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Catalyst

Mentorship Program

Image: 2021 Cohort

Applications are now closed.

The 2022 Vancouver International Film Festival (September 29 – October 9, 2022) will welcome 15 emerging filmmakers to participate in Catalyst, an immersive film festival experience intended to accelerate their creative development.

A cohort-based facilitated mentorship program, Catalyst provides its participants with the tools and experiences they need to embolden their cinematic voices and bring their projects to the next level. This program elevates Vancouver’s independent film community to the world stage.

Catalyst will select participants based on their demonstrated pursuit in creating boundary-pushing and ambitious moving image work. We especially encourage applications from those who may be underrepresented in the film industry, including filmmakers who are Indigenous, Black, people of colour, 2SLGBTQ+, women, low-income, neurodiverse, newcomers, and/or differently abled.

Breaking down barriers and hierarchies, Catalyst is centered on participants meeting mentor artists and film professionals with a level of equality in a facilitated and intimate setting. Over the course of the festival, participants will have access to both group sessions and one-on-one meetings coordinated by our Catalyst Programmer to specifically cater to the mentees’ practices, interests, and needs. Selected participants will also receive a full festival pass and a professional stipend to help offset any economic impact from attending the program. The selected cohort will be comprised of a diversity of filmmaking experience and perspectives in order to foster a rich peer mentorship environment. As we anticipate most sessions taking place in-person, applicants should be located in the Lower Mainland.

Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Be living in the Lower Mainland and able to attend sessions in Vancouver
  • Self-identify as an emerging filmmaker who describes their primary role in filmmaking as director or writer/director
  • Be fully available from September 29 – October 9, 2022 to participate in the program
  • Be at least 19 years old when the program starts
  • Have created and released at least one film, video, or moving-image project*

* We will also consider applicants who are aspiring filmmakers but have not made moving image work due to barriers or limitations. These applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What is an "emerging filmmaker"?

For the purpose of this program, you may be:

  • In the early stages of your career in filmmaking, usually within the first few years
  • A self-taught and/or aspiring filmmaker
  • Enrolled in, or have recently graduated from, a related degree/diploma/training program
  • Demonstrating a commitment to devoting more time to your filmmaking practice
  • Demonstrating a desire to gain more skills, resources and influences to serve your filmmaking practice

Applicants will be asked to provide:

  • Statements regarding what they hope to gain through their participation in the program
  • Answers to optional questions regarding the barriers they may have faced and their thoughts on how to support emerging filmmakers. Please note that declining to answer these optional questions will not affect the success of the application.

Applicants will also be given the option to submit:

  • Links to samples of their moving image work
  • An artist or professional  CV/resume

Applications are now closed.

The flagship sessions will focus on:

  • Festival 101
    Cohort team building and festival orientation from current VIFF staff and Catalyst alumni.
  • Directors
    Roundtable with directors of recently released first features.
  • Producers
    Roundtable with early career producers.
  • Funders
    World café-style meetings with key representatives from funding organizations.
  • Equipment / Facilities
    Roundtable with representatives from key gear houses and artist-run centres.
  • Programmers / Festival Strategy
    Roundtable with programmers from international film festivals.
  • Distribution
    Roundtable with key representatives for film distributors.
  • Case Studies
    Screening and discussion with Catalyst alumni filmmaker showcasing new work.
  • Ethical Filmmaking
    A facilitated Q&A geared towards cultivating an ethical mindset and protocols when working with underrepresented stories and communities.

(Sessions are subject to change) 

I think the mentorship program has provided me with more practical tools on how to progress such as funding opportunities, distribution and festivals. It also demystified the festival experience and made me feel a lot more confident approaching people and talking about my own work.

I chose to attend to really immerse myself in the film industry in order to get a handle on what it meant to be a filmmaker. I came away feeling so much more knowledgeable and empowered to create films. This was an invaluable experience.

What a wild and wonderful ride! I’ve learned so much and [am] excited to keep doing my work and following the call to share stories representative of my communities.

VIFF is committed to offering opportunities to those who are often under- or misrepresented in the film industry and beyond. We value a diverse and inclusive industry that’s reflective of manifold interests and encourage applications from communities that have been marginalized based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, neurotype, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, low income or socio-economic status, marital or family status, or status as an Indigenous person.