// Keynote // John Romero (Galway, IRL)
OPENING KEYNOTE – John Romero is an award-winning game designer, level designer and programmer whose work spans over 130 games, 107 of which have been published commercially, including the iconic works Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM and Quake. Romero has worked in the mobile, hardcore, mid-core, casual and MMO space.
Romero has co-founded eight successful game companies including the likes of id Software, Gazillion Entertainment, Loot Drop which celebrated its 5th anniversary in 2015, and most recently Romero Games. He is considered to be among the world’s top game designers, and his products have won well over 100 awards.
One of the earliest indie developers, Romero began working in the game space in 1979 on mainframes before moving to the Apple II in 1981. He is a completely self-taught programmer, designer and artist, having drawn his inspirations from early Apple II programmers. Romero co-owns Romero Games and is at work on a new first-person shooter, a genre he pioneered.
Allen Ma (San Francisco, USA)
Founder and CEO
Allen pioneered mobile games for the smartphone generation as an early member of ngmoco where he won an Apple Design Award for Topple 2 and numerous Strategy Game of the Year awards for Star Defense. He was among the first to release games on Android and Windows Phone. Allen went on to be Head of Publishing for DeNA West and managed a portfolio of titles, many of which lived in the Top 100 Grossing Apple and Google charts. He is currently CEO of Merigo, which is creating a specialized Server Development Environment focused on helping developers build and launch highly scalable and rich mobile F2P game experiences.
Andray Domise (Toronto, CAN)
Andray Domise is a writer, community activist, and co-founder of TXDL, an educational program which teaches tech skills to diverse youth. Among other publications, his columns have appeared in National Post, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, Toronto Life, TVO, Vice, and Hazlitt. As a critical observer of the way race is lived in Canada, Andray has spoken on panels for TVO’s The Agenda, CTV News, and CP24 among others. He is a board member for the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, as well as a vocal member of the Ontario Black History Society, the Black Business Professionals Association, and the Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals.
With co-founder Samuel Allemang, Andray launched TXDL in 2015, which holds weekly classes teaching coding, digital design, and creative writing. He also co-hosted the political podcast Canadaland Commons along with fellow writer and activist Desmond Cole, and was named one of the Globe and Mail’s Sixteen Torontonians to Watch in 2016.
Aside from his community and political activism, Andray has delivered talks on the financial benefits of diversity in pop culture, the mental impact of systemic racism in business, government, and media, and the importance of frank conversations on race and activism.
Andrew Fisher (Ottawa, CAN)
At Gigataur, we are creators and publishers of best-of-breed mobile engagement, delivering premium entertainment experiences to mobile users, and targeted audiences to brands and advertisers through our patented technology platform.
Our team is made up gaming and entertainment industry veterans, who bring with them a track record of working with some of the largest content companies in the world including Disney, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Lucas Arts, Marvel, and Mattel.
Andrew manages corporate direction with emphasis on building team morale and shareholder value. A content and advertising enthusiast, Andrew is a media chair for DFAIT and an advisor to IRAP. Prior to being CEO at Gigataur, Andrew spent 15 years as part of the Wesley Clover investment team. During this time, he started, operated and grew new ventures in multiple vertical markets and geographies, drove revenue growth and investor confidence with positive returns for all shareholders. Andrew has an academic background in economics, computer science and engineering and is an honors graduate from the University of British Columbia.
Anne Devouassoux (Paris, FR)
Anne Devouassoux is an executive producer and entrepreneur with more than 20 years experience in game production, R&D and business strategy. With a degree in Computer science and video game management, Anne started as a game producer and soon joined David Cage as a co-founder at Quantic Dream, a studio that still continues to develop successful games. Anne continued to work as a producer and manager, developing +10 games including “The Adventures of Tintin” which remained one of Atari’s top selling games for 5 years. In 2007, with a budget of €20M and 10 separate collaborative studios, Anne lead an ambitious co-development R&D project called “Play-All” to create a video game engine.
In 2010, Anne founded her own company, Granitic, to both produce her own games & movies and provide services in production. Her clients range from small start-ups to government agencies. Today Anne is currently working as Executive Producer with the French studio Kylotonn, based in Paris. Kylotonn is developing racing games.
Anne is a Board member and vice chairman of the French Developers Federation (SNJV Syndicat National du Jeu Vidéo) and an adjunct professor at the university of Multimedia in Paris.
Beatrix Moersch (Montreal, CAN)
Beatrix Moersch is a sound designer and composer whose work focuses on giving voice to emotion and experience. Though relatively new to the world of games, she has worked in sound and film for nearly a decade and much of her work in that time has centred around the inner workings of mental and emotional health. Her latest project, indie studio Artifact 5’s surreal exploration game Anamorphine, pulls this theme into central focus by telling its emotionally-driven story of depression and loss entirely through environment and sound without the use of text or dialog.
Bernardo Manfredini (São Paulo, BRA)
Bernardo has a solid background in the online and video game industries in which he has been working for the past 14 years. His areas of expertise are online marketing and business development. When working at Ubisoft, he was responsible for the launch of games like Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Rayman, Tom & Jerry in the Brazilian market; from 2003 to 2007 at UOL and iG (major internet providers and portals) he specialized in the management of sales channels. After that, in 2008 he became partner at Coquelux – a private sales Internet start-up – in charge of customer base and technology. From 2006 to 2012 he also had a role as a consultant in a project sponsored by the Brazilian Government for the promotion of Brazilian video game development companies.
In 2011 Bernardo joined the 2Mundos team in the early stages of the company and has been in charge of operations for the past couple of years. He holds a degree in Advertisement from the University of São Paulo and has a CBA at IBMEC Business School.
Blair Renaud (Toronto, CAN)
CEO / Creative Lead
Blair Renaud is everywhere in VR. Founding three VR start-ups in the last two years, including IRIS VR (a VR game studio); Quantum Capture (creating photo-realistic digital humans); and Occupied VR, one of Canada’s leading VR client service companies. He is currently is working on multiple VR titles for the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Sony Morpheus, and the HTC Vive. Titles range from his Cyberpunk adventure game Technolust, to experiences based on the works of director David Cronenberg in co-production with the CFC.
Brendan Sinclair (Toronto, CAN)
Brendan Sinclair has been writing about games professionally since the launch of the Dreamcast in 1999. Prior to specializing in trade coverage of the industry, he was Senior News Editor at GameSpot, where he also hosted and produced the brand’s flagship HotSpot podcast. Outside of games, he has worked briefly as a Zamboni driver and an award-winning film critic, although those were (sadly) two different jobs.
Debbie Gordon (Toronto, CAN)
Debbie Gordon is the Director of the kidsmediacentre (kmc) at Centennial College’s School of Communications, Arts, Media and Design. The kidsmediacentre functions as a think tank and research centre serving the children’s creative industry in Canada.
Debbie oversees a myriad of research projects for the centre including user testing and market research of children’s properties, social science research exploring kids’ media futures and applied research – accessing federal and provincial grants to fund start-ups and partner students with industry. Since its inception in 2010, the kidsmediacentre has funded more than 25 children’s properties and managed user testing for Nick Jr, YTV, Treehouse, TVOKids, Kids’ CBC, eOne Entertainment, Spin Master, 9Story, NDI Media, Breakthrough Entertainment and more.
Prior to establishing the kmc, Debbie worked in the television, advertising and marketing industries for 20 years building brands and coordinating market research for a number of Tier One companies.Debbie has helped design digital, corporate social responsibility (CSR) content for a range of companies including Microsoft, Universal Studios, Xbox, the Ontario Government and Dove (Self Esteem Fund). A life-long learner, she recently passed her Sommelier exams with the Court of Master Sommeliers and blogs about all things wine at amustreadblog.com
Dimitri Gochgarian (Singapore)
Dimitri Gochgarian is a french director and producer. He started his adventure producing On The Other Side, a short film set during WW1 and co-founded REZ a well known creative agency that produced trailers for huge brands like Assassin’s Creed, Watch_Dogs and Dark Souls.
He wrote, produced and directed the short Death By Chocolate with Robin Veret while working on various trailers, music videos and documentaries in Singapore.
Dimitri is currently developing projects for web series, documentary and a feature film.
Dora Cheng (Vancouver, CAN)
Before discovering VR, Dora was a Project Manager/Game Producer for AAA console videogames such as FIFA and The Sims at Electronic Arts, and critically-acclaimed social and casual games at Big Fish Games.
Dora has been a VR enthusiast and evangelist since putting on the Oculus Rift DK1 for the first time. She co-founded uForis VR, and set out to solve problems using virtual reality. One of uForis’s focus at the moment is real estate, and that focus has given Dora and her team insight into the common points of excitement and concern in adopting VR on the enterprise level.
Dr. Bernie Garrett (Vancouver, CAN)
The University of British Columbia School of Nursing
Dr. Garrett is a professor at the University of British Columbia, School of Nursing. He has was a renal Clinical Nurse Specialist for 15 years before becoming a nurse educator. He holds a PhD in information Science, specializing in education, multimedia and artificial intelligence, and prior to his current appointment he was a Department Head at Oxford Brookes University in the U.K.
Dr. Garrett’s current work highlights two main areas: 1) The use VR and AR in clinical and educational applications, and 2) science, philosophy, and the use of deceptive and non-evidence based practices in contemporary healthcare. He is currently exploring the Use of VR to mitigate chronic cancer pain.
His work is underpinned by a passion for science and technology, and frequently writes on these subjects including his recent graduate textbook: Science and Modern Thought in Nursing. He was the recipient of the 2007 at the Spencer Award for Information Technology Innovation, for his work on developing a mobile PDA-based e-portfolio for students, and the CRNBC Award of Excellence in Nursing Education in 2000. He was the Elizabeth Kenny-McCann Nursing Education Scholar at UBC between 2013-2014, and awarded the CASN Pat Griffin Nursing Education Scholarship between 2014-15.
Elena Fedina (New York City, USA)
Elena Fedina is a data analyst at SuperData Research and has several years of experience in the games industry. Previously, she worked for almost three years for leading game platform Mail.Ru Games in Russia. There she worked as Localization QA on some of the company’s top free-to-play projects such Warface, ArcheAge and Lord of the Rings Online. She currently leads SuperData’s data analytics for console and PC games. Elena holds degrees in math from Moscow State University and game design from the New York Film Academy.
Francesco Cavallari (Barcelona, ESP)
Video Game Without Borders
After graduating in Computer Science, Francesco joined Ubisoft in 1999 where he developed commercial games for more than 15 years. As Programmer, Producer and Production Director, he developed an extensive international experience and he contributed to several successful games, including critically acclaimed titles like “Beyond Good & Evil” and “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory”.
At the beginning of 2015 he founded Video Games Without Borders (VGWB), a nonprofit organization that maximizes video games positive contribution to society by building a global community of volunteer developers and establishing partnership with game companies and universities. He spent 6 months in Africa (Burkina Faso) for the first VGWB project, One World a Million Stories, a collection of interactive tales produced in developing countries about their culture and distributed worldwide to raise funds for NGOs operating the same countries. In partnership with Cologne Game Lab (Germany) and Wixel Studio (Lebanon), VGWB has been selected among the finalists of the international competition EduApp4Syria for the development of a smartphone game to improve literacy of Syrian kids. Finally Francesco is kicking off an ambitious project in collaboration with the French Red Cross to sensitize about War and the International Humanitarian Law.
Hugo Obi (Lagos, NGA)
Hugo Obi is the founder of Maliyo Games – the first indigenous gaming company in Nigeria and one of the early pioneers of mobile gaming in Sub-Saharan Africa. Hugo is a visionary entrepreneur with interests in the development of mobile content for Africa’s growing mobile consumers.
In the last 4 years, Hugo has built mobile games and apps relevant to the Nigerian consumers. He is using games as a tool to share the African story with the world. His vision is that through Maliyo Games, first time users of smart phone devices can discover locally relevant content in education, culture and entertainment.
He is also creating opportunities for brands to engage better with their target audience by providing sponsored games. He recently teamed up with a local retail bank to create a financial literacy game.
Hugo spoke at the 2015 edition of Mobile West Africa on how localizing product discovery can be the gateway to unlock monetization for the country’s growing app developers.
Hugo is a graduate of Finance and Economics at the University of Manchester; and Strategy at Nanyang Business School, Singapore.
Hugo Obi was a winner of the inaugural DEMO Africa in Nairobi and DEMO Lion in Silicon Valley in 2012.
He raised seed capital for Maliyo Games in later 2015 and is currently working on new mobile games as well as developing a local distribution platform for mobile content for the Nigerian, Ghanaian and Kenyan markets.
Jason Loftus (Toronto, CAN)
At the helm of fast-rising Toronto film & television production company and digital studio Mark Media, President & CEO Jason Loftus leads his entrepreneurial and creative team with over ten years’ experience in media management and business development, with roles spanning digital/gaming, television, and print media. Under his leadership, Mark Media aims to combine culture and modern technology to create unique learning & interactive experiences across media platforms. He is also an award-winning engineer, writer and father of two.
In addition to Mark Media titles including: In the Name of Confucius, Confucius was a Foodie, Miaomiao, Shuyan the Kung Fu Princess and more, Jason is also the executive producer of the Peabody Award winning documentary feature Human Harvest, in partnership with Vancouver-based Flying Cloud Productions. Over the last three years he has helped secure over $10M in production financing for new digital and television properties, from live-action and animated TV programs to games and interactive web products.
Jason Maestas (San Francisco, USA)
Senior Director of Partnerships in North America and Support
Joining the company in 2012, Jason currently oversees Partnerships and Community Management, and created Twitch’s Customer Support and Moderation teams. Prior to Twitch, Jason served as Customer Support Manager at Zynga, managing the company’s Forums moderation program and Customer Support Twitter and Facebook presences. Jason holds a BA in English from San Jose State University.
John Gardiner (Toronto, CAN)
Senior User Acquisition & Finance Manager
Big Viking Games
John Gardiner has spent the last two years with Big Viking Games in Finance, User Acquisition and Operations. He previously spent almost three years as a Senior Financial Associate at DBRS in Financial Controls, Operations, Management Reporting and Planning. Prior to that, he was Management Reporting Financial Analyst for Sears Canada. Gardiner’s skillset is in financial analysis, strategic planning, forecasting, mergers and acquisitions, financial reporting, budgeting and project management.
Joshua Rinsky (Sherman Oaks, USA)
Senior VP, Business Development
With 15 years experience in digital marketing, business development and advertising sales, Joshua Rinsky has worked with some of the biggest brands in the entertainment industry and has led go-to-market teams across several successful startups.
Prior to joining Quaid Media, Joshua helped drive video content partnerships and advertising revenue for Auditude’s content indexing and ad serving technologies, participating in their successful acquisitions by Yahoo and then Adobe Systems. Before this he served as Director of Sales at Metacafe and managed clients including NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and EA. Joshua earned his digital entertainment marketing stripes during 5 years at Warner Bros. Online and Digital Distribution where he was responsible their initial syndication deal with Apple and led online marketing and promotions efforts for dozens of Warner Bros Home Entertainment titles.
Judith Beauregard (Montreal, CAN)
Executive Producer & Partner
Judith Beauregard has an enviable 20-year track record of developing digital media, games, websites and mobile applications for kids. She has collaborated with many world-class junior brands such as PBS Kids, Sesame Street, NickJr, The Jim Henson Company and KidsCBC. As a founder of the interactive studio Tobo in Montreal, she brings infectious enthusiasm for youth product to all her collaborations with producers and broadcasters.
Previously Judith was a digital media producer at Tribal Nova and at ODD1, where she led award-winning web projects for kids and preschoolers. She also worked for NDi Media and PTM Kids in the development of interactive youth products related to renowned Canadian and European television series. Judith is inspired by the intersection of fun and learning. She earned a Bachelor of Communications from Concordia University and a Certificate in Project Management from McGill University. Judith also teaches at l’INIS (National Institute of Sound & Image) and sits on the Youth Media Alliance Board.
Karen Thorne-Stone (Toronto, CAN)
President & CEO
Ontario Media Development Corporation
Karen Thorne-Stone has been President and CEO of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) since July 2007, overseeing all facets of this vital agency which supports economic development in Ontario’s cultural media industries. In this capacity, Karen is responsible to promote growth and investment in the province’s entertainment and creative industries including: film and television, interactive digital media, and music, as well as book magazine publishing.
Previously Karen was with the city of Toronto for over 18 years, where she served in a variety of roles, including film commissioner and executive director of economic development. As film commissioner, Thorne-Stone supported successful negotiations for a new state-of-the-art film studio complex on Toronto’s waterfront, developed an innovative economic development strategy for the screen-based sector and worked with the OMDC on the development new brand positioning and marketing to promote film and television production.
Keith Fuller (Madison, USA)
Fuller Game Production
Keith Fuller is a leadership consultant with 20 years of industry experience as a developer. He shipped 12 AAA titles as a programmer, design manager, and producer before starting his own company, Fuller Game Production. A certified PMP and Scrum master, Keith now helps studios of all sizes improve their leadership, production processes, and studio management. In his time as a consultant he has spoken with more than 100 different game companies.
Keith has presented at numerous conferences around the world and is the author of Beyond Critical, a book published in April 2012 that addresses the improvement of leadership in game development.
Liz West (Toronto, CAN)
Producer & Co-host
No Fun Intended
Whether tackling front-page issues or getting the celebrity scoop on the red carpet, Liz West has been informing and entertaining television viewers for many years. Her resume includes CityPulse, BT, Star!, CP24, Canada AM, Rags to Red Carpet and eNow. Most recently Liz could be seen asking the tough questions and sharing her opinion as co-host of the daily current affairs show Square Off.
Today she can be heard world-wide as producer and co-host of the infotainment podcast “No Fun Intended” with Mark Hebscher.
Liz is also a former instructor at Centennial College, The Centre for Creative Communications, and received the Alumni of Distinction Award in 2011. She is a published author on bettering personal communication, a guest host on Newstalk 1010, and offers on-camera, public speaking and media training.
Lucie Lalumiere (Toronto, CAN)
360 Story Lab
Lucie Lalumière is the Executive Producer at 360 Story Lab and COO & GM of supersonic MINDS, a startup at the nexus of entertainment and brain training. She is also the founder of Lalumiere Media, a consulting business specializing in interactive digital media (IDM).
Her passion for IDM started over 20 years ago, when she worked on groundbreaking multimedia projects at Bell. Later on, she led innovative and award-winning teams in various strategic roles. Her executive positions include GM French Market (MediaLinx Sympatico), Executive Director New Media (Radio-Canada), and VP & GM Interactive, Television (Corus Entertainment).
Lucie is a tireless advocate for the IDM industry. She is the Vice-Chair of Interactive Ontario, has served on the board of the Bell Fund, and regularly contributes to industry-related advisory committees.
Lucie is the winner of the WIFT-T’s inaugural Digital Trailblazer Crystal Award (2015). Lucie has a B.Sc. in Management Information Systems from Université de Sherbrooke, an MBA from McGill University (completed at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program), and an Award of Achievement in Digital Analytics from UBC/DAA.
Marc Boucharlat (Paris, FR)
Planet Nemo Interactive
Marc started his career in kids entertainment in Hong Kong where he ran the Asian subsidiary of leading French kids magazines and book publisher Bayard Press. In this position he oversaw the publication of 12 children magazines in Chinese and English. He has lived 10 years in Asia and speaks Mandarin.
In 2000 Marc co-founded Planet Nemo Interactive. It soon became a leading producer of interactive content for kids and families, winning numerous international awards in the process.
In 2004 he co-founded Planet Nemo Animation, the award winning producer of hit TV shows like Bali, What’s the big idea? and Groove High.
He now concentrates on Planet Nemo Interactive, which, as a separate company, produces and publishes online games, apps, serious games and websites for various broadcasters, producers, and corporations or cultural organisations.
Planet Nemo Interactive also publishes and operates PlanetNemo.fr, France’s leading kids portal in public libraries.
Marcelo Serres (Pasadena, USA)
Director of Technology and Game Production
Marcelo is the current Director of Technology and Game Production of Pebblekick Inc. A Publisher / Developer based in Pasadena, CA. with offices in Seoul and Santiago.
Working in Creative Industries for more than a decade in different projects and roles, not only in Latam, also Globally, allows him to have an excellent understanding in how design, tech and business fuse together in order to define and seek flexible business opportunities that could fit each project and its specific features.
He previously was Chairman of the board for VG Chile (Chilean video game developers association) and head of IGDA chapter in Chile. Worked in +50 Games in his previously Co-founded Video game development studio back in Chile. Along with regularly giving lectures about Game Design, Tech. Development and Production for local Universities, He has been consulting for Autodesk and Unity Training and Certification Programs.
Martin Wahlund (Stockholm, SWE)
CEO / Co-Founder
Martin Wahlund is the CEO and co-founder of Swedish game developer Fatshark. Martin was also CEO and co-founder of game engine developer Bitsquid acquired by Autodesk in 2014.
Martin is a passionate Warhammer fan and an Orca Cola Blood Bowl champion. Martin is also executive producer for critically acclaimed Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide.
Martina Santoro (Buenos Aires, ARG)
CEO, Partner, & Co-founder
Martina plays a key role in developing both video games and interactive projects that tell unique stories across multiple platforms. With a background in animation production, being her first venture to change the way we consume entertainment, taking content development to the next level, Martina has been the driving force behind OKAM Studio entertainment properties.
Mary Sorrenti (Toronto, CAN)
VP, Operations and Finance
A Chartered Professional Accountant and a graduate from the Schulich School of Business, York University, Mary has over a decade of experience working on projects both large and small. She has project managed teams on multi-national engagements spanning several continents, and is well versed in the telecommunications and entertainment industries. She has public accounting experience auditing large multinational corporations, and has provided business and tax advice to some of Canada’s most successful private enterprises.
In her role as VP, Operations and Finance at Game Pill, her responsibilities include heading up the finance and accounting functions, liaising with clients on funding applications and business affairs, relationship management, as well as managing development teams to ensure everyone stays motivated and is working towards project timelines and budgets.
Mary has a love for learning and is always looking for ways to get involved. To this end, she has fine-tuned her producer skills and is a recent graduate of the Independent Television Production Program from Centennial College, is a member of the Advisory Board for GameOn Finance, sits on the Advisory Boards for both Humber College and Centennial College, is a member of IAAPA, the Canadian Museum Association, and an active member of WIFT.
Mike Woollatt (Toronto, CAN)
Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA)
Mike is CEO of the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA). Previously Mike was an entrepreneur who co-founded, amongst other businesses, Beaconsfield Group – a successful management consulting and public affairs firm. He has held senior executive roles at various major Canadian corporations including Bell Canada, CTVglobemedia, and Canwest Global Communications.
Before entering the private sector, Mike worked for the Government of Canada as an economist in the Department of Finance and as a policy advisor to the Minister of Finance. Mike has also worked overseas as an economist on World Bank-funded projects and was a College-level economic Instructor. He holds a BA and MA in Economics from the University of British Columbia.
Peter-Paul Van Hoeken (Vancouver, CAN)
Founder and CEO
Peter-Paul is Founder and CEO of FrontFundr, a FinTech company focused on supporting start-ups and young ventures in Canada with access to capital through innovative online investment-based funding solutions.
Peter-Paul has over 15 years of experience in finance, investment management and business consultancy. He worked in Vancouver as director business development with a finance & investment company in the renewable energy space and as finance director of a real estate investment fund. Prior to that Peter-Paul held a number of positions with several global banks in the areas of corporate strategy, corporate & investment banking and he worked as a senior management consultant in The Netherlands. Peter-Paul is a director of the National Board of the Private Capital Markets Association, PCMA (Canada).
Peter-Paul holds a masters’ degree in Business Economics & Finance from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Peter-Paul is also a pitch jury member.
Philippe Rostaing (Montreal, CAN)
Philippe is a multitalented game designer based out of Montréal, Canada. Emerging from the independent short film scene, Philippe established himself as a dynamic creator in the industry by comfortably navigating between the worlds of new and traditional media. His design career began with the webseries Zieuter.tv, winner of multiple local and international awards. Following a stint in QA on many popular AAA video game titles and two years as a game designer on the popular kids’ game Woozworld, Philippe joined the freelance world and contributed his unique skills to a wide variety of projects. His recent credits include a number of award-winning promotional, educational and independent games, such as Toothsavers, Yamaska “Mystère sur le plateau” and the upcoming Floor Kids game.
Robin Veret (Singapore)
Paris-born, Canadian educated, and now based in Singapore, Robin has a truly international breadth of experience working in the video games industry, primarily as a director for trailers and motion graphics sequence. In 2012, he co-founded REZ, an esteemed creative agency that produces trailers for huge brands like Assassin’s Creed, Watch_Dogs and Dark souls. Robin holds a film degree from Concordia University, and has directed several music videos and short movies screened in many festivals around the world.
Robin is now in the process of developing projects for web series, documentary and a feature film.
Ryan Hale (St. John’s, CAN)
Other Ocean Interactive
Ryan began his career within the video game industry over 14 years ago by doing freelance testing roles. 8 years ago, he started professionally with Other Ocean Group as an entry level tester. He quickly climbed the ranks to oversee all aspects of Sculpin QA’s day to day operations, sales, and management. Through experience with these various positions, Ryan has gained in-depth knowledge and a keen eye for what makes games successful. He is acutely in tune with a game’s fun factor and always looks at a product from the point of view of the end user which made him perfect to act as Studio Head to the Other Ocean’s development team.
For the last two years in this position, Ryan and his team released numerous projects on multiple platforms such as; Rad Boarding (iOS/Android), Street Fighter IV (PS4), Kaiju Carnage (PC/MYO Armband), Mattel’s Magic 8 Ball (iOS/Apple Watch) and recently have been working on Reload: The Z-Team (iOS/Android) and Giant Cop: Justice Above All (Oculus Rift, Vive & PSVR).
Ryan Oliver (Vancouver, CAN)
Ryan Oliver is a lead producer with Pinnguaq. Pinnguaq has offices in Nunavut, Ontario, and BC and has a mandate to create interactive experiences that push both the limits of technology and cultural expression. Whether focused on film, virtual reality, gaming, education or application development Pinnguaq combines a passion for culture and technology to both stimulate and entertain.
Sabrina Carmona (Stockholm, SWE)
Sabrina Carmona has worked as a Producer for 7 years now, focusing on mobile F2P mid-core titles. She has worked with teams from all over the world in several countries and is passionate about working with people from different cultures. She is now working at King, in Sweden, but has lived in Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Germany.
Sandra Collins (Toronto, CAN)
VP, Operations and CFO
Canada Media Fund
Sandra Collins has over fifteen years of experience in the film and television industry. Since joining the organization in 2007, she is responsible for finance, legal, human resources, information technology, risk management, administration, as well as research and data.
Previously, Sandra held various senior positions at Alliance Atlantis Communications, including Senior Vice President, Finance, Entertainment Group, and Vice President, Systems Integration, Corporate Group.
Sandra is a Certified Management Accountant and holds an H.B. Comm from the University of Windsor and a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario.
Sasha Boersma (Toronto, CAN)
Sticky Brain Studios
Sasha’s 15-year career in Canadian screen-media industries has spanned across game studios, television producers, funding agencies, and academia. Sasha is Co-Founder/Producer at Sticky Brain Studios, where she responsible for project management and business affairs. Since 2013, Sticky Brain Studios has developed over 25 games and apps for clients ranging from television broadcasters to health tech to not-for-profits. Their first independent game, Loki’s Castle, will be released for iOS and Android devices in 2016.
She is also contract faculty at Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre where she teaches post-graduate courses on accounting, marketing, business and entrepreneurship to future interactive media, games, and television producers. Previously, Sasha worked on a number of interactive digital media projects as a freelance Producer / Business Analyst where her clients included both game studios and television production companies. She started her career at the Bell Fund, then moved to marblemedia where she held various posts in business affairs and produced award-winning interactive projects.
Sasha currently sits on the WIFT-Toronto Board of Directors and the OMDC IDM Industry Advisory Committee. She is also a member of Interactive Ontario and Dames Making Games.
Shiraz Akmal (Los Angeles, USA)
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
With more than 25 years’ experience in virtual reality, video games and entertainment, Shiraz Akmal has deep, hands-on experience building new entertainment businesses built on cutting-edge technology. He led business and product development for DreamLab, which developed all of the virtual reality projects for DreamWorks Animation prior to 2016. He was also VP of operations-product development for video game company THQ.
Akmal is a mentor for Boost VC, the pre-eminent accelerator for emerging technology, and his career highlights include directing a string of multi-million-selling video game titles, including Disney*Pixar’s The Incredibles, Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants and Scooby-Doo!
Akmal and SPACES co-founder Brad Herman are inventors of multiple patented VR technologies.// @ShirazAkmal
Tanya Woods (Ottawa, CAN)
Tanya is Vice-President, Policy and Legal Affairs for the Entertainment and Software Association of Canada where she is responsible for ensuring that federal and provincial policies and legislation support Canada’s thriving multi-platform video game industry. She regularly collaborates with a cross-sector of industry and government representatives to help make Canada the best home for video game companies and innovators.
Tanya has been working on complex and emerging legal and policy challenges confronting creators, innovators, and policy makers in private and public entities in the UK, US and Canada for more than a decade. Prior to joining ESAC, she served as the in-house copyright expert and regulatory counsel for a major Canadian telecommunications and broadcasting company. She has also been a member of Canada’s intellectual property negotiating team for various trade agreements including the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.
Tanya studied law at the London School of Economics, the University of Ottawa and American University Washington College of Law; and, is an accredited specialist in both Technology Law and International Intellectual Property Protection.
She is a relentless cheerleader, mentor and advocate for individuals and groups seeking to make a positive social impact in the community. Her favourite hobby is creating and contributing to opportunities that empower others to succeed. Tanya’s most recent social impact adventure is as co-founder of Girl Force, a local volunteer organization teaching girls and young women to make video games.
The Honourable Michael Coteau (Toronto, CAN)
Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism
Government of Ontario
Michael Coteau was first elected to the legislature in 2011 as the MPP for Don Valley East. He was re-elected in 2014.
Coteau currently serves as Minister of Children and Youth Services, as well as Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism. He was previously Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, as well as Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, and before that Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in February 2013. Prior to entering government, Coteau served as a school board trustee for almost eight years.
As a trustee, Coteau worked to make schools more accessible to community groups that run after-school programs for children. He also served as the Vice-Chair of the Toronto District School Board and helped bring forward nutritional changes that increased awareness around student hunger and resulted in healthy food programs. In addition, he is a champion of the integration of technology in education.
Coteau is former CEO and Executive Director of a national literacy not-for-profit, Alpha Plus. He was also on the board of the Toronto Foundation for Student Success and on the board of the Toronto Lands Corporation. He has also worked as an ESL teacher and curriculum director.
Coteau and his wife, Lori, live in Toronto with their two daughters, Maren and Myla.
Thomas Lindgren (Stockholm, SWE)
Glorious Games Group
Thomas Lindgren is the CEO that turned Stardoll AB into the ever-growing Glorious Games Group – a multi-product game company focused on providing quality fun for a young and fashionable female audience over web and mobile platforms.
He has worked in the gaming industry for more than 15 years where his first venture was by founding Gamefederation, a company that was first out with a cross-platform solution for interactive gaming and social interaction.
He has advised and managed a number of companies in gaming, simulation and Edtech and is also an angel investor in this space.
In addition to his role as CEO of Glorious Games Group, he is, amongst other things, also the Chairman for Fatshark, a successful Swedish gaming studio focusing on PC and console titles.
Vanessa Lawrenson (Dublin, IRL)
Founder / CEO
Vanessa Lawrenson is the founder and CEO of bigO. bigO is one of the new breeds, a cross between a creative agency and production company, with the brains of the former and the brawn of the latter. The agency produces content for tourism boards, artisan food and drink brands, cultural agencies, and government-led events.
bigO produced the first 3D, 360 tourism videos in the world for the Irish tourist board last February which premiered at ITB Berlin
Most recently she has been spotted on the Skellig Islands, far, far off the west coast of Ireland, attempting not to loose drones into the marauding Atlantic, in a bid to create a Star Wars-inspired 3D, 360 piece.
Veve Jaffa (Berlin, DEU)
Veve Jaffa is the creative director at award-winning transmedia games studio Peardrum, producing interactive installations and playful art experiences exhibited around the world. In addition to their work as an independent writer, filmmaker and game developer, Veve works with arts organizations around the world to provide accessible educational initiatives in technical and computer literacy, specializing in curriculum to bridge the gap between game design software and non-English speaking communities.
Specializing in narrative design, FMV games and VR experiences, Veve’s work focuses on resurrecting old and forgotten media and technology as a basis for experimentation within film and games and the indefinable space between them.
Vikas Gupta (Toronto, CAN)
Vikas Gupta is a charismatic leader who defines himself as a seasoned executive with an entrepreneurial DNA. He has an insatiable passion for start-ups and emerging growth companies and lives by the philosophy that the right corporate culture combined with innovative strategy can ignite exponentialism.
Vikas was the CEO of Big Blue Bubble and TransGaming, the latter a global leader in the cross platform deployment of video games and the delivery of video games to Smart TV. He is now Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. Vikas enjoys venturing beyond his own industry and is an advisor, mentor, investor, board member to many organizations from innovative start-ups to not-for-profit organizations such as Interactive Ontario, The McLuhan Festival, Prince’s Charities Canada, MaRS, and serves as an advisor on the Ontario Premier’s digital media roundtable and is on the digital media advisory board for the Ontario Minister of Culture, Tourism & Sport.
Vikas is also a member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO) and is on the YPO Toronto Chapter board. Vikas is a proud alumnus of the University of Waterloo.
Zack Cooper (Toronto, CAN)
Lead Community Developer
Zack Cooper has been working out of the Ubisoft Toronto studio since 2012. He currently leads a group of content creators to help the Ubisoft global community team execute on their creative visions to support award winning game franchises including Far Cry, Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed, Tom Clancy games, as well as new brands such as For Honor. Prior to joining Ubisoft Toronto, Zack was a radio talk show host and sports reporter at 680News and Sportsnet Radio The FAN590.
Stay tuned for more GameON: Ventures 2016 speaker announcements!
Past speakers have included:
- Julie Beaugrand – Gameloft
- Matt Candler – Skybound Entertainment
- Tom Emrich – We Are Wearables
- Vikas Gupta – Big Blue Bubble
- Barnabas Nanay – INDE Appshaker
- Lesley Phord-Toy – Ubisoft
- Mikko Setala – Rovio
- Reed Sutton – Tapjoy
- Joost van Dreunen – SuperData Research
- Nathan Vella – Capybara Games
- David Waisglass – GLU Toronto