Celebrating Alberta’s unique talent at the 2019 Ember Awards

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Celebrating Alberta’s unique talent at the 2019 Ember Awards

The annual Ember Awards is a fun and fabulous celebration of Alberta’s digital talent and creativity, and 2019’s event was no exception. Held in Calgary for the first time, the evening saw a mix of creatives, tech nerds, educators, policy advocates, business leaders and students who came together to cheer each other on in the stylish Hotel Arts venue. 

The diversity of talent who gathered in one room is another reminder of the many strengths and unique viewpoints that Alberta offers, which Digital Alberta is proud to showcase.

Winning projects included 

  1. An interactive Virtual Reality experience of the Blackfoot language
  2. An online course looking at insects, and the many ways they impact humans
  3. A digital campaign soliciting Albertans to vote in the 2019 election
  4. An online tool for analyzing publicly traded oil and gas companies
  5. And the list goes on…

In the Website-Business/Corporate category with a budget over $100k, we saw Sajak & Farki win for their work on the Falkbuilt website. With a budget over $30k, Makespace won based on their work on Human x Machine. Lift Interactive Inc. won with a budget under $30k for their Handful of Films. ‘Tis the season of being creative, which lucky for NAIT, saw them take back to campus, an Ember for NAIT’s Holiday Card – Tinsel Topple in the Website-Government/Education category. Paper Leaf had back-to-back wins for their work on the CKUA Radio website (Website-Arts & Culture/Nonprofit) and the GA International LabTAG website (Website-Retail). In the Website-Publishing/Journalism/Blog Category, Kickbyte Inc. accepted their Ember for the University of Regina – Discourse Research Magazine. 


Lift Interactive was first up on stage for this category as they won for their work on Jasper Pride – Derby Event (Display Ad or Campaign). Vovia won for Dynamic Flight Paid Search Ads, a Paid Search Excellence Campaign. DDB Canada was recognized for three Digital Marketing Campaign titles, the first being the Social Media Campaign for #ChooseYourAlberta – General Election 2019, the second for the Royal Alberta Museum Vikings Exhibit (Non-Profit Project or Campaign), and the third one was interesting. We had a tie for the Cross-Platform Campaign with DDB Canada being recognized for their work on #ChooseYourAlberta and ZGM Modern Marketing Partners for Insurance for a New Era. 


NAIT’s Holiday Card – Tinsel Topple also won Gaming Experience – Browser, Mobile, Desktop or Console. The other winner in the gaming column was Ubiquitous Mayonnaise for their work on Where The Flame Took You (Gaming Experience – Student Entry). 


For Industry Training, it was Sticks & Stones for their work on Booster Juice University. Onlea was up for two awards in this bracket. The first was Formal Learning (K-12 or Post-Secondary) for their work on Mastering Spectroscopy. The second was the Online Course, Bugs 101: Insect-Human Interactions.


Sticks & Stones was up first getting recognized for their short film/documentary (under 30 minutes), Renewable.Technik Creative was next for their commercial, We Got Work To Do – Ford of the North. MAMMOTH XR was honoured for their innovative video, Sacred Teachings: Writing on Stone. WS and DDB Canada tied for Motion Graphics & Annimation. WS for their work on SymTRX: The Future of Fertilizer and DDB for the Calm Breathe-a-gram Series. Makespace won for their illustration, Future Transformer Camp. FKA and CUSP tied for their design work. FKA for ALSA Just Add Albert and CUSP for Life’s Messy. DDB Canada returned to the stage for their installation project, AI:40. Sticks & Stones won for the work they’ve done on the Patient podcast. 


Lift Interactive won back to back awards (Software & Data Driven Innovation) for Resalytics. Paper Leaf won for the FireSmart Begins at Home Mobile Application. MAMMOTH XR returned to the stage for what was the Best Use of XR, Thunder. SAVIAN won Emerging Sector for The Six-66. Sticks & Stones won Generative Art for Virtual Cenotaph. 


The final awards of the evening were given to the most promising Up and Coming Talent, and Digital Leader of the year. The Up and Coming Talent winner was Josh Radostits, a student at the University of Alberta who co-hosts the University’s Marketing Association podcast, and is preparing for a long (and hopefully successful) career in digital media and marketing.

Robin Winsor was named Digital Leader of the year. Robin recently retired from his role as president and CEO of the not-for-proft technology agency, Cybera. There, he spent a decade advocating for the digital access needs of rural and remote Canadians, including First Nations communities. In his acceptance speech, Robin reminded all attendees of the incredible stories and talent coming out of these communities, and how they should not be overlooked when building out Alberta’s skills force and digital infrastructure projects.

With so much outside focus on the tough economic times in Alberta’s energy sector, the Ember Awards was a welcome demonstration of the diverse (and resilient!) sectors that are making strides in our province. We congratulate all winners and nominees on the work they are doing to make Alberta a digital powerhouse!


This article was co-authored by board member, Meagan Hampel and myself. Cover photo was taken by Tara Marie

Cory Sellar
Cory Sellar
He's a videographer, social media manager, interactive digital media (IDM) advocate, and a proud Edmontonian with a background in television broadcasting at NAIT. For almost three years, Cory has managed the social media channels for Digital Alberta and has since co-led its communications committee. He continues to be passionate about telling meaningful stories and making connections in the IDM, tech, and digital marketing sectors in Alberta.