Month in Toronto 

I came back home in the middle of February. I was told that Toronto was having a mild winter. Then I arrived and the city gave me a warm welcome of -30C weather and back-to-back snowstorms.

Toronto CN Tower Toronto downtown Toronto sign skatingWeather is never an excuse when you’re in Toronto. If you ever find yourself in my hometown in the winter months, just throw on some layers and start eating your way through the neighbourhoods. Continue reading

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T24 Project: Screening

I ended my first blog post about the T24 Project experience by inviting you all to the film screening of Wake Up so we could garner some votes to win the Audience Choice Award (since we were out of running for the Visual Thesis Award for being two minutes late). Turns out that if one or two of you folks came (big THANKS to those who did, by the way!) we probably would have won Audience Choice: we were the runner-ups while a very deserving team took home the award. Like us, the film Metro also couldn’t compete for the Visual Thesis Award and the filmmakers were first-time participants.

Win or lose, at the end of the day, the point of this was to challenge ourselves, make a film and be proud of it. Cherry on top: the film was actually very well received.

Blogger Alfonso Espina ranked Wake Up number 3 in his top five picks for the challenge and said: “With visually compelling cinematography and images on-screen, guided by an eloquent narrator, Wake Up successfully encourages the viewer to think about how they define the city.” Thanks Alfonso!

FilmArmy‘s Addison Wylie recapped the T24 screening in a video blog and said, “… that personal connection can be found in Wake Up. By using coffee to find similarities between it and a cityscape, was just something we could easily connect to. It’s an everyday element that we could instantly connect to and follow along with the story.” He also said that our film was “technically well made.” Thanks Addison! Continue reading

T-24 Project: Production

For better or for worse, my travel blog is turning into an autobiographical documentation of my encounters with film making. However, the last project I participated in (or the result of it) can easily classify as a travel log for visitors to Toronto. And coffee drinkers too.

Angie Torres, Jean-Francois Taylor, Amanda Cupido [all fellow J-school graduates] and I participated in the T-24 project hosted by Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival. At 7 pm on a snowy Friday evening we were given a question. We had 24 hours to make a film that answered that question and hand it in at 7 pm on Saturday.

What was the question? Well here’s a stab at answering that:

As soon as the question was handed out to the participants, they all ran out into the Toronto blizzard… except us. We huddled around a coffee table in Innis Hall and re-read the question. This time, however, it made much more sense. Continue reading

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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