Prem Gill and Creative BC

March 20, 2023

School of Communication alum Prem Gill is the Chief Executive Officer of Creative BC, an non-profit organization dedicated to sustaining and growing the province's dynamic and diverse creative sector. From interviews and team huddles to stakeholder meetings and strategic planning, Prem's days at Creative BC are never the same. She helps deliver a wide range of programs that expand BC's creative economy.

Prem has always been interested in media and social change. She remembers looking through SFU's catalogue in high school and being instantly drawn to the School of Communication program. "Back then I hadn't even realized such a program existed," she recalls. "Anything I had done or volunteered in had revolved around media, so it was an ideal pathway for me."

We chatted with Prem about her journey.

How does Creative BC encourage emerging creators?

We have a variety of programs. We have a Rogers Indigenous Film Fund as well as a Domestic Motion Picture Fund. These programs allow emerging creators to come and learn, get financial support, develop their project, and get to understand how they can do this type of work in Canada. We also have our music programs that offer emerging musicians grant coaching and mentorship.

We sponser a lot of events. For example, a film competition called Crazy8s, which is an eight day filmmaking challenge that provides support and funding to emerging filmmakers to help them produce a short film. They have eight days to make their film and then there is a huge screening. Sometimes up to a thousand people show up to the screening!

So Creative BC offers a variety of things. We're really focused on the career and economic development of our emerging creators.

How did your SFU experiences shape your success today?

While the classroom knowledge is important, I found that my university experience was great because of the people I met. You can't underestimate the connections you will make in school. The possibilities of how you see the world in a way you never expected to, having your view challenged, is integral to growth. You'll meet people that maybe you never would have crossed paths with in regular life. The camaraderie, friendships, and connections I made with my friends and professors that I stayed in touch with years after graduate were (and still are) really important. 

What is something you know now that you wish you would have known upon graduating?

I think three things, really. The first being to appreciate what you're learning at the time. Sometimes we get so busy with classes or our part-time jobs that we're just looking forward to the end point of graduation, but it's important to slow down and appreciate the knowledge we're gaining from school. The second would be to have an open mind, to know it will be ok if there's a significant change in your life. And the third mirrors my answer to your first question: don't underestimate the connections you make during your time at university. You don't know when you might need to collaborate with them.

What is your most memorable moment from SFU?

As an undergrad, I got involved with Student Services' Student Leader Program. I got to welcome new students to campus, give tours, and answer any of their questions.  There used to be a big dance party for orientation week, and the group of student leaders got to plan and execute that event. Some of my closest friends that I still keep in touch with I met through this program.

What advice do you have for current CMNS students?

Cherish the connections you make in university. If you support those connections, they will support you too. For example, if someone asks you to help with their project, help them! You never know when you will also need help. I also think it's important to truly try and understand what's happening for people in other parts of the world. University is the ideal place to listen and learn about journeys different from your own. And finally, get involved! Join a club or the Student Leader Program. Universities are great places to find your community.

What book is currently on your nightstand?

I am reading Mansions of the Moon by Shyam Selvadurai. He's a beautiful writer.


Learn more about Creative BC here.