RRC launching new programs to boost growing media industry in Manitoba

By Fatima Alvarez

The RRC Innovation Centre will open in 2021 and act as a hub for business, technology, and creative arts programs./FATIMA ALVAREZ

RRC has created eight new programs in response to industry demands in Manitoba.

The college will offer them through their new Innovation Centre and hopes they will further the Manitoba Skills, Talent and Knowledge Strategy. The province developed the strategy to grow the economy and achieve positive outcomes for individuals, communities, and businesses.

According to the strategy, one of the biggest challenges Manitoba businesses face is attracting and retaining. This has remained true for many throughout the pandemic.

“The launch of new programs is about anticipating the needs of our workforce and designing programs that align with the labour market needs, so that we can continue to grow and retain talent right here in Manitoba,” said RRC President Fred Meyer in a news release.

The Exchange District campus’ expansion comes with eight new programs, including Digital Film and Media Production.

The program is offered to post-secondary media program graduates and industry professionals who want to improve their skills as producers, videographers, editors, or freelancers.

Students will develop entrepreneurial and business skills to manage, develop, and market digital media, and learn to work effectively on a professional film crew.

Some industry professionals say this program couldn’t come at a better time.

“Pandemic aside, things are booming here,” said Mauro Ferritto, Film Training Manitoba’s senior programs & communications manager.

Nicole Matiation, an executive director at On Screen Manitoba, said Manitoba’s film production doubled over four years before COVID-19.

“There’s every indication the production will continue to grow,” said Matiation.

When big production names like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video come to Winnipeg, they look for local crew members to fill positions, said Ferritto.

“As soon as we get two or three really big movies shooting at the same time, we get really low on crew, so it’s always important to have enough people to help out with production,” he said.

Ferritto said the pool of labour is big in film hot spots like Toronto and Vancouver, making competition intense. This drives people from other provinces to get a career in Manitoba.

“I left for Vancouver and I couldn’t get any work from there, so I came back. It’s a lot easier to get work here in film.”

One of FTM’s mandates is to make careers in film and television a reality for Manitobans, he said.

“In any industry today, technology is changing constantly—workflow is changing constantly. I think one could expect to be taking courses on a fairly regular basis,” said Matiation.

The application deadline for Digital Film and Media Production is May 16. To apply, visit the program website.