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An immersive VR lab and residency for Indigenous artists from across Turtle Island. NFB, CFC Media Lab and the Ford Foundation launch VR doc lab OPEN IMMERSION II


October 25, 2019 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) and JustFilms | Ford Foundation have come together to launch OPEN IMMERSION II, a documentary VR lab for Indigenous creators. This project follows the success of the inaugural OPEN IMMERSION lab in 2016, which supported knowledge exchange between diverse artists from Canada and the United States. OPEN IMMERSION II will include cutting-edge technical training, pitching and mentorship opportunities, and develop strategies for enhanced dissemination of Indigenous-helmed VR work.

OPEN IMMERSION II will bring together Indigenous artists working in VR from across Turtle Island (Canada, the United States and Mexico). The lab will run throughout 2020. Selected candidates will participate in an intensive residency in Toronto, followed by a longer-term virtual lab that will include mentorship, skills-development and prototyping support. Inter-program collaborations will unfold throughout the lab, which will culminate in a forum at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in October 2020, where participants will share their findings.

One of the project’s overarching goals is to better understand existing VR ecosystems and bridge key relationships between Indigenous artists and international institutions and organizations. To this end, lab research will be compiled into a report to be presented at the imagineNATIVE festival. Taking inspiration from the 2019 imagineNATIVE On Screen Protocols & Pathways publication, the OPEN IMMERSION II document will present a set of VR-specific protocols that reflect aesthetic, ethical and access considerations.

More info and details to come in 2020.

About CFC

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is a charitable cultural organization that supports, develops and accelerates the content, careers and companies of Canadian creative and entrepreneurial talent in the screen-based and digital industries. Its uniquely designed programs and initiatives span film, television, screen acting, screen composing and songwriting, and innovative work in the digital media and entertainment technology industries, all of which continue to push boundaries and generate world-class content, products and companies for the global marketplace. cfccreates.com
CFC Facebook | CFC Twitter | CFC Instagram

About CFC Media Lab

The Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) is an internationally acclaimed digital media think tank and award-winning production facility. It provides a unique research, training and production environment for digital media content developers and practitioners, as well as acceleration programs and services for digital entertainment start-ups and related SMEs. Program participants have emerged as leaders in the world of digital media, producing groundbreaking projects and innovative, sustainable companies for the digital and virtual age.
CFC Media Lab Facebook | CFC Media Lab Twitter | CFC Media Lab Instagram

About Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

About imagineNATIVE

imagineNATIVE is the world’s largest presenter of film and media art created by Indigenous artists. As a registered charity, imagineNATIVE is committed to promoting a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and artistic expressions through our annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Film + VR Tour, and Institute. In 2019, the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary while the Tour marks 15 years.

About the NFB

The NFB is Canada’s public producer of creative documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories, and immersive experiences. Since 1968, the NFB has produced over 300 works by First Nations, Métis and Inuit filmmakers—an unparalleled collection that pushes past dominant narratives and provides Indigenous perspectives to Canadian and global audiences. Guided by the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the NFB is implementing an action plan with commitments that include devoting a minimum of 15 percent of overall production spending to Indigenous-led productions and making these works more accessible via Indigenous Cinema, a new destination on NFB.ca, and its apps for mobile devices.


Associated Links

Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab
JustFilms | Ford Foundation
imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
On Screen Protocols & Pathways

Media Relations

Cory Angeletti-Szasz
Manager, Communications, CFC
416-445-1446 x463

Jennifer Mair
NFB Publicist
C.: 416-436-0105
j.mair@nfb.ca | @NFB_Jennifer

Lily Robert
Director, Communications and Public Affairs, NFB
C.: 514-296-8261