Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

See our staff contact list

The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) is a charitable, not-for-profit organization with headquarters in Winnipeg.

We are Canada’s national film, television and digital media training school for writers, directors and producers. We believe that the best way to learn is by doing.

Our market-driven courses have led to employment and successful careers for graduates by giving them a competitive edge. According to our 2013 alumni survey, 87% of respondents are working in the film and TV industry.

  • Courses are led by experts in film, television and digital media – they deliver workshops and seminars and mentor participants.
  • Participants do not have to move away from home.
  • Each course is intensive. Participants learn in one centre for a short period and then return home to work with local mentors on their projects under the leadership of the program manager.

Find out about all the courses provided by the National Screen Institute.

After more than 25 years of training and with over 720 alumni, NSI continues to develop and deliver courses to meet the industry’s needs. We produce works that:

  • appeal to Canadians
  • help advance careers that will grow the Canadian industry and contribute to the regional and national economies stimulating employment for the long term.

NSI leads in the design and delivery of programs that provide training to Canada’s visible minority and Aboriginal screen professionals.

NSI also commits to showcasing Canadian short films and providing professional development resources online.

How is the National Screen Institute structured?

A board of directors (up to 15 members), chaired by Norm Bolen, oversees the operations of NSI.

How is the National Screen Institute funded?

For fiscal 2011-12 NSI derived 46% of its total revenues from corporate sponsorships demonstrating the industry’s support of our initiatives. Another 3% came through earned revenues from our programs and the remaining 51% resulted from various federal, provincial and municipal government and agency sources, and foundations. New streams of revenue continue to be explored.

What is the National Screen Institute’s mission?

NSI’s mission is to be the leader in developing award-winning content creators. We will always deliver training that is current, relevant and of the highest standard.

What is the National Screen Institute’s vision?

Excellence in storytelling.

How did the organization start?

The first meeting

In 1984, filmmakers from coast to coast converged in Edmonton. At the first Local Heroes Film Festival they showcased independent Canadian short films and features from around the world.

It was the first time Canadian filmmakers discovered there was a voice in regions across the country and they discussed strategies for getting these voices heard.

The result was DramaLab, a hands-on professional development program for producers, directors and writers.

For the next two years, emerging professional filmmakers honed their creative, technical and business skills under direct guidance from industry experts, with the goal of producing 15-minute, 30-minute and feature length films.

NSI is formed

On April 7, 1986, The Canadian Screen Institute was formed to meet an increased demand for comprehensive film and television training outside the huge metropolitan centres. It was the first of its kind in the country.

The Institute adopted DramaLab and Local Heroes as its two flagship programs. The organization’s name was changed to National Screen Institute – Canada later that year.

Evolving with the industry

In 1990, after an in-depth evaluation, the National Screen Institute’s Board of Directors introduced a new flagship course, NSI Drama Prize, to adapt to the industry’s ever-changing needs.

Now the longest running course at the National Screen Institute, NSI Drama Prize participants build their skills while producing their short films. The unique format combines production incentives, mentorship and professional development workshops.

In 1997, NSI Features First was introduced for writers, directors and producers working on their first or second feature film – the ultimate goal of DramaLab.

In 1998, the National Screen Institute opened a second office in Winnipeg and the following year introduced a second Local Heroes to Winnipeg that screened exclusively Canadian film and videos.

In spring 2001 the National Screen Institute consolidated its operations in Winnipeg, transferred the Edmonton Local Heroes to the Edmonton International Film Festival Society and refocused and renamed the Winnipeg festival to NSI FilmExchange Canadian Film Festival.

NSI Global Marketing was introduced in 2001 and NSI Totally Television in 2002 completing the circle of the early plans of the organization to develop stories for the big and small screens, ensuring Canadian film and television stories reach homegrown audiences.

Since 2003, NSI has been committed to developing and delivering courses for visible minority and Aboriginal screen professionals through the NSI Storytellers, NSI New Voices, DiverseTV, Telefilm Canada Spark Plug program, the Telefilm-led Featuring Aboriginal Stories Program and NSI Aboriginal Journalism.

In 2007 NSI FilmExchange was retired. In 2008 after in-depth research, and alumni and industry consultation, NSI’s website was significantly redeveloped to offer professional development and industry resources, and the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

NSI today

The NSI Drama Prize, NSI Features First, NSI Totally Television and NSI New Voices courses continue to thrive and evolve with the industry. NSI alumni continue to amaze us with their successes.

NSI is designing and delivering new market-driven training programs including Movie Central’s Script to Screen and the NSI Lifestyle Series Producer program and NSI Aboriginal Documentary course.

Digital is all around us and NSI has incorporated this topic into all its courses. Additionally, we are in the early stages of a web series course.

NSI’s privacy policy

Read NSI’s privacy policy.