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Peter Rajesh Joachim

Sheridan grad Peter Rajesh Joachim

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design

Degree: Advanced Television and Film

Year of graduation: 2013

Shooting for the Stars

With a burning passion for media, self-taught film-maker Peter Rajesh Joachim was looking for a post-graduate certification to authenticate him as a director. Sheridan’s Advanced Television and Film program did just that.

“The program, taught by industry professionals, gives students an opportunity to explore international production standards and hone their skills using state-of-the-art cameras, audio and video editing equipment,” explains the Indian-born film-maker.

After graduating in 2013, Peter interned for three months at Toronto advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather. But his sights were set on the grand prize: his own feature film. “After my internship ended, I devoted time to making Blood Empires, a film explores themes of pride, family, redemption and love.”

With numerous projects from India and Canada under his belt, Peter, 31, felt ready for the role of writer and director. “I had saved up money working as a freelance corporate film-maker in Bangalore (India) to help produce my film. It was a decent amount in Indian rupees but was peanuts after the Canadian dollar conversion—but I went ahead with my plan anyway.”

Peter opted to make the film as a co-op project through the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists. “All cast members agreed to work free for two reasons: to collaborate with their colleagues and encourage new talent,” he adds.

What had been on Peter’s mind for seven years took him only 12 days to shoot. But the film, which premiered in 2014 at The Royal Cinema in Toronto, proved most worthy of the effort. Blood Empires won the Platinum Award for a First Time Director at the Oregon International Film Festival, the Diamond Award in the Foreign Film Competition at the California Film Awards, as well as The Royal Reel Award for a First Time Film-maker at the 2015 Canada International Film Festival.

Commenting on his award-winning first venture, Peter says, “I believe in telling an honest story and backing my artistic instincts with personal life experiences.” He adds, “I feel really proud to be a Sheridan alumnus and feel truly honoured by this recognition. I hope to contribute more to Sheridan and its young students in future.”

Now, the filmmaker is “on the lookout for visionary producers who are willing to fund my next project that explores racism.

Watch the Blood Empires trailer.

Learn about Sheridan’s Bachelor of Film and Television.

By Mehreen Shahid, Journalism – Print, 2015
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