In 2008, Kamloops based tech entrepreneur, Peter Cameron-Inglis, along with a business partner, sold his company to Quebecor/Sun Media (Canada’s largest media agency at that time). Beginning in 2001, their company was a SAAS and media production business focused primarily on the Canadian auto industry. This was Peter’s fourth tech-based media company. He was passionate about growing the tech industry in BC’s Interior, but he also felt drawn to explore what might provide a greater sense of purpose.
In 2010, Peter determined that there was a real and significant need in BC’s Interior for someone to take the risk and invest in the potential of BC’s film industry, to grow its capacity within the TNRD (Thompson-Nicola Regional District). The two largest concerns for the industry were (and still are) a lack of trained and experienced local film crew and a lack of facilities to service productions. However, the region did have a history of attracting productions because of its diverse and beautiful film locations. Peter saw the opportunity for the film industry to be an environmentally friendly economic driver that could create well paid, sustainable, and permanent employment. He also saw that it could provide regional opportunities to indigenous people and indigenous communities, to benefit financially and have a voice through the industry.
With all the proceeds from the success of his technology companies, and later from the sale of their family home, Peter and his wife were “all-in”. They created the first (and to date, only) film studio and soundstage facility north of BC’s lower mainland. The Mastermind Studios Center for Film and Digital Media is a 20,000 sq foot facility with a soundstage, film set and art department, equipment rental warehouse, production rental offices, hair and makeup department, two kitchens, green rooms, interview sets, post-production editing department, casting and audition stage, bull pen, boardroom, and classroom areas.
Since opening its doors Mastermind Studios has increased the local film crew base, through its training initiatives, from less than 50 people in the entire region to more than 400 but this is still far less than what is needed in the region to see meaningful long-term and sustainable industry growth.
About Peter Cameron-Inglis
Peter immigrated to Canada from England with his parents when he was 2 years old. His mother was born in England and his father in India. They settled in Lower Nicola where Peter’s father worked as a carpenter and part-time Anglican clergy in Merit and at the Shulus Reservation which is part of the Nłeʔkepmxc Nation (pronounced Ng-khla-kap-muhx).
In his formative years Peter did not have grandparents, aunts, or uncles close by. Nłeʔkepmxc elders became his surrogate aunties & uncles. Although not indigenous, at a very early age Peter was brought up with Indigenous values, culture, and knowledge. Since leaving BC for his post-secondary education and early career in Toronto, Indigenous community had become something that Peter felt was missing from his life and since his return to BC in 1995 he has sought to be of service to the people who helped raise him.
The fact that he had brown skin, and lived on reserve, often led to the assumption that Peter was Indigenous throughout his childhood. Growing up in rural BC Peter was ‘baptized’ into the Indigenous experience through the racism and hatred he experienced in this rural community. Driven in part by this experience, Peter is not interested in tokenism, in the name of inclusion. He believes as uninvited settlers on Indigenous lands we all have a responsibility to learn, understand and respect the traditions and culture of Indigenous people and to make better efforts towards meaningful reconciliation and inclusion.
7 minutes about Mastermind Studios & the film industry in the Thompson-Nicola Region
2 minutes of client feedback
A Demo Reel of some past work
An Aerial Demo Reel
The Film Industry
Digital media and storytelling is one of the fastest growing industries in the world; however, in this vast and ever-expanding industry, the perspectives and experiences of Indigenous communities remain overlooked. Invisibility of Indigenous communities is maintained by systemic failings to provide accessible, equitable, sustainable opportunities to share and produce their own stories within the film industry. Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and the government bodies that support and regulate the industry all hold an immense power and responsibility to impact how Indigenous experiences are represented. Historically, when Indigenous narratives have been shared in mainstream media they are presented through a non-Indigenous lens, narrated by an outsider looking in. When we allow this to happen, the stories and imagery of the Indigenous experience become infused with the intentions, prejudices, and biases carried by the observer.
The stories that Hollywood chooses to tell, and how they choose to tell them, often play a major role in how people understand and engage with important social issues and diverse communities. Understanding Canada’s collective history, identity, and experience is impossible without restoring the autonomy Indigenous communities have to author and illustrate their own stories. In order for this restoration to take place, we must see the establishment of innovative media programs that teach about working with Indigenous stories in a good way.
The Thompson-Nicola Region
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District of BC is dependent on its natural resources and there is great need for environmentally friendly economic diversification. The region’s diverse and beautiful scenery make it a bountiful space to film and produce art, but it often remains overlooked. Although 2021 saw a record $4.8 billion generated by BC’s film and TV production industry, only 0.2% of this figure was generated within the TNRD. This number could have been greater had production capacities expanded further into the Thompson-Nicola Regional District of BC.
Local and regional governments in the BC Interior have been unable to sufficiently address the opportunities for economic diversification through the motion picture industry. This opportunity will not be realized without further committment and action from the community and organizations like Mastermind Studios. Growing the film industry in BC’s Interior has been challenging with the isolation that the community experiences from the lower mainland. The region is far off the path of BC’s film industry attention and priorities, and as a result, the region lacks a voice at the table. Significant further investment is needed into the film industry infrastructure of the region to greatly enhance the film industry’s awareness of BC’s Interior as an attractive and viable opportunity for filmmaking. In turn, this will diversify the economy of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District of BC through the advancement of their cultural and technology sectors.
In the near future Mastermind Studios hopes to make an investment in the procurement of an LED virtual production stage housed within its facilities along with an Indigenized film school. LED virtual production is what happens when a combination of technologies allows filmmakers to replace their green screens with walls made up of LED panels. With the help of a game engine and motion tracked camera systems, these LED walls display real-time backdrops and visual effects, all directly on set. With this technology, filmmakers will be able to capture a significant amount of complex visual-effects shots and dynamic, photo-real, digital landscapes to enhance their productions. LED virtual production also has the ability to dramatically reduce the waste and the carbon footprint of film productions while eliminating negative impacts on sensitive, at risk, eco-systems. The evolution of this technology is reshaping the film and television industry. It has both the power to increase BC’s position on the industry’s global stage, and conversely, to shift more productions to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District of BC.
Clients who support Mastermind Studios by hiring their services are helping to support the vision of a more diverse and inclusive film and television industry that is thriving in the Thompson-Nicola region of beautiful British Columbia.