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October Spotlight | Amazing Alumni Accomplishments


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 – having their films succeed on the festival circuit, getting accepted into prestigious filmmaking programs, or landing producing gigs at Canadian media companies.


Here are some of October’s standout highlights from Toronto Film School’s talented community of creatives:



Class of 2021 Film Production grad Jamie Norrie has seen her short film, Toxic Shock, become a hit on the festival circuit – most recently at the La Femme Film Fest.


Both written and directed in her fifth term at Toronto Film School, Norrie called the experience of making Toxic Shock – her first-ever short film – “the best learning experience and most rewarding journey to becoming a filmmaker.”


“My goal was to make a film that myself and the cast and crew would be proud of, and I believed we accomplished that goal,” she said.


“What I couldn’t believe is that other students and instructors also became fans of the film and the amount of nominations it received at the 2022 TFS Film Festival. The fact that it won the awards for Best Picture Editing and Best Picture still feels like a dream!”


Bolstered by her big wins, Norrie decided to try submitting Toxic Shock to even more film festivals, ultimately placing it at the Montreal Independent Film Festival, Indie Short Fest, Toronto International Women Film Festival, Toronto Indie Shorts, San Francisco Indie Short Festival, and the Lonely Wolf London International Film Festival, among others.


“I never thought that my first film that started as a school project would be screened at film festivals. As my childhood idol Lizzie McGuire would say, ‘This is what dreams are made of!’” Norrie said.


She characterized her most recent experience at the La Femme Film Festival ­– which aims to support and nurture the artistic entertainment productions of – as an ‘amazing’ one.


“They offered many options to assist each filmmaker with promoting their film. A PR agency (The Ezer Agency) assisted me with social media marketing for Toxic Shock and according to their ad report, the film’s trailer was viewed more than 10,000 times!” she said, noting that she also had the chance to do an interview on the KMET show on ABC with host Aaron Sanchez.


“My next big goal is to continue learning about distribution options for Toxic Shock. I still have a lot to learn, but so far I love the journey of being a filmmaker and never knowing what opportunity is just around the corner!”




Olayimika Jinmi-Ahisu, who graduated from the Film Production program in 2021, was recently selected to participate in the OYA Emerging Filmmakers program – a platform that helps to jumpstart the career of young black creatives in film, television, and digital media production.


Ahisu, who is also currently studying towards his Bachelor of Creative Arts degree at Yorkville University, said the program has so far proven an “enlightening experience.”


“We have been through project pitches, workshops on artist administration and the different aspects of cinematography…” he said.


“We have also had the privilege of having round-table conversations with Alison Duke and Ngardy Conteh George, the founders of the OYA Media Group, on their experiences and journey through the industry. I learned early that successful people’s secrets are embedded in their stories; hence I’m always eager to be at the table when these stories are shared.”


Ahisu’s biggest takeaway from his experience in the program so far is the connections and relationships he’s building with his fellow OYA Emerging Filmmakers participants.


“Everyone makes each meeting feel like home; like I’m a part of a community. We are all at a point as emerging filmmakers where we need each other to attain the next stage in our careers,” he said.


“Also, working in collaboration with the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT), LIFT’s Canadian Society of Cinematography, and DOPs like Christine Buijs and Raymond Tuquero is a privilege I do not take for granted.”


Ahisu’s goal at the end of the OYA Emerging Filmmakers program is to be better positioned for opportunities to prove himself as a valuable team member to the mentors and colleagues he meets on my journey through the program.


Looking forward, he has a number of projects on the go. In the coming month, he will work as DP alongside writer/director Babatunde Agunloye of Great and Mighty Things Inc. and some fellow TFS alums, on a series that Bell Fibe TV1 recently picked up. He’s also in the development stage of his first short film in collaboration with several other TFS alumni – Kyle James from the Writing for Film & TV program, and Nick Laws and Carey Stein from the Film Production program.




2021 Video Game Design & Animation grad Roosevelt Phillip recently landed a job editing podcasts for Dim University – a free online school and networking community that helps students around the world pursue their dreams.


In his new role, Phillip is responsible for editing and cutting down the university’s podcasts into clips, then posting them on the school’s social media platforms, including Linkedin, Tiktok and Instagram. He’s also tasked with preparing scripts and call sheets for university videos that delve into the student experience at Dim.


“Punctuality on projects and asking many questions is the best way to thrive in the post-production industry,” said Phillip, who’s also currently studying towards his Bachelor of Creative Arts degree at Yorkville University.


“One takeaway I’ve gotten from this experience is that networking outside of the initial career you’re going to school for or in related career paths such as social media marketing, graphic design, compositing or video editing is such a huge asset, because it can allow you to keep switching careers if you do not feel like you belong in that career path.”


Phillip’s long-term goal is to become a freelance video editor and compositer for gaming videos, weddings, short films, trailers, etc.




Class of 2020 Video Production grad Cassandra Hinnegan recently landed a producing gig for Shaw Spotlight as one of a team of local producers whose job it is to bring to life compelling human-interest stories from the communities in the form of diverse short-form documentaries.


“In this position, my job is to find people who have interesting stories to showcase each month. Since I mostly work on my own, my skill level has grown with each project,” Hinnegan said, noting that she’s grateful to her studies at Toronto Film School Online for preparing her for the job.


“The (Video Production) program gave me enough of an understanding of each part to be able to go out and find the story, plan how I want it to look/feel, and film on my own, with the ability to set up the cameras, lights, and sound with minimum struggle.


“And, of course, finally being able to edit it all into a feature that is a cinematic short doc on someone’s life. This job has provided me the opportunity to grow the skills I learned at TFS and…it has forced me out of my shell.”


Most recently in her role at Shaw, Hinnegan had the opportunity to film the 2nd Annual International Powwow in Red Deer, Alberta – an experience she called “amazing.”


“When not running a camera, I was in charge of the Elder interviews, which was one of the most incredible experiences of my film life to date,” said Hinnegan, who’s currently a Bachelor of Creative Arts student at Yorkville University.


Some of Hinnegan’s other projects with Shaw Spotlight include: Honouring History, A Life of Foraging, Jessica’s Story, and Mom, Contractor, and Hero, among others.


“Getting to meet all these amazing people and hear their stories has been incredible. I also get to run the local channel, helping decide what gets shown and what is missing that would make it better,” she explained.


“Then we go out to find local producers that fit that need…and we help them with filming, editing, and making sure they stay within the CRTC guidelines with content.


“So, needless to say, there is never a boring moment here with Shaw Spotlight, which I hope one day will lead to a filming project that will change the world, one person at a time.”



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