Canada has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to establish itself as a global centre for screen-based industry production: That was one of the key messages that emerged during a webinar hosted by Seneca featuring an expert panel of industry insiders on May 13th.
The Hollywood North 2.0: How Digital Transformation has Canada poised to Take Centre Stage webinar is part of Canadian College for a Resilient Recovery, a ground-breaking pan-Canadian college initiative to bridge the skills gap for a post-pandemic future.
The panel featured Jeff Melanson, partner with the Stratagem Group and one of the most prominent executives in the Canadian arts and culture community. Joining Melanson were Kadon Douglas, the Executive Director of BIPOC TV and Film, a Toronto-based grassroots nonprofit organization advocating for increased representation of screen-media professionals from Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour communities in front of and behind the camera, and Thiago Carneiro, who in addition to his work as a professor in Seneca’s School of Creative Arts and Animation, is also an Unreal 3D artist at Pixomondo. The webinar also included a presentation from student Charlene Joseph, who summarized the sustainability initiatives she has been a part of at Odeyto, Seneca’s Indigenous Centre.
Melanson pointed to the skyrocketing demand for screen-based content as driving this opportunity for Canada, noting that global production spending went from $44 billion in 2016, to $177 billion in 2019. He suggested micro-credentials such as Film and TV Career Launch are a key to allowing industry and the college sector to partner for fast, agile training for jobs of the future.
Douglas said she has been encouraged to recent developments in the industry, citing commitments to diversity made by Telefilm Canada and the Canadian Media Fund. However, she said much work remains.
Carneiro gave a fascinating overview of “virtual production”, an emerging approach that leverages game engine technology to allow filmmakers to create any environment they want on site, without travelling to remote locations.
“Virtual production is a huge industry disrupter,” he said. “It’s really changing how movies are being made.”
Jeff Melanson, one of the most prominent executives in the Canadian arts and culture community, is lauded internationally for his inventive approach to leadership, his bold strategies, and his practical vision. Prior to joining Stratagem, Jeff was President and CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, President of The Banff Centre, Dean of The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Community School in Toronto, and Executive Director of Canada’s National Ballet School. Jeff was the first arts leader to be appointed one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, and has been named Wilfrid Laurier University’s MBA Alumnus of the Year. In 2010, he was appointed special advisor on arts and culture to the Mayor of Toronto. He is a recipient of a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and is a globally sought-after voice on disruptive innovation, creative economies, and creative entrepreneurship.
Kadon Douglas is the executive director of BIPOC TV & Film, a Toronto-based grassroots nonprofit organization advocating for increased representation of screen-media professionals from Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour communities in front of and behind the camera. Prior to BIPOC TV & FILM, Kadon championed gender equity and inclusion in screen-based media at Women in Film & Television-Toronto (WIFT-T) as the manager of communications and engagement. Most recently, she worked within the Dean’s Office at FCAD, Ryerson University’s faculty of communication and design. There she revitalized the brand and provided strategic guidance to the FCAD ecosystem as its manager of marketing and communications. Kadon also worked for several years in documentary as a production coordinator, researcher and digital marketing specialist, and is a two-time fellow of the Hot Docs Film Festival: Doc Accelerator (2013) and Shaw Media Diverse Voices (2015). Kadon is also an active member of the screen-based media community, volunteering her time on various committees and juries, and is the former chair of the Reelworld Film Festival.
Thiago is an experienced 3D Generalist and Unreal Engine Virtual Production Artist with a demonstrated history of working in the higher VFX Industry and education industry. Skilled in Unreal Engine, 3D Modeling, Texturing / Surfacing, Look Dev and Environment Creation.
Currently working as a Unreal 3D Artist at Pixomondo Toronto.