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Short films, big dreams for the Massey Brothers

May 27th, 2012 · 1 Comment


The fifth season of The Film Student was produced by Annex-based Massey Bros. Films and features film students. Courtesy Jag Gundu.

By Whitney French

Reality television meets film school as Massey Bros. Films and the Toronto Film School launch the fifth season of the Gemini-nominated series The Film Student.

Airing on Rogers TV, the show follows young filmmakers enrolled in the Toronto Film School as they learn about writing, pitching, production and post-production, to create a ten-minute movie. From draft dodgers, and childhood love, to suicide bombers and bike accidents, The Film Student offers a variety of films from aspiring Toronto filmmakers.

This season, a panel of judges has selected works from over 40 submissions, narrowing it down to 15 pitches, where students compete to be among the nine filmmakers featured on the show.  The competition then narrows even further to an elite six.

“That was all Hart’s idea,” Yale Massey says sheepishly.

“It makes good television,” Hart Massey jumps in. The two Massey Brothers have been producing, films, television series, documentaries together for over ten years. The Massey Bros. Films Studio (149 Dupont St.), where The Film Student is produced, is located near Davenport and Dupont. “Yale still lives in the Annex,” Hart adds.

The Film Student has come a long way since its inception. Yale Massey’s brainchild was conjured up when he instructed a nightly film class at George Brown College for mature students. In previous series, participants were creating specific pieces for the show but since The Film Student graduated to the established Toronto Film School at RCC Institute of Technology, the participants are full-time students. The new approach is to capture the young filmmakers in their element.

Ho Anderson, featured in the first episode of the season agrees. “The [participation] in a television program is secondary.”
Students are focused on their academic obligations. “It’s good to have the show in mind because it meant [we knew] what the next steps could be,” says Daniel McIndoe, another young filmmaker in the show. “It was good practice for the real world.”

The transition to the Toronto Film School also means an improvement on film equipment. “And the antics on set are better because there are more screw ups happening,” Hart laughs. Increased production value means more coverage on behind-the-scenes content. “It’s really about educating people about filmmaking and how to pull off certain shots. We want people to really recognize the arts in that,” Yale adds.

The Film Student takes people beyond just watching and judging movies and encourages audiences to think about real filmmaking.
Armen Bunag, a student on the show, directed a film about a little boy who likes a girl and asks a friend for advice. “I write subjects I would want to see myself,” she says. The film lives beyond the show and Armen continues, “I will leave this school with something.”

It’s clear that The Film Student offers filmmakers much needed exposure. As independent artists, the students express the challenges they face and how film school has helped their careers.  “A lot of the teachers that are in the industry see how students stand out and offer them opportunity to work with them,” Daniel explains. “The Film Student is only one [of many other] offerings at the school,” Hart says, who in addition to being co-founder of Massey Bros. Films is also an acting instructor at the Toronto Film School.
“There’s a vast network of people to work with here,” Ho says about film school. “It’s true what they say. It’s who you know.”

The Film Student Season Five airs on Rogers TV Mondays and Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. on Rogers TV channel 10 or 63.

Tags: Annex · Arts · People · General

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