While most of the world has felt lost amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the film industry quickly adapted and thrived. The centre of Canada’s film industry, Vancouver, British Columbia, continues to produce films, television shows and animated series that fuel our economy.
In a bold move, InFocus Film School, located in Vancouver’s Gastown area, is expanding to its second campus in the city, aiming to open doors in spring 2021. To InFocus Film School Executive Director Steve Rosenberg, this is not only a testament to the strength of Canada’s film industry, but a sign of hope for an even greater future.
InFocus Film School has managed to keep doors open and provide elite training to future filmmakers. Adapting to remote learning and COVID-friendly on-campus protocols, the school continues to funnel new filmmakers into Canada’s workforce. Their students have been hired by locally operated production companies like Warner Bros., Mainframe Studios, Hallmark Films, Disney and more in 2020. As a result, inquiries to study on campus have, to their surprise, skyrocketed.
“A lot of students are looking forward to coming back on campus,” says Rosenberg. “Additionally, in this time of uncertainty, a lot of people are looking to retrain and come back to school. One thing became very clear during the pandemic, and it’s that nothing can stop the film and entertainment industry. I think people are really starting to see this as a viable career path.”
The school seeks to broaden its horizons with a promising expansion into an additional campus at 554 Seymour Street. The acquisition answers the school’s increased student demand. Between both campuses, InFocus Film School also hopes to serve as a hub for Vancouver’s film industry.
The new InFocus building will be dedicated to the film production program. Their current location, located at 306 Abbott Street, will convert into a studio space for InFocus students and a rental space for independent filmmakers to shoot. Looking ahead to more optimistic times later in 2021 with increased vaccine availability, InFocus recognized the need for the bigger space to accommodate social distancing measures.
“At some point, you’re missing the in-person feeling. Film is teamwork. You need people in a room, bouncing ideas,” says Rosenberg. “With so many inquiries coming through, we need to be ready once the restrictions are lifted.”
Although the school may be making these moves out of necessity, the long-term prospects for on-site training remain strong. It hopes to capitalize on training young labour and providing increased opportunities for people in the Vancouver workforce. It is uncertain when students can safely return to campus, but it will be fully operational by March.
In line with this expansion, Rosenberg observes of the campus acquisition, “I think you need to be bold in these times and fortune favors the bold. We’ve been doing this for 11 years and it’s time to step it up again.”