About Us

The Screen Industries Research and Training (SIRT) Centre is one of Sheridan’s Research Centres, committed to working directly with industry partners on innovation and training projects while infusing new knowledge into Sheridan’s curriculum.  SIRT was established by Sheridan in 2009 and works extensively with students and faculty/staff in areas such as applied learning and research. The Centre has also been made possible by government funding from provincial and federal government levels.

Located at Pinewood Toronto Studios in the heart of the city’s film and television studio district, SIRT is a premier destination for training, collaboration and creation for the screen-based industry in Ontario and around the world. Our state-of-the-art production studio and lab facility is a content creator’s dream come true.

Together with our partners, we explore and evolve digital image capture and creative processes for the film, television and gaming industries. Currently, the Centre is focusing on developing and enhancing technology in workflow, stereoscopic production, previsualization, virtual reality & 360 filming, digital cinema, virtual production, and remote and real-time collaboration.

Our cutting-edge equipment sets the industry standard. When you step on to our fully-equipped 10,000 square foot sound stage, you’ll feel like the research, training and production possibilities are endless. Advanced digital cinema cameras, stereoscopic camera rigs, motion capture technology and leading edge virtual reality technology are ready and waiting for your next project.

Our Technology Access Centre (TAC) designation is one-of-a-kind in Canada. As a Digital Media TAC, designated by the Federal Government, we are able to offer evolved and specialized services to companies, organizations and guilds locally and globally. 

Are you ready to collaborate with us?

Meet The Team

John Helliker

Dean, Innovation and Engagement

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John Helliker

John Helliker is the Dean of Innovation and Engagement at Sheridan College and the founder of SIRT. John has been an inspiration at Sheridan College since 2005, initially teaching direction and pre-visualization as a faculty member. Prior to this, John worked extensively and successfully as a director and writer within the Canadian film and television industry. In 2012, John was presented with Ontario’s prestigious ORION Leadership Award for Higher Education. In 2014, he was awarded the Association of Canadian Community Colleges National Leadership Excellence Award, which recognizes his innovative work at SIRT. Currently, his creative and research focus is on virtual reality, empathy and social action.

David Dexter

Director

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David Dexter

David Dexter is the Director for SIRT—Screen Industries Research and Training Centre—at Sheridan. The Centre focuses on innovation in the creative industries by enhancing technology and training in VR/AR, Digital Cinema, Virtual Production, Intelligent Digital Humans and Remote and Real-Time Collaboration. David has been integral in transitioning SIRT into a sustainable research and technology access centre. Twenty-five years of experience in multiple industries, including mobile (Nokia), technology (IBM) and music, combined with an acumen for business development and delivering cutting-edge products to market, makes David a leading expert in bridging the gap between training, technological development and studio production.

Bronwyn MacDowell

Research Project Specialist

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Bronwyn MacDowell

Bronwyn MacDowell is SIRT’s project management expert. As the Research Project Specialist at SIRT, she leads and participates in full cycle applied research processes and ensures accountability for the efficient and compliant management of records and information assets. She graduated from Brock University with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies and completed a Post Graduate Degree in Project Management at Sheridan College. With over seven years of project management experience, Bronwyn provides coaching and mentorship to project leads and team members to ensure successful project deliverables meet deadline requirements. In addition, she works closely with the Director to develop new research project opportunities that place SIRT at the forefront of Canadian Research Centres.

Spencer Idenouye

Virtual Production Lead

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Spencer Idenouye

Spencer Idenouye is the Virtual Production Lead at SIRT. As part of a collaborative team, Spencer is creating an integrated virtual production studio for training, applied research and commercial services. He provides leadership and expertise in applied research and technical research for the movie, television and gaming industries, and is focused on the application of VR technologies. Spencer’s education is extensive: A BFA in Media Arts & Digital Technologies and two post-graduate diplomas in Directing and Editing in Advanced Television and Film and Computer Animation Digital Visual Effects. His expertise includes directing, editing, VFX artistry, cinematography, digital content production and motion capture.

Stephan Kozak

Visual Effects & CG Lead

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Stephan Kozak

Stephan has been a VFX Supervisor, Technical Director, CG artist, animator, compositor and designer in the commercial and VFX industry. He has over 15 years of award-winning experience as well as 5 years of postsecondary teaching under his belt. Stephan has worked with big clients such as Alliance Atlantis, IMAX, Corus Entertainment, Coca-Cola, Disney, Paramount and many others. He has extensive knowledge of many software platforms including Maya, 3DS Max, Zbrush, Substance Painter, Marvelous Designer, Unreal and 3D scanner to name just a few. Currently, he works with industry partners, Sheridan faculty and students to create high-quality content for tech markets and develop new strategies for current technologies. Furthermore, he is doing extensive research and development work with virtual humans and digital double creation for virtual reality, gaming and broadcast.

Mike Darmitz

Software Engineering Lead

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Mike Darmitz

Mike takes lead on projects that involve substantial programming, software architecture, or software integration efforts. Mike has an extensive background in virtual reality and augmented reality; he previously served as the Head of Software for Sulon Technologies, a company that created one of the world’s first standalone augmented reality headsets. Years of working as a software engineer in the games industry have also provided him with experience in a diverse range of programming languages and platforms, and have allowed him to express his great passion for delivering compelling experiences to others.

Josh Kerekes

Unreal Developer & Audio Research Lead

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Josh Kerekes

Josh is the Audio Research Lead at SIRT and an Unreal Engine developer. He has worked with various industry partners and collaborators at the centre, spanning projects involving real-time acoustic simulation within game engines, interactive virtual reality, AR application development, haptic feedback, and location-based experiences. Previous to his role at SIRT, Josh worked as an Audio Engineer, VR developer and technician for multiple companies and productions.

Jason Hunter

Production Lead

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Jason Hunter

As the Production Lead, Jason Hunter is the cinematography specialist at SIRT. His interest in film production began at a young age, watching diverse movie genres with his father. He was compelled to express his own stories through narrative storytelling and virtual production that would transport audiences into different worlds. Jason graduated from McMaster University with a double major in Theatre and Film as well as Multimedia and later obtained his Advanced Film and Television Certificate from Sheridan College. His extensive visual effects, motion capture, and 360 video production knowledge support applied research to local SMEs in adopting virtual and augmented reality technologies.

Valentina Bachkarova

CGI Specialist

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Valentina Bachkarova

Val Bachkarova is the CGI Specialist at SIRT. Her admiration for video games began at a young age, which led to her specialization as a 3D Artist in design, creation, model texturing and artwork optimization within the Unity engine. Val’s extensive gaming knowledge is a key component to ensuring high-quality research results at SIRT. To support her work, Val’s academic history includes graduating from Humber College with a 3D Animation Art and Design Advanced Diploma. She has over three years of teaching experience as a Video Game Design Instructor and applies her advanced knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, 3Ds Max, MudBox, Unity, Substance Painter, Substance Designer, and ZBrush on a daily basis.

Dustin Boyce

Hardware & Automation Research Lead

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Dustin Boyce

As the Hardware & Automation Research Lead, Dustin Boyce is a hardware integration specialist with over eight years of professional experience, working in the Film and Game Industry. He graduated from Sheridan College with two Media Arts Diploma’s in Film and Media as well as Visual Effects. Dustin’s extensive knowledge includes expertise with Unity, Unreal, MotionBuilder, Maya, Vicon Blade and Video Broadcast Systems. He’s helped design, manufacture and support several production-ready solutions to some of the industry's most challenging problems and is a vital asset to the SIRT Team.

Vlad Bronwicki

Software Engineering Specialist

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Vlad Bronwicki

As a Software Engineering Specialist, Vlad Bronwicki specializes in game unity engine projects. He graduated from Humber College with Game Programming Diploma as well as a Software Development Network Engineering Diploma from Sheridan College. Vlad is a vital asset in providing guidance and assistance to SIRT's Co-op students throughout their work term.

Betty Li

Training Centre Lead

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Betty Li

Specializing in event planning and organization, Betty Li is the Training Centre Lead at SIRT. She oversees the planning, management, and execution of courses and events held at our Toronto research studio. As a truly customer focused individual, with more than 5 years of project management experience and a certification in Project Management Professional(PMP), Betty has a keen eye for industry events and networking opportunities related to SIRT. Betty completed a Project Management Graduate Certificate at Sheridan College, a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Toronto, and also holds a Film, Cinema, and Video Graduate Certificate from the Documentary Filmmaking Institute of Seneca College.

James Rowan

Workflow Technologist

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James Rowan

James Rowan is the primary contact for technical support at SIRT as our Workflow Technologist. After working for Sheridan College for over 10 years, James joined the centre to oversee the technological needs required to run the research centre smoothly, ensuring any technical interruptions are fixed accordingly. His extensive IT knowledge plays a critical role in ensuring that all of SIRT’s infrastructure systems are operating efficiently and effectively daily. James holds a Bachelor of Arts, Information Technology, from York University with a minor in Film, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Film and Television Production from Sheridan College.

Kevin Santos

Junior Film Production Specialist

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Kevin Santos

Kevin Santos is the Junior Film Production Specialist at SIRT and his exceptional filming talents make him a key asset to the SIRT team. His specialities include recording, capturing, and editing behind-the-scenes video and photo content of our various research projects at SIRT’s Stage 10 studio in both traditional and 360 video formats. Through his production skills and creative edge for video recording, Kevin captures high quality, anecdotal content that reflects SIRT Centre’s innovative research and development capabilities. Kevin graduated from Sheridan College with a Bachelor of Film and Television Degree, focusing on cinematography and visual effects.

Emerson Chan

Junior Film Post-Production Specialist

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Emerson Chan

Emerson Chan is the Junior Film Post-Production Specialist at SIRT. Emerson has a keen eye for storytelling and uses this to create engaging video content that highlights SIRT Centre’s work with industry partners on innovation and training projects. He is highly proficient with multiple NLE’s including Adobe Premiere, Avid Media Composer and DaVinci Resolve. Emerson has a meticulous work ethic with a love for collaboration, making him a vital asset to SIRT. Emerson graduated from Sheridan College with a Bachelor of Film and Television Degree, focusing on editing and motion graphics.

Bethany Minor

Office Coordinator

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Bethany Minor

Bethany Minor is the Office and Project Coordinator at SIRT. She provides administrative support for multiple departments including Human Resources, Marketing, and Project Teams. In addition, Bethany is responsible for the administration and on-boarding of Sheridan co-op students to ensure their success while completing their term at SIRT. Her strong organizational skills and enthusiastic personality ensure that SIRT research centre runs smoothly. Bethany completed a Bachelor of Sociology Degree at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Ryan Kelly

Marketing Specialist

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Ryan Kelly

Ryan Kelly is SIRT’s Marketing Specialist. He oversees marketing strategy, deploys communications initiatives, and showcases the research and innovation taking place at SIRT. Ryan has more than a decade of experience in digital marketing, social media, and public relations, having previously been the Marketing and Information Coordinator for Sheridan Athletics, where his creativity and attention to detail made the Bruins a leader in the provincial and national collegiate athletic realm. During his tenure, Ryan won several awards for social media and design, and he served for four years on the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Senior Leadership Council as the Vice President of Marketing and Sport Development. He graduated from Sheridan College with a diploma in Print Journalism.

Michael Bekiaris

Marketing Lead

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Michael Bekiaris

As Marketing Lead, Michael Bekiaris focuses on developing and executing marketing strategies that support SIRT’s overall initiatives. He is a communication and information professional with over 10 years of experience working with companies in the private and public sectors, with a diverse background in communications, knowledge management, change management, corporate training, and program development. Michael has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Waterloo and an Ontario College Graduate Certificate in Corporate Communications and Public Relations from Centennial College.

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