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Catalyst cohort group shot in VIFF atrium


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Image: 2023 Cohort

VIFF Catalyst is an intimate cohort-based program that provides 15 emerging and dedicated filmmakers with the tools to elevate their projects. Through a cohort-based approach, the program seeks to create peer-to-peer and peer-to-mentor conversations, and facilitate an environment free of barriers and hierarchies. Catalyst participants leave the program with a new network of collaborators and a stronger connection to the local film community.

Applications are now open

Want to learn more?

Register now for our virtual Catalyst info session on July 2 at 1:00 pm PDT


Laura Arboleda headshot

As an alumni of the program myself, I know firsthand the confidence and opportunities Catalyst offers and the difference that makes for emerging filmmakers. Getting to learn with and from a cohort of diverse voices is invaluable.

Laura Arboleda (she/her), VIFF Catalyst Programmer

Presented by

Supported by


Inclusive Approach

The program actively seeks participants from underrepresented backgrounds, fostering a diverse and enriching peer mentorship environment.

Cohort Experience

Participants become part of a diverse cohort, enabling balanced and insightful discussions that contribute to each participant’s growth.

Dedicated Sessions

The program explores various aspects of filmmaking, including festival strategy, distribution, ethical filmmaking, and more, through roundtable discussions and case studies.

Financial Support

Selected participants receive a full festival pass and a professional stipend to help mitigate any financial barriers associated with attending the program.


Catalyst is open to emerging filmmakers from across the lower mainland. Applicants must be at least 19 years old at the start of the festival. 15 applicants will be selected to form the cohort and events will take place during the 2024 festival (September 26 – October 6, 2024). If you require any accommodations, please reach out to [email protected].

Applications Open

Key Dates

Jul 2, 1:00 pm PDT: Virtual Catalyst info session

Jul 21, 12:00 pm PDT: Catalyst applications close

Meet Past Cohorts

Success Stories

Liliya Syvytska

Short listed for a Young Director Award (YDA) at Cannes Lions 2024 with short film ROOTS {КОРІННЯ}

Kimberly Ho

Nominated for 2024 Canadian Screen Award for Season 4 of Pride: The LGBTQ+ History Series

Edson Sithole

Completed short film The Prophetess with support from BC Arts Council

Mariam Barry

Awarded Best of BC film award at 2024 GEMFest for short film Yaye

Kay Metchie

Selected to participate in Hallmark’s Make Her Mark Program for female identifying directors

Ivanna Samuel

Completed short documentary The Book of Black Voices with support from Fabienne Colas and Netflix’s Being Black in Canada Program

I made incredible, long-lasting friendships through the cohort and appreciate the access to more experienced filmmakers and contacts in the industry. The sessions felt personal and I felt like everyone had an opportunity to ask questions.

I don’t think I’ve ever had the confidence to introduce myself as a filmmaker before Catalyst. I do now! I definitely feel like I’ve got my footing better now than I did before.

Being recognized/selected for this program was very validating as a new filmmaker. The combination of practical advice and industry info, along with being with and learning from other creatives has made me feel more confident to make bold artistic choices as well as navigate my career and this industry.

Definitely increased my confidence and competence. I also learned that I know more than I think I do and that I deserve to take up space and call myself a filmmaker. I definitely feel that this has played an invaluable part of my career to make me eligible and ready for new opportunities that will further my career.