Seneca College has announced it’s establishing the Seneca Film Institute (SFI), building on the Greater Toronto institution’s reputation for its film production, animation, and acting training programs.
Operating within Seneca’s Faculty of Communication, Art & Design, SFI will work with students across more than 30 programs, offering them “the skills and experiences that will allow them to thrive in Canada’s booming screen industry,” according to a college announcement.
“Seneca is uniquely positioned to meet the high demand for exceptional talent in screen-based industries,” said Kurt Muller, Dean, Faculty of Communication, Art & Design, in the release. “The SFI will bring together our exceptional faculty, industry partners and alumni to prepare talented graduates for success in front of or behind the camera.”
SFI will be led by Mark Jones, Academic Chair of Seneca’s School of Creative Arts & Animation, who’ll also serve as the Director of SFI. Award-winning documentarian and journalist Sunny Yi, will serve as SFI’s academic lead. Yi has served as Program Co-ordinator and Professor of Seneca’s Documentary Filmmaking Institute (DFI) and the Documentary Non-Fiction Media (DNM) post-graduate program.
“With a focus on innovation in storytelling forms and technologies, the SFI will offer students an enriched cross-disciplinary experience,” said Jones. “We will advance Seneca’s impact in this sector through our world-class programs, business development partnerships and community outreach.”
The college says the new initiative will strengthen its track record of innovation and industry involvement in creative arts education, noting it was the first post-secondary institution in Canada to partner with Adobe and Avid to become an Adobe Creative Campus and Avid Media Campus. SFI will capitalize on existing Seneca lab spaces, including its Control Room, Digital Animation Lab, Integrated Newsroom and Music Production/Creation Hub.
Among Seneca’s award-winning alumni are Visual Effects for Film and Television grad Zacary Campbell, who worked as lead compositor on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which won Best Animated Feature at the Oscars in 2019, with other award-winning Seneca graduates including Pixar animator Brendan Beesley (Toy Story 4, Coco), Pixar Animation Studios’ Character Art Director Deana Marsigliese, and Digital Domain FX artist Aditi Doshi, among others.
With television and film production in Ontario at an all-time high, according to the latest Ontario Creates data, colleges have been responding to the demand for production infrastructure and talent as outlined in the Toronto Screen Industry Workforce Study Report, produced by Nordicity for the City of Toronto in 2021. Among other initiatives, Seneca announced it was partnering with Fanshawe and Centennial College last fall on a new set of micro-credential courses to address the skills shortage in Ontario’s screen-based sector.
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