The 2011 Banff World Media Festival was hosted at the beautiful Fairmont Springs in Canada every year. On June 15, 2011, CFG was up against nominees from all over the world in interactive entertainment.
The project helped build several libraries in Zambia, and stock them with 10 000 books, as well as give 50 girls scholarships. The app for the project was downloaded over 900 000 times.
Conspiracy For Good that was played last summer in the streets of London, and before that all around the world online and with mobile phones, is nominated for some of the top prizes in interactive media.
The media festival South By Southwest (SXSW) gives out awards every year for interactive works, and Conspiracy For Good has been nominated in the mobile category. Cool! SXSW takes place in Austin, TX, March 11.-20., and the award gala will be March 15th.
The last time The Company P won an International Interactive Emmy was a few years ago with Sanningen om Marika at MIPTV in Emmy. That award was for Best Interactive Tv Service. Now we’re nominated for the same award again. The name is no the Interactive Digital Emmy, though, and the category Digital Fiction. The lightning-winged Emmy goddess might end up in our hands on April 4th in Cannes.
PS. If you missed Conspiracy For Good, here’s a great video that explains the whole giant of an experience in a few minutes.
The short film The Forest of Babel by Elina and me (produced by Pohjola-filmi) won at Prix Europa in the category Languages Through Lenses! The award gala was held at Haus des Rundfunks, and televised live in Germany. Present were just about all the European public broadcasting CEOs, Directors of Drama and the coolest creatives. Not bad 🙂
Watch the movie here!
I’m spending this week in Berlin attending the Prix Europa tv conference. This is a meeting of European broadcasters and creators, where they watch or listen to each others tv series, radio shows, documentaries, emerging media productions (websites, mostly), and review them. Then they vote on them, and the ones highest regarded get awarded the Golden Bull.
Elina and I are attending because our short film The Forest of Babel was selected in the Languages Through Lenses category. The fifteen teams from all around Europe arrived on Saturday, and spent the whole of Sunday watching, commenting and voting on each others’ films. Sunday evening we found out that our film was one of the three short-listed ones, and would compete for the student award Golden Calf at the award gala this Saturday. Very exciting!
The film is a 90-second piece, that’s written by me, produced by Elina and directed by us together. It has a Sami girl, a Basque boy, and a Kurdish boy trying to save a reindeed from under a fallen tree in Lapland. It’s a co-production between Pohjola-filmi and Aalto University.
So we’re spending the whole week here at Prix Europa. Every morning begins with a breakfast speech by one luminary or another, and then the day is full of screenings from all over Europe. Sometimes there are special events like Guy Meredith’s lecture on non-linear screenwriting on Tuesday, or a producers’ panel on co-production this evening.
Monday’s breakfast speech was by British documentarist Paul Watson. He was an entertaining speaker and longed for the olden times when tv was apparently not as smitten with celebrities and the lowest common denominator. I don’t know, maybe he’s right. The reason I’m mentioning him is he had a great quote, perhaps the best I’ve heard here so far. ”Film is the opera of arts.” Let that sink in. What’s opera then? I must ask him again if I meet him again here in Berlin, the Frankfurt of Germany!
Today the Emerging Media section begun, and I’ll try and attend most of it. The amount of tweeting with the #PE10 tag immediately went through the roof since the conference is suddenly full of social media specialists. It’s very interesting to compare different European online/interactive/new media/multimedia/extended universe/mobile productions with the participatory stuff The company P is doing.
The main event of the roleplaying year, Ropecon, is just behind us. For seven years this is where the lifetime award Golden Dragon has been given to roleplaying luminaries, people whose games I’ve played as a kid, whose stores I’ve frequented and whose magazines I’ve read. In other words, I have quite alot of respect for these Grand Old Men of Finnish roleplaying.
Therefore I was both proud and humbled to receive the same recognition. In my thank you speech I was very touched but managed to speak for the future of the hobby.
A summary of the Finnish press release:
Mike Pohjola has been influential in the field since the mid 90s. His live roleplaying games have been played in cultural centers and art galleries. His publications include the roleplaying games Myrskyn aika (2003), Star Wreck Roleplaying Game (2006), and Tähti (2007). In addition Pohjola has published Sanaleikkikirja (2008), and the YA novel Kadonneet kyyneleet (2008).
Pohjola is also a founding member in The Company P, that won the International Emmy for Best Interactive Tv Service in 2008 for Sanningen om Marika. Right now he’s working on The Conspiracy For Good mega-project that premiered last Saturday in London. The Nokia-sponsored Conspiracy For Good is a project that combines participatory storytelling and gaming and lets players search clues with new mobile technology to progress in the story and help charities. The creative visionary of the project is Tim Kring, the showrunner of the tv show Heroes.
Thank you so much! It’s a really great feeling to be recognized by your own people in such a way.
I updated my English resumé, and decided to post it here on this blog, as well. Check it out!
About a week ago I visited the city of Varkaus in Eastern Finland. As part of their week-long children’s culture festival, they awarded the prize for year’s best young people’s book to my novel Kadonneet kyyneleet.
The winner was chosen by a jury consisting of six 10 to 12-year-olds. They read seven children’s and young adults books, and chose their favorite. Many adults had called Kadonneet kyyneleet too difficult or too dark for young people, but kids proved them wrong!
Grown up literature is divided into entertainment like detective stories and romances on one hand, and quality literature on the other. But many seem to think that bulk literature is enough for kids. Fantasy series and horse books. Kadonneet kyyneleet strives to be quality literature for young people, and it’s simply fantastic that it’s recognized as such. This is the only award in Finland given to a young people’s book by the readers themselves.
The event was touching: an eight-year-old sang accompanied by a piano, a speech from representatives of the local cultural board and the sponsoring paper factory, then the child jury got on stage, and revealed the winner. Then I got up, and was given a fruit basket and said a few words myself.
The money (3500e) will come in handy since I try to combine the lives of an artist, an enterpreneur and a student, three venues not known for their great wages…
I may have forgotten several key details about last night, including a strange improvised midnight quest with one master Daniel Krauklis. Also, I met a man with long fingernails and long blonde hair, whom the Norwegians had dubbed ”The young Mike Pohjola.” Nice fellow, so not exactly like me.
I had signed up for lots of programme Saturday morning, but slept through most of it, only waking up in time to attend the end discussion of Jiituomas Harviainen’s lecture where they talked about the differences and similarities between ritual and larp. A shame I missed it, but fortunately there will be articles coming up on the topic.
I woke Martin up, dragged him to lunch, and we started rigging up for our presentation. I’m not often hungover, but for some unknown reason that curse afflicted me this day. Head aching, nausea, confusion, all that good stuff.
The Knutepunkt practical arrangements were well taken care of, but I often noticed problems with the tech department. Sound cables missing, extension cords nowhere to be found, video projectors not set up in time, and so on. The guys working the tech were doing the best they could, but I think they simply didn’t have enough gear. Later in the evening I ended up borrowing my laptop to Erlend and Katri Lassila so they could show their films, that were apparently unplayable on the equipment at hand.
After everything was set up, we did our hour-and-a-half presentation, starting with Sanningen om Marika, and moving on from there. We created a sort of narrative around the fact that after last year’s Solmukohta we were just getting ready to fly to Cannes for the International Emmy Gala.
When we told the little tale of us sitting there in the gala, applying nail polish and flipping the passive media off, and winning the damn statue… people started applauding. That was a real nice, warm moment. We, both of us, had spent so many years being the annoying guys in black, making outrageous claims and being accused for destroying the hobby by taking it in all the wrong directions, this was a great sense of community. No bitterness, no envy, just joy. (And rightly so, since we strongly feel this is the Nordic larpdom combining with traditional tv.)
Then we talked in length about Dollplay, and very, very, very briefly about two projects in the pipeline: The Artists and TEVA. To summarize: ”We can’t really say anything about these.” ”But maybe we can say which country it will begin in?” ”Well, it may begin in some individual country, or perhaps not.”
The last programme for me, apart from Erlend’s film, was a jeepform game in the style of talk show. The idea was to do a sort of ”This Is Your Life” kind of show with the audience improvising/roleplaying key points in the person’s life. It’s nice to make these kinds of experiments, but I didn’t really think it worked. It was just over-long impro theatre with no unifying plot, and no point.
After the programme there was plenty of hanging out, and visiting strange parties. The Czechs held a party in their cabin, serving foul tasting alcohol which I countered by bringing them some salmiakki. People sang songs from their native countries, which was surprisingly nationalistic for Knutepunkt, so I introduced myself as coming from the klingon homeworld. I was asked to sing klingon opera, but opted out playing a scene from the tragedy of Khamlet. (Jaakko approved, saying it’s much better in the original Klingon.)
Jukka and Hakkis ran two drinking workshops this year, instead of just the one. One was a secret drinking workshop, so I can’t really talk about that. The other one was a fifteen-minute port wine workshop (porttivartti) where we were joined by a really drunk and young Faroese first-timer, whom I dubbed Junior. He didn’t know who anybody was, which we found hilarious. Had we been less arrogant and drunk, we might’ve told him, but such was not the way of the Knutepunkt Saturday night.
Lies and Seductions, a game we’ve worked on at Taik’s Medialab, earned Special Recognition: Adventure Game Development at Unity Awards 2008. The version we submitted was a very early and buggy one, so hopefully the upcoming version 1.0 will get even more praise. (I was part of the game design team and in charge of writing the massive amounts of interactive dialogue.)
This is how L&S was introduced in the conference:
Lies and Seductions… Very much an adult game. Not for kids at all. Um and umm. I mean, you try to get the right person to sack.