From a media release:
A new immersive talent development and co-production fund for UK and Canadian artists, filmmakers and creators is set to launch with its first cohort in November 2020. It is the first exchange programme dedicated to immersive storytelling between the UK and Canada, and it will have a total co-production fund of CAD 510,000 (GBP 300,000) on offer. The programme, which is now open for applications until September 17, will establish international collaborations to pioneer new forms of immersive storytelling by bringing together a wealth of backgrounds and experiences from theatre, performing and visual arts, games, TV, film, and other forms of digital and interactive media.
The year-long programme is supported by a newly formed international collaboration between StoryFutures Academy (run by the National Film and Television School and Royal Holloway, University of London), Arts Council England, the Canada Media Fund, The Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) and the Canada Council for the Arts.
The UK-Canada Immersive Exchange, which begins in November, will support and champion an international cohort of artists, filmmakers and creators from Canada and the UK aiming to be future leaders of immersive storytelling. They will work with emerging technologies, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). Mentors and experts from across the UK and Canadian creative landscape will support the programme, including those highly skilled in brokering international co-productions.
A total of 24 creatives will be selected to participate, comprising six ‘creative leads’ and six ‘creative producers’ from each country. Creative leads will be a mixture of artists, filmmakers, theatre directors and visionaries who can drive the creative direction of a project, while creative producers will bring the business skills and immersive production experience needed to make these projects a reality. The programme will then provide the cohort with creative development opportunities, business and sector-specific knowledge, understanding of a new international market, key industry contacts, and an opportunity to apply for a dedicated fund to support collaborative international co-productions. All participants will receive a fixed development grant of CAD 3,400 (GBP 2,000) to contribute towards their time spent on the initial talent development stage of the programme. In a later stage, the participants can pitch for co-production financing, with a total fund of CAD 510,000 (GBP 300,000) available between the countries. This will fund a mixture of projects between CAD 42,500 (GBP 25,000) and CAD 170,000 (GBP 100,000). The programme will conclude with final projects delivered by November 1, 2021.
Applicants are encouraged to apply now for the UK-Canadian Immersive Exchange at immersive-exchange.com. The deadline for applications is 12 p.m. EDT / 5 p.m. BST on Thursday, September 17, 2020. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme will run sessions remotely. Pending the lifting of travel and working restrictions in 2021, opportunities for in-person workshops and exchanges between Canada and the UK will be explored.
The programme was founded following an international immersive research and innovation symposium and cultural exchange organized by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Canada Media Fund’s CFC Media Lab (CMF).
The programme marks the first international co-production for StoryFutures Academy, a UKRI Audience of the Future-funded initiative. Arts Council England previously developed the accelerator programme CreativeXR, for the creation of immersive experiences, in partnership with Digital Catapult, which is currently in its third consecutive year with 20 new projects recently announced. CFC Media Lab is a leader in the development of transformational technologies, entertainment and businesses. Since its founding in 1997, CFC Media Lab has produced or collaborated on dozens of groundbreaking interactive digital media properties, and accelerated dozens of digital media and entertainment companies.