Canadian Film Centre

The Canadian Film Centre, until 1992 called The Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies, was established in 1988 by Norman Jewison. His vision of creating an indigenous feature film industry infuses the entire organization. Modelled loosely after the training program of the American Film Institute, the centre was designed to give advanced courses in directing, producing and scriptwriting to talented new Canadian filmmakers. Residents, invited to study at the centre for a period of 4 to 9 months, have the opportunity to work with visiting filmmakers and industry professionals.

Since the inception of the centre more than 100 short films have been produced under its short dramatic film program. These shorts have captured over 50 major awards at Canadian and international film festivals. Talented young filmmakers who have passed through its program include John Greyson, David Wellington, Clement Virgo, Stephen Williams, Keith Behrman, Vincenzo Natali, Jim Allodi, Holly Dale, Trisha Fish and Andrew Currie, all of whom went on to do distinguished work in the feature film format.

Extending its commitment to the production and appreciation of short films, in 2000 the centre acquired the Worldwide Short Film Festival from founder Brenda Sherwood. The event has developed into a popular and productive meeting place for audiences, filmmakers, buyers and sellers interested in the art and commerce of making movies in short form.

Canadian producer Peter O'Brian, executive director of the centre from 1988 to 1992, built a solid reputation for the new organization. O'Brian's successor, Wayne Clarkson, expanded its activities in numerous areas and in 1992 initiated the Feature Film Project, allowing selected residents to produce low-budget feature films.

Feature films produced under this program include Clement Virgo's Rude (1995), Holly Dale's Blood and Donuts (1995), Laurie Lynd's House (1995), Colleen Murphy's Shoemaker (1996), Vincenzo Natali's Cube (1997), and Jim Allodi's The Uncles (2001).

The centre runs a TV drama program, a professional screenwriting program (MediaLinx) and Habitat, a new media training facility. It also hosts international filmmakers, offering master classes in various aspects of film production.

A key training institution, the Canadian Film Centre attempts to bridge the sometimes conflicting agendas of film art and film industry in a rapidly changing context of moving image technology. Along the way it has also contributed, particularly since 2000, a substantial and impressive body of its own creative work.