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HDTV, Video Game, SFX Project Breaks New Ice

Canada's SpaceWorks Entertainment Inc. and Germany's Circles & Lines will begin principal photography in Toronto on Ice Planet, a new sci-fi HD television series and video game enterprise.

SpaceWorks and Circles & Lines are working with Toronto's Fast Motion Studios and CGI studio Optix Digital Pictures to create what they are calling the first live-action motion-capture/CGI creative partnership in television history.

Production will begin this November at SpaceWorks Entertainment's new 63,000 square-foot studio in Scarborough, ON. The prep stage is nearing completion as the studio will house the majority of scenes being shot for the series as well as some footage to be used by designers of the franchise's video console game.

In addition to interior sets, a half-acre of exterior land will be converted to the threatening landscape of the Ice Planet thanks to the production's crew and the CGI magic of Optix Digital.

Plato Fountidakis, CEO of Fast Motion Studios explained that motion capture technology is often married with CGI platforms for feature films, "But this is a first for live action television," he said. "We've seen it done successfully in animated TV series, but the cost and the time has been prohibitive for live action, until now."

The 22-epsiode, one-hour series will begin production November 17, with two studios to green screen setups to accommodate CGI shoots as well as motion capture photography and wire work.

"We have the luxury of a studio space large enough to accommodate this kind of dedicated setup," said Ice Planet Executive Producer and SpaceWorks CEO G. Philip Jackson. "Sophisticated, big-budget, feature film sequences can be shot and processed simultaneously as we shoot conventional scenes in our adjoining studios," added Executive Producer Hendrik Hey.

Fast Motion will be using the new VICON Motion Systems software, usually employed by console video game developers, for this ground-breaking application, Fountidakis said. Footage captured and rendered with this method will also be used by developers of the Ice Planet console game, slated for release at the conclusion of the series' first season.

Ice Planet is a Canada-Germany treaty co-production and a SpaceWorks Entertainment Inc. (a D'or, Jackson and Rapovski Company, Canada) and Circles & Lines GmbH (Germany) co-production. The executive producers are G. Philip Jackson, Daniel D'or and Paul Rapovski (Canada) and Frank Winnenbrock and Hendrik Hey (Germany). Produced in association with CHUM Television.

Ice Planet is a Canada-Germany co-production and a SpaceWorks Entertainment Inc. (a D'or, Jackson and Rapovski Company, Canada) and Circles & Lines GmbH (Germany) co-production. The executive producers are G. Philip Jackson, Daniel D'or and Paul Rapovski (Canada) and Frank Winnenbrock and Hendrik Hey (Germany). Produced in association with CHUM Television.

The series stars Michael Ironside.

SpaceWorks' creative team of Daniel D'or and G. Philip Jackson has been critically and commercially acclaimed for its diverse production and sales track record in television series and feature film productions since 1993. Under the D'or / Jackson leadership, the SpaceWorks team has produced more than 20 feature and series titles. In 2002 they were joined by partner Paul Rapovski, bringing further depth in production and greatly increased capacity in Pacific Rim markets to SpaceWorks.

Canada's only publicly-traded mobile game developer, Silverbirch Studios was founded by Kevin Birch, who currently serves as its president. After releasing the hugely successful Warner Brothers movie-to-game Constantine, the team at Silverbirch has just completed production on the much-anticipated Superman mobile game.

SpaceWorks and Circles & Lines also announced three new appointments to the production team: John Calvert, Anna Bourque and Gord Barnes.

"We are very fortunate to be able to secure such talent for this unique project," said Ice Planet Executive Producer and SpaceWorks' CEO G. Philip Jackson. "Their collective experience in science fiction brings this project to a new level," added Hendrik Hey, Executive Producer.

Perhaps best known for producing such TV sci-fi classics as PSI Factor, William Shatner's Tek War and Earth: The Final Conflict, John Calvert most recently worked with Britney Spears on her TV project Brave New Girl.

"This is an exciting project to me not simply because of the challenge involved in a project of this size and tying in a video game, but also because of the amazing team we've been able to put together."

Anna Bourque, the Emmy-award-winning writer, also served as a creator and head writer for such shows as Life of Crime, Freaky Stories, Twitch City and Material World. She has also taught writing and series development at Toronto's prestigious Canadian Film Centre.

"I love being involved at the beginning of a series," she said in a release, "especially one as promising as this, since you have the opportunity to create not just the characters, but an entire world."

Known as one of the most sought-after Production Designers in the business, Gord Barnes has created the worlds of such sci-fi films and series as PSI Factor, In the Mouth of Madness and Tracker, as well as such popular Hollywood titles as Billy Madison, American Pie 5, Gilmore Girls, The War Next Door and The Skulls II and III.

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work on such an ambitious project. This bold new TV series allows for maximum creativity in creating the environments of an entire planet as well as a spaceship that is unlike any ever seen before," he said .

CHUM International is the development and distribution arm of CHUM Limited.

SpaceWorks Entertainment Inc. is a Canadian creative studio with depth in international co-production and independent film and television financing.

Fast Motion Studios Inc., in association with Seneca College's Academy-Award-winning animation Arts Centre is a motion capture facility. The studio provides raw motion data for games, television, film, new media and kinetic research. Equipped with a 24-camera Vicon Motion System, Fast is able to capture in excess of 300 frames per second accommodating single or multi-person captures as well as hard and soft body props.

Ice Planet's mobile game developer. Canada's only publicly-traded mobile game developer, Silverbirch Studios was founded by Kevin Birch, who currently serves as its president. The team at Silverbirch has also just completed production on the much-anticipated Superman mobile game.

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