Canadian Film Centre has its eyes on the future with leading-edge digital technology

Recipient: Canadian Film Centre
Region: Toronto, Ontario
Program: Prosperity Initiative; Investing in Commercialization Partnerships
Total funding allocated: $8.26 million

Virtual Reality is one of the leading-edge and rapidly accelerating digital platforms being explored at Canadian Film Centre.
Virtual Reality is one of the leading-edge and rapidly accelerating digital platforms being explored at Canadian Film Centre.

The entertainment ecosystem, with its traditional channels and emerging platforms, has found a thriving network in southern Ontario where disruptive technology is the new norm. Toronto-based Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has envisioned the future of the digital media industry and is committed to seeing it through.

Founded by iconic Canadian filmmaker Norman Jewison as a national film school in 1988, CFC is a not-for-profit organization that provides advanced, market-driven training for media professionals, including opportunities to experiment, grow, and flourish. CFC’s Media Lab—as an example—fosters innovation and cultivates Canada’s most promising digital media practitioners.

FedDev Ontario provided non-repayable funding for two CFC projects that bolster the growing digital media environment: CFC Accelerate, in support of IDEABOOST; and CFC Catalyze—a project that targets emerging companies and has positioned CFC to become the hub for the digital entertainment cluster in southern Ontario.

As Canada’s only digital entertainment accelerator and start-up community, CFC’s IDEABOOST supports high-potential digital media companies and individual entrepreneurs. Managed by an all-female team, the accelerator offers a four-month bootcamp, a nurturing ecosystem, and access to its rich network of mentors, advisors, investors and other resources.

“The support offered by FedDev Ontario has been crucial to CFC,” says Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer, Canadian Film Centre and founder of CFC Media Lab. “It allows us to go beyond merely sustaining current business models. It enables us to fuel new industries and technologies, which are poised to become central economic opportunities for tomorrow.”

FedDev Ontario has readily supported CFC’s focus on developing new, immersive technologies, such as Augmented Reality (AR), 3D and Machine Learning/Intelligence and Virtual Reality (VR), which is quickly gaining momentum in the market.

Since its launch in 2012, IDEABOOST has supported a total of 84 start-ups, as well as accelerated six cohorts of companies. Both Mobio Interactive and Brinx are members of IDEABOOST Network Connect and are making waves in the virtual reality marketplace.

Mobio Interactive employs designers, scientists and programmers who are generating ways to mix technology with traditional healing practices. The company has produced a calming VR experience called Qualia: Zen Eagle that engages players in mindfulness techniques to improve their health and vitality.

Brinx is another alumni company that develops virtual reality tools to create 3D collaborative content. Its latest product, MasterpieceVR, is a ground-breaking platform that simplifies 3D sculpting and painting, making it easy to create high-quality 3D models that can be used in games, movies and 3D printing. Brinx clients include Lockheed Martin and Shopify.

“CFC Media Lab is building a convergence of AI (Artificial Intelligence), immersive media and IoT (Internet of Things)—all key areas poised to become crucial to entertainment and other enterprises in the next five years,” says Serrano. “Already, our investment in this future is paying off.”

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The support of FedDev Ontario is key to early-stage work, giving new talent and companies the opportunity to thrive in the digital media industry when they otherwise wouldn’t have the chance.
Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer, Canadian Film Centre