At Toronto Film School, we never cease to be amazed by the accomplishments of our awesome alumni who are out pursuing their dreams in the creative industries – be it landing leading roles in hit Netflix series, working behind the scenes on Marvel movies, or having their films named as official selections of prestigious film festivals.
Here are some of July’s standout highlights from Toronto Film School’s talented community of graduates:
Braithwaite was cast as Victoria, the mother of one of the show’s seven superhero siblings.
“I was fortunate enough to land the role of Allison’s mom. She was one of the 43 women who gave birth to a child with supernatural powers on October 1st, 1989,” Braithwaite said of her role. “She is a young schoolteacher from South Africa, who ended up giving her child for adoption to billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves.”
Filmed here in Toronto last year, Braithwaite said she had an “absolute blast” working on the set of The Umbrella Academy.
“It was the largest production that I had been involved in at the time. Going in for my fittings and getting to do a photoshoot was awesome. When I first arrived on set, it was so surreal to see so many trucks, vans, crew and equipment,” she recalled.
“I filmed my scene in April of 2021, in the midst of COVID-19, so there wasn’t much interaction with other people, but the director and the crew were all very nice.”
Audiences, Braithwaite said, are sure enjoy all of the new plotlines introduced in the third season – especially, she hopes, learning more about the back stories of each of the heroes’ mothers.
Braithwaite wasn’t the only TFS alumnus on the set of the third season of The Umbrella Academy, which is available to stream now on Netflix, though. Class of 2017 Film Production graduate Nicholas Koscik worked as a Sound Utility on the show and 2018 Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre grad Garima Sood was a Camera Trainee.
Laura Loaiza, who graduated from the Film Production program in 2017, recently worked on the sets of two Woody Harrelson movies – Marvel’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and The Man From Toronto – and on the set of the Global TV medical drama, Nurses.
“Venom shot in Toronto for two days while Woody Harrelson was shooting Man from Toronto. I worked as a 2nd AC on Man From Toronto, shooting all the 2nd unit stunt work and got the chance to do the pick-up days for Venom in the process,” she said of the experience.
“Both projects were a lot of VFX green screens, car chase sequences, explosions, and stunts, which was very fun and different from previous projects I had done.”
Meanwhile, working on Nurses, Loaiza said, was “a voyage of discovery.”
“We were the first show back after everything shut down due to COVID-19. I was the camera utility, which was a role that opened up thanks to the health and safety protocols put in place to be able to work through the pandemic,” noting that she worked with the camera, 1st assistant, and managed all the administrative tasks and logistics.
“The main lesson I learned from all these projects was the importance of safety across all forms – from adapting to working with PPE, as well as staying informed on all the safety protocols to shoot stunts.”
Since graduating from the Film Production program in 2018, Kalvin Mallari has built himself a successful career working in the sound departments of various projects – including OUTtv’s Avocado Toast The Series, My Fake Boyfriend starring Keiynan Lonsdale, Dylan Sprouse and Sarah Hyland, and the upcoming horror flick, Dear David, starring and Augustus Prew, Andrea Bang and Justin Long, to name just a few.
As a boom operator on Avocado Toast, Mallari’s job was to assist the Production Sound Mixer (James Findley) by placing the boom mic in the optimal position to capture the actors’ performance.
As the production sound mixer and the head of the on-set sound department on My Fake Boyfriend and Dear David –both of which are being released by Lionsgate and Buzzfeed Studios – it was his job to capture the live performances of the actors, as well as any on-set sound effects that may occur.
“My biggest takeaway from working on these productions was the importance of building a solid network for yourself and maintaining it,” Mallari said. “The network and relationships I have built in TFS and since graduating is what I attribute my ability to continue working on bigger and more frequent productions.”
Writing for Film & Television grad Reeth Mazumder-Roberts has had her newest short film, Silence, selected to screen at the BMO IFFSA (International Film Fest of South Asia) Toronto.
“Getting nominated at one of the largest South Asian festivals in North America does feel very good,” said Mazumder-Roberts, who directed the film.
Silence follows the story of Anna and Sam, who are shattered to discover that their son Aaron suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome – until a doctor explains to them that Aaron is different, not abnormal.
“There was a time when parents were devastated when they realized that their child was born autistic. Research has shown that a proper diagnostic assessment of autism is the first step towards effective help,” Mazumder-Roberts said. “Cognitive behavioural therapy can help children learn new and important skills. Autistic children are also gifted with special skills. Silence is about one such child.”
Silence will premiere at IFFSA Toronto on Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Cineplex Cinemas Courtney Park, 110 Courtneypark Dr. E. in Mississauga. Click HERE for tickets.
Since graduating from the Writing for Film & Television program in 2021, Maryna Gaidar has worked as a script supervisor on the sets of four feature films – including, most recently, that of Purgatory Jack.
Distributed by Raven Banner Entertainment, the film is a a supernatural comedy adventure about three generations of a family who all go to purgatory after appearing to die by suicide, but it turns out the circumstances are much more complicated than that. The protagonist (played by Tim Rozon), runs a private investigator business in purgatory, helping souls go to heaven.
“The story is essentially about him redeeming himself for abandoning his family. It’s a fun adventure with an amazing cast,” Gaidar said of her “rewarding” experience on the set of Purgatory Jack, calling her role as a “scripty” a crucial, but often underestimated one.
“I felt I was included in the discussion with the directors (Brett and Jason Butler) and my ideas were always considered seriously. Sometimes as a Script Supervisor you just don’t click with the director…But with Brett and Jason, we really had a great collaboration.”
“My biggest takeaway from every production I’ve worked on is just do the best you can and stay professional – even if you don’t click with the director, you lose your video feed, or you have to work in a field with swarms of black flies in your face,” she said.
“Just try to do the best you can to improve the project you’re working on because, after all, making a film is a group effort – and even if one person doesn’t pull their weight, it will show in the result.”
Gaidar’s most recent project is the short film, In Proximity – a six-minute sci-fi thriller she wrote, which was an Official Selection of the Florida Shorts Festival, where it was a Semi-Finalist for Best Sci-Fi short film.
The film follows the story of Finn, a young man who wakes up one day with a sharp pain in his chest and no memory of what happened to him. After fruitlessly trying to free himself from his locked apartment, with no sign of his girlfriend anywhere, he comes to realize the world outside his window might not be as it appears. What was supposed to be a virtual reality playground for the living becomes Finn’s prison.
Gaidar and the rest of the In Proximity production team recently launched an Indiegogo campaign in the hopes of raising enough money to turn their proof-of-concept short into a full-length feature film in the near future.
Learn more about In Proximity here.
***Are you an alumnus or student who would like to share your latest accomplishment with the TFS community? If so, please reach out to our Alumni Relations Coordinator at [email protected]