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May 20, 2019
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  2018 BIG Festival to Shed Light on The Social Impact of Video Games
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[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource GamesPress.]

São Paulo,Brazil, June 20, 2018 – As we are getting closer to BIG 2018 kick off (June 26), the largest independent games event in Latin America, more information about the exhibitors, confirmed speakers and showcased games, have become available directly from the official web site. Today, BIG is proud to announce that for the fourth year in a row, the festival will produce a series of talks and panels to highlight the role of video games within a social context, entitled BIG Impact.

BIG Impact programming will be a reminder for the entire video game community that we often neglect thinking about just how much video games influence, sway and encourage our culture, history, and way of life. Video games have become catalysts for social change, preparing players to emotionally handle heavy realities like love, bullying, and suicide, while bridging certain gaps.

Touching on themes such as diversity and social inclusion, feminism and mental health, BIG Impact, is gathering some of the most important serious games constituents in the industry to discuss and address the benefits of video games in today’s society.

Big Impact detailed schedule can be found below:

VilDu?! How a game managed to break the barriers around talking about sexual abuse (6/26 – 10h)

How can a game make it easier to discuss sexual abuse? In this case-study about VilDu?!, Menno describes how a very personal development experience brought a game to therapy. He presents the design process and tells how the game shortened to 3 weeks the therapy time of an 8-year-old girl. The speaker will be Dr. Menno van Pelt-Deen (HOL), from Dutch Game Garden and Lapp.

Games and Social Inclusion (6/26 - 13h)

The panel will feature developers who have contributed to diversity and social inclusion. Be it racial, gender or sexual orientation, how to promote social inclusion today is a main issue in several segments of the creative industry. Among them, the international guest Dr. Menno van Pelt-Deen (HOL), responsible for Games4diversity; Bruno Araújo, responsible for the game Diana, about transgender phobia in Brazil. Tiany Pixel from Pixel Punk studio, is a game developer and a transgender. She will present her game Unsighted, finalist for the Best Brazilian Game and Best Game categories for the BIG Awards 2018, The panel will be mediated by Nayara Brito, organizer of the Woman Game, a game jam that seeks to give  visibility to the female public.

Women in Games : How to increase women’s presence in the Games Industry? (6/26 – 15h)

The panel will gather professionals from the Brazilian and German gaming industry, as well as other key players to discuss actions that can fortify the female presence in the gaming industry. Flávia Gasi (Forja), Ariane Parra (Women Up Games), Bianca Antunes (Flux Game Studio) and Kathrin Radtke (Studio Fizbin).

Citizenship in scale: how iCivics reaches Millions of young people each year (6/29 – 11h)

The iCivics organization was founded in 2009 to reimagine education targeted towards citizenship and politics through games. In less than a decade, the iCivics games reached 5 Million students each year. The panel will show how this was possible, and the plan to reach 10 Million teenagers by 2021. The presentation will be hosted by Emma Humphries, iCivics’ knowledge director.

Games, Culture and Resistance (6/29 – 14h30)

The panel will discuss gaming as a cultural tool and gather developers that create games as a platform to show aspects of indigenous cultures from Brazil and Mexico.

BIG Festival 2018 (Brazil's Independent Games Festival) will be taking place in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro from June 23 to July 1, 2018. A comprehensive schedule of BIG Festival 2018 panels, keynotes, awards and fireside chats can be found here. Due to the international nature of the event, all talks are being translated real-time in English and Portuguese for the audience and transcripts available upon requests.

About BIG Festival

BIG Festival (Brazil's Independent Games Festival) has been held since 2012 and is considered one the most influential and innovative independent gaming festival in Latin America. With the mission to strengthen the Brazilian video game ecosystem, the event produces a yearly international independent video game award competition offering significant cash prizes ($24,000 in 2018), a major exhibition showcasing hundreds of games including the awards nominees, a spectacular awards ceremony event, industry related lectures and business rounds. In 2017, BIG hosted more than 20,000 visitors, 3,500 of them having participated to lectures, and more than 1600 guests attending business meetings. This year BIG will expand its schedule of lectures and workshops by incorporating new topics and areas that are part of games development cycles, such as music, animation, virtual and augmented reality, a career center, among others segments already present at the event.