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Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences to provide speaker line-up for New Zealand conference.

CALABASAS, Calif. and WELLINGTON, New Zealand – September 23, 2008 – The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) and AnimfxNZ, the world’s leading conference for digital animation, effects, animation and games, have announced a partnership that will see the AIAS provide an all-star game industry speaker line-up for AnimfxNZ. AIAS President Joseph Olin will also speak at the conference on the topic of creative convergence in the games industry along with industry luminaries Tim Willits, Henry LaBounta and Mario Wynands.

“One of the goals of the academy is to support the recognition of our industry’s creative talent and AnimfxNZ is providing us with an international platform to present our messages to new audiences,” said Joseph Olin. “Our participation and partnership with the conference promises to be a rewarding experience for both parties as we work toward a common goal of growing the creative digital industries.”

Under the theme, “Where Creative Convergence Begins,” AnimfxNZ is bringing together leaders from the four major creative digital mediums to share ideas and further the creation of digital entertainment. AnimfxNZ will take place November 14-16th, in Wellington New Zealand and present a line-up of keynotes and panels that feature the brightest minds in digital media today.

“The AIAS is an obvious partner given our common goals, mutual respect and desire to provide a speaker line-up with the credibility, vision and experience to inspire attendees from all of the creative disciplines,” said Jos Ruffell, Chairman of the New Zealand Games, Animation and Visual Effects Trust (NZGAV), the organizing body behind Animfx. “We’re looking forward to a successful conference and expanding our support for the AIAS and their initiatives in the coming years.”

About The Speakers

Joseph Olin has been the president of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences since July 2004. Since joining the Academy, he has led the organization, and developed and grown industry relevant creativity programs including Into the Pixel, the Interactive Achievement Awards and the Randy Pausch Scholarship Fund under the goal of recognizing creative excellence. As vice president, marketing & business development at U.S. GOLD, INC. / EIDOS Interactive, he directed all sales, marketing and new business development activities, and played a key role in the launch of Tomb Raider & Lara Croft game franchises. Additionally, Joseph's extensive career entails a wide variety of senior level positions at Ogilvy & Mather, Microprose/Hasbro Interactive, Elliot Portwood Studios, and Panda Management Company.

Tim Willits is the creative director of id Software, Inc., which he joined in 1995 to work on Quake after impressing the owners and development team with DOOM levels he forged in his spare time and distributed free over the Internet. Willits is now a co-owner and creative director of id Software and a driving, creative force behind many successful id Software projects. Willits is currently leading up the development of id Software’s highly anticipated, RAGE, was the lead designer of DOOM 3 for PC and served as executive producer of Quake 4. He’s credited with leading the development team in achieving critical acclaim and industry accolades for the design of QUAKE II and QUAKE III Arena.

Henry LaBounta is the director of art for EA Games, and is an Academy Award nominee. LaBounta oversees the visual look of EA's games and is currently working with the 'Need for Speed', 'Godfather' and 'Skate' teams. He came to EA from PDI/DreamWorks, where he supervised visual effects for the Steven Spielberg film "Minority Report." Other recent film credits include "A.I.", "Mission Impossible 2" and "Forces of Nature". Prior to joining DreamWorks he worked at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) on many feature films including: "Twister", "Casper" and "Star Trek VII Generations." In 1996, LaBounta was nominated for an Academy Award for designing the look and techniques for the tornadoes and related effects on "Twister." In the same year, he was awarded the BAFTA (British Academy Award) for his work on that film.

Mario Wynands is the managing director and a co-founder of Sidhe Interactive, the largest videogame development studio in New Zealand. Over the last decade, Mario has facilitated the development and release of products for PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, and PC into markets including Australasia, North America, Europe, Japan, and Korea. Popular titles from the company include Stacey Jones Rugby League, GripShift, and Melbourne Cup Challenge. Mario is also the president of the New Zealand Game Developers Association which seeks to promote and support the game development industry within New Zealand.

AnimfxNZ 2008 has already announced Barrie Osborne, Carolyn Soper, Howard Postley, Jeff Okun and Habib Zargarpour as speakers at this year’s conference.

About AnimfxNZ

AnimfxNZ was founded in 2006, to provide a global platform for the creative content community to exchange ideas across the various disciplines of digital media. Since its inception, the conference has presented leading speakers on the topics of animation, digital entertainment, digital effects and games, and has served as the crossroads of collaboration for creative media convergence. The 2008 conference is organized under the theme, “Where Creative Convergence Begins,” and is focused on the current and future states of creative digital content creation, worldwide.

About The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) was founded in 1996 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of the interactive arts. The Academy's mission is to promote and advance common interests in the worldwide interactive entertainment community; recognize outstanding achievements in the interactive arts and sciences; and conduct an annual awards show (Interactive Achievement Awards) to enhance awareness of the interactive art form. The Academy also strives to provide a voice for individuals in the interactive entertainment community. In 2002 the Academy created the D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit, a once yearly conference dedicated to exploring approaches to the creative process and artistic expression as they uniquely apply to the development of interactive entertainment. The Academy has more than 12,000 members, with the board comprised of senior executives from the major videogame companies including Bioware/Pandemic, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony and Ubisoft. More information on AIAS and the D.I.C.E. Summit can be found at www.interactive.org and www.dicesummit.org



Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Geri Gordon Miller

818-876-0826 x202


Sean Kauppinen

International Digital Entertainment Agency



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