Toronto, February 15, 2022 – The Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) and OYA Black Arts Coalition (OBAC), in partnership with Dark Slope, are pleased to announce the 11 founders of Black-owned content creation companies who have been selected for the inaugural cohort of Scale Up Immersive, a new accelerator aimed at increasing the capacity of Black content creators and/or producers working in the immersive media space.
Scale Up Immersive is funded by the Government of Canada through the Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) Ecosystem Fund delivered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).
“We are proud to support OYA Black Arts Coalition in launching the first cohort of their Scale Up Immersive program. Through this program, Black-Canadian content creators and producers will be able to access the critical mentorship, advisory services, capital and resources they need to grow and thrive,” says the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “Through this and other Black Entrepreneurship Program investments, the Government of Canada continues to support the innovative work of Black entrepreneurs and drive strong, diverse and inclusive economic growth in our communities.”
The first cohort of Scale Up Immersive runs from February 2 until the end of April, 2022. Throughout the three-month immersive accelerator lab, founders will receive hands-on mentorship and networking opportunities, participate in industry expert consultations and intensive workshops and case studies, and complete a group rapid prototyping component, which includes access to Dark Slope Studio’s state-of-the-art immersive media production facilities and technologies in Toronto. Founders will leave the program with a better understanding of the immersive media industry and landscape, business and financial structuring, workflow and integration into storytelling, and with a working prototype in virtual reality, augmented reality or mixed/extended reality (VR/AR/XR).
“This first cohort will make history happen and will help shape a new narrative in the immersive media industry in Canada for years to come,” shared Nataly De Monte, Director, CFC Media Lab. “I’m personally inspired by these talented creators who, regardless of their experience in XR content, want to embrace the future of storytelling and their own creative expansion in the era of web3 and spatial computing.”
“Congratulations to the inaugural cohort of OBAC’s Scale Up Immersive,” added Ngardy Conteh George, Co-founder of OYA Black Arts Coalition. “Canadians will soon experience the impressive and diverse skill set of these talented participants. The legacy of this program will be to expand the creative landscape for a new generation of Black expertise in immersive storytelling, technology, artistry and more.”
The following founders and companies have been selected for the first cohort of Scale Up Immersive:
- Adrian Bobb, Exocentric Studios (production company)
- Chukky Ibe, TRAD (educational organization and digital magazine)
- Debbie Deer, Debbie Deer Productions (multimedia production company)
- Kai Little-White, BP Media (storyteller and creator)
- Karen McDonald, Upright Media Republic (multidisciplinary artist and creative director)
- Ladan Mohamed Siad, Fugitive Work (creative technologist and storyteller)
- Natasha Vasell, Diva Girl Productions (production company)
- Neil ‘Logik’ Donaldson & Rasquiz Johnson, Reason With Logik (podcast)
- Roya DelSol (lens-based artist)
- Yvano Antonio (filmmaker and photojournalist)
- Zach Jama (documentary filmmaker and screenwriter)
CFC Media Lab’s partnership with OYA Black Arts Coalition and Dark Slope to launch Scale Up Immersive was born out of a desire to diversify the talent pool and facilitate barrier-free learnings in the immersive media industry, in order for Black voices, perspectives and lived experiences to be represented and included in digital content innovation. Scale Up Immersive will support 10 or more founders of Black-owned content creation companies per year, for a total of 30 founders over three years.
For more information on Scale Up Immersive, visit oyablackarts.org/scale-up/immersive.
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About OYA Black Arts Coalition
OYA Black Arts Coalition (OBAC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Black artists, creators and entrepreneurs within Canada’s entertainment sector. This is made possible by equipping and empowering Black creatives with the skills, support and resources necessary to succeed. OBAC addresses systemic inequalities by providing sustainable solutions including mentorship, networking, programs, unique initiatives, and industry training by providing safe space for experimentation.
oyablackarts.org | @oyablackarts
About CFC Media Lab
The Canadian Film Centre Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) is an internationally recognized leader in the development of transformational technologies, businesses and entrepreneurs. The CFC Media Lab is a unique production think tank, training institute and business accelerator that supports hundreds of emerging digital content creators, practitioners, entrepreneurs and companies. Our programs and initiatives provide visionary leadership and extensive expertise in strategy, product, business, finance, and ethics needed by Canadians involved in the digital revolution.
cfccreates.com | @cfcmedialab
About Dark Slope Studios
Since 2018 Dark Slope Studios has helped define new categories of entertainment using spatial computing and virtual production technologies. Dark Slope integrates VR and immersive technology into reality television to create and produce a new genre of “Hyper Reality” television series. The company is also a leader in virtual production-driven real-time animated content, at-home VR games, entertainment center VR spectacles and immersive worlds. Dark Slope leverages its warehouse-scale virtual production stage with its proprietary pipeline, tools, workflows and game-engine technology to bring world-class creative properties to life. Based in Toronto, and with a global workforce, Dark Slope is reimagining the future of entertainment. Visit darkslopestudios.com to learn more.
About FedDev Ontario
For more than 12 years, FedDev Ontario has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation and growth in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern Ontario by exploring our pivotal projects.
Director, Marketing & Communications
Canadian Film Centre (CFC)
Director, Konvo Media Inc.
Press Secretary, Minister Jaczek
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