In collaboration with MERJ Media and with financial support from the Canada Media Fund, Envision is producing Floor Kids - a charming finger-dance action game for mobile platforms where players train to become the best b-boys & b-girls (breakdancers) in their community.
Players use touch-controlled gestures to dance in a series of action-packed dance battles. Their goal is to unlock a diverse crew of breakdancers and build up their crew’s skills. Video replays of a player’s customized dance routine can be shared online through their social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. The estimated release date is Fall 2016.
MERJ was founded in 2015 by veterans of digital media, animation, music production and live performance. By merging the resources of four creative studios, MERJ harnesses the expertise of seasoned professionals in several complementary industries. Our creative multi-disciplinary team brings together expertise and networks from four companies: Floor Kids Productions, Kid Koala Productions, Hololabs Studio, and Envision Management and Production.
MIKE WOZNIEWSKI (and Hololabs) – VP Technology
Mike Wozniewski (the 'M' in MERJ) is a 15-year veteran of interactive software development. He comes from a background in academia, working as a researcher at the Centre for Intelligent Machines at McGill University, the Society for Arts & Technology (SAT), and the Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) lab at Concordia University. His research focuses on creation tools for real-time interactive systems, human- computer interaction, motion tracking, virtual reality, immersive environments, and video games. Mike has more than 20 peer-reviewed publications appearing in various international conferences proceedings, journals, and books. As president and CTO of partner company, Hololabs, he leads research & development teams in creating games, mobile applications, and virtual reality experiences. The company has developed many award-winning projects, such as the videogame installation Breaking the Ice featured at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and Papercade, which was an Official Digital Selection at IndieCade 2014 (the International Festival of Independent Games) and won the award for ‘Best Social Game’ at Game Connection America in 2015. Now, as the VP of Technology at MERJ, Mike provides design and technical direction for new interactive media projects like Floor Kids. He has also brought a talented team of programmers and artists from Hololabs to help these projects become reality.
ERIC SAN (Kid Koala) – VP Music
Eric San, a.k.a Kid Koala, is a world-renowned scratch DJ, music producer, and award winning graphic novelist. He has released four solo albums on Ninja Tune: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (2000), Some of My Best Friends Are DJs (2003), Your Mom’s Favorite DJ (2006) and 12 bit Blues (2012). He has also released two graphic novels: Nufonia Must Fall (2003) and Space Cadet (2011). He has also been involved in collaborations such as Gorillaz, Deltron 3030, and The Slew. Kid Koala has toured with the likes of Radiohead, the Beastie Boys, Money Mark, A Tribe Called Quest, Mike Patton, DJ Shadow, and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and performed on Late Night with David Letterman. He has contributed to scores for the films Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Looper, The Great Gatsby and Men Women and Children. He has composed music for The National Film Board of Canada, the Cartoon Network, Sesame Street, and Adult Swim. He has also been commissioned to create music for runway shows for Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten. Kid Koala’s unforgettable live shows range from silly touring turntable carnivals like Short Attention Span Theater (featuring turntable bingo) and Vinyl Vaudeville (including puppets and dancers) to quiet-time events like Music To Draw To and his Space Cadet Headphone Experience, each of which express his unique form of storytelling with music, animation, film, and interactive entertainment. He has toured 6 continents. As VP Music of MERJ, Kid Koala composes all the original tracks for Floor Kids and guides design direction using his knowledge of live performance and audience engagement and natural ability to curate immersive experiences.
RYHNA THOMPSON – President (and Envision Management)
Ryhna Thompson has been a Founder, President, Producer, and Artist Manager in the cultural and creative industries for more than 15 years. Under the banner of her company Envision Management & Production, she has worked with internationally recognized, boundary breaking artists rooted in music, such as Kid Koala, Bell Orchestre, Amon Tobin amongst others. Her artists have opened tours for Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Jack Johnson and performed in venues such a Madison Square Gardens and the Hollywood Bowl. She has assembled and managed tours on 5 continents and overseen dozens of record releases. Always thinking outside the box, Ryhna has frequently worked with artists to conceive, produce and manage projects in the realm where music intersects with film, animation, theatre, literature and interactivity. Projects have been brought to life at Mass MoCA, Luminato Festival and the National Film Board of Canada to name a few great organizations. Always keen to contribute to her communities, Ryhna served for many years as President of the Music Managers Forum Canada. As President of MERJ, Ryhna guides the company taking on the role of Producer, is the force that brings it together, and directs business development, marketing strategy, and financing.
JONATHAN Ng - VP Creative
Jonathan Ng, a.k.a. JonJon is an award winning, multi-disciplinary animation filmmaker whose unique set of hand-made styles focus on merging themes of action, experience and fantasy. His last film Requiem for Romance, a water ink slice of life, has toured festivals around the world, winning Best Art Direction at Anima Mundi in Brazil before being badged by Vimeo Staff Picks and being presented to the major studios in California as part of the Animation Show of Shows. Having worked in the animation industry since 2004, his feature animation credits include The Little Prince, April and the Extraordinary World, and The Day of the Crows. Jonathan is best known for one of his earliest films, Asthma Tech, produced at the National Film Board of Canada, a semi-autobiographical tale which was rendered in his original style of youthful flare. His work continued to evolve into Floor Kids which started out as a series of short animated b-boy battles in co-creation with Kid Koala. Floor Kids is now being produced as a touchscreen mobile game through MERJ. As VP Creative of the company, JonJon drives the art, visual design, storytelling, animation, choreographic graphics, and guiding the art pipeline.
Multi-talented and award-winning freelance game designer, Philippe Rostaing climbed out of the bowels of the public service to follow a passion for filmmaking, which somehow led him to study interactive media writing and design at the INIS in 2008. Followed by an obligatory sentence in the world of AAA game testing and localization, Philippe graduated to working as a game designer at Woozworld Inc., where he became a sponge for two years until one day braving the murky waters of freelancing. Since then, he has contributed his unique design perspective to a wide variety of successful games and interactive projects, including the multi award-winning webseries Zieuter.tv and the acclaimed children's brushing app Toothsavers, just two items on a list that he hopes to lengthen for years to come.
JoDee Nadene Allen, a.k.a b-girl Feisty, is a professional choreographer and b-girl (break-dancer) with over 15 years experience. She was a founding member/co-artistic director of the dance company Solid State Breakdance and has trained with street dance legends such as Ken Swift, Zulu Gremlin, and Don Campbellock. JoDee received her BFA degree in Contemporary Dance from Concordia University in 1999. Since that time JoDee has worked as a professional dancer for various companies in Montreal and competed in Breakdance events in Miami, Los Angeles, Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal and London, England. She was also invited to judge the breakdance battles for Aux Delà Des Préjugés in Lausanne Switzerland alongside Ken Swift. Currently pursuing a Masters degree in the INDI program at Concordia University, her research spans from gesture-based digital gaming and the mimetic relationship between player and game, to competitive street dances and social game play practices.
Producer RYHNA THOMPSON (Envision Management & Production)
Art & Animation Director JONATHAN NG (Floor Kids Productions)
Creative Director, Music ERIC SAN a.k.a. KID KOALA (Kid Koala Productions)
Game Director & Technical Director MIKE WOZNIEWSKI (Hololab Studios, Inc.)
Game & Story Designer PHILIPPE ROSTAING
Motion Control Designer JODEE ALLEN
Marketing & Community PAMELA FILLION (MERJ Media)