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Catalyst 2023 cohort headshot collage


Mentorship Program

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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.


Meet the 2023 Catalyst cohort

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

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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.


The program is open to emerging filmmakers from across the lower mainland, with applications opening in late June every year. A selection committee reviews each application made up of program alumni, and 15 applicants are invited to join the cohort.