President, Toronto Film School
Program Director for Acting for Film, TV and the Theatre Program, Toronto Film School
Director of Production for Film Production Program, Toronto Film School
Toronto Film School is led by a faculty of experienced industry heavyweights who are helping to foster the next generation of talent.
The entertainment industry is rapidly evolving in Canada, and increasingly, Canada’s urban centres are becoming hubs for TV and film production. As demand for content grows along with demand for industry-ready creatives and production crews, there has never been a better time to become part of this thrilling and growing industry.
Toronto Film School offers a fast and effective path to an exciting career in film, television, theatre, fashion, graphic design, and video game design. The school’s graduates are emerging from its programs, educated, inspired, and ready to elevate the industry — just as its faculty intended.
Meeting growing demand
“It’s a very interesting time for film and television production in Canada,” says Andrew Barnsley, President of Toronto Film School. “Production hubs are becoming important economic destinations for global film and TV production — not only in the big established production hubs like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, but also in emerging hubs like northern Ontario, Calgary, Winnipeg, St. John’s, and Halifax.”
Barnsley — who owns a Toronto-based TV production company and executive producer on Schitt’s Creek, The Kids in the Hall, and Son of a Critch — notes that global studios like Netflix and Amazon are looking to capitalize on this new infrastructure and Canada’s growing labour force. And growing demand for content means that more and more content is being produced.
“There’s a capacity issue, now that streaming services are creating series on the scale of feature film budgets,” says Michaelangelo Masangkay, Director of Production for Toronto Film School’s Film Production program and an industry pro who is the General Manager of genre film distribution company Raven Banner Entertainment and owner operator of aerial cinematography company Top Drone Inc.
The future of Canadian content
More content translates into greater demand for stories, creative ideas, and also for trained labour. That means more demand for upcoming Canadian directors, producers, writers, actors, film technicians, and other professionals.
The influx of foreign productions — who are taking advantage of Canada’s production know-how, great sets and locations, and attractive currency — brings best practices into Canada that equip local crews with the confidence to pursue more local projects. And the demand for Canadian content is increasing, too.
“Canadian shows are levelling up in terms of production value and creative content, and this has translated into a global demand for Canadian content,” says Barnsley. There’s room for all kinds of stories, and the faculty at Toronto Film School stresses the importance of young people from diverse backgrounds sharing their stories.
“There’s been just a sea change in terms of what people are willing to watch,” says Hart Massey, Program Director of Toronto Film School’s Acting for Film, TV, and the Theatre Program. “For example, growing up, I would’ve never had the opportunity to watch a TV series like Squid Game. This creates way more diversity in the industry.”
Canadian shows are levelling up in terms of production value and creative content, and this has translated into a global demand for Canadian content.
Bringing diverse voices to the forefront
“Voices that haven’t had the ability to be heard in the past are now in demand, and this is something we’re really encouraging and supporting,” says Barnsley.
“It’s important for young people to share their stories because there are no original stories — there are only original storytellers,” adds Masangkay.
From ensuring a diverse student body and faculty to creating student-run Indigenous councils and supporting BIPOC students, Toronto Film School empowers students to share their stories. Its graduates reflect this commitment to diversity.
“Last year, on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, for example, we did a special screening of a short film, Little Bird, from one of our grads, Tim Myles, after it screened at TIFF,” says Barnsley. “We want our students to know that Toronto Film School is a safe space, and we want them to be supported and recognized as they hone their crafts.”
Other successful graduates include writer Caleigh Bacchus , actor Gabriel Darku, the multi-talented Kearsten Johansson, actress Michala Brasseur, and many more.
Voices that haven’t had the ability to be heard in the past are now in demand, and this is something we’re really encouraging and supporting.
The best of the best
Besides equipping its students to tell their stories, Toronto Film School also focuses on turning out experienced, set-ready technicians — “people who can hit the ground running and bolt onto productions easily,” says Masangkay.
The school’s fast-paced, hands-on, and highly collaborative learning environment arms students with the theory and skills needed to align their career aspirations with their creative talents. By working on actual films, students get to experience what working in the industry is truly like and to discover all the roles and opportunities available.
The school also has relationships with global studios, Canadian governments, broadcasters, and other industry stakeholders to create more opportunities for students.
Whether you’re passionate about film, design, video games, or fashion, Toronto Film School is where you’ll find a supportive community, award-winning instructors, and a network of creative peers to propel you into the career you dream of.