By Zac Schraeder
When Toronto Film School Film Production alumnus Kyle Reaume, won the BravoFACT Pitch Competition he was awarded $50,000 to make his short film, What about Shelley, which he directed and starred in. The film premiered at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival in Toronto and after the exciting world premier event, attended by many of Kyle’s Toronto Film School friends and former faculty, he sat down with Toronto Film School’s Student Advisor and writer, Zac Schraeder, to talk about the experience.
TFS: Kyle, tell us about how What About Shelley came to be.
Kyle Reaume: One of my films called What Makes Me a Woman screened at the 2015 Inside Out Toronto LGBT Festival. I really wanted to return in 2016, so I, along with Toronto Film School grad Rafaela Scully, made a film titled “Ecstasy” and were planning to apply to have it screened in 2016. As the 2016 festival was wrapping up, bravoFACT advertised a pitch competition – the prize for which was a $50,000 grant. So Rafaela, Carolyn Reznik (another Toronto Film School graduate ), and I put together a pitch for What About Shelley and we won! We only had one month to put together the pitch, so it was a lot of work in a short time!
TFS: You had $50,000 to make a short film! How long did the film to make from the minute you decided you wanted to pitch, to its completion?
KR: It was March 1st when I found out about the grant. After we found out we had won, we spent about two months of the summer in pre-production and shot it right at the end of summer. Everything was complete at the end of December. We’ve had to sit on it for a little while because the Inside Out Film Festival wanted to screen the world premiere.
TFS: The film is about a gay man whose girlfriend’s boyfriend tells him he’s gay….
KR: Yes! It can be a difficult plot to describe without sounding vague or a bit confusing. I learned that most when we had to do the pitch. Your readers will have to watch it to find out more!
TFS: How has Toronto Film School had an impact on your career as a filmmaker?
KR: I did two years at a university film program. It didn’t really work out for me because I wasn’t getting what I needed. After doing a lot of research and a campus tour, my parents and I decided that Toronto Film School would be a great fit. The Film Production Program is really awesome. I met so many wonderful people, a lot of whom I keep in contact with and still work with. Hunter Robertson, Carolyn Reznik, Rafaela Scully, Alexa Mitchell, Alexandra Laurenza, and Nick Koscik are all former Toronto Film School students who worked on What About Shelley, for example. It’s really rewarding when you go to school with people and then you get to work with them in the industry. If someone told me when I started, “hey, this guy on your left – you’re going to pay him to be on your set one day!”, I wouldn’t have believed them!
TFS: It’s so-far-so-good since graduating from Toronto Film School! What’s next for Kyle Reaume?
KR: What About Shelley is scheduled to be in quite a few film festivals, with hopes for more. So hopefully a lot of travelling is on the horizon! I’ve applied to BravoFACT again and am hoping to get funding to make another Queer themed short by the end of the year. I’ll definitely submit to Inside Out again. This experience has really motivated me to work even harder towards my long-term goal of making a full feature and becoming an established Canadian Queer filmmaker.
Keep an eye out for What About Shelley at a film festival near you! Check out the trailer here.
Zac Schraeder is the Toronto Film School Student Advisor, and he is here to help. He is based at the Davisville and Dundas Campuses and is available at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-929-0121 extension 1226. If you want to discuss self-care or time management, studying, budgeting, note taking, or anything other school-related skills, contact Zac.