Arts

Want to become a filmmaker? Let these four TIFF directors show you the way

Joey Klein, Amy Jo Johnson, Albert Shin and Semi Chellas sat down at a panel hosted by The Filmmakers and DGC Ontario this weekend.

Joey Klein, Amy Jo Johnson, Albert Shin and Semi Chellas sat down at a panel this weekend in Toronto

From left: Joey Klein, Amy Jo Johnson, Albert Shin and Semi Chellas with Johanna Schneller. (Nicole De Khors)

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival descended upon the city last week, and for its opening weekend, DGC Ontario and CBC Arts staged a full day of panel talks featuring industry professionals who work behind the scenes to bring some of TIFF's hottest tickets to the silver screen. The series of insightful discussions were hosted by Amanda Parris and Johanna Schneller of The Filmmakers.

The panel of feature filmmakers, made up of Semi Chellas (American Woman), Joey Klein (Castle in the Ground), Amy Jo Johnson (Tammy's Always Dying) and Albert Shin (Clifton Hill) led to an insightful discussion about overcoming creative setbacks, how each filmmaker has carved out their own unique path in the industry and dispelled myths about the singular filmmaking genius. 

Semi Chellas had one horrible day as a first-time director

Filmmaker Semi Chellas at Meet The Makers: Visionaries at TIFF 2:52

Even after decades of experience writing and producing for TV, Chellas had her guard up during her first days working as a movie director, concerned that her debut feature — based on the Pulitzer finalist novel American Woman —resembled a sitcom. After staring the prospect of failure in the face, however, she gained the courage to craft her favourite scenes in the film. 

Why the Pink Power Ranger decided to relocate from L.A. to Canada

Filmmaker Amy Jo Johnson at Meet The Makers: Visionaries at TIFF 1:09

Amy Jo Johnson amassed a pretty extensive fanbase playing the Pink Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. But living in the cutthroat city of angels eventually took its toll, and Johnson found solace in Canada, where she has since starred on a primetime police drama, become a Canadian citizen and realized her dream to be a filmmaker.

Albert Shin's Niagara Falls mystery sought out the acting chops of this legendary Canadian director 

Filmmaker Albert Shin at Meet The Makers: Visionaries at TIFF 1:23

In an ode to director John Huston's brief but memorable turn in front of the camera in neo-noir Chinatown, Albert Shin cast the one and only David Cronenberg as a conspiracy theorist who records a podcast from Niagara Falls' Clifton Hill. The director served as a guiding light for Shin, as an icon who Shin rightfully deemed the "coolest person in the world."

Watch the entire panel here: