Introducing “It’s a Start”

It's A Start Digifest competitionHot off the heels of the first It’s A Start competition in Monza, Italy organized by Regione Lombardia, Provincia Monza Brianza and Camera di Commercio di Monza, It’s A Start Canada premiered at Digifest on Saturday, October 20, 2012.

What is “IT’S A START”?

It’s A Start is a competition dedicated to companies, associations, professionals and students who want to work and invest in the development of the cultural, media, creative and digital sectors.

This digital entrepreneur challenge is open to creative professionals, start-ups and students looking to pitch their ideas in a competitive format. Finalists have five minutes on stage during the festival to show the jury why their project deserved to win one of the prizes, which includes financing and incubation space in the new George Brown College Digital Media & Gaming Incubator.

Digifest is proud to announce the Grand Prize winners for the First Canadian edition of It’s A Start entrepreneur challenge.


Lily Tse, Good Clean Collective Inc.
Think Dirty Do Clean App

The Think Dirty Do Clean campaign is a movement to educate and empower the consumer to make informed decisions about the cosmetic products we purchase and encourage the manufacturers to discontinue the use of harmful ingredients.

More information

Reusable bags:
The first phase of our movement is handing out these reusable bags packed full of samples and coupons from “clean” manufacturers. Bags will be handed to people on the street to raise awareness of toxic skincare and the mobile app launch.

Mobile App:
The Think Dirty Do Clean app allows the user to search by product to see a list of ingredients or search by ingredient to how harmful it is.

Grand Prize Includes:


Matthew Scott
The Hammer and Locksmith

The Hammer and Locksmith is a new storytelling experience in the form of a stereoscopic 3D, interactive, web series.

More information

This epic Cold War narrative is set in Eastern Europe and Russia, circa 1961-1962. Participants travel back in time to follow an engaging ensemble of characters as they experience the testing of the largest hydrogen bomb in history, the rise of the Berlin Wall, political conspiracy, military experiments, espionage, and submarine chases.

As the story unfolds, you take control and assume the role of characters, such as a British spy stuck behind the Berlin Wall. There, you will explore a large, fully realized, section of “”open-world”" 1962 East Berlin, filled with characters to meet, mysteries to uncover, and hair-raising triggered events. Environments like this will serve as “sets” for a rich and ever expanding story. Expect to experience many iconic Cold War events in a new way, in this immersive, interactive, adventure.

The Hammer and the Locksmith’s interactive components have been built from the ground up in stereoscopic 3D. Every detail, from the art to the gameplay, has been meticulously design to promote depth and immersion – no cheap gimmicks or afterthoughts. While there are many approaches that could have been taken, the affordability of anaglyphic 3D (red/cyan glasses) was chosen to provide participants with the most accessible opportunity for an exceptional, immersive experience.


Daniel Perlmutter,  Duck Duck Games

A casual social game for iOS that allows you to create your own movie and share it with the world.

More information

Through a simple series of questions you will pick the genre they want to work in, buy a script, hire a writer, cast the movie, give guidance to a director and choose how to market the film, all while managing a budget. Once completed you’ll see a poster for your film, get a review and see how it did at the box office. The more money you make the more ambitious your next movie can be. But on top of this casual single player experience is compelling social aspect of the game. Each time you finish a movie you’ll be able to edit it – to change the title, the poster, the description – and share your unique creation with the world. If people like your movie it will add more money to your budget, feeding back into the single player experience. MOVIE MAYHEM is a unique experience, combining interactive storytelling, social creativity and compelling gameplay.

George Brown College Digital Media & Gaming Incubator

The incubator space offers eight individual private office spaces to small and emerging companies and twenty hot desks available for freelancers and sole proprietors. Tenants enjoy the benefits of a co-working community environment, updated technology, shared meeting and kitchen space, business and professional services such as human resources support, management coaching and administrative assistance. This will allow companies to focus on creation and professionalize their operations.


Mark Thoburn

Qualia is “Planet Earth, the video game”– a multi platform (mobile and Kinect) game where players live the lives of animals in the wild.

More information

Qualia includes optional EEG gameplay, interfaced with Neurosky’s Mindwave Mobile headset. Level 1- eagle Island for iOS is in production, and includes a novel flight mechanic, original soundtrack and score, and social media integration. A desktop Kinect version is being developed in tandem.
  • Digifest 2012 is pleased to announce that Academic partner OCAD University, working with MEIC (Mobile Experience Innovation Centre) developed a mobile prize for the IT’S A START program. This prize consists of:
    • Assigned, dedicated, 6-month rent free hot desk in the DFI studio, beginning January 1, 2013
    • Access to co-working space in the MEIC collaborative studio (rm 7311)
    • Wireless internet service to High Speed Orion infrastructure and OCAD University email
    • Access to free workshops on campus and  courses offered by the Imagination Catalyst
    • 1 iPAD3

Mobile Experience Innovation Centre

Congratulations to all of the other finalists who took part in the competition.

Kelvin Ali,
Northern World Entertainment Software Inc.
Game Title: Beyond Badr

Michael Koehler
M Koehler Enterprises Inc.  / Big Impact Studios WorldAlpha

Najeeb Mirza
Igniting Imagination.

Abhishek Gupta

A big thank you to our jury who had a very difficult job selecting the winners.

Martin Lord
Business Development Manager
Ontario Centres of Excellence

Monica Contreras
Director, Digital Futures Implementation
OCAD University

Giancarlo De Lio
SoFit Mobile Inc.

Justin Stoyles
Software Program Manager for the FirePro Professional Graphics division

Luigi Ferrara
Director, Centre for Arts & Design
George Brown College

Jean Paul Amore
Program Coordinator, Game Development
School of Design, George Brown College


It’s a Start Partners

It’s a Start is a project created by:

OCAD University is the “University of the Imagination” with a depth and breadth of undergraduate and graduate programs in visual arts and design that combine studio-based learning with critical inquiry. OCAD University engages in art and design research and creative practices through a diversity of perspectives, methods and  approaches.

MEIC (Mobile Experience Innovation Centre) is a not-for-profit association that supports design leadership, experience innovation and applied research in Canada’s mobile and wireless industry. MEIC focuses on supporting start-ups and early-stage entrepreneurs, research commercialization, and national and international advocacy on behalf of Canadian companies, creating a strong framework in a fragmented industry.