Durham College supports the Region’s growing virtual production industry with new, collaborative event and on-campus services

Oshawa, Ont. – The rapidly evolving virtual production industry contributes over $3 billion to Ontario’s economy each year, helping to make Durham Region an innovative hub for industry professionals. More than 60 of those experts came together last week for Industry Day, hosted by Durham College (DC), to discuss emerging trends and predictions for the future of film and television through an engaging and collaborative conversation.

“Events like this celebrate the expertise of industry experts, our services at Durham College, and the future of applied research,” says Debbie McKee Demczyk, Dean, Office of Research Services, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) at DC. “It’s important to support the growing virtual production industry and the professionals who require innovative solutions for increased productivity and growth.”

Guest panellists at the event included Tristan Cezair, Escent Labs; Mike DiLisi, Ontario Power Generation; Käroli Grenman, Virtual Production House; and Tim Hatch, APG Media Group. Attendees also heard from Justin Cutler, Ontario Film Commissioner from Ontario Creates who shared his support and deep connection with DC. Additionally, Corey Ross, CEO of Lighthouse Immersive and Starvox Entertainment shared a thrilling keynote presentation featuring stories from throughout his career in virtual production, having brought spectacular film and art experiences, such as Disney Immersive, to life for people around the world. He shared his insights on the industry and the benefit to Durham Region by having services like the ones available at DC in the community.

“Access to government funding, access to developing new things, working with students and getting new and fresh ideas – I think all of that comes together in a really interesting way,” said Ross. “This is a business that needs to keep developing and getting new ideas. The public doesn’t want it to stay still, they’re coming to see something new, and the industry doesn’t want to sit still, so to have a hub of innovation like this at Durham College is wonderful.”

In 2023, DC ranked as one of Canada’s top 50 research colleges for the 10th time thanks to its commitment to innovative thinking and world class services and talent that support Durham Region in new and dynamic ways. In the last three years, ORSIE, home to the college’s Mixed Reality Capture (MRC) studio which features one of only three Captury Live systems in Canada and provides clients with technical and advisory services, as well as training and research and development, has worked with over 300 client projects and hired more than 600 students to work on real-world challenges, contributing to solutions that grow the local economy.

In addition, DC’s program offerings support workforce development by preparing the next generation of professionals with hands-on industry experience, and the research of the MRC studio provides critical support to the entertainment industry as technology and research and development become more embedded in filmmaking.

Foreign and domestic film productions have high demands for studio space in the Greater Toronto Area, and Durham Region’s offerings and wide range of capabilities combined with DC’s local research and development services make it an attractive location for industry professionals looking to elevate their projects and make an impact in this booming industry.

“Over the past 10 years, Durham’s film and television industry has grown significantly and now, thanks to DC’s MRC studio, offers virtual production services, too,” said Eileen Kennedy, Film and Television Industry Specialist at Invest Durham. “Durham College is a leader through its development in experiential application which integrate motion capture, virtual reality, augmented reality and virtual production – helping the Region become more involved in the creative ecosystem.”

The future is bright for those interested in joining the in-demand field of film and television production, and Corey Ross has personal advice on what it takes to succeed.

“Perseverance and staying in the picture is important – you have to hang in there,” he shared. “Even if things don’t seem to be going well, stay on track and as long as you’re in the game there’s something to be done and experienced.”

Learn more about DC’s ORSIE and its applied research services online, and visit DC’s Faculty of Media, Art & Design to find your perfect program to prepare for a career in this exciting industry.



About Durham College
With campuses in Oshawa and Whitby, Durham College (DC) offers over 12,600 full-time post-secondary and 2,100 apprenticeship students access to more than 145 programs, including five honours bachelor degrees and nine apprenticeship programs.

DC enables students to develop career-ready skills for the ever-changing job market by providing an exceptional college education. With a focus on experiential learning, led by expert faculty, through field placements, applied research, co-ops and other hands-on opportunities, DC grads are known for having the skills and knowledge employers need.


Media Contact:
Carmen Doucette
Communications and Marketing