In a year when the city has seen a spate of recent high-profile killings, students at Toronto’s film school are in the midst of a major transformation.
The Toronto Film School (TFS), a public institution dedicated to the production of film, is about to launch its second phase, said head of production and production Jessi Sorensen, whose role at the school is to oversee a new generation of students.
Sorensensen, who took over as director of the school in February, said the students are starting to explore other parts of their careers.
The new phase of the TFS will offer a range of career options to students who can’t attend a school in their area.
For example, if a student is interested in acting but doesn’t have a school experience, he or she can apply for a position at the Toronto Film Festival or, in some cases, at Toronto Film Institute.
But the school can’t do both, Sorenesen said.
Another option for students looking to pursue a career in film is to work on a project in Toronto and move to another location, Sirensen said, noting that students who apply for these jobs are not necessarily seeking a position that will be part of a theatre production.
A film school is a great place to start if you want to be a film maker, said Laura Lai, a first-year film student and one of Soresensen’s first hires.
Lai is one of four new students who have already been accepted to the Toronto film production program.
Solely about six months into her new job at TFS, Lai was asked by a colleague to film the production for a documentary.
After seeing the finished film, Lae said she was hooked.
“I love the experience of being in a room with actors and directors,” she said.
Sorenson said the school’s new role is to be the conduit for the film industry in the city, a position the school hopes to fill in the coming years.
The school, which opened in 1999, is one element of a multi-pronged strategy by TFS to transform itself into a hub of film and TV production.
TFS currently has about 150 students enrolled.
It’s the first time the school has opened its doors to students outside of the city.
“We’ve always had a film and television community here, and this is a chance for us to do that,” said Sorenson, adding that the school will work with film companies to bring production to Toronto.
“We want to give back to the city by creating a film education that is globally relevant, and that has a really positive impact on the world.”