Film and video instructor balances business savvy with artistic insight

March 23, 2016

JT imageContinuing Education instructor Jeremy Torrie is running a gauntlet every filmmaker knows. He’s pulling together the fine cut of Juliana & The Medicine Fish, his adaptation of Jake Macdonald’s beloved bestselling young adult novel.

There are thousands of takes from this past autumn’s work with stars Adam Beach and Emma Tremblay to comb through, and agonizing choices to face. Does he use the shot where Beach’s dialogue was note-perfect, or the one with the best lighting? When should he cut from one shot to the next? Is there a way to reclaim the out-of-focus footage?

“Those are the compromises you make,” says Torrie of the labour of love that leans on his talents as writer, director and producer. “Films are not perfect – they’re a microcosm of anything and everything happening during prep, production, post-production… Most people don’t care about the behind-the-scenes stuff, but those are the things you have to deal with in the industry and hopefully come out on top of.”

It’s that sort of industry insider insight — coupled with storytelling craft — that Torrie imparts to students taking Red River College’s AV Short Video Production course, and to those enrolled in the three-month Enhanced Filmmaking Skills & Techniques certificate course, offered in partnership with the Adam Beach Film Institute.

The fusion of art and business savvy is critical for young filmmakers hoping to go on to full careers, says Torrie, whose past credits include the 2003 TV movie Cowboys and Indians: The J.J. Harper Story and the 2008 documentary Spirit of Stolen Sisters.

“Just because it’s artistic doesn’t mean it’s not a business,” he explains. “That’s what someone like me can bring to the table: to allow for the appreciation it’s not just a story – the story is absolutely important – but beyond that, there is an entire industry.”

“When you’re able to bring real business experience to a teaching setting, you’re going to set people up for success.”

Click here to learn more about Torrie’s career path, and his plans for future filmmaking courses at RRC.