As Dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD), Sarah Bay-Cheng knows the importance of an empty stage.
“An empty stage is beautiful because no choices have been made yet,” said Bay-Cheng. “That’s when everything is possible. Every idea is possible. Every dream is possible.”
That’s what students see when they walk into the York University Motion Media Studio at Cinespace.
This week, York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton announced a new commitment from Cinespace Film Studios that will see $3.12 million invested to enhance the York University Motion Media Studio at Cinespace and elevate the student experience.
“Over the past two years – as change has accelerated around us and new global challenges have emerged – we have witnessed just how powerful artistic expression can be in generating new knowledge, ideas, and cultural artifacts that expand our understanding of the world, enrich the experiences of the communities we serve, and drive positive change both locally and globally,” said Lenton. “Cinespace’s generous new donation means that each student who has access to this studio will continue to have the opportunity to develop a creative voice, contribute to our collective cultural history, and affect positive change.”
With Toronto’s multi-billion-dollar film, television and digital media industry set to grow significantly in the near future, the Motion Media Studio will serve as an incubator for diverse talent development, hands-on training, industry partnerships, community engagement, and research excellence within burgeoning media production facilities and mixed reality spaces.
The Motion Media Studio – established by Cinespace Film Studios (currently owned by TPG Real Estate Partners) and the Mirkopoulos Family in 2016 – is located in the heart of Cinespace in the GTA’s west end.
Jim Mirkopoulos, whose family was instrumental in establishing the initial commitment from Cinespace, knows the importance of providing the next generation of talent with the space to experiment and learn by doing.
“Since the pandemic, we have experienced increased demand for content, and content production,” said Mirkopoulos. “One of the key investments we can make in supporting our industry is to support its emerging talent and its next leaders.”
Ashley Rice, the new president and co-managing partner of Cinespace Film Studios, is ready to focus on the future. For Rice, the future lies with the next generation of talent in film, television and digital media.
“Giving back to the community has always been a part of Cinespace’s DNA, and when my partners and I took over leadership at Cinespace, we knew we wanted to keep that core tenet alive,” said Rice. “We believe there is a space for every emerging leader in film, television and digital media, and we hope this donation will empower students to take advantage of the opportunities at the York University Motion Media Studio at Cinespace to learn and create.”
This renewed support for the Motion Media Studio will enable access to state-of-the-art technology, such as markerless motion-performance capture; augmented reality, virtual reality, immersive environments and motion simulation; and more. Students will also find production process support, a suite of digital post-production equipment, and high-performance computing technology.
Most importantly, in this space, students will have the opportunity to interact with industry leaders and a network of support as they embark on their careers in film, television and digital media.
“The York University Motion Media Studio at Cinespace has offered our students unparalleled access to experiential learning opportunities, hands-on training in new media technologies, and direct exposure to industry professionals – experiences that will position them to lead in a competitive global economy that is increasingly affected by emerging technologies, digital innovation and artificial intelligence,” said Lenton.
Toronto Mayor John Tory sees the importance of partnerships like the one between York and Cinespace in supporting emerging talent in Toronto’s growing film, television and digital media industry.
“This continued partnership between York University and Cinespace Film Studio will give students access to incredible technology, as well as access to some of the industry’s greatest talents. Our film and TV sector is growing and thriving and to ensure that we can keep up with the demand, we must foster and cultivate new talent across the city. Beyond that, a space like this will help bolster our local economy by infusing the film, television and digital media industry with home-grown talent – this is good for our city and good for our residents. Thank you to York University and Cinespace for partnering together to remove barriers to access and for investing in students eager to take on the industry,” said Tory.
Bay-Cheng added, “With Cinespace’s support, we will fuel the future of storytelling by supporting student success, connecting the next generation of media talent to industry career opportunities, and sharing the diverse stories of these creators with global audiences.”