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High School Students Connect With Hollywood

VFF, EIPMA and KMD Productions provide a once-in-a-lifetime mentoring opportunity for Ontario high school students.

Vaughan, Ontario, May 21, 2020—Due to COVID-19, businesses have developed creative measures to continue to operate while navigating through these uncertain times. In light of this pandemic the entertainment industry, has continued to create innovative solutions, and with VFF (Vaughan Int’l Film Festival) and EIPMA’s (The Entertainment Industry Professionals Mentoring Alliance) new found partnership, an opportunity presented itself.

In early May, KMD Productions, an event management company presented both organizations with the concept of speed mentoring, “I wanted to find ways to keep in person events alive through technology due to all of the precautions that were being implemented” said founder Karen Dunn, who had ran the successful program many times before. What better way to do that then pairing up 20 industry mentors with 20 students in a one-to-one meet up. The six, 8-minute sessions, allowed students to connect with the industry’s most accomplished picture editors, sound mixers and composers, some of which are Emmy and Oscar winning artists.

Antonio Ienco, Co-Founder of VFF, stated that, “with high school students across the province adapting to new ways of learning while trying to make sense of an uncertain future, we thought what better way to provide them with a positive outlook then with a once and a lifetime experience.” Bernard Weiser, President of EIPMA, who spearheaded bringing in the 20 esteemed mentors spoke about EIPMA and how this program fits in, “providing expert guidance to students and individuals seeking meaningful and productive careers in the entertainment industry is what EIPMA is about. Through these short 1:1 sessions, mentors and students alike, get a taste of what we can provide with our more in-depth programs.”

Read more: KMD Productions Hosts Online Speed Mentoring at CRAS.

20 students from St. Elizabeth C.H.S, a regional arts school, located in Vaughan, were lucky enough to take part in this experience. Dave Cheung, the head of communications technology at St. Elizabeth said “more than simple career advice, I think the mentors today helped our students see that there are real passionate and creative people at work here. Their personal stories likely helped more than a few students turn a dream of working in film and television into a realistic goal.” In a post follow up call with these excited students, some such as Genevieve said “I loved meeting people in the entertainment industry with work I admire” while another student Nicholas, mentioned “I really enjoyed the personal aspect of the sessions”.

Among the 20 mentors including their impressive resume were:

Bernard Weiser: President of EIPMA who is a sound supervisor and editor with credits like ‘2012’(2009), ‘Spider-Man 2’(2004), and the Oscar Winning Film, ‘Hurt Locker’(2008).

Cecelia Hall: A sound designer and teacher who has worked in the industry for over 20 years. Some of her most notable works include ‘Top Gun’ (1986), ‘Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan’ (1982) and ‘The Hunt for Red October’ (1990), where she won an Oscar for Best Sound Effects Editing.

David Bertman: A picture editor whose credits include Judd Apatow’s ‘This is 40’ (2012), as well as TV credits like ‘This Is Us’ (2016), ‘Gilmore Girls’ (2003) and Suits (2011).

Mark Lanza: President of the MPSE, who is supervising sound editor and sound designer with credits like ‘Independence Day’ (1996), ‘Homeland’ (2011) and ‘True Lies’ (1994).

Frank Morrone: Re-recording mixer who has worked extensively in both the Film and TV world on projects like ‘Lost’ (2004), ‘The Kennedy’s’ (2011) and Tim Burton’s, ‘Sleepy Hollow’ (1999). Frank has also earned two Emmys for his work.

VFF & Eipma Partnership: The VFF (Vaughan International Film Festival) is a not-for-profit organization that celebrates the best in international and local multi-genre short films which consists of screenings, seminars and an awards show. In addition to these events it is the student initiatives that continue to inspire the festival to flourish. The newest partner to VFF’s student initiatives is EIPMA, a not-for-profit organization that includes a coalition of some of the most notable trade groups and professional organizations in the entertainment industry.

With EIPM’s list of world renowned organizations such as ACE (Audio Cinema Editors), AVID, MPSE (Motion Picture Sound Editors), CAS (Cinema Audio Society), SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers), AES-LA (Audio Engineering Society, Los Angles), HPA (Hollywood Professionals Association), Sound Girls (music mastering), and the Recording Academy (Grammys), VFF couldn’t be more excited to be the first Canadian organization to partner with EIPMA. With a shared goal of providing opportunity while continuing to mentor the next generation of talent, this ensures the continued health and progress of the entertainment industry.