Creating equitable access and supporting the growth of Indigenous economies
[July 11, 2022] Vancouver, BC – Virtual production is driving the digital transformation of the film industry, and ensuring British Columbia has a skilled, diverse and creative workforce will help retain our leadership position in this industry worldwide. Led by IM4 Lab, the Indigenous-led mixed reality studio based at Emily Carr, the Virtual Production Innovation Studio will develop Canada’s first Indigenous-led virtual production program, including an extended reality lab and skills training workshops. This program is in collaboration with Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Unity Technologies, ShowMax, William F. White International, Laboratory of Artistic Intelligence, Rushcut Media, Vancouver Film School, University of Victoria, and Capilano University Indigenous Film Program
“The Virtual Production Innovation Studio program supports IM4 Lab’s mission to Indigenize virtual and augmented reality by providing training opportunities to build a critical mass of Indigenous Peoples equipped with the skills to work in the growing and in-demand immersive tech field,” said Loretta Todd, Founder and Creative Director of IM4 Lab. “I believe that Indigenous entrepreneurial spirit, combined with cultural expression, technological knowledge and tools, can drive our own economic development and are a critical part of the growth of digital, technology and cultural industries in British Columbia.”
Virtual production combines computer generated graphics, game-engine real-time rendering, virtual and augmented reality technologies and the merging of production and post-production pipelines to create new ways of filmmaking, animation and television. These new techniques are rapidly impacting core skills within filmmaking, including cinematography, design, visual effects, animation, directing and more. Preparing media workers with new skills in virtual production is crucial in order to ensure the workforce can find and retain emerging jobs in this sector — and that media companies in BC have the talent they need to grow.
“The Government of Canada is proud to support the Digital Technology Cluster and its partners in developing Canada’s first Indigenous-led virtual production facility,” said the Honourable François‑Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “By supporting Indigenous creators, we can help empower the next generation of storytellers who will share Indigenous experiences, knowledge and cultural expressions across Canada and around the world.”
The Virtual Production Innovation Studio will support 30 emerging and established media professionals from urban, remote and rural Indigenous communities in BC.
The Lab’s curriculum will reflect storytelling through an Indigenous lens, combined with technical expertise and hands-on learning. Graduates will receive micro-credentials and badges upon completion of training, in addition to graduating with a portfolio of work that will support their professional trajectory.
The project has a total investment of $0.53 million, with $0.28 million invested by partners and $0.25 million co-invested through the Supercluster’s Talent and Capacity Program. More information on the Virtual Production Innovation Studio can be found here.
About the Digital Supercluster
Ahead of the curve starts here. The Digital Supercluster is building a better Canada by growing Canadian businesses, creating a digitally skilled workforce and positively impacting lives across our country. We accelerate the development and adoption of digital technologies that keep Canadians healthy, address climate change and drive economic productivity. Through a powerful combination of co-investment, cross-sector collaboration, IP creation and digital talent development, we unlock the potential of Canadians to lead and succeed in the digital world. For more information, visit: https://www.digitalsupercluster.ca/