fin free short film

For the last two months, I have been helping co-produce a short film that celebrates the success of the Fin Free campaign in six Ontario cities: Brantford, Oakville, Mississauga, Pickering, London and Toronto. These cities, two of which I call ‘home’ in different capacities, have banned the possession and sale of shark fins in their jurisdictions. My friend, Maja Zonjic (a passionate shark activist and filmmaker) and I wanted to highlight the positivity of the movement and the passion of the supporters. Turning to our natural comfort zone of story telling, we picked up a camera and started filming people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs to construct a linear narrative that tells a global, yet local, story of the Fin Free movement.

It seems like just yesterday that I was blogging about the highs and lows of my TV Documentary class. Last April, I concluded that blog post by saying that I wanted to buy myself a camera and keep making more films. Well, I bought myself a camera soon after but primarily used it for travel logs. When the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on board with Maja to give her a hand with this amazing project.

Somehow, we managed to pick the two coldest months of the year to film this project… and do so entirely outdoors. But before we could plug in the microphone and press record, we needed to teach ourselves many things about film making. We spent hours talking to the guy at Vistek, days considering buying versus renting, and months trying to schedule shoots with Fin Free supporters.

From elementary school children, to city counselors, to shark activists, to our friends and families: I was really impressed by the amount of people that were excited to be a part of this film. Furthermore, I was amazed that they all battled the bitter winter along with us.

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Documenting the Documentary

For my last semester of Journalism school at Ryerson University, I only had two courses: the very theoretical Journalism Law and Ethics; and the very practical, challenging, exciting and awesome course called TV Documentary.

TV Documentary is a fourth year destination course for broadcast journalism students. Students not taking this course can choose between Radio Doc, Senior Reporting, Advanced Photojournalism and other courses that require individual effort. TV Doc, on the other hand, is all about team work. Students are divided into a team of five and choose their roles within the team.

My group consisted of the amazing Joseph Casciaro, our Producer who was responsible for overseeing the entire process; my very talented best friend, Sachin Seth, was the reporter for this project; Phoenix Tarampi, who I interned with earlier at Daily Planet, was the cinematographer; and Christine Fitzgerald was the senior researcher. Just as I had wanted, I was the editor of the documentary.

As painful as it sounds, locking yourself and editing a piece is actually one of the funnest things I got to do at Ryerson. And this is the part: When you work on something, for say a few hours, and bring in your team members to the edit suite to show them what you put together, and they like it – that’s such a rewarding feeling! On the last day of class, our professor also mentioned that editing really helps shape the final product, making it a very important part of the process.

And I am happy that I got to see this piece from start to finish. I had pitched the idea of doing a story about the men who get mail order brides: what are they like? why do they choose an international marriage service to get a wife? what kind of backgrounds do they come from? Continue reading