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Kemptville’s Targe Innovations to be centre stage at Summer Paralympics

When paralympians from around the world face off to compete for two goalball gold medals at the 2012 Summer Paralympics a small but growing business from North Grenville will be at centre court.

The special bell-equipped balls used for the game played by the visually impaired are being provided by Kemptville-based Targe Innovations (www.targe.ca) run by husband and wife team Jeff and Dawna Christy.

Global sales of the Evolve Equipt Goalball have gone through the roof since it became known that the ball would be used at the Paralympics.

“We’ve moved to 24-hour around-the-clock production,” says Dawna Christy. “All of the competing countries want to train with the equipment used in the games.”

Launched in 2005, Targe Innovations was a natural extension for Jeff Christy, a five-time paralympian and elite goalball champion.

Targe’s mission is to improve lives through sport and wellness. It sells therapeutic, sport, and educational products and focuses on developing equipment for paralympic athletes.

The company also sells a goalball adaptive physical education kit to teach non-visually impaired people what it’s like to be blind.  It includes a goalball, six pairs of eyeshades that simulate blindness, and high-contrast floor tape.

Targe is marketing the kit to school boards as a fun way to teach young people about blindness and in hopes of introducing an inclusive sport that can be played by the sighted (wearing eyeshades) and the visually impaired together.

To promote their business online, the Christys started an online marketing business called Excelwith Marketing (www.excelwith.com), which exists to serve Targe but also services other clients. The company primarily helps organizations improve their search engine listings.

Teri Devine, Economic Development Coordinator for the Municipality of North Grenville, says the Christys have huge support from the local community.

“The people of North Grenville are proud to have such innovative creative economy entrepreneurs in our community,” Devine says. “It’s great to have two such exciting companies in our midst, one of which has the potential to hugely impact people’s lives around the world.”

Eastern Ontario Star Wars fan captures Steven Spielberg’s attention

It cost 21-year-old Ontario East filmmaker Kyle Parish just $300 to capture the attention of world famous movie producer Steven Spielberg.

Using his computer to create special effects and enlisting the help of friends around his home in Elgin, the Star Wars fanatic spent just $300 to make a Star Wars fan film that he entered into the 2010 Star Wars Fan Film contest run by LucasArts.

The film, entitled Origins II: The Rising, won awards for its visual effects and soundtrack and caught the attention of Spielberg who made a personal phone call to Parish.

“The exact words would be ‘Never let anyone change what you’re doing, do it your way, and stay creative because that’s what Hollywood needs’,” Parish told Global Television.

Parish wasn’t the only one praised by the famous producer and executive producer of dozens of blockbusters, including E.T., Men in Black, and Back to the Future. Parish’s friend Sarah Long, an actress in Origins II, received a letter from Spielberg saying that she is “something special” and that she is one of the most talented actresses he’s seen in a long time. Star Wars writer-producer George Lucas also wrote Long to praise her, Global reported.

It’s not the first attention Parish Productions has received. It won awards earlier this year from the University of Toronto Student Film Festival and, in September, it was nominated for best feature at the Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival. Long and fellow Origins II actor Matthew Schliesmann have also won acting awards.

Origins II, which is 52 minutes long, is set some 100,000 years before the stories of the LucasArts Star Wars films and before people travelled across galaxies. It describes how the Force became split between Dark and Light.

Deanna Clark, Economic Development Officer for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, says Parish is a significant and celebrated artist in the community.

“Parish Productions is the epitome of what the Creative Economy is all about,” says Clark.

Parish, who started filmmaking while recovering from an athletic injury, is excited about where his new celebrity status and his passion for filmmaking and Star Wars may take him.

“Who knows what doors have opened because of this,” Parish told Global.

At the time of initial publication, the word was that he was working on his third Star Wars fan film, Origins III: Destiny.

Creative Rural Economy

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Special thanks to everyone who attended the Creative Rural Economy Conference, and a big thanks to the event organizing committee.

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