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How This Non-Profit Brings Diversity in Creativity, Film and Production to Canada’s West Coast


Members of the board of Collective Bunch, Garth Collins, Amber Clarke and Jeremy Stewart, explore the society’s history, the need for BIPOC and minority representation, and what it takes to create true inclusivity, writes LBB’s Josh Neufeldt

How This Non-Profit Brings Diversity in Creativity, Film and Production to Canada’s West Coast

Founded in 2020 by Jason Mackay, Collective Bunch is a non-profit that works with all the major production companies and agencies in Vancouver. Seeking to elevate diverse voices, role models, and reduce cultural bias, the society is leading positive social change in the screen-based industries, enabling BIPOC and minority creatives access to employment opportunities they might not otherwise get.

After all, despite Canada’s diverse population, and growing pursuit of an equally reflective industry, there’s still work to be done. By creating opportunities and enabling job skill training, Collective Bunch serves as a source of encouragement to those who might desire a career in the film and creative industries, but don’t see it as a viable, sustainable career option. In turn, this influx of new talent, it hopes, will set an example, further enabling the cycle of rising representation and thereby leading to the creation of content that reflects the country’s ever evolving audience.  

LBB’s Josh Neufeldt sat down with advocacy director Garth Collins, board chair Amber Clarke, and treasurer Jeremy Stewart to learn all about this and more, discussing everything from the way Collective Bunch fosters talent, to how Canadians can help further this cause. 

LBB> Please tell us a bit about yourselves! How did the idea for Collective Bunch come to pass, and how did you evolve into the society you are today?

Amber> In early pandemic days, Jason Mackay shared his ideas and plans for Collective Bunch, and everything immediately resonated in a deep way with me. Jason and I have always connected on the rich history of our heritage, and discussed ways to lift up our BIPOC brothers and sisters. It is building on ideas like these that reshapes people’s perceptions, opportunities, and ultimately history. I am honoured to be a part of this uplift. 

Jeremy> It was all Jason’s idea! I was scrolling through LinkedIn one day, saw a posting about Collective Bunch, and instantly signed up. Since then, I have been connecting with other BIPOC artists and filmmakers. I’m a VFX artist, and not only are there few BIPOC VFX artists in Vancouver, but there are no organisations that bring all the different factions of the film and creative industries together too. So, it truly is a ‘collective bunch’. It’s so exciting to help bring together diversity on so many levels

LBB> Serving as a network for BIPOC and minority creatives and filmmakers in Vancouver is no small task. What does this undertaking represent to you?

Garth> This represents an effort to address the historical underrepresentation and lack of opportunities faced by these communities in the industry. 

It reflects our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, by providing a platform and support system for BIPOC and minority creatives. It acknowledges the unique perspectives, voices, and stories that these individuals bring to the industry, enriching it with diverse narratives and cultural representation. 

By creating a network specifically tailored to the needs of the community, we acknowledge and aim to overcome the barriers they may face, such as limited access to resources, systemic biases, and lack of representation across all areas. We provide a space for collaboration, mentorship, and the exchange of ideas - fostering a sense of community and empowerment. 
This undertaking is also an opportunity to challenge and transform existing power structures and narratives within the film industry. By amplifying underrepresented voices, it promotes a more accurate reflection of society's diversity, challenges stereotypes, and encourages a more inclusive industry culture. 

Amber> This undertaking also represents the ongoing torch-carrying that has been passed on from those who have come before us. Their sacrifice - in many cases - included suffering and risking safety, whereas ours more so requires intentionality and diligence.

Jeremy> It is my duty to pay it forward. I’ve been so lucky to have had so many great friends and mentors who have helped me with my career. Being in a position to help others with not only the same background as me, but the same goals too is an honour and a privilege.

LBB> What have been the keys to achieving successful growth?

Amber> Jason is our key. He is a natural born door-opener for himself and others. He has a true gift for connecting and gathering a diverse group of talented individuals with a collective vision. He spots people with ambition, unique abilities, and a genuine desire to collaborate and drive unified excellence. I’ve seen him do this before in the world of radio, and it’s exciting to see him do it now in Vancouver’s modern, rapidly-growing film world. 

Garth> We strive diligently to capture the attention of all industry opportunity providers. Fortunately, as a partner and executive producer at, I have the privilege of being a decision-maker in the industry. We make a concerted effort to exclusively hire individuals from the group whenever we embark on a new project! 

Jeremy> Success to me is defined by the success of our members. I look forward to our board meetings and hearing updates about our members who’ve had recent accomplishments.

LBB> You mentioned working out of Vancouver. How does the creative landscape compare to other parts of Canada? And similarly, how does your location influence the way you foster talent? 

Garth> The West Coast offers a unique environment for filmmakers and creative professionals, when compared with other parts of the country. Each region in Canada has its own creative scene, but Vancouver stands out for so many reasons. 

As a film hub, the city's infrastructure, tax incentives, diverse locations, and skilled workforce fuels numerous film and television projects, creating abundant opportunities for filmmakers and fostering a thriving creative ecosystem.

Vancouver is known for its multiculturalism. It is home to a significant population of diverse communities, including a large number of BIPOC individuals. This diversity contributes to a rich tapestry of stories and perspectives, which can be reflected in the creative output of the city. 

Amber> With our location directly north of the renowned film hub of Hollywood, California, we have been putting in work as a province, and collectively with newcomers, to earn and evolve the meaning of our fond moniker ‘Hollywood North’. Our creative landscape is representative of these collaborative efforts. The greater Vancouver area especially is a national magnet, attracting Canadians and non-Canadians who are passionate about building their film careers; many of whom have cross-pollinated by also gaining experience in Los Angeles. With this advantage of strategic location, there is a greater need here to foster talent. This need fuels our focus to gather insight on what specifically those hungry to grow are looking for, and catering our programs accordingly. 

Jeremy> There is a lot of diversity, talent, and especially underrepresented talent in Vancouver. I believe Collective Bunch is the only organisation of its kind in the region. So, the West Coast needs Collective Bunch, and it needs more organisations like this to ensure it continues to be a global hot spot for the creative industries.

LBB> Building on this, what are some of the biggest challenges BIPOC creatives are facing, and what is Collective Bunch doing to push back?

Garth> There are several challenges we face as an industry, so here are a few of the key ones: 
  1. Lack of representation 
  2. Systemic barriers 
  3. Limited access to resources 
  4. Stereotyping 
Because of this, Collective Bunch, as a network, aims to push back in multiple ways: 
  1. Amplifying BIPOC voices 
  2. Creating networking and collaboration opportunities 
  3. Offering mentorship and support 
  4. Advocating for inclusion 
  5. Offering skill building and professional development 
Amber> Underrepresentation and lack of opportunity/connections has been an ongoing challenge for BIPOC individuals, and so we have responded to this by building an opportunistic foundation for these very individuals to be a part of, collectively.

Jeremy> These are essential initiatives! BIPOC artists have and will always face different challenges, and so Collective Bunch is working hard to make the dreams of our members a reality.

LBB> In the same vein, what are you hoping to accomplish in 2023? 

Jeremy> More and more success for our members is always the top priority. Also, now that we’ve come out of the pandemic, I am personally hoping for more in-person networking events, because this is all about the people!

Garth> More success, more failure, just more! More of everything when it comes to opportunity in our industry. It feels like things are starting to head in the right direction, but DE&I shouldn’t be a box people check off. Rather, it should be hard wired into how we conduct our business as professionals and as humans. 

LBB> Another big idea Collective Bunch emphasises is becoming an ally. What does this look like? And how can Canadians work to better support BIPOC creatives across the country? 

Jeremy> Becoming an ally is the same as making a new friend. Friendship starts with reaching out, so I encourage everyone interested in the work we are doing to reach out to the board members - or any of our members - in order to start building a relationship and gain a better understanding of how they can help on an individual level.

Sponsorship and donations also go a long way in supporting our mission, so please reach out to Jason Mackay for details.

Amber> I believe idea spreading is more powerful than our ability to measure it. Support is appreciated in all avenues. 

A few suggestions are via personal and organisational promotion of Collective Bunch, verbal recommendations, encouraging hiring of BIPOC talent, gaining BIPOC perspectives prior to commencing your project, recommending our programs, sponsorship, offering a program in collaboration with us, sharing job openings with us to promote on your behalf, attending our fundraisers (to come), etc. 

LBB> For interested Canadians, how can they join Collective Bunch? Do you have any advice for prospective applicants?

Jeremy> Sign up today, it's easy! The more members, the better!

Garth> Send an email to one of our team. Coffee (virtual, or in person) is always available! 

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Collective Bunch, Wed, 17 May 2023 14:49:28 GMT