Netflix Canada Unveils Film Apprenticeships for Indigenous Communities

The differences between a media platform and tech platform are quickly becoming blurred thanks to streaming services, and that obfuscation is starting to help some creators.

Netflix has announced the creation of a new film and television production apprenticeship program in conjunction with the Institut national de l’image et du son (INIS) to aid creators from First Nations, Aboriginal communities and other diverse cultural backgrounds in Quebec. The apprenticeship program will be implemented and run over the next three years.

Late last year Netflix announced the creation of Netflix Canada and the investment of at least $500 million into creating Canadian content. Along with that, $25 million was earmarked to help foster content brainstorming, translating to more pitch days, recruitment events and spotlights on local culture.

Edit: Netflix reps have confirmed that the INIS program is indeed supported by this $25 million market development fund.

“INIS is very proud to be the first Quebec organization to benefit from the support of Netflix as part of its commitment to support industry development opportunities in Canada, with a focus on developing the next generation of Canadian creators and talent,” said Judith Brosseau, chairman of INIS.

“This gesture, made for the benefit of a training institution, is a pledge of confidence in the Institute. The program that will be put in place will increase the representation of First Nations, Aboriginal communities and those from culturally diverse backgrounds in the process of creating the Quebec audiovisual community.”

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INIS filmmakers.

The intensive program will last six months and be offered in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Each intake will feature nine students: three scriptwriters, three directors and three producers. Netflix’s involvement with INIS also includes scholarships for emerging audiovisual professionals from First Nations, Aboriginal communities and other diverse communities to different INIS programs.

“Cinema and television are areas of activity that require specific skills and a structured network if you want to make a career out of it,” said Michel G. Desjardins, director of the new training program.

“For many years, INIS has taken a number of actions to counter the self-exclusion phenomenon that sadly affects young creators from First Nations, Aboriginal communities and culturally diverse backgrounds. It is to overcome this reality that INIS will put in place, thanks to the support of Netflix and many partners, the Film and Television Creation Learning Program for clients from First Nations, Aboriginal and diverse cultures. ”

The funding and new program is intended to provide these new creators the ability to share their visions and reality through documentary and fiction pieces. It also comes with training in production to let the students learn the intricacies of filmmaking.

Netflix received a bit of flack when they first unveiled their Canadian content partnership, as they did not have clear plans as to what qualifies as Canadian-made shows or movies, and what kind of emphasis would be placed on Indigenous and francophone creators.

Netflix has since clarified those stances, and this new move marks one of the first investments from the streaming company’s market development fund. In February Netflix made the first investment out of the $500 million content fund.