Innovative Storyteller Links Media Content, Digital Technologies

Toronto-based marblemedia and Corus Entertainment announced the first winner of the Innovative Storytellers Award, connecting content, new technologies and audiences.

Ryerson graduate student Afzal Huda will receive a grant and industry mentorship as part of the award. Launched as a $20,000, five-year educational initiative with Ryerson University’s new Master of Arts in Media Production program, the award is given to an outstanding Ryerson graduate student.

Afzal Huda is an award-winning, emerging producer whose experience includes work on the Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated Into the West produced by Steven Spielberg. Huda has also written, produced and directed the award-winning short film Call Me a Paki, an NFB-supported project that premiered on CBC, was screened at over 20 festivals and won the Alberta Film and Television Award.

“Afzal has a great vision of Canadian culture and the impact new media will have on it,” said Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg, marblemedia partners and Ryerson alumni. “We are proud to honour him with this grant and to help mentor him in his career.”

The winner of the Innovative Storytellers Award is chosen through an application process and receives a grant plus a series of one-on-one sessions with industry executives from Corus Entertainment and marblemedia to gain insights into the business as well as guidance for their thesis. Mentors are selected from the areas of creative production, broadcasting, technology, legal, sales and marketing.

“Congratulations to Afzal Huda on this award,” said Susan Makela, Director Program Funds and Policy, Television, Corus Entertainment. “Corus is pleased to be part of initiatives like the Innovative Storytellers Award that help support emerging talent and innovative thinking. As a media and entertainment company working in a rapidly changing media universe, we are committed to educational initiatives that can play a role in contributing to the future success of this industry.”

“I am thrilled to receive this award,” said Afzal Huda. “The in-depth sessions with Corus and marblemedia will give me the opportunity to gain some real insight into the mechanics of the industry and where it going, which will be invaluable as I develop my thesis.”

“Afzal’s belief is that evolving technologies, where connectivity dominates content, are creating new experiences for the audience, who, in turn, are able to re-mediate content across a growing number of devices,” said Dana Lee, Graduate Program Director at Ryerson University. “Amulets, a study in transmedia storytelling, is the tale of five seemingly unconnected, ordinary people of colour facing critical social problems around the world with an added twist: they also have superhuman abilities. The story unfolds across multiple media platforms, with each new element contributing to the entire experience. Afzal work is original, rich, and creative, and it is deserving of the 2008 Innovative Storyteller’s Award.”

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