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 optioning their feature scripts to Hollywood producers, landing full-time gigs at video game studios, or wowing live audiences with their title performances on stage.
Here are some of May’s standout highlights from Toronto Film School’s talented community of graduates:
Class of 2016 Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre grad Michala Brasseur landed the role of ‘Pam’ in Shoresy – a Letterkenny spin-off that focuses on the titular character of Shoresy as he moves to Sudbury to take a role with a struggling Triple A-level ice hockey team, the Sudbury Bulldogs.
Described by Brasseur as a “firecracker,” her character Pam is a small-town waitress at Peppi Panini, the local spot all the boys head to for their before-game meals and after-game beers. Brasseur said that when she first got the audition to play Pam, she was super excited because she knew the character right away – in fact, she kind of was her at one point in her life.
“I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan and used to be a waitress in a small little diner that the local hockey team used to always eat at…so I pulled from my past experiences,” she said.
“Pam is one of the guys and isn’t afraid of, in hockey terms ‘chirping’ them and putting them in their place. She is one of the few characters in the show who calls Shoresy out on his behaviour.”
One of the biggest takeaways Brasseur has taken from her time on the set of Shoresy, which premiered here in Canada on May 13 on Crave and in the U.S. on Hulu on May 27, was to “just be in the moment and play.”
“Let the other actors do the work, and just listen and respond. Each set I am on, the more that lesson is ground into me,” she said.
“The cast and crew of Shoresy were so lovely and hilarious, I didn’t have to ‘do’ much. When you work with brilliant actors and crew members, you just show up on time, remember the on-set courtesy you learned in school, take risks, have fun, don’t be afraid to fail and TRUST YOURSELF.”
Directed by Maureen Lukie, the play follows the relationship between Mullings’ brash, straight-talking Rita, a young working-class hairdresser, and co-star Greg Nowlan’s Dr. Frank Bryant, Rita’s jaded, middle-aged university tutor.
“I am beyond excited to be playing the role of Rita. As soon as I read the script, I knew who Rita was, and knew that I had to play her,” said Mullings, an award-winning actor and comedian.
“I truly wanted the responsibility of carrying a play as a lead, and I thought, this would be the perfect opportunity for that challenge; a two-person play. I’ll admit I’ve had moments throughout this process where I’ve felt I bit off more than I can chew, but I realized that that’s really just the feeling of being stretched as an actor – and it’s a great feeling!”
Educating Rita will take to the stage at Theatre Scarborough from June 3-18. Tickets can be purchased here.
“I optioned it through Twitter…after posting the logline. They found the idea and script compelling, so they’re currently at work to sell the project,” Favalaro said, noting that he can’t go into details about the script or who he optioned it to just yet, due to contractual obligations.
He nonetheless credits his time at TFS for much of his success, noting that it gave him the space and solitude he needed to find and refine his voice as a writer.
“The structure of learning in a focused environment helped me, for the first time in my life, to keep to achieving goals, no matter how small or large – whether it be finishing a script or honing scenes to have a precise dramatic impact,” he said, singling out TFS instructor Colin Aussant for his guidance and encouragement.
“I’m a recovering alcoholic, and I relapsed during the first term, but because of TFS and the friends I made during my time in the program, I’ve maintained sobriety since then. Adam Till, my teachers and friends were willing to help me when I needed it most, and that’s something I’m incredibly grateful for.”
Since finishing up the Writing for Film & Television program in April, Favalaro has continued writing – with numerous of his features collecting accolades and/or being read by industry members. His thesis short film, The Weight, about a recovering alcoholic who carries a cinder block as he navigates a soured friendship and strained relationship, is currently in post-production. He’s also a musician whose band, Rough Party, is due to release their debut album on July 29.
“Since graduating from TFS in 2017, I’ve worked my way up from PA to Production Designer. It was a lot of stepping up and proving myself…and even more sweat and tears,” Byers said of the experience, noting that she’s been lucky enough to work with some talented actors and directors along the way.
“I began designing with a string of (Movies of the Week), where I got all my permit hours to join the Directors Guild of Canada.”
“The most important part of the industry is knowing how to communicate with different types of people. There are a lot of strong personalities in the film industry—people from all walks of life. It is my job to create the vision for the show and incorporate everyone’s ideas.”
Writing for Film & Television grad Maso Perez was recently hired by Epic Story Media – a Toronto-based kids franchise company investing in creator visions with talented brand management, best-in-class development, production, distribution, and licensing support.
In his new role as a Production Coordinator for Epic Story, Perez has been learning the ins and outs of the production scheduling and pitching processes, and been working on various in-development animated shows as a supplementary writer and coordinator.
“The work has been great so far! I’m sharpening up my writing while learning about what producers and networks expect out of their creative teams,” he said, noting that he’s meet a lot of influential people in a short amount of time, and (got) an in-depth look at how writing rooms are structured and how shows get made in the animation space.
“TFS really helped me position myself after graduation, and the skills I learned in structuring, developing, and editing story ideas have brought me closer to the producers I have been working with.”
Starring and co-created by Isabel Kanaan, Abroad is a half-hour, satirical sketch series that focuses on the immigrant experience in Canada.
Borgs’ fellow Film Production alumnus Nick Julian (2018) also worked on the series as the Key Grip.
Class of 2019 Video Game Design & Development grad Draven Jolicoeur was recently hired full-time by Keywords Studios – an international technical and creative services provider to the global video games industry and beyond.
He is now working as a Development Support 1 at the company, which brings to life digital content that “entertains, connects, challenges and educates people worldwide.”
In his spare time, Jolicoeur has also been creating content for Game Design Foundry’s YouTube page since June 2020.
In the film, Alomar steps into the role of Alana – played by Jamie Lee Curtis in the original – a college senior who has to fight for her survival as an unknown killer seeks revenge for a nasty initiation prank during a Halloween-themed pre-graduation bash aboard a party train.
See Alomar in the trailer for Terror Train, which will premiere in October 2022, 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]