designer/Researcher, Mission Specialist Studio; and Dr. Anthony Whitehead, Director, School of Information Technology, Carleton University.

To kick off the festival, George Brown College will host a launch party at its new digital incubator, located at 333 King St. East, on the evening of Wednesday, October 26. Moreover, on the Wednesday and Thursday, the Applied Arts exhibition and educational fair for Toronto and Ontario high school students, featuring graphic design, illustration, advertising, game design and development, photography and more, will take place at the Artscape Wychwood Barns, followed by the Applied Arts Awards Gala on the evening of Thursday, October 27.

On Friday, October 28, TIFF Nexus at the TIFF Bell Lightbox will host the third innovation day focusing on the connection of the existing and emerging media sectors of film, gaming and new media. This innovation day will feature technology talks and presentations as well as the results of the 2011 Gaming Peripherals Jam - putting game developers together with hardware hackers to innovate in areas of interface - which will be showcased in an evening reception at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

From Wednesday to Friday in the evening, Digifest will host Meet The Media Guru, bringing innovators from across the globe for thought-provoking presentations that will inspire and challenge attendees. Meet The Media Guru is a social network and open community of digital culture based out of Italy where the public can meet world-famous protagonists of innovation. Gurus presenting this year include Paolo Rosa, Co-Founder, Studio Azzurro (Italy); Maurice Benayoun, New Media Artist (France); Tom Igoe, Co-Founder, Arduino (New York City) and Rebecca Allen, Director, Nokia Research Center Hollywood and Nokia Research Center Cambridge (United States).

Weekend events at Digifest will allow the public to experience Toronto's digital design culture. Events will include the TOJam Arcade, an interactive exhibition of locally created video games; the First Person show, a video game, visual effects (vfx) and animation studio trade show; the Link Digital Art and Design Exhibit; Sunday Funday, a daytime event at Yonge-Dundas Square involving interactive digital attractions and performances; and a Spooktacular Halloween party at the St. Lawrence North Market.

The event will wrap on Sunday night with a closing gala at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. Digifest will announce the winners of the Digifest Sony Ziris™ contest; the first place winner will go home with $1000 and a Sony Playstation 3™.

About Digifest

Digifest was founded by Luigi Ferrara, Director of the Centre for Arts and Design at George Brown College.  In 2002, he was the President of the DXNet and Vice President of The Design Exchange.  Digifest debuted in 2002, followed by festivals in 2004 and 2006 organized by the DXNet at the Design Exchange.

Digifest has been transformed by the School of Design at George Brown College in partnership with the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, the Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFF Nexus), Applied Arts Inc., Meet The Media Guru (Italy), TOJam and various media and venue partners. Academic partners include Brock University, Carleton University, Centennial College, CFC Media Lab, Ryerson University, Seneca College, ThingTank Lab, University of Toronto, OCAD University, UOIT and York University.

SOURCE George Brown College

For further information:

Paul Zanettos
George Brown College
(416) 415-5000 ext. 3428
pzanetto@georgebrown.ca


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