Toronto, August 23, 2022 – OYA Black Arts Coalition (OBAC) and the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab), in partnership with Dark Slope, are calling on founders of Black-owned content creation companies to apply for the second cohort of Scale Up Immersive, an accelerator lab aimed at increasing the capacity of Black content creators and/or producers working in the immersive media space. Applications for the second cohort of Scale Up Immersive open on August 26, 2022 and the deadline to apply is October 7, 2022, with the accelerator slated to start mid-November 2022.
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).
“Having a second cohort join OBAC’s Scale Up Immersive Lab will have deep industry impact in the Canadian VR/AR/XR landscape. Based on our talent and experiences of the first cohort’s alumnus, we welcome the opportunity to nurture the capacity for more Black Canadian creatives into the larger Immersive Media production pipeline,” shared Ngardy Conteh George, Program co-lead and co-founder, OYA Black Arts Coalition (OBAC). “Equally, we are grateful to our program partners at the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and Dark Slope Studios, who understand the importance of diversifying Canada’s immersive media spaces.”
Throughout the five-month virtual/in-person accelerator lab, 10 founders of Black-owned media production companies will receive hands-on mentorship and networking opportunities. They will participate in industry expert consultations and intensive workshops and case studies, and complete a group rapid prototyping component, valued at $50,000, which includes access to Dark Slope’s state-of-the-art immersive media production facilities and technologies in Toronto.
“With Cohort 1, we’ve seeded a community that was almost non-existent in Canada – a community of Black content creators, skilled and future-ready with new immersive narrative forms and exposure to emergent technology with hands-on prototyping,” added Nataly De Monte, Director, CFC Media Lab. “During the program, guest speakers like Young Guru, Lisa Jackson and Alton Glass spoke about their creative process and shared their insights. We took field trips in VR to group immersive experiences. All to maximize exposure and expand their storytelling canvases. We’re already seeing successful outcomes – it’s inspiring and I can’t wait for Cohort 2!”
Cohort 1 participants left 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).
“As a Toronto-based Black creative, I come from an intersectional storytelling place, which was embraced and nurtured during my time in OBAC’s Scale Up Immersive Lab,” shared Cohort 1 participant Debbie Deer, owner, Debbie Deer Productions (NEFERTITI: The Beautiful One Has Come, 2022). “Having access to an ecosystem that bridges immersive technologies and Black producers is empowering and essential. Being an inaugural Lab participant supports my overall career growth and was an awesome and gratifying experience.”
“Through OBAC’s Scale Up Immersive Lab, Black-Canadian entrepreneurs are accessing the critical mentorship, advisory services, capital, and resources they need,” said 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 is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring equal opportunity for all Canadians and to building a strong, diverse and inclusive economy of the future.”
For more information and to apply to Scale Up Immersive, visit https://www.oyablackarts.org/