In 2015, Kyle Reaume walked across Toronto Film School’s Festival of Films stage to collect the Best Editing award for his very first short film, The Lazarus Files.
Fast-forward to 2020, and now that very same trophy sits atop a shelf in his home classroom, inspiring his Editing students to follow in his award-winning footsteps at Toronto Film School.
“We made (that film) together on a shoestring budget and it was all crewed by TFS students. I think we had anywhere between 30 and 35 Toronto Film School students working on it,” he remembered laughing, noting that his team also took home the awards for Best Picture, Best Producer and Best Production Design.
“Winning for Best Editing really empowered me as an editor. And I actually think it’s so wonderful that seven-ish years ago, I received this award from the school, and that now I get to have it on my shelf when I teach Editing classes. It’s pretty cool.”
A Class of 2015 Film Production graduate, Reaume first came to Toronto Film School having already studied film at university – an experience he ultimately found too academic for his taste.
“Immediately, I discovered (the Film Production program at TFS) was significantly more hands-on than any kind of film program I’d been involved in, and that all of our teachers and instructors were people who had been in the biz a while,” he said.
“They walked the walk, they talked the talk, and they’re all still actively making projects.”
For Reaume, making that leap to the head of the classroom himself – all while actively continuing his own filmmaking pursuits as an award-winning director, writer, actor and picture editor – was a natural transition for him.
“I love film, I love film production, I love talking about film, I love discussing directing, acting, editing,” he said.
“Getting to teach Editing at Toronto Film School has been not only an entirely new experience for me, but it’s been so fulfilling for a few reasons. First and foremost, I love the students, I love the people that I get to teach with, I love catching up with them, I love getting to talk shop.”
Reaume’s proudest accomplishment since graduating from Toronto Film School, he said, was winning the 2016 Inside Out BravoFact Pitch Competition – and its $50,000 grant prize.
“We pitched a short film live at TIFF in front of a studio audience and we actually won, which was really amazing,” he said, noting that the resulting film was What About Shelley – his first fully funded short, plus the first he took a chance in starring in.
“That will always be a major life accomplishment. I mean, how many people get to make a short with that kind of budget? I don’t know if I ever will again, but it was an incredible experience, nonetheless.”
Reaume’s other accolades include winning both the Best Screenplay award at the 2019 Future of Film Showcase and the Best Men’s Short award at the 2018 Wicked Queer Boston for his short film, Vertical Lines.
Next up, Reaume is planning to break into features with his first full-length film, Adolescent, which he’s currently in process of writing. To help put the film together and access funding to film it, he’s solicited the assistance of some fellow Toronto Film School alumni.
“If I were to give one piece of advice to students, I would say don’t be afraid to be social…I know you might be feeling anxious or nervous, but I’m telling you, everybody else is in the same boat,” he said, noting that those film school connections are an invaluable resource.
“Don’t be afraid to talk to people and start getting that sense of camaraderie and unity that you can get in this community.”