Digital Connections: a France-Canada platform for collaboration in the digital media

Digital Connections: a France-Canada platform for collaboration in the digital media


Saturday, October 27, 2012 - 1:00am to Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 12:00am


Centre for Digital Media --685 Great Northern Way , Vancouver , British Columbia (BC) Show on Google Maps

Symposium and Professional Meeting | Vancouver, October 27, 2012

The French Consulate in Vancouver in partnership with the Centre for Digital Media will be holding an invitation-only symposium and networking opportunity on October 27, 2012 for digital industry stakeholders from both France and Canada. The symposium will focus on interactive media, computer graphics (animation and visual effects), transmedia and mobile applications development.

The objective of the symposium is to develop mutual knowledge between French and BC digital senior industry leaders, creative people and policy-makers. It will provide a platform for exploring strategies for innovation, creativity and development in the digital sector, taking into account new trends and models, success stories and lessons learned as presented by experts from both countries.

Format & Schedule (subject to change)

Oct. 26 : An Opening Reception will be held in the evening starting at 6:30pm.

Oct. 27 : Invitation-Only Symposium : Panel discussions and open conversations between French and Canadian experts held at the new Centre for Digital Media. 

(9:00 am - 9:30 am) Registration

(9:45 am to 10:45 am) Digital Media Business Strategies : Innovating
(Canadian speakers: Richard Smith, Moyra Rodger; French speakers : Valérie Bourgoin, Sébastien Doumic)

- triggering innovation / optimizing improvement
- moving from brilliant ideas to marketable products
- role of venture capital and investors
- partnerships for innovation between Education and Academia

(11:20 am to 12:20 pm) Digital Media Business Strategies : Expanding
(Canadian speakers: Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, Sean Megaw, Josh Nilson; French speakers : Thierry Platon, Vincent Dondaine)

- growing from start-ups to medium-sized companies / monetization models
- transitioning from local creative culture to global markets
- best business strategies for using transmedia and cross platform opportunities

(12:25 pm to 1:30 pm) LUNCH

(1:30 pm to 2:30 pm) Fostering Creative Environments
(Canadian speakers: Duncan Phillips, Matt Toner; French speakers : Patrick Cocquet, Julien Villedieu)

- assembling talents / clustering the industry
- policy-making for the creative industries and private-public partnerships
- different scales of creative environments : from grassroots initiatives to the whole city, individual talents to crowd sourcing

(3:05 pm to 4:05 pm) Digital Media Education and Research
(Canadian speakers: Ron Burnett, Kelly Booth; French speakers: Stéphane Natkin, Vincent Leclercq)

- expected outcomes of digital education : skills and human resources challenges
- integrating research in a professional curriculum
- creating programs for working professionals : new models for online delivery

A wrap-up will summarize the main outcomes and prospects.

Consulat general de France a Vancouver


Josh Nilson

Panel Speakers


Valérie Bourgoin is head of the video game and digital creation department at the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée ( the leading public organization for film and multimedia. The principal missions of the CNC are : regulatory / support for the film, broadcast, video, multimedia and technical industries. The video game and digital creation department supports production of innovative, interactive multimedia content for use on digital media and networks and particularly creation and publishing of video games.
Patrick Cocquet is the CEO of Cap Digital cluster, a Paris region organization that gathers more than 650 innovative companies and more than 50 research and training organisations, working in digital contents and services fields. He started and organized Cap Digital in 2006, making it one of the first clusters in France and Europe. Patrick Cocquet is a member of the European competitiveness and innovation strategic advisory committee.
Vincent Dondaine is COO and CMO of BulkyPix (, a leading international digital entertainment provider based in San Francisco, USA and Paris, France. BulkyPix publishes high quality games and applications developed for a wide range of Smartphone and tablet platforms. It has already released numerous great titles such as Hysteria Project, My Brute, Babel Rising, Jazz: Trump's Journey, Aby Escape, Saving Private Sheep, and The Sandbox, to name a few from their extensive portfolio. BulkyPix has focused our development on cutting-edge, widely adopted technologies in a bid to move away from niche platform environments and embrace the most widespread platforms in the market, from smartphone OS to facebook.
Sébastien Doumic is co-founder of OUAT entertainment ( OUAT is a creator and a publisher of “casual” social games, founded in 1999 by Frédérique and Sébastien Doumic. For 13 years, OUAT has produced over 40 games for a family audience, in partnership with renowned international publishers such as Ubisoft, Universal and Hasbro. OUAT is a talented team of 20+ professionals, covering every skill set from creation and production to online publishing, in Angouleme and Paris (France). Since 3 years, OUAT is fully focused on Social Casual Gaming
Vincent Leclercq is the CEO of the Pole Images Nord Pas-de-Calais (, a multimedia and digital cluster located in the North part of France, which gathers 9 professional organizations, and 22 research labs.
Stéphane Natkin is professor at the department of Computer Science of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers ( in Paris, France. He is the Director of the Graduate School on Games and Interactive Media (ENJMIN) and the head of the Mobility Interaction and Media group of Computer Research Laboratory CEDRIC ( He is the French representative of the IFIP group in Entertainment Computing (TC14). He has worked during the last twenty years in the field multimedia systems, video games and critical computer system (safety and security), both from the research and the industrial point of view.
Thierry Platon is a video-game industry veteran. As early as 1985, Thierry worked for AtariFrance in the localization of the very first Atari 400 games. In 1989, he published his first successes video game, Ranx (Ubi Soft), as an independent. After this he began a career as a freelance Game Designer which eventually led him to the creation of the BiP media studio, of which he is the Creative Director (My Farm, Viking Invasion, Tiny Token Empires, Judge Dee, etc.). BiP media is a Sony and Nintendo certified independent video game development studio located in the South of France dedicated to the creation of innovative and high quality games for consoles and PC. Actually, Thierry is also vice-president of SNJV (Syndicat National du Jeu Video) and president of Gamesud (Video Game Professional Cluster in south of France).
Julien Villedieu is general delegate of the Syndicat National du Jeu Vidéo (, the videogaming industry’s main professional organization in France. It gathers videogaming and interactive media studios, creative people, publishers, distributors, research labs… to represent the sector and promote the French expertise and know-how related to the videogaming industry. It contributes to public policy-making, legal aspects, academic training and promotion of the French industry, both in France and internationally.


Dr. Kellogg S. Booth is the Scientific Director of GRAND NCE and a Professor of Computer Science at The University of British Columbia. Formerly the Director of the Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre at the University of British Columbia, Kellogg has worked in the fields of computer graphics and human-computer interaction since 1968. Prior to UBC, he was a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo (1977- 1990), and before that a staff member at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1968-1976).
Ron BurnettDr. Ron Burnett has been President + Vice-Chancellor of Emily Carr University of Art + Design since 1996. In 2010, Dr. Burnett was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government and received the International Digital Media and Arts Association Outstanding Leadership Award. He received his BA, MA and PhD from McGill University in the areas of media arts, communications and cultural studies.
Brenda Bailey GershkovitchBrenda Bailey Gershkovitch is the CEO of Silicon Sisters Interactive, a female focused studio building top quality games for Women and Girls. Launched in May 2010, the studio has successfully introduced a tween series called School26 to iO/S, Android, PC and Mac. The studio is currently working on a Romance series for adult women called “Everlove”.
Sean Megaw is the founder of Fathom Interactive, a Social and Mobile Game studio based in Vancouver, BC with additional offices in Calgary, AB. Over the past 13 years in the gaming industry Sean has created over 30 top selling titles and now works as the studio manager and Creative Director for Fathom Interactive. Fathom's portfolio includes Sky Pirates of Neo Terra an synchronous multiplayer racer published on Mobile by Gree International and online by BigPoint, Kaia's Quest and puzzle game for Big Fish Games, Vacation Quest for EA Popcap Games plus upcoming titles such as Coral Cove and Hoard 2.
Josh NilsonJosh Nilson has been working in Information Technology for over 10 years, at both Enterprise and start up companies. For the last 3 years, he has been specializing in the mobile and social game space, his keen efforts integral to East Side Games becoming a profitable studio. Josh had previously worked at Relic Entertainment, where he contributed to critically and commercially acclaimed RTS games Dawn of War II and Company of Heroes.
Patrick Pennefather (Faculty, CDM) is a founding faculty member at the Masters of Digital Media Program in Vancouver, Canada where he teaches collaborative, creative and adaptive intelligence in his Interdisciplinary Improvisation course and in the industry-facing projects that he manages. He has mentored and managed industry-funded projects with Ubisoft, Microsoft, Exploding Barrel Games, Roadhouse Games, Skybox Labs, Disruptive Media, Cultural Olympiad Digital Edition 2010, and more. He is currently working as a consultant for NGO’s in the area of serious gaming and ESL training. As a composer he has worked with numerous clients including Bard on the Beach, Push Festival, CBC Radio & Television, Bravo Television, and Comedy Network.
Duncan PhillipsDuncan Phillips is a Vice-President at Mitacs, a national, not-for-profit research organization. Following a 30-year career in “bleeding edge” technology in the UK and Canada Duncan joined Mitacs in 2007 in the role of Business Development Director; served as Vice-President Business Development for Western Canada from 2009-2010, and currently holds the position of Vice President, Strategic Projects, where he is focusing on building public-private research consortia in response to industry innovation needs. Duncan is also currently serving as Vice-President of the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge Management Society.
Moyra RodgerMoyra Rodger (CEO, Magnify Digital & Out To See Entertainment Inc.) is a multi-award winning producer who has, for over 20 years, circled the globe creating prime time television, music, lifestyle and documentary programming. More than a decade ago she recognized the need to morph content across myriad platforms -­ both online and off, and maximize audience engagement and dialogue.  This lead to the creation of Magnify Digital: a front runner in creating eMarketing strategies for the digital world.

Dr. Richard Smith (Director, CDM) has over two decades of academic and directorial experience at Simon Fraser University. A professor at the School of Communication at SFU for over fifteen years, he has also served as Director of SFU’s Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology (CPROST) for the past ten years. His active engagement with local, national and international media on issues related to his research into the contemporary world of technology, social media and public surveillance has also made him a recognized public commentator. His service to the university through public affairs and media relations earned Dr. Smith the 2009 SFU President’s Award.

Matt Toner (Faculty, CDM) has worked as a writer, producer, director and digital designer on projects ranging from bleeding-edge mobile games to multi-platform television series to mixed martial arts spectaculars to nationwide comic creation campaigns. Matt began in new media during the dot-boom in New York, helping to launch or lead three start-ups. Following the dot-crash, he switched gears and joined Vancouver’s burgeoning video game industry, working as a narrative designer and writer on a series of top-selling titles for Electronic Arts and Nokia. In 2006, he led the development of an award-winning online television portal before launching his own studio, Zeros 2 Heroes Media.
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