At Toronto Film School, we’re continually astounded by the amazing accomplishments of our awesome alumni – be it working on Canadian Screen Award-nominated projects, being commissioned to write novels, or becoming showrunners on Webby Award-winning series.
Here are some of March’s standout highlights from Toronto Film School’s talented community of graduates:
Class of 2020 Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre graduate Trevor Belanger recently landed a role as a gangster on the hit Paramount+ crime thriller, Mayor of Kingstown, starring Jeremy Renner, Dianne Wiest and Hugh Dillon.
“Having the opportunity to meet such successful actors and see how they work was amazing,” Belanger said of the experience. “If it wasn’t for the foundation that TFS taught me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would not know where to start or how to set myself for the characters that I want to become.”
Belanger also recently appeared in a SiriusXM commercial and played the role of ‘Felix’ on Eli Roth Presents: A Ghost Ruined My Life.
Reeth Mazumder-Roberts, who graduated from the Writing for Film & Television program in 2019, has been commissioned to write a literary fiction novel based on her award-winning short, You May Kiss the Bride. The manuscript, which is due in September, is scheduled to go to print via a yet-to-be-announced publisher sometime late this fall or early in the new year.
“When I write a story, I make strange connections with my characters, and when I direct those stories, I grow closer to them because now I know their faces. But as the old saying goes, ‘What feels the end is often the beginning,'” Mazumder-Roberts said. “It’s going to be a unique experience for me to write this novel after filming it with actors because, gosh, they are no longer my imaginary characters.”
Mazumder-Roberts also recently worked on a segment of the anthology feature, Grief, as a writer/director for Paper Padlock Productions and completed a documentary called I AM RISING, featuring musician Ejji Smith.
Class of 2017 Film Production grad David M. James, co-founder of Paper Padlock Productions, is coming off a recent executive producing gig on the set of the upcoming feature film, Trader. The project, directed by Corey Stanton and produced by Micheal James Regan, also involved a number of James’ fellow TFS alumni – Oleksii Furdiiak (Film Production’ 18) as First Assistant Camera, Yazan Kalaldeh (Film Production’ 17) as Best Electric and Second Assistant Camera, and Romanesh Reynoso (Film Production’ 17) as the Gaffer.
“Coming from the producer/executive producer side of things, it’s all about relationships and networking and being true,” James said. “One thing (TFS Film Production Program Director) Jordan Walker taught me was to conduct business with credibility and to be true to your word, which coincided with what (TFS instructor) Dusty Mancinelli taught me about keeping your ego at the door. That has been my basis of creating strong relationships with people like Corey Stanton and Michael James Regan.”
Maxine Clement, who graduated from the Writing for Film & Television program in 2018, recently started working as an assistant to Fab Filippo, one of the co-creators, writers, directors and producers of CBC/HBO Max’s Sort Of. Her duties include pre-production scheduling, assisting with potential script rewrites, and meeting notes.
“So far, I’m learning a lot about the production side of things and how translating certain elements of the script into production can be more difficult budget- and production-wise – so, it’s very helpful and insightful for my own projects that I’m working on getting developed,” Clement said of her role.
“My TFS education helped me with making notes and assisting with rewrites. In the writing program we did a lot of constructive criticism on other peers’ scripts. We also did a lot of script breakdowns in class, so that is helpful when breaking down a script on the show.”
Prasanna Paul‘s latest projects have included Visual Effects Supervision gigs on the sets of a pair of upcoming thrillers. The Class of 2015 Film Production grad has worked on both Last the Night, featuring TFS Acting instructor John Tench, and Maternal, directed by and starring Megan Follows. Class of 2018 Film Production grad Camille Lortie also worked on the set of Maternal as the film’s Second Assistant Director.
A trio of Toronto Film School Film Production alumni – Becky Yeboah (2017), David Mattiacci (2017) and Jean-Christophe Castell (2016) – worked on the upcoming feature film, Big Gold Brick, starring Andy Garcia, Oscar Isaac, and Megan Fox. Castell was a 2nd Assistant Director, Mattiacci was a storyboard artist, and Yeboah was an assistant to the producers.
Visual Effects for Film & TV student Maryna Hordiienko was recently promoted to showrunner of the Webby Award-winning series, What If. Boasting more than 6 million subscribers on YouTube, What If is a science documentary web series that examines a scientific theory, research or fact through hypothetical scenarios that aim to fascinate and engage. It won a Webby Award – hailed as the “Internet’s highest honour” – in the Science & Education (Video Channels & Series) category in 2020. Read more about Hordiienko’s experience working on What If here.
Many members of the Toronto Film School community will have reason to celebrate on April 10 when the winners of the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards are announced.
TFS faculty and alumni have worked on many of this year’s nominated projects, including:
TFS’s Emmy-winning President Andrew Barnsley is nominated in the Best Comedy Series category for his role as an Executive Producer on CTV’s Jann. The show is also nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy (Jann Arden), Best Writing, Best Achievement in Casting, and Best Guest Appearance (Michael Bublé).
Class of 2018 Writing for Film & Television grad Caleigh Bacchus worked on a trio of Canadian Screen Award-nominated television series – Murdoch Mysteries (9 nominations) as a Writer and Story Editor; Diggstown (5 nominations) as a Story Editor; and Overlord and the Underwoods (3 nominations) as a Writer and Story Editor. Read about Bacchus’ TFS experience here.
Both TFS Curriculum Development Specialist Mercedes Cardella and Class of 2021 Film Production alum Kyisha Williams acted in the 11-time nominated feature film Scarborough. Lauded by Variety magazine as giving a “ground-breaking voice” to an ignored community, Scarborough is based on the likewise critically acclaimed 2017 novel of the same name by Catherine Hernandez, which tells the story of three low-income families struggling to endure within a system that’s set them up for failure. Read about Cardella’s experience on the Scarborough set here.
Class of 2017 Film Production grad Becky Yeboah worked as the production manager on Kicking Blood. Directed by Blaine Thurier, the fantasy vampire feature was nominated for Best Achievement in Sound Editing.
Both Class of 2018 Writing for Film & Television alum Jhanik Bullard and Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre grad Garima Sood worked on the set of 10-time nominated series, Coroner. Sood was the 2nd Assistant Camera, while Bullard worked as the Showrunner’s Assistant. Read about Bullard’s experience on the Coroner set here.
Michael Estes, who graduated from TFS’s Fashion Design program in 2018, worked as a Wardrobe Assistant on Endlings. The CBC/Hulu sci-fi adventure series received five nominations, including Best Children or Youth Fiction Program. Read about Estes’ Toronto Film School experience here.
Toronto Film School alumnus Chris Kelly, who graduated from the Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre program in 2018, worked as an Associate Producer and Olympic Researcher for the CBC’s four-time Canadian Screen Award-nominated coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games. Read about Kelly’s experience working on the Olympics here.
Class of 2021 Writing for Film & Television grad Anna Barsky worked as a Question Producer/Writer on the two-time nominated game show, Family Feud Canada. Read about Barsky’s experience on the show here.
Mousa Ghodratifard, who graduated from TFS’s Film Production program in 2013, worked as a 3rd Assistant Director on Workin’ Moms, which garnered seven nominations, including Best Comedy Direction. Read more about Ghodratifard’s story 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]