ISO Kicks off Digital, Interactive and Immersive Strategy with $500k Grant and New Collaborations with MIT and NFB - ISO-BEA

Toronto (Tkaronto)_The Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) is excited to announce a $500,000 CAD grant from and a new slate of initiatives aimed at increasing support for digital, interactive and immersive content by Indigenous creators. This important investment from will enhance existing ISO funding and support a strategy for Indigenous digital creators, including new training, funding and content creation opportunities.

ISO is also pleased to announce the launch of an Immersive Incubator Program with MIT’s Co-Creation Studio at the Open Documentary Lab, and an Interactive/Immersive Producer Fellowship with the National Film Board of Canada.

“The support from Google represents a new milestone for ISO at the perfect time as we build a strategy and expand our activity in the digital, interactive and immersive space,” said Kerry Swanson, ISO’s CEO. “Our exciting new partnerships with MIT and NFB will further accelerate our goal to foster Indigenous innovation and ensure that ISO is preparing the next generation of content creators.”

The Google grant will support the launch of ISO’s new funding program for Digital, Interactive and Immersive projects, which will include podcasts, apps, gaming, VR, AR, XR and digital content. The new program will be launched in spring 2023. A portion of the grant will also go towards strategic initiatives including new partnership programs or commissioned projects.

“We’re thrilled to expand on our commitments of supporting Indigenous businesses and creators,” says Sabrina Geremia, VP & Country Manager, Google Canada. “The grant to Indigenous Screen Office will foster emerging Indigenous talent and bring increased attention to the work of Indigenous creators in the digital and immersive fields.”

Immersive Incubator at MIT

ISO will continue its ongoing collaboration with MIT’s Co-creation Studio at the Open Documentary Lab with a new Immersive Incubator. The curated program will provide an opportunity for four Indigenous storytellers working in immersive content creation to participate in peer, research and technology-based learning that will include a four-day on-site session at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Participants will engage with MIT researchers and technologists, as well as have the opportunity to visit some of MIT’s exciting research labs in person. Each project will receive $20,000 in funding for research and development. The program is supported with funding from the Canada Media Fund and Canadian Heritage. The Call for Applications for the Incubator will be released later this month.

“We are so fortunate to deepen our collaboration with ISO this year to connect Indigenous creators on campus with technologists, scientists and designers,” said Katerina Cizek, Artistic Director and Co-Principal Investigator at Co-Creation Studio. “The learning will flow in many directions. It is both exciting and urgent to center new ways of understanding technology — and the world — through Indigenous-led projects, frames and perspectives.”

Immersive/Interactive Producer Fellowship at the NFB

ISO is pleased to announce a unique new partnership program with the National Film Board of Canada and its Interactive Studios. This training program will provide two opportunities for two Interactive/Immersive Producer Fellows to receive a six-month placement in each of the two studios. One opportunity will be offered in English and one in French. The program is designed to build capacity in the area of VR, XR, AI and games and tap into the exciting job opportunities that are available in this growing area of production. Each program participant will receive a $25,000 fee plus travel stipend if necessary to work in person at the studios as needed. The Call for Applications for this program will be released at the end of January.

“The Interactive/Immersive Producer Fellowship is an important new initiative that adds to the NFB’s ongoing commitment to supporting Indigenous creation in emerging media. We’re honoured to be working with the ISO to provide new opportunities for Indigenous producers, utilizing all of the resources and expertise of our award-winning interactive teams in Vancouver and Montreal,” said Rob McLaughlin, Executive Producer of the English Program Animation & Interactive Studio.


For more information or to book an interview please contact:
Jean-François D. O’Bomsawin
Director of Marketing & Communications
(438) 826-6291

About the Indigenous Screen Office
The Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) is an independent national advocacy and funding organization serving First Nations, Inuit and Métis creators of screen
content in Canada. The ISO’s mandate is to foster and support narrative sovereignty and cultural revitalization by increasing Indigenous storytelling on screens and promoting Indigenous values and participation across the sector.

Google’s philanthropy brings the best of Google to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges combining funding, product donations, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone. We engage nonprofits and social enterprises who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a better world, faster — and we believe in supporting organizations leveraging technology and applying scalable data-driven innovation to move the needle.

About Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab
Founded in 2016, the Co-Creation Studio is an initiative at MIT Open Documentary Lab. The studio researches and incubates collective creation, through a constellation of media methods. For us, co-creation can occur within communities, across disciplines and with non-human systems such as Artificial Intelligence, as outlined in our book, Collective Wisdom: Co-Creation Media for Equity and Justice. We work within the context of the MIT Open Documentary Lab, where we bring together storytellers, technologists, and scholars to explore new documentary forms with a particular focus on collaborative and immersive storytelling. A center for documentary research, the lab offers courses, workshops, a fellows program, public lectures, and conferences; it incubates projects; and it develops resources and critical discourse. Projects incubated at our lab have premiered at Sundance, Venice, Tribeca festivals and have won Emmys and Webbys, Ars Electronica along with many other global awards. In the spirit of MIT’s open courseware and open source software movements, the Open Documentary Lab is inclusive, collaborative and committed to sharing knowledge, networks, and tools.

About the National Film Board of Canada
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is one of the foremost creative centres in the world. As a public producer and distributor of Canadian content, a talent incubator and a lever for Canada’s creative sector, the NFB produces nearly one hundred titles every year—from socially engaged documentaries and auteur animation to groundbreaking interactive works and participatory experiences. It was among the first cultural organizations to make clear commitments to gender parity; to launch an action plan with the goal of supporting Indigenous perspectives; and to establish concrete actions and targets that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition to serving as a reference point around the world for digitization and preservation practices, the NFB ensures the long-term conservation of its works as part of the audiovisual heritage of all Canadians.