Toronto Film School teams up with The Oprah Winfrey Network

The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has teamed up with the Toronto Film School and the students are reaping the rewards in the classroom.

“What a great partnership for us,” said Adam Till, the Coordinator of the Writing for Film and Television Diploma program. “It’s an excellent opportunity for us to partner with one of the top networks in the world and to have a behind the scenes look at what they do.”


image[5]When OWN was approved as an educational network in Canada it sought out collaborations with accredited educational Institutions like the Toronto Film School. As an educational television broadcast service, each show OWN airs must have an accredited educational institution using that program as part of their course material. In turn the school gets access to various materials to support learning such as DVD’s, scripts, and various cuts of pilots television programs.

So, when OWN approached the Toronto Film School, Till said it was seen as an excellent opportunity to augment the students’ learning. The partnership gives Toronto Film School students access to all of OWNs programs as well as all interim materials like pilot scripts they are working on.

The experience of seeing a television show go from a script and then through various stages of cuts through to the final product helps students to see that a meaningful career in film and television is not an impossible dream, explained Till.

“It’s a real industry with real people working in it,” Till said. “It can show students that it could be them in a year—getting in there, making stuff and getting good jobs and agents,”

Instructors at the Toronto Film School already use their own movies and television shows are fodder for lessons to show students how the movies and shows they see on television come to be, but this partnership takes that experience to another level, Till said.

“It demystifies the process of how you go to a concept to various drafts of a script to various and then a final cut of a show,” Till explained. “If you get to read drafts and watch cuts you see how a show incrementally gets better and more clear.”

The Toronto Film School has accredited the Tyler Perry show “The Haves and the Have Nots”, a one-hour drama series following the dynamics of the affluent Cryer family and the impoverished family of Hanna, their housekeeper. The school has also accredited the entire OWN Theatre of more than 100 classic films that inspire, entertain and engage the audience and foster discussion and aspiration.

“With the movies that we show we just feel the Toronto Film School is the best partner we can have for that type of content,” said Amy Sutton, Director of Network Content, Women and Family, Corus Entertainment. “We are well aware of the benefit on both ends and we support the school and would like to continue to do so and provide them with content.”