03/22/2013 05:28 EDT | Updated 05/22/2013 05:12 EDT

Canadian Program Launches Hot New Creative Startups

I first wrote about ideaBOOST, the Canadian Film Centre's exciting program for digital entertainment startups when it launched back in November, and now the first phase of the four-month intensive "bootcamp" has come to a successful close.


CFC Chief Digital Officer Ana Serrano. Image courtesy CFC.

A hugely innovative project of the CFC's MediaLab, ideaBOOST is billed as "a business and creative development lab" designed to help small companies navigate the entertainment and technology startup market by mentoring them with industry leaders across North America.

It's a fantastic process initiated in part through crowdsourcing. Applicants apply and promote their concept through social media. Once they get enough 'votes' by online audiences, projects are shortlisted and the winning companies work with industry mentors to define their business model and prepare them to go to market.


Rollers of the Realm giving their presentation. Image courtesy Justin Young.

On Wednesday evening, members from each of seven teams, including a YouTube video festival, a 3-d pinball video game, an interactive children's app and a transmedia urban archaeology project, got a chance to make their presentations to an audience of industry buyers, partners and investors - including representatives from Corus Entertainment, Google and Shaw Media.

But what's really interesting is that the program provides a rare preview of exceptionally creative and potentially superhot new startups in the field of digital entertainment -- games, festivals and programs that happen on multiple digital platforms like web, television, mobile, and tablet. Now that gaming is moving into the mainstream thanks to initiatives such as plans by New York's Museum of Modern Art to bring videogames into a new branch of its collection, the potential for exciting art and technology hybrids to reach new audiences is about to explode.


AsapSCIENCE's Mitchell Moffit. Image courtesy CFC.

Thanks to the program, these companies are now officially names to watch in the technology entertainment industry:

AsapSCIENCE (Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown): A cool way of bringing science to the masses via YouTube, this channel aims to "explain the science behind the coolest things we learned in school, to talk about concepts that really resonate with people."

The Path (SmokeBomb Entertainment): A multi-platform web series that allows the fan community input into various levels including the scripting, casting and story creation.

The BUFFER Film Fest (Aprentice A Productions): An online video festival that will "launch, promote and advance the best creative work from established and emerging YouTube creators."

Rollers of the Realm (Phantom Compass): A 3-d video game-pinball game hybrid, set in a dark and medieval world complete with puzzles and battles within an epic fantasy narrative.

YOUR TASK // SHOOT THINGS (YS // ST Labs): A side-scrolling rhythm tap video role playing game by a Montreal & Toronto based art collective, where 'zany action meets hand-drawn art.'

Ramen Party (Lillian Chan and John Poon): An interactive storybook app designed to engage children with food, music and culture via animated characters based on Japanese Ramen.

The Ghost Town Project (Intuitive Pictures): A transmedia project that aims to bring abandoned buildings in abandoned communities back to life, one project at a time.

The second ideaBOOST is accepting applications now at their website. It will open for public voting on Mar. 25.

The deadline for applications is Apr. 18.