Toronto Film School recently welcomed Toronto Mayor John Tory, along with local film industry representatives, members of the media and area business owners, to celebrate the grand opening of its “magnificent” new showcase location.
“This is a magnificent new facility. Congratulations on getting to this stage,” Tory said following his personal tour of the 17,387-square-foot space at 460 Yonge St.
“I know from my own experience in business and in government that it’s easy to announce that you’re going to have a new campus, but hard to actually get to the day we’ve arrived at today.”
Located in the heart of downtown, the newly opened fourth location in Toronto Film School’s College-Dundas Campus features four classrooms, spacious student and faculty lounges, a sound room and vocal booth, a fully stocked equipment room, and five studios – including three dedicated Film Production studios, one dedicated Acting studio, and a motion capture studio for Video Game students.
But perhaps the most impressive stop on Tory’s tour, he said, was 460 Yonge’s Hall of Fame, which showcases the best and brightest amongst Toronto Film School’s recent grads – including up-and-coming Netflix star Gabriel Darku, Bollywood actress Reeth Mazumder, award-winning director Kyle Reaume, and the Metal Monster Productions team, just to name a few.
“I’ve had a chance to go around to classrooms where people were learning about screenwriting, where people were learning how to operate cameras, and to the sound room and the Hall of Fame,” Tory said.
“I think maybe your Hall of Fame is the most important thing I saw today, and I’ll tell you why – it has posters up of local film and television productions that Toronto Film School graduates took part in. And that’s really what you’re all about here – giving people the skills they need to participate in an industry that is so successful in our city.”
Lauding Toronto Film School for playing a key role in the training of some of the 30,000-strong local workforce that fuels Toronto’s $2-billion film industry, Tory said it’s educational institutions like TFS that continue to help solidify Toronto’s place as one of – if not the – best place in North America for film and television productions to shoot.
“When I go to Los Angeles to promote Toronto as a place to make films and television…I go as much to listen as to sell; to say ‘What is it we can do to make the city better?’” Tory said.
“And what they’ve said to us consistently over the last five years is ‘Make sure that you deepen and broaden the talent pool that you have in the city…because if we’re going to produce more movies and TV shows there, then we need more skilled people.’ And that’s what the Toronto Film School is all about.”
During his remarks, Toronto Film School’s President, Dr. Rick Davey, was likewise glowing in his assessment of the city’s impact on his school’s achievements over the years.
“Toronto Film School has been tremendously successful, and a big part of that success is the first word in our school name – Toronto. We have benefitted a great deal from the reputation of Toronto’s film industry,” he said, similarly praising Tory as ‘one of Toronto’s greatest advocates’ and a ‘great advocate for the local film industry.’
With the opening of the 460 Yonge St. location, Davey said Toronto Film School is strengthening its commitment to provide its students with spaces to congregate, to collaborate, and to create.
“From the beginning when we relaunched the Toronto Film School in 2010, we had a vision to create a learning space and situation for students where they could understand the value of working hard and developing their skills, of creativity, and, most of all, of an understanding that this business is about collaboration and team building,” he said, “and this particular campus was built to push that particular vision even further.”
And that, said Tory, is just what Toronto needs as it looks to further expand its film industry in the hopes of growing from approximately 30,000 jobs to upwards of 50,000 and beyond.
“To be the best place in North America to make a film, a TV show or a digital production – that’s the objective we have. We’re well on our way to getting there, if we’re not there already, but we’ve got to work hard to make sure we stay there,” Tory said, noting Toronto Film School’s role helping to fill those new jobs with its highly skilled students and alumni.
“The film industry is a big industry and it’s an important industry – that’s why I spend so much time on it. It’s one that not only employs a lot of people, but it also sends a message about Toronto as a home to creative people – where, if you want to tell a story and put it on film, on television or in a digital framework, this is the place to do it.”