The Mirkopoulos family of Cinespace Film Studios is providing York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) with a state-of-the-art facility for teaching, learning and creation using pioneering motion media technologies.
The generous $2.5 million gift from Cinespace Film Studios and the Mirkopoulos family has created a new York University AMPD Motion Media Studio @ Cinespace, embedded at the company’s Kipling Avenue Studio complex.
Located next to professional sound stages being used for major television and film productions, the AMPD Motion Media Studio @ Cinespace will offer students unparalleled experiential learning opportunities, with hands-on training in new media technologies as well as direct exposure to the industry they are preparing to join.
“I am delighted to acknowledge the incredible impact of this gift by the Mirkopoulos family, one of York University’s most valued supporters,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, President and Vice-Chancellor. “The Mirkopoulos family has been actively involved as alumni, donors and volunteers over many years, and this contribution reflects their deep commitment to the University and to providing our students with the best possible learning environments so they can become global leaders in their fields.”
Opening its doors to students this fall, the AMPD Motion Media Studio @ Cinespace features two studios comprising more than 6,500 square feet of working space, plus seminar rooms and a suite of smaller studios for enhanced future development.
The new facility will enable AMPD students to explore the creation, convergence and application of next-generation arts and entertainment media technologies, with a focus on moving image production including 3D stereoscopic cinema; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; interactive performance; gaming; interactive data visualization, and more.
The AMPD Motion Media Studio @ Cinespace comes equipped with Organic Motion’s markerless motion capture technology OpenStage2, eliminating the need for the bodysuits and markers currently used for film animation − for example, to track how the actors are moving. With this unique markerless motion capture technology, York students will be able to create 3D animations, design interactive games and simulations, and integrate virtual performers for dance and theatre productions, without complicated setups.
Cinespace president Steve Mirkopoulos, brother of the late Nick Mirkopoulos, who founded the first large-scale movie production facility in Canada in 1990, announced the donation with brother Larry and second-generation Cinespace family members Jim, Chrisoula, Mike and Jackie Mirkopoulos. Company vice president Jim Mirkopoulos said the gift came from the family’s desire to create a value-added experience for students. “Partnering with York will also keep Cinespace at the forefront of future cinema and new digital entertainment media. Content creation is the new manufacturing in our economy, and we should be supporting it,” he said.
Cinespace is the also the founding sponsor of CineSiege, an annual juried showcase of outstanding productions by York’s cinema and media arts students, now in its 14th year. The company’s longstanding support of AMPD’s rising young talent also includes several student awards.
“The Mirkopoulos Family and Cinespace Film Studios are kindred spirits to AMPD. They share our conviction that students are innovators and creative forces in their own right, and that they will graduate from York uniquely equipped to lead in our increasingly competitive global economy,” commented Shawn Brixey, Dean of York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design. “We are deeply grateful to the Mirkopoulos family who continue to champion this vision with remarkable energy and enthusiasm.”
The Mirkopoulos family’s gift is one of the largest made to the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design as part of York’s most ambitious fundraising effort to date, Impact: The Campaign for York University. The campaign is more than halfway to its goal of $500 million in commitments to mobilize new ways of thinking, prepare engaged global citizens and build stronger communities.