All posts for category: CFC Media Lab > Events

CFC Media Lab Presents: Digital Futures Initiative Industry Day


Showcasing the Work of Talented Students from The Digital Futures Program

This past Tuesday, the CFC Media Lab partnered with OCADU to host E-Leo: The Digital Futures Initiative’s Industry Day. Accompanied by good food and cool music, the evening featured work created by the talented students and alumni from the Digital Futures Initiative (DFI) program at OCAD University.

About the program: The Digital Futures graduate program responds to the increasingly important and sophisticated role of digital technology as a magical catalyst for integrating societal, cultural and economic change. Candidates for the Graduate Diploma in Digital Futures are practising designers from a wide range of professions wishing to augment their skills and knowledge to play leadership roles within their industries and organizations. This program is offered in partnership with the CFC Media Lab.








ASTOUND Summit: The Business of Audience Engagement


Now is a great time to be an artist and entrepreneur, but one thing’s for sure: you have to do your research, understand the landscape and be creative with your engagement efforts. Otherwise, you could get lost in the mix.

That was the message that attendees heard from a number of different presentations and workshops geared towards content producers and investors at the very first ASTOUND Summit, which took place Saturday, October 19 at OCADU in Toronto.

Consumer intelligence, data and analytics, the business model canvas, social media strategies and the art of pitching were some of the main presentation topics addressed at the event.


“It’s been an excellent event,” Kevin Naismith, founder and CEO of digital media start-up OnePape said. “The speakers have been great and the content has covered everything. This is the stuff you need to know.”

Naismith is one of many entrepreneurs and producers that attended the summit this weekend and is part of a huge contingency of creative young people looking to disrupt a space and start their own business.

“ASTOUND has been really great, and it’s addressing a big gap that exists,” Shari Cohen, a program consultant at Ontario Media Development Corporation said. “This is a great initiative.”


A few key takeaways from the summit:

  • “Your audience is not on all platforms – you need to understand where they are and how they’re accessing it,” digital media strategist Eric Leo Blais said during his presentation on social media strategies. “Every time you ask your audience to leave one platform for another, you will likely lose them.”
  • “It’s not enough just to use social, you need to have a plan,” Blais said. “How do you know if your campaign has been successful? You need to use metrics.”
  • “How do we understand the value of experience?” Todd Cherkasky from SapientNitro asks, pointing to a slide showing brand and marketing ROI, return on media channels and experience optimization. “We need to reframe what we measure.”


  • “Your film, your project, your product – it’s got a million things to it and you love it. You’d like to share everything possible with the person who’s going to invest their money, but they’re not actually interested in it,” business coach Warren Coughlin said during his presentation on the art of pitching. “You’ve got to distill it down to the salient points in the timeframe you have in order to convince them to take the action that you want.”
  • “People forget facts, but they remember stories,” Coughlin said. “You need to build that into your presentation. What you’re trying to do is bypass the logical critic that the investor has so you can tap into their emotion. Stories will do that, but you need to think strategically about what story is important. Is it your story? Is it the investor’s story? Is it the story of the potential customer? Is it the story of the marketplace? You need to tell some kind of narrative that brings me along with you.”


The ASTOUND Initiative is led by CFC Media Lab in partnership with Hot Docs, and OCADU. ASTOUND is 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, Culture, and Sport.

For more information on the ASTOUND Initiative, or the ASTOUND Summit, visit

ASTOUND Salon: Accessing Private Investment by Numbers

SalonPic 1 - logo

Last night at the Spoke Club in Toronto, producers and content creators learned the importance of crunching the numbers and understanding analytics for attracting investment at this year’s second ASTOUND Salon.

Anne Marie Maduri, from Maduri & Associates, along with Debra McLaughlin of Strategic Inc., teamed up and laid out some tips for digital, film and TV producers looking to raise capital in today’s market.


Three core questions that must be answered for investors are:

  • Why should they invest?
  • What is it exactly that they are investing in?
  • What is the expected return?

Without the answers to these questions, investors could quickly walk away from a deal. They don’t want to do your homework for you, they want you to come prepared with numbers in tow.

“What’s the profile of your target audience? Who is the target market? Investors want to know this,” Maduri said, as she outlined her core revenue equations.

But where all of this data comes from varies between mediums and also by market and contractual agreements. There really is no such thing as too much data when looking for investment.


Some other key takeaways from the presentation:

  • If you are pitching a pilot, try to build into your contract with a broadcaster that you attain the broadcaster’s performance data report.
  • Broadcasters want to see a diverse revenue mix for TV content — not just one revenue stream. Think branded content, second screen, etc.
  • Use the large resources available to you, as well as smaller niche measurements to form an audience profile. The CRTC & CMPA have extensive data resources that are helpful in this regard.
  • Investors want to know what your market differentiator is, and they want to know that you are aware of all of your competition. To say that you have no competition is a major faux pas in raising capital.
  • For digital media properties, you have to think outside the box, develop a dialogue with the right investors and find ways to appeal to them, as they may not fully understand the market. “The investor’s children will likely know more about digital media than they do,” Maduri said.


This Saturday, October 19, is the ASTOUND Summit. For more information on the day’s events and how you can participate, please visit

The ASTOUND Initiative is led by CFC Media Lab in partnership with Hot Docs, and OCADU. ASTOUND is 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, Culture, and Sport.

Body/Mind/Change Invades Made in NY Media Center Launch Party


This past Wednesday, the CFC Media Lab invaded the super exclusive launch party for the Made in NY Media Center with Body/Mind/Change, our latest co-production with TIFF. Our installation, complete with 3D printed PODs and images projected onscreen, were the definite highlight of the evening.

About Made in NY Media Center
Made in NY Media Center is located in DUMBO, Brooklyn where storytellers from multiple disciplines, industries and platforms create, collaborate, connect and incubate across a spectrum of programs, events and experiences. They strive to bring together innovators in film, video, gaming, technology and more through education, mentorship, entrepreneurship and content creation.

About Body/Mind/Change
In Body/Mind/Change, Cronenberg partners with BMC Labs, a fictional biotech firm, to develop biotech enhancement implants inspired by the intellectual property found in his films, such as Scanners, Videodrome and eXistenZ. Cronenberg is the first participant in the project. At launch on October 25, registered participants will be guided through an episodic interactive narrative that functions as a simulator for training their PODs. Completing this three-part experience will guarantee them a unique POD generated from their behaviour during the simulations.

If you haven’t signed up for a POD yet, you still have a chance to do so at

Body/Mind/Change is a co-production between TIFF and CFC Media Lab, with creative direction and experience design by Lance Weiler. Presenting Partner for Body/Mind/Change is the department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Interactive Fund with support provided by the Government of Ontario. Executive producers are Noah Cowan, Ana Serrano and Shane Smith. Ana Serrano is the producer.





Astound: Into the Mind of an Investor

Yesterday, we hosted several Toronto area investors at an Astound Salon in the exclusive Soho House. The goal of the night was to introduce them to the creative industry as a potential space for investment, which in turn would bring about new funding opportunities for producers and arts-oriented startups.

Andrew Fisher, Executive Vice President of Wesley Clover International was on hand to speak about unlocking the investment potential of the Canadian content industries. Duncan Cork, CEO and Co-Founder of film investment platform, Slated, was also present to talk about the future of private investment in the film industry.

What we were treated to was an evening of very frank discussion about the pros and cons of investing in the creative space. This included some of the following:

The Cons:

  • High Risk Investment: Creative products often require a large investment upfront with very little guarantee of a return. As in the famous words of William Goldman, “Nobody knows anything.” A success is very difficult to predict.  Cork points out that of the 500,000 films made every year, only 3% make a profit and 500 of those 3% gain theatrical distribution. This makes the creative sector a high-risk investment.
  • Unfamiliar Sector: Investors can’t treat the creative sector as functioning similarly to other industries. For example, there is no correlation between a film’s budget and its box office performance. However in other sectors, Fisher states that investors can pump in more money to improve a product’s profitability potential.
  • Differing Frames of Mind: Producers and creative content organizations don’t think the same way or share the same needs as businesses in other sectors. For example, Cork notes that filmmakers are often not profit-oriented which is problematic for investors. To find a common understanding between them and the investor, transparent communications and some business training is recommended.

The Pros:

  • It’s Fun: Investing in the creative industry can be fun and offers a great outlet away from the more monotonous sectors. These are projects the investors will likely become very passionate about.
  • Mitigating Risks:  Some of the risk factors associated with investing in the creative sector can be mitigated. Fisher notes this could include taking steps to ensure that the project has a reliable team and a viable business model in place. The investor should also be sure that they have a good understanding of what the various business functions and revenue sources are.
  • Profit Potential: Although the creative sector is high risk, there is profit potential. Sometimes a project which most thought would be unsuccessful can perform surprisingly well. Cork noted that betting on an outlier project can result in an unexpected success, as was the case for My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002).

Although there are hurdles to overcome, we feel encouraged about the future of investment in the creative sector in Canada.

On October 19th, the CFC Media Lab will be hosting the ASTOUND Summit. This will be worth checking out once we release details. For more information about the ASTOUND Initiative, please visit

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Stereographer Demetri Portelli at 3D FLIC

This upcoming weekend, the CFC Media Lab will be hosting two exciting events at the 3D FLIC: Toronto International Stereoscopic 3D Conference.

This conference has been acclaimed as a unique international gathering of creative, scientific and business minds discussing, discovering and inspiring innovation in “Stereoscopic 3D” Cinema. So, you definitely will not want to miss out on this:

1. Live Online Interview with Director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Special Preview of The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

Sunday, September 22, 2013, famed French Director of Amelie (2001), Jean-Pierre Jeunet will showcase 12 minutes from his new 3D film, The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (2013). Jeunet will address the conference live via Skype from Paris and will be joined live on stage by his Canadian Stereographer, Demetri Portelli to discuss Jeunet’s unique style of 3D storytelling.

2. Master Class with Demetri Portelli

On Monday, September 23, stereographer of Hugo (2011) and 47 Ronin (2013), Demetri Portelli will lead a master class.

Demetri Portelli is a Stereographer / 3D Supervisor who has been working as a cameraman for 20 years. For his stereography on the film Hugo(2011) by Martin Scorsese, Demetri accepted the award for ‘Best Live Action Stereography’ at The 2012 International 3D Society, Creative Arts Awards. In 2013 Demetri is proud to be involved with the upcoming 47 Ronin 3D (2013) for Universal Pictures and The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (2013) which marks a first foray in 3D filmmaking by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

The Toronto International Stereoscopic 3D Conference runs from September 20-23, 2013 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. To ensure that you don’t miss out on this one-time opportunity, be sure to book your tickets today.

You’re Invited: XTENSION OCAD University DFI Graduate Exhibition

You are officially invited to the OCAD University Digital Futures Graduate Exhibition.

We are extremely happy to be extending this invitation to all of the members of our community for the inaugural launch of the first graduate exhibit, please do RSVP now as space is limited.  If you are not able to attend the Opening Reception you are welcome to see the exhibition on display April 17 – 19 from 10am – 5pm at 49 McCaul Street.

Opening Reception: Tuesday April 16 at 6:30
Exhibition: April 17 – 19, 10am – 5pm

49 McCaul Street, Toronto, M5T 1V7


The Digital Futures Initiative is offered in partnership with the CFC Media Lab.

We Will Be There: Chief Digital Officer Summit

The Chief Digital Officer Summit gives attendees the opportunity to interact with – and learn from – some of the planet’s brightest digital leaders.

Thomson Reuters’ spectacular top-floor conference room overlooks NYC’s breath-taking Times Square; yet the cozy, 180-seat venue provides an intimate setting for quality networking with peers, and connecting with new partners.  But with just 180 seats available, you should register now!

We are excited to announce that Ana Serrano will be representing the Canadian Film Centre and speaking on a panel amongst Chief Digital Officers from other non-profit organizations.


When: Thursday, February 28, 2013 from 7am-9pm
Where: Thomson-Reuters headquarters: 3 Times Square, New York, NY
Who: Chief Digital Officers from several organizations including the Canadian Film Centre’s Chief Digital Officer, Ana Serrano.

CROSSMEDIA TORONTO is Back and Offering CFC Alumni a Generous Discount!

Crossmedia Toronto is back with 26 innovative speakers in an exciting, rapid-fire FULL DAY event on Thursday, February 21st from 8AM to 6:30PM at the Bram & Bluma Salon, Toronto Reference Library.

Join 100s of experts in digital media, tech and entertainment, including: Reddit,, Youtube, Vodo, Uber., Trendrr, Get Set Games, Arts & Crafts, Bitcoin, Pressly, and more.

—–Special Rate for CFC Alumni —–

CROSSMEDIA is excited to offer CFC Alumni 20% Off the ticket price. Register and use the code - CFCVIP

We are proud to highlight the involvement of the ideaBOOST participants:

For the full schedule and event details visit 

You’re Invited: Keynote with Ondi Timoner

You are invited to join a private CFC Media Lab Keynote and Networking Reception with TWICE WINNER OF THE SUNDANCE GRAND JURY PRIZE FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY, American film director, producer, and editor Ondi Timoner.


When: January 30th from 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Where: Arts & Letters Club, 14 Elm Street Toronto, ON M5G 1G
Register: [it's FREE!]

Ondi is the only director to win a Sundance grand jury award twice in the prestigious festival’s history for her two documentaries DIG! and We Live in Public. Timoner graduated cum laude from Yale University and founded Interloper in 1995. She filmed the documentaries Voices From Inside Time about incarcerated women in Connecticut, winner of the Yale Film Prize – and later, The Nature of the Beast, about one woman’s heroic journey through the criminal justice system, and winner of the Bettina Russel Grand Jury Prize in Canada and The National Society for Visual Anthropology Commendation, which aired on PBS. She later went on to shoot Dam Nation, set in the oldest living civilization of sub-Saharan Africa about a WTO dam. Timoner created and directed for the TV series Sound Affects, the highest-rated pilot in VH1′s history, and ABC’s highly successful Switched!. With her own company, Interloper Films, Ondi has made music videos and music documentaries for The Dandy Warhols, The Vines, Paul Westerberg, Lucinda Williams, Vanessa Carlton, The Jonas Brothers, and DMC, among others. Ondi is currently slated to direct a narrative feature film based on the life of controversial artist Robert Mapplethorpe.

Learn more about Ondi Timoner here:
* Follow @onditimoner