There is a plethora of expos and conferences coming up right across the nation that will be of interest to many of you – I’m highlighting a few right here, but you can check out a more detailed list on our Upcoming Events  page. First up is the F5Expo  which takes place tomorrow (April 7th) in Vancouver. There are still tickets available, and I highly recommend this event to anyone who is involved in, or is thinking about getting involved in, social media.
Also in Vancouver is “Seize the Opportunity ” which is a free event being presented by AnnexPro . This is your chance to check out the new Autodesk® 2011 Digital Entertainment Creation (DEC) software — and discover how upgrading to DEC can open up new opportunities for creativity in game development, film production and television entertainment creation. 
Register now for the Canada Media Fund outreach seminars  which will be taking place in several Canadian cities over the coming weeks. The first events take place in Victoria and Vancouver on April 12th, and then bounce around the country. Don’t miss this opportunity to get more in-depth information about how the CMF  can help with your production costs and grow your projects.
Wired Woman  is holding an educational session on April 27th at the YWCA Hotel in Vancouver. This seminar, which is titled “Don’t Go Home From Work Exhausted ” features speaker Karen McMullan, an expert on dealing with professional burn out. Tickets  for this seminar are $25.00 for members, $30.00 for non-members. (Note: membership in Wired Woman is free .) 
The Early Bird rate for Interactive Ontario’s upcoming INplay 2010  has been extended until April 8th, so if you haven’t yet registered  for tickets, now is the time. The conference takes place in Toronto on May 18th and 19th and features three tracks : Insights, Inspiration and Investment. Early Bird tickets are $489.00 for IO members and $699.00 for non-members.
Don’t forget to get your ticket for GDC Canada , which is taking place in Vancouver on May 6th and 7th. This is your chance to investigate new business opportunities available in today’s digital media world with sessions  addressing Digital Distribution, Social Games, and iPhone Games alongside tracks on Game Design, Business/Production, and Programming.
Taking place the night prior to GDC Canada is the first annual Canadian Video Game and Digital Arts Awards . The nominations are in, so all that’s left is for you to get your show ticket . The evening will feature a performance by Video Games Live  along with a fun-filled evening honouring the best in Canadian interactive media.
Speaking of Video Games Live – don’t miss their public performance  on May 6th over at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy decades of the video game music we’ve come to know well – and a great way to introduce the younger generation to the world of symphonic music in a way that is very family-friendly.
The BCTIA Technology Impact Awards  will be held on June 8th at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Hosted by the BCTIA , the Technology Impact Awards celebrates the achievements of BC’s technology industry in a gala event.
We’re only a month away from the second Canada 3.0 Forum , which is slated for May 10-11 in Toronto. This conference will set an ambitious target for Canada’s digital media industry – that of making it possible for “anyone to do anything on-line in Canada – by 2017?. The second annual forum will bring together the people who can make that happen from industry, government and academia for a two-day event intended to boost Canada’s ability to lead in the digital economy.
Also, a reminder that the Montreal International Game Summit  is looking for speakers. The seventh annual summit will take place November 8th and 9th at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel. Don’t miss this opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with your fellow developers. 
Looking for a reason to visit the Rockies? The Banff World Television Festival  takes place in Banff this June 13th – 16th. BWTF is much more than “just a TV Fest” – check out the incredible schedule  of events and then register  today for a great experience in a very scenic city. Early Bird pricing is in effect until April 20th.
Burnaby – Black Box  has announced that the demo for the highly-anticipated SKATE™ 3  will be available on Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Network this April 15th. The demo will give players a taste of the University District in the all-new skater’s paradise of Port Carverton. Players will shred through a series of single and multiplayer challenges including Domination, Own the Lot, and the bone-crushing Hall of Meat.
In addition to the modes and challenges, players can learn the ropes or perfect their skills in the all-new Skate.School featuring Coach Frank. Gamers can also sample the all-new object dropper by using 24 different items to tweak and alter the University District to create a personalized demo experience. Once players have that perfect trick nailed, they can capture the moment with the in-game Replay Editor and upload footage of themselves with the Skate series’ immensely popular Skate.Reel.
SKATE 3 is the definitive co-op skateboarding experience as players build the ultimate team to take on unique team challenges, compete against rival crews online and shred the streets. In the end, SKATE 3 takes skateboarding to a new level with more tricks, improved off board actions, and gnarly Hall of Meat carnage.
SKATE 3 hits retailers in North America on May 11th, 2010 and worldwide on May 14th, 2010 and is available on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. The game is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.
Burnaby – From the hit videogame to the street, Need for Speed ™ is the nerve center of gaming car culture. Electronic Arts Inc.  has revealed details of an entertainment program that brings together the top street, drift, GT racing, time attack cars and drivers. Dubbed ‘Team Need for Speed’, these individuals embody the spirit of the Need for Speed franchise – the adrenaline and rebelliousness of driving the world’s coolest cars. Together, this collective of racing influencers will carry the Need for Speed brand into a variety of events, films, competitions and more. 
Team Need for Speed consists of an all-star roster of drivers renowned for their skill on the track and passion for the automotive lifestyle including Vaughn Gittin Jr. (Drift/USA), Matt Powers (Drift/USA), Edward Sandström (GT Racing/Europe), Patrick Söderlund (GT Racing/Europe) and Mad Mike Whiddett (Drift/USA, New Zealand, Japan). Additional drivers will be announced in the future. The season kicks off this week as three of the Team Need for Speed drivers hit the track. On April 9, Mad Mike Whiddett and Matt Powers compete in the ‘Streets of Long Beach’ Formula D event and on April 10, Patrick Söderlund and teammate Edward Sandström will compete in the VLN Series’ Stunden-Rennen race at the Nurburgring Nordschleife in Germany.
“Driving for Team Need for Speed is a great honor,” said Mad Mike Whiddett, Team Need for Speed driver and champion drifter. “I love the pure creativity and insane competition of drifting and partnering with Need for Speed is perfectly aligned with my personal and professional passions.”
The Team Need for Speed program also features a 12-part film series about the Team Need for Speed drivers and their cars directed by renowned automotive filmmaker, Will Roegge. Need for Speed is also expanding its Formula D sponsorship with the Need for Speed Lounge where attendees can meet the drivers, Mad Mike Whiddett and Matt Powers, and play the latest Need for Speed games.
Keith Munro, VP of Marketing for EA said, “Team Need for Speed launches an aggressive initiative designed to bring the core brand values of Need for Speed into the real world. By partnering with these tastemakers and by creating these specific programs, Need for Speed goes beyond the game into the real world of automotive lifestyle culture.”
With over 100M units sold, Need for Speed is the best-selling racing game franchise in the world and is known for delivering unparalleled white-knuckle racing, creative customization and street style. Last fall EA published Need for Speed SHIFT, the highest rated Need for Speed game in years, featuring an intense first-person crash dynamic and a signature cockpit view that delivers a true driver’s experience. Need for Speed World is a massively multiplayer online action racing game that is currently in the beta process and will be available this summer on the PC.
Quebec City – Tom Salta, one of the most decorated and prolific music composers for multimedia, has produced an original music score for Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands ™ for the Nintendo Wii™ system. Salta is renowned for crafting memorable, emotionally engaging scores for the medium and delivers a melodic and deeply immersive soundtrack that is essential to the rich gaming experience of Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands™. Developed by Ubisoft ®’s Production Studio in Quebec City and built entirely from the ground up, Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands™ for the Nintendo Wii™ is a new chapter in the critically acclaimed Prince of Persia® The Sands of Time series, which introduces players to a brand new storyline complete with new characters, and powers that transcend both nature and time. Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands™ is scheduled to be commercially released on May 18, 2010. 
“An outstanding composer, Tom Salta is extremely passionate and truly committed to our project,” said Aurelien Baguerre, audio director for Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands™ on the Nintendo Wii™. “The action and gameplay are remarkably enhanced by Tom’s beautiful orchestrations which unmistakably evoke Persian colors, providing a grandiose and emotional dimension to our game.”
To fully immerse players in the Prince’s new adventure, Salta composed and produced an intensely atmospheric and intricately woven original music score that captures the essence and spirit of the original Prince of Persia® The Sands of Time and supports the new story and gameplay of Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands™ with a contemporary world music aesthetic. The score features performances recorded with globally revered percussionist Bashiri Johnson, dark hypnotic vocals by world music singer Azam Ali and ethereal vocals by international recording artist Judith Bérard, as well as world music and middle-eastern instrumentation such as doubek, kora, khangira, bowhammer cymbalom, lakota slide, walimba, ney, duduk and custom made instruments.
Toronto – Prodigy Pictures , in association with Canwest Broadcasting, announced today that principal photography is underway for 13 one-hour episodes of the new original Canadian fantasy-noir series, Lost Girl. Filming will take place at a West Toronto sound stage and on location in the vicinities of Toronto and Hamilton until June 25, 2010. The series is set to air on Showcase in the fall.
Lost Girl follows supernatural seductress Bo (Anna Silk: Being Erica; Billable Hours), a Succubus who feeds on the sexual energy of mortals. Growing up with human parents, Bo had no reason to believe she was anything other than the girl next door – until she drained her boyfriend to death in their first sexual encounter. Now she has hit the road alone and afraid. She discovers she is one of the Fae, creatures of legend and folklore, who pass as humans while feeding off them in secret, as they have for millennia. Relieved yet horrified to find out that she is not alone, Bo decides to take the middle path between the humans and the Fae while embarking on a personal mission to unlock the secrets of her origin.
Bo’s succubus nature tangles her in a sexy, romantic love-triangle with Dyson (Kris Holden-Reid: Ben Hur, The Bridge; The Tudors), a shape-shifting Fae and homicide detective, and Lauren (Zoie Palmer: The Guard; Instant Star), a human doctor who has found a way through science to help give Bo the sexual self-control she’s been aching for. Navigating this complicated life with Bo is her human confidante and street-smart survivor, Kenzi (Ksenia Solo: Life Unexpected; Renegadepress.com).
Slated to direct the series are Genie Award winner Érik Canuel (Hemingway: A Portrait); Steve DiMarco (Republic of Doyle, Heartland, Da Vinci’s Inquest); Gemini Award winner John Fawcett (The Bridge, Da Vinci’s Inquest) and Rob Lieberman (Republic of Doyle, Dexter). Writers include Michelle Lovretta (Sorority Wars, Mutant X); Peter Mohan (The Bridge, Mutant X); Jeremy Boxen (The Listener, Kenny vs. Spenny); Emily Andras (Degrassi: The Next Generation, Total Drama Island); and Pamela Pinch (Robson Arms). Cinematographer David Greene was recently awarded the CSC Award for Best Drama Series based on the pilot he shot for Lost Girl last year.
Lost Girl was developed by Prodigy Pictures, in association with Canwest Broadcasting and Showcase. Executive Producers are Jay Firestone, Michelle Lovretta, Peter Mohan, Plato Fountidakis, and Paul Rapovski; Associate Producer, Vanessa Piazza. Producer is Wanda Chaffey. Lost Girl is produced with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund created by the Government of Canada and the Canadian cable industry, and with the assistance of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit Program. A companion website for the series is being produced concurrently and will launch with the show to give viewers an unprecedented, interactive experience. 
In other news, Shaw  has integrated into the Automatic Friend Finder on Facebook – you can now use the contacts in your @shaw.ca email accounts to find friends on Facebook.