VFS Partners with Blackbird Interactive, East Side Games, and Timbre Games for $200,000 Indigenous Scholarship in Video Games Fund

The four scholarship winners will receive full tuition to study at VFS and will also receive mentorship & a paid internship from Blackbird Interactive, East Side Games, or Timbre Games

(Vancouver, BC) May 9, 2022 – Vancouver Film School (VFS), in partnership with Blackbird Interactive, East Side Games, and Timbre Games Studio is pleased to present the 2022 Indigenous Scholarship in Video Games, including mentorship and a paid internship.

The scholarship fund, valued at over US$200,000, is open to applicants 18 years of age and older who identify as First Nations (status or non-status), Inuit, or Métis, and who are looking to enter the game industry as developers. The deadline to apply is June 8, and winners will be announced on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21.

The Indigenous Scholarship in Video Games is a collaborative initiative between VFS and Vancouver-based game studios Blackbird Interactive (Homeworld 3, Hardspace: Shipbreaker), East Side Games (The Office: Somehow We Manage, RuPaul’s Drag Race Superstar, Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money), and Timbre Games Studio (part of The Sumo Group).

Three full-tuition scholarships for VFS’s Game Design program and one full-tuition scholarship for the 3D Animation & Visual Effects program will be awarded and may be applied to either the October 24, 2022, or January 3, 2023 intakes. Winners will be selected directly by top-tier AAA studios Blackbird Interactive, East Side Games, and Timbre Games, the latter of which will also select the winner who will enrol in the 3D Animation & Visual Effects program.

Additionally, all winners will receive private mentorship by design professionals from Blackbird Interactive, East Side Games or Timbre Games, as well as by their instructors at VFS. Upon graduation, these winners will also receive a paid four to six-month work contract at their respective studio.

Finally, each of the winners will be provided with a laptop for use during the program and to keep. The winner chosen by Blackbird Interactive will also receive a $5,000 housing stipend while studying at VFS.

“Blackbird Interactive (BBI) is honoured to be collaborating with local gaming studios and VFS on the Indigenous Scholarship in Video Games,” Says Rob Cunningham, CEO & Co-Founder at Blackbird Interactive. “We are working to create impactful opportunities that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students can explore, fulfilling their creative technology aspirations in meaningful ways. An education from VFS helps open the door to careers in film, games, 3D animation, and VR/AR design, among other fields. We believe that actions speak louder than words and that young people are the future. There is a lot more that needs to be done, but this is a small and important step for just one of our many local industries.”

“Communities thrive on diversity. Whether we’re talking about games, entertainment, or film, we need to ensure we’re including voices and perspectives representative of the community around us. The Indigenous Scholarship in Video Games through Vancouver Film School can do just that,” says Josh Nilson, Co-Founder, Studio Head and General Manager of East Side Games. “As a member of the Métis community, it is an honour to be able to support a program taking a step in the right direction towards a more inclusive creative landscape. While there’s much work to be done, this is a good start.”

“At Timbre Games, our mission is driven by the idea that ‘culture drives creative’. The opportunity to support and collaborate with VFS, Blackbird Interactive and East Side Games on the Indigenous Scholarship in Video Games is a small first step to removing systemic barriers in entering the game industry for the Métis, Inuit, and First Nations people,” says Joe Nickolls, President and Co-Founder of Timbre Games. “All of us at Timbre are thrilled to be a small part of creating space in the games industry for these communities. I believe these students will play a significant role in the world of interactive entertainment in the years to come and we are grateful to have the opportunity to support their careers along the way. There is more hard work to be done in this space and Timbre is committed to listening and learning as we embark on our own journey.”

“It is a pleasure for VFS to be joining forces with three outstanding Vancouver studios to offer the 2022 Indigenous Scholarship in Video Games. This scholarship aims to foster more diversity and more inclusion in the game industry with the aim to have more Indigenous developers actively designing the next generation of games,” says Christopher Mitchell, Head of Game Design and Programming for Games, Web & Mobile at VFS. “At VFS, we are proud of the many Indigenous graduates from our programs who now have successful careers both in Vancouver and globally, and this scholarship is Vancouver Film School’s privilege and opportunity to play a role in emerging Indigenous developers building their creative careers.”

Vancouver Film School is committed to fostering and growing Indigenous representation in the video game industry. Indigenous artists, performers, and storytellers are a foundational thread in the fabric of the Canadian narrative, continuing to grow stronger as key voices within our country’s multidimensional creative landscape.

For more information about the 2022 Indigenous Scholarship in Video Games, or to apply, visit vfs.edu/scholarships/indigenous-scholarship-2022. To stay in the loop on all things Vancouver Film school, follow along on social media at @vancouverfilmschool/@vfs or visit their website at vfs.edu.