Federal government investment to stimulate the immersive tech ecosystem

News release

Funding for the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival to showcase local talent and develop a marketplace for entertainment-based Extended Reality (XR) innovations  

September 6, 2019 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

British Columbia’s digital technology sector is booming with highly innovative companies employing Canada’s top talent pool in the areas of film, television, games, and visual effects. British Columbia is well on its way to becoming an international leader in the production of Extended Reality (XR) experiences and capturing a share of this rapidly expanding market.

That’s why the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) announced $350,000 in funding for the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) to develop the VIFF Immersed: International Content Market. The VIFF Immersed: International Content Market is an XR showcase and conference that connects content creators with local and international partners, transforming the industry marketplace for entertainment-based XR development.

Through the International Content Market, VIFF works to build strategic partnerships and foster business opportunities so that Canadian companies will be better positioned to drive innovations and generate revenues in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. VIFF will also partner with private and public stakeholders to determine market development strategies and measure economic outcomes.

WD’s investment in VIFF will add value to more than 60 immersive tech companies, creating jobs for local talent and generating higher revenues. Over three years, VIFF Immersed will host at least 375 attendees and generate more than $450,000 in revenue growth from XR distribution rights sales.

Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan aims to build an economy in which Canadians have access to high-quality jobs and Canadian businesses are well-placed to participate in a rapidly evolving and competitive global marketplace.


“Our government is laying the foundation for Canadians to become more competitive and succeed in the global economy. Today’s investment in the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival builds on our competitive advantages and will result in new business development opportunities for local companies and entrepreneurs working in the immersive tech sector, boosting economic growth and creating good, middle-class jobs for Canadians.”

- Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“VIFF Immersed has grown from a half-day conference in 2014 to one of the world’s leading immersive events. As a pioneer with its finger on the pulse of the rapid development of the sector, we’re seeing the consumer appetite for immersive content increase alongside the explosive growth of the sector. Vancouver has the enviable position of its geographical location in the heart of Cascadia, a creative-tech hub, creating a unique opportunity to focus on sector and audience development. We are proud to announce that we have received $350,000 from Western Economic Diversification Canada over the next three years to support the launch of the International Content Market, which will aim to inject investment and monetization opportunities into the ecosystem, giving BC and Canadian-based creators an inside track to growth and sector development.”

- Jacqueline Dupuis, Executive Director, Vancouver International Film Festival

Quick facts

  • Founded in 1982, the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival Society is a not-for-profit cultural organization that operates the internationally acclaimed Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) and the year-round programming of the Vancity Theatre at the Vancouver International Film Centre.

  • This year, VIFF Immersed takes place on September 28 and 29, featuring case-studies, roundtable discussions, and hands-on workshops with some of the world’s leading immersive content creators. Additionally, a week-long exhibition offers fans firsthand engagement with immersive experiences that are re-imagining storytelling.

  • By 2022, the Extended Reality (XR) industry is expected to reach USD $56.4 billion in global revenues. XR includes virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.

Associated links


Ben Letts
Communications Advisor
Western Economic Diversification Canada

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