Higher Learning: Breaking Free - Stories of Isolation and Struggle

  • Press & Industry screenings and events are only for accredited passes.

Moderated by TIFF Short Cuts Programmer Danis Goulet, this free, public Higher Learning panel explores four Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival selections with strong character journeys and themes of isolation and struggle: SNIP (Terril Calder), Old Stone (Johnny Ma), Werewolf (Ashley McKenzie), and Mariner (Thyrone Tommy).

Individual students wishing to request a ticket in advance (limit one per person) may do so on the following form. Administrators or faculty looking to reserve a block of tickets to this event can email hlf@tiff.net with their request.

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Thyrone Tommy

Thyrone Tommy is a Toronto-based filmmaker. His short films include Seed of a Deadbeat (12), Liar, Cheater, Whore (12), and Avalanche (14). Mariner (16) is his latest short film.

Terril Calder

Terril Calder is a Métis artist born in Fort Frances, Ontario. She studied film at the University of Manitoba and has directed several short films, including Vessel (13), Repercussions (13), The Traveling Medicine Show 3: Transformation (14), The "Lodge" (14), and SNIP (16).

Johnny Ma

Johnny Ma was born in Shanghai and raised in Canada. He studied film at Columbia University. His short films are The Robbery (10), Play (11), The Genius from Quintino (12), and A Grand Canal (13). Old Stone (16) is his first feature film.

Ashley McKenzie

Ashley McKenzie is an emerging writer-director from Cape Breton Island. Her debut feature, Werewolf (16), premiered at TIFF and is a feature selection at the Canada's Top Ten Film Festival. Her short 4 Quarters (15) screened at TIFF, VIFF, Stockholm IFF, and Festival du nouveau cinéma, and won Best Atlantic Short at the Atlantic Film Festival, while Rhonda’s Party (10) was included in Canada’s Top Ten Shorts. Ashley is a three-time recipient of the Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Award from the National Screen Institute of Canada, and won CBC’s Short Film Faceoff. She is an alumnus of TIFF Talent Lab and co-owner of grassfire films.

Danis Goulet

Danis Goulet programs for the Toronto International Film Festival’s Short Cuts section and is a former Artistic Director of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. She has curated award-winning projects and developed initiatives for the Ontario Arts Council, served on the boards of the Toronto Arts Council and the Images Festival, and was on the programming committee for the Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival. She is an alumna of TIFF Talent Lab and the National Screen Institute’s Drama Prize Program, and her own films as director have screened at numerous festivals including TIFF, Berlinale, imagineNATIVE, and the Sundance Film Festival. Danis, who is Cree/Métis, was born in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, and currently resides in Toronto.