UK-Canadian co-productions awarded £300,000 / $510,000 CAD for Immersive Storytelling Exchange Initiative

Posted: Jul 6, 2021

Toronto, July 6, 2021 – Six creative projects have been awarded a total of £300,000 / $510,000 CAD as part of the next phase of the UK-Canada Immersive Exchange – a talent development and co-production programme for UK and Canadian immersive technology creatives and producers.

Twenty-four participants – 12 from the UK and 12 from Canada – were originally chosen from 500 applications for the talent development phase of the exchange, which concluded in February 2021. They included six creative leads from each country – a mixture of artists, filmmakers, theatre directors and innovators – as well as six creative producers from each country, who brought with them an impressive and varied range of experiences from diverse backgrounds across the creative spectrum.

From this talent development group, six co-productions have been chosen, including two ‘audience-ready’ projects, each receiving a total of up to £100,000 / $170,000 CAD, and four ‘prototype’ projects, receiving approximately £25,000 / $40,000 CAD each, with the finished projects previewing in early 2022.

“We were thrilled to see the breadth of co-production projects that were developed between the UK and Canadian teams,” shared Laura Mingail, Program Co-Lead, UK-Canada Immersive Exchange, on behalf of the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab. “The immersive experiences that will receive funding and further support during this next stage of the UK-Canada Immersive Exchange include VR, AR and spatial audio content that range from social impact-centric stories to wildly entertaining experiences. This range of content would not have been possible without having started with such a diverse cohort in terms of both backgrounds and experiences.”

The year-long programme has been developed to support and champion an international cohort of artists, filmmakers, producers, companies and creators from Canada and the UK, aiming to be future leaders of immersive storytelling. Embracing emerging technologies, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), the accelerator will pioneer new forms of immersive storytelling by bringing together participants representing a wealth of backgrounds and experiences from games, TV, film, theatre, performing and visual arts, and other forms of digital and interactive media.

The UK-Canada Immersive Exchange is supported by an international partnership between StoryFutures Academy – The UK’s National Centre for Immersive Storytelling (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.

“We are absolutely delighted that the UK-Canada Immersive Exchange programme has led to such a brilliant set of collaborations and projects, especially under such challenging global circumstances,” added Becky Gregory-Clarke, Program Co Lead, UK-Canada Immersive Exchange and Head of Immersive, StoryFutures Academy. “The intent behind this programme has always been to break down barriers between companies and artists working together across borders, and we are incredibly proud of the way they have embraced this challenge and of the work they’ve done together so far. We can’t wait to experience the incredible immersive worlds they create.”

Audience-Ready Projects

1. THE GALAXICLE IMPLOSIONS – a live multiplatform, semi-improvised entertainment experience.

A collaboration led by RACHAEL HOSEIN, co-founder/CCO, Flipside XR; Director, New Media Manitoba Board of Directors; co-founder, Winnipeg Alternate Reality Club and FRED DEAKIN, multidisciplinary artist; musician; half of the Mercury/Britnominated band Lemon Jelly; founder/director of digital design studio Airside. With creative support from John Luxford, Lesley Klassen, Rob Armstrong, Chris Clarke, Katy Schutte and Chris Mead.

2. INTRAVENE – an immersive sound project exploring the overdose crisis.

This project is being developed by ANDREA SALAZAR, co-founder and executivedirector, Darkfield, a multi-sensory sonic theme park as well as makers of 3D storytelling at home experiences, alongside BRENDA LONGFELLOW, interactive director; award-winning filmmaker; professor, Department of Cinema & Media Arts, York University, GARTH MULLINS, host and executive producer of the podcast Crackdown and SAM FENN, Senior Producer of Crackdown. The wider creative team includes David Rosenberg, Glen Neath and Victoria Eyton (Darkfield).

Prototype Projects

3. ACORN – an artistic experience that immerses users into the wonder of nature and the power of rewilding.

Led by CHI THAI, Founder of Last Conker, a BFI Vision awarded production company working across international film and television, animation and immersive, and CASEY KOYCZAN, interdisciplinary artist, composer, and VR/360/XR producer.

4. ALONE TOGETHER – a means to meet and engage with virtual beings,while navigating what’s real.

Produced by DUSTIN HARVEY, theatre maker and creative director; project curator of XOSECRET, and JON MEGGITT, co-founder, Arcade, a digital practice specializing in immersive technology. The wider creative team includes Koumbie (Afro Viking Pictures) and Taylor Olson (Afro Viking Pictures).

5. DATUM – a location-based augmented-audio ghost-hunt.

Jointly led by PERSIS JADÉ MARAVALA, artistic director of ZU-UK, working ingames, performance and technology; writer and director of Hotel Medea, Binaural Dinner Date, Pick Me Up (& Hold Me Tight); making playable art for the Post Normal, and LYNN HUGHES, part of the creative team behind immersive and narrative experience Les Alts. Datum will be developed with Jorge Lopes Ramos, ZU-UK.

6. GLOAMING – an immersive multi-site VR experience that simultaneously connects audiences at sunrise and sunset across the world.

A creative partnership between DAVE LYNCH, artist, director, researcher and co founder of Immersive Networks; creators of multisensory stories and performances across art, science, society and technology, LEONIE RAE GASSON, director of cross reality experiences, 360 film and live performance; Joint Artistic Director, Produced Moon, an interactive digital art company, and ATHOMAS GOLDBERG, VR creator and producer; co-founder, Shocap Entertainment, an entertainment production company specializing in live XR events and performances.

For more information on the UK-Canada Immersive Exchange, click here.

Media Relations Contacts


Sarah Brown
StoryFutures Academy
07903 258997


Cory Angeletti-Szasz
Canadian Film Centre
(+1) 647.273.2795

About StoryFutures Academy
StoryFutures Academy is the UK’s National Centre for Immersive Storytelling, run by the National Film and Television School and Royal Holloway, University of London. Funded as part of UK Research and Innovation’s Audience of the Future industrial strategy challenge fund, the Academy develops cutting-edge creative training and research programmes, to ensure the UK creative workforce is the most skilled in the world in the use of virtual, augmented and real-time production technology for immersive storytelling.

Alumni of StoryFutures Academy labs have so far included Oscar and BAFTA winning Director Asif Kapadia, Oscar winning VFX Supervisor Paul Franklin and Turner Prize winning conceptual artist Gillian Wearing OBE.

Over £500,000 GBP has been invested in UK immersive production, across co productions with BBC3, and Production Booster and Kickstart development funding. The award-winning VR Documentary Common Ground was the first-ever funded co production, premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in early 2019. Violence, an artistic collaboration between film director Shola Amoo (The Last Tree) and producer Eleanor Whitley (Marshmallow Laser Feast), had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, as part of the Cannes XR Virtual at the Marché du film de Cannes, held online and in virtual reality, in June 2020.


Twitter: @StoryFuturesA | Instagram: @StoryFuturesA | Facebook: @StoryFutures Academy | LinkedIn: StoryFutures Academy

About Arts Council England
Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

Website: | Twitter: @ace_national

About the Canadian Film Centre
The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is a registered charity and a leading cultural organization for the development and advancement of Canadian creative and entrepreneurial talent in the screen-based industries. CFC’s programs and initiatives span film and television, screen acting, composing and songwriting for the screen, and digital and immersive media. These uniquely designed programs support and empower Canadian artists, creators and entrepreneurs, and generate world-class talent, content, products and companies for the global marketplace.

The Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) is an internationally acclaimed production think tank, training institute and business accelerator that supports hundreds of emerging digital content creators, practitioners, entrepreneurs and companies. It offers programs and initiatives that provide visionary leadership and extensive expertise in strategy, product, business, finance, and ethics needed by Canadians involved in the digital revolution, including an innovative suite of programs focused on intersectional feminist business practices. | @cfccreates | @cfcmedialab

About Canada Media Fund
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, promotes, develops and finances the production of Canadian content and relevant applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment through fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through industry and private sector partnerships. To learn more, please visit

Twitter: @CMF_FMC | @CMF_FMC_FR | Facebook: | @cmf.fmc | LinkedIn: Canada Media Fund | Fonds des médias du Canada

About Canada Council for the Arts
The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder.

The Council’s grants, services, initiatives, prizes, and payments contribute to the vibrancy of a creative and diverse arts and literary scene that reaches across Canada and abroad. The Council’s investments foster greater engagement in the arts among Canadians and international audiences.

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