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Sheridan alumnus Robert McCallum wins top award at TIFF

Sep 20, 2023

robert mcallum headshotMr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe, a documentary by Sheridan graduate Robert McCallum (Advanced Television and Film ’06), won the People's Choice Documentary Award at the Toronto International Film Festival 2023 which concluded on September 17.

McCallum is the Director, Writer, and Executive Producer of Mr. Dressup which celebrates the life and work of Ernie Coombs, the American artist who became one of the CBC’s most beloved children's personalities. The documentary has earned praise for going beyond nostalgia to bring home the importance of raising children with kindness, compassion, inclusion, and empathy. 

 A strong contingent of Sheridan alumni from the Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design, including McCallum and six-time Emmy winner Craig Henighan (Media Arts ’95), showcased their talent and creativity at this year’s TIFF. Over 30 FAAD graduates demonstrated their prowess in roles ranging from sound editor to writer and producer in some of the most outstanding films and TV series at the festival. Henighan, who earned two Emmys for Stranger Things just last year, was back on centre stage as Supervising Sound Editor of All the Light We Cannot See, an adaptation of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. The limited series had its world premiere at TIFF on September 10.

Allison White (Advanced Television and Film ’04), well-known for Cast No Shadow, Closet Monster, and Cancergirl, is the Producer of The King Tide, the story of an insular community refusing to accept a much larger world beyond its shores.  

Pakistan-based filmmaker Anam Abbas (Advanced Television and Film ’10), whose earlier work Showgirls of Pakistan gained appreciation for spotlighting the struggle of women against prejudices and misogyny, continues to focus on gender equality as Producer of In Flames – a story of women forced to navigate the random violence of their oppressive, patriarchal society. Alona Metzer (Advertising ’07) is the Producer of Backspot, a film that explores the ambition and drive of young athletes.

Seven alumni have played various roles in bringing to life a new CBC documentary series, Black Life: Untold Stories, which uses contemporary interviews and archival footage to chronicle Canada’s long history of anti-Black racism, including episodes on police brutality and the rise of hip-hop music.

“Our graduates are setting new standards of excellence in filmmaking. They are recognized and valued in the creative fields for their skills, talent, and professionalism,” says Mark Jones, Dean of the Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design. “We are extremely proud to see the incredible work of our graduates at TIFF, which demonstrates their many contributions to the screen industries in Canada and around the world.”

Sheridan’s award-winning alumni from the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design have a long history of success in the entertainment industry, winning Oscars, Emmys and other top awards including the Canadian Screen Awards.

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