Canada’s first Indigenous-led virtual production filmmaking program launching this fall in Vancouver  


A free program run by an Indigenous production company is planning to train 30 participants in a new technology that is being used on television and move sets.

The IM4 Lab team announced the launch of a no cost-Indigenous led virtual production filmmaking program, which will be offered online with in-person lessons at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver.

Loretta Todd is a filmmaker and founder of IM4 Lab, which aims to amplify Indigenous voices working in virtual reality and augmented reality.

In an interview with APTN News, she says the program can lead to good-paying jobs in the emerging film industry sector.

“It’s great to be able to get there, in the beginning, to be able to get these good paying jobs in this new digital world and at the same time, it allows us as filmmakers and storytellers to be able to use these technologies to be able to tell these stories in our unique way,” she says.

The program is expected to start up this fall.

They can be urban, rural Indigenous communities in B.C., status or non-status Indians, Inuit or Métis.

Indigenous production company
Virtual Production Innovation Studio Screen. Credit Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Photo courtesy: Emily Carr University.

The technology replaces the green screen by using computer-generated images on large led screens, real-time processing and augmented reality together, creating a new way of filmmaking for television and film.

Todd mentioned Disney’s Star Wars Mandalorian tv series and Star Trek Discovery as examples.

She added that IM4 Lab is working on getting a micro-credential for the program to help participants with new jobs or education goals.

“These micro-credential programs can eventually all add up to either a good job or go further on in education, and so  that’s the other approach we’re working on right now, we have to ensure that miro-credential is provided to our participants,” she shared.

The program is possible thanks to a collaboration with Digital Supercluster, a non-profit organization that invested more than $500,000.

Todd is hopeful that the new virtual production program will help more Indigenous creatives find the way to new roles on film sets.

“We are equal partners; we’re not playing catch up, we are not people who are just there because of some kind of succession, we are actually full participants that have every right to be there like everybody else and that we can compete with everybody there,” she says.

Video Journalist / Kitimat Village, B.C.

Lee is a video journalist with APTN News, who shoots, reports and edits stories out of northern British Columbia. As a member of the Haisla Nation, Lee is proud to call Kitimat Village home again after living on Vancouver Island for 18 years. He has a passion for storytelling and looks forward to sharing stories through the lens of First Nations people.