Discovering a New Pathway Forward | Kimberly Miller-Pryce’s Film Production Story
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, many of Toronto-born filmmaker Kimberly Miller-Pryce’s creative pursuits and passion projects suddenly came to an abrupt halt.
Then, as luck would have it, another avenue opened up to her – the opportunity to advance her film studies at Toronto Film School as a recipient of the 2020 Pathway Discovery Bursary.
“Film has been a great teaching tool for me – a form of escapism, an access point to see through the eyes of another with empathy, and a vehicle to dream into the future, remember the past and be grateful for the right now,” said Miller-Pryce, the Film Production program’s Class of 2022 valedictorian.
Now that she’s graduated, Miller-Pryce spends her time mastering the craft of editing at JamFilled Entertainment, a division of Boat Rocker Media Inc. She also remains committed to raising awareness about mental health and telling untold stories from inner-city communities.
Her ultimate goal, she said, is to become “a multi-hyphenate filmmaker” specializing in film and TV writing, directing and editing.
Miller-Pryce recently sat down to reflect on her time at Toronto Film School, her passion for filmmaking, and her plans for the future. Here’s what she had to say:
Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Kimberly Miller-Pryce, I am 31 years old, and I am a recent graduate from the Film Production program at TFS. I am a Toronto native passionate about filmmaking, stories with compelling perspectives, and making people feel. Directing thought-provoking films is the ultimate goal, as well as becoming a well-rounded editor.
What brought you to Toronto Film School? Where were you in life when you decided to continue your studies with us?
I appreciate the opportunity of being a recipient of the 2020 Pathway Discovery Bursary, which has provided an opportunity to further my film studies at Toronto Film School. COVID had halted a lot of pursuits, creating a chance for me to focus on film studies, for which I am grateful.
What made you decide to pursue your passion for filmmaking?
Films have been a great teaching tool for me – a form of escapism, an access point to see through the eyes of another with empathy, and a vehicle to dream into the future, remember the past and be grateful for the right now. For me, the process of creating is cathartic, especially with the stories I want to tell. It helps me get to the bottom of why we, as humans, do what we do. What motivates us? What differentiates us? And to what end? I like exploring the things that make me feel something. I’ve witnessed firsthand the effects filmmaking has on those who create something meaningful and the impact on those who engage in watching it. That feeling is unique to each person. There is something about that process that is magnetic for me. To see what your efforts have created. The community that is now built. The conversations that are now inspired and the change that can now transpire. That project then develops a life of its own. And I want to be a part of that – especially projects that tackle subject matter bigger than me.
What is the most important thing you’re taking away from your studies at TFS?
TFS has taught me the importance of perspective and how one sees a thing. Whether it’s composition – what you see within a frame or on the page – or how one sees an obstacle, success, history, the future. You name it, each class taught me the importance of perspective – to be mindful of it, because it colours what you do, motives your approach, and affects the overall outcome and how you seize an opportunity. I am grateful for the teachers I had the pleasure of learning from. I learned a lot about being human in the process of making art and how we all engage in filmmaking differently – and that’s okay. TFS has inspired a new love for editing, giving me the fundamental skills to use new software and encouraging me to try and work within the industry to develop my skills further.
What are your plans after graduation both immediate and long term?
I want to master the art of editing and understand that language, as it will inform my directing and how I tell stories in compelling ways. I want to get into the CFC and develop my skills further. I can’t wait to complete my most recent project and submit it to festivals once ready. I’d also like to meet and work with Jordan Peele – a fun dream that would be cool to manifest.
If you offered one piece of advice to an incoming student, what would that be?
To consider what they want by the end of their journey and work towards that. Consider using this opportunity to collaborate with like-minded peers and instructors to create something you’d be proud of, rather than looking at this experience like school. You are working with skilled filmmakers all around you – lean into that. Utilize their expertise and perspective when creating your projects. Ask questions and be open to guidance. Each lesson stacks onto the next. I’d also say give this opportunity your best shot; you might be surprised where you find yourself after the whole experience. Find out what you like, what comes easy to you, and what lights you up within the process of creating film, as you might find your passion or discover a skill you want to hone. Skill acquisition is essential – learning a skill you can use by the end of your journey will help you find work. Also, take care of yourself. Burnout is real. Put together a system that mitigates fatigue or enables you to bounce back quicker. I learned that the hard way. Create a support system when things get challenging, so you can lean into your resilience and take the challenge to learn about yourself, and what works and what doesn’t work for you. Use the resources that TFS offers, whether using mental health resources, tapping into communities, or career-building programs. And lastly, doing things afraid is a form of being brave. If incoming students are nervous about taking the step, I was, too. But you got this. Growth comes from pressure and doing things you’ve never done before. You’ll do great. You may even surprise yourself – you’re not alone.