March 8, 2022 (Vancouver, BC): Vancouver Island North Film Commission (INFilm) and North Island College (NIC), with funding provided by the provincial government’s Community Workforce Response Grant (CWRG), have launched specialized training programs targeted to British Columbians seeking employment in the province’s rapidly growing motion picture industry. The training – whose applied portion took place at Martini Film Studios (MFS) in Langley – plays a key role in meeting labour demand while promoting inclusion of under-represented groups in the industry.
Between 2020 and 2022, when the global pandemic forced post-secondary institutions to pivot to online education, INFilm and North Island College delivered six virtual training programs to film students across the regions of BC. Program updates allowed a shift in delivery to 80 percent virtual and 20 percent in- person, adding the critical applied portion required in trades education. The initiative falls under the government’s micro-credential training, which fast-tracks British Columbians to gain education and skills required for high-demand jobs.
In late 2021, INFilm and North Island College collaborated with Martini Film Studios to host in-person training in the company’s Langley studios. The courses were offered for eight weeks in January and February 2022, and targeted students’ skills in lighting, which involves assisting, developing and safely executing lighting schemes on-set; grip, which provides camera and equipment support; and set construction, which involves design, assembly, repair and build of props and sets.
BC is Canada’s largest, and North America’s third largest, film production centre, with creative industries contributing $4.84 billion to the economy. “Below the line” physical production workers, such as lighting technicians, represent two-thirds of the province’s 70,000+ film workers and are in high demand, resulting in competitive wages and sustainable employment. Investing in the local workforce through skills training is critical for BC to maintain its competitive advantage, while also supporting inclusion of visible minorities, youth, women and Indigenous peoples.
For more information about motion picture industry skills training in BC, visit the North Island College website.
Andrew Mercier, Parliamentary Secretary for Skills Training
“The B.C. Labour Market Outlook shows us that nearly 80 percent of job openings will require post- secondary education or training in the next decade. That’s why micro-credential programs like the ones North Island College and INFilm have offered are so significant – they increase the laddering opportunities for film students to succeed in their careers in a way and on a schedule that suits them best. I am deeply grateful to North Island College, INFilm and Martini Studios for supporting learners, and ensuring B.C.’s film production industry continues to lead Canada with a skilled workforce.”
Nick Dietrich, Motion Picture Lighting student
“I’ve been in video and media production for awhile and I knew I wanted to enter the film industry, when the pandemic hit and the world shut down. I’ve been blown away with what North Island College offered to us, and at no cost, which is a bonus. It’s been extremely valuable to connect with people in the industry. Our instructors are amazing. It’s been great to come here and learn about all the gear and tools that we have so that when I get on set, I’ll be able to contribute on the first day.”
Joan Miller, Vancouver Island North Film Commission
“Developing and delivering regional motion picture skills training marks the culmination of years of hard work by all involved. As the former vice president of the Association of Film Commissioners International, my portfolio included professional development – a role that involved years of conversations with my global colleagues on the growing pressure from studios for industry-level crew training. We are proud to have partnered with North Island College to step up and meet this call for action.”
Lisa Domae, president and CEO, North Island College
North Island College is proud to be able to offer students new opportunities to work in the film industry from wherever they live in BC. Having first run these programs with the Island North Film Commission in 2017, we are exceedingly grateful to the province whose Community Workforce Response Grant funding supported students through the pandemic. My thanks to the Island North Film Commission, Martini Film Studios, and everyone that came together to deliver this innovative micro-credential programming with NIC.
Gemma Martini, CEO, Martini Film Studios
“As this industry continues to grow and contribute to BC’s economy, there is a growing demand for highly skilled workers like those that have graduated this course. Programs like this are desperately needed, and Martini Film Studios is committed to being a partner in future training opportunities. I congratulate all the participants and thank all the contributing partners.”
Prem Gill, CEO, Creative BC
“Congratulations to Island North Film Commission and North Island College for launching this much-needed skills training program for B.C.’s motion picture industry. Already, the quality of this program has bridged new entrants with in-demand skills into a globally-leading workforce, known the world over for its talented expert crews. We are proud of the ongoing investment and collaboration behind this training program.”