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).
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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 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 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 lives on Cape Breton Island on the Eastern coast of Canada. Her debut feature, Werewolf, screened at TIFF ‘16 and Berlinale, won the Grand Prix Focus QC/Canada at Festival du nouveau cinema, and was included in the Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival. McKenzie is the latest recipient of the Jay Scott Prize, which recognizes an emerging talent who is positively affecting the direction of Canadian cinema. Her short film work includes Rhonda’s Party (10), When You Sleep (12), Stray (13), and 4 Quarters (15).
Danis Goulet is a Cree/Metis writer and director. Her short films have screened at festivals around the world, including Sundance, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival, imagineNATIVE, and Aspen Shortsfest. In 2014, her film Wakening won the Outstanding Canadian Short Film Award at the ReelWorld Film Festival and in 2013, her film Barefoot received a special mention at the Berlin International Film Festival. Her work has been broadcast on ARTE, CBC, Air Canada, and Movieola. She programs for TIFF's Short Cuts section and is the former Artistic Director of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. She has curated award-winning projects and developed initiatives for the Ontario Arts Council, and has served on the boards of the Toronto Arts Council and the Images Festival. She is an alumna of the National Screen Institute’s Drama Prize Program and the TIFF Talent Lab.