Technology is such today that it is possible to shoot a feature-length film on one's cellphone, as one Montreal-based independent filmmaker, Christos Sourligas, recently did. But if filmmaking is becoming more accessible, do aspiring filmmakers still have to bother with film school in Canada? (This is a question that could also be posed for other related fields of study, such as audio school and DJ courses in Canada.)
1) At film school, students can experiment with the school equipment before investing in their own.
Not all graduates of film school in Canada will be following in Sourligas's low-tech footsteps and shooting films on their phones. Many will want access to more sophisticated equipment, of the kind that it is hard to afford at the beginning of one's career. It can be a wise decision to start one's career with student films, while one has unfettered access to school facilities.
2) Film school in Canada can help aspiring filmmakers navigate the tricky public sector financing system with potentially greater ease.
If you are even considering attending film school in Canada, then chances are that you are going to need to get a handle on the public funding available to aspiring filmmakers in this great country of ours.
Even more so than for students destined for audio school or for DJ courses in Canada, students seeking to attend film school in Canada need to understand the ins-and-outs of such public sector initiatives as:
- the Canadian Feature Film Fund, which helped bring Bon Cop, Bad Cop to the big screen.
- the Canadian Film of Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC), which is a labour force tax break for Canadian-made productions.
3) Film school can help prospective Canadian filmmakers identify public sector funding sources earlier in the game.
Yes, graduates of film school in Canada who go on to make movies need to know how to navigate the public sector. But that is not all. They will also likely need to know how to secure private sector funding. Who can they turn to when they need capital? This is the kind of question that cinema professors, who have experience in the industry, may be able to answer.
4) Make connections within the industry.
Most graduates of audio school or film school in Canada come to realize that, to a certain extent, it really does matter who you know. Film is a collaborative art form, and an expensive one at that. It takes teamwork, and you want to be sure that you have a strong professional network with members with whom you would be proud to collaborate. This may even be all the more true in Canada, where our film industry has to constantly fight for its continued existence, faced with stiff competition from the south.
5) For easy access to information about festivals.
At any film in school in Canada, students are provided with information on the festival circuit, student competitions, etc. Although one can access this information on one's own, it is nice to have it provided!
Whether you choose to go it on your own, or to apply to film school in Canada, bon cinema!