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The students of the Canadian Film Institute

Filmmaker Paul Donovan once compared the difficulty of making a movie in Canada to climbing Mount Everest without oxygen. Faced with an indifferent public, harsh critics, limited funds, and foreign-owned movie houses, filmmaking in Canada is, by necessity, a labour of love. Canadian gems like The Barbarian Invasions and Nobody Waved Goodbye have succeeded because of steadfast determination. CBC Archives explores the birth and growth of Canada's film industry.

Wanting to give Canadian filmmakers opportunities he never had, Jewison forms the Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies, a film school for Canada's best and brightest talent. Modeled on the American Film Institute, the school's teaching staff will be comprised of the best directors, screenwriters and cinematographers from across Canada and around the world. "We're talking about a master-apprentice relationship," Jewison tells The Journal in this CBC Television clip, "which is the very basis of feature filmmaking in every country of the world, and it's something we haven't had."

• The Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies -- now known as the Canadian Film Centre -- opened its doors in 1988. Housed in the posh Toronto mansion of former industrialist E.P. Taylor, the school originally handpicked only 12 students a year to take part in the program. By 2003 that number had increased to 85 students per year. The Centre has graduated 530 students and boasts that 85 per cent of its alumni are employed in the film, television or new media industry.

• Teachers and guest lecturers at the Centre have included Gordon Pinsent, Denys Arcand, David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, Arthur Penn and Martin Scorsese. According to the Centre's Web site, "over 90 feature films and over 50 television dramas have been produced with Canadian Film Centre alumni in significant roles." Centre alumni include director Vincenzo Natali (Cube), writer Karen Walton (Ginger Snaps), writer Tricia Fish (New Waterford Girl), director Clement Virgo (Rude) and former CBC reporter Anne Medina.
Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: Nov. 21, 1986
Guest(s): Norman Jewison, Gordon Pinsent, Janice Platt
Host: Daniel Richler
Reporter: Michael Forman
Duration: 2:52

Last updated: June 11, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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