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Fredericton native making waves in the Canadian film scene

Author: Young Alumni

Posted on Dec 5, 2016

Category: UNB Fredericton , Young Alumni , Inspiring Stories

Ryan O'Toole (BA '13) on the set of his short film 'Pop' in 2013

UNB young alumnus, Ryan O'Toole (BA '13), is attracting the attention of the Canadian film industry with his  talent and creativity.

O'Toole recently participated in the 16th annual Silver Wave Film Festival with screenings of his short films, Sour World and Brookside Mall, included in the event-filled weekend. This year's festival was held Nov. 3-6 in Fredericton and has grown to become an important cultural event for Atlantic Canada, featuring films and documentaries shot in the province and produced by New Brunswick film makers.

Directed with friend and collaborator Michael Mohan, Brookside Mall is a portrait of  the 'strange, alien mood' of Fredericton's north side shopping centre, while Sour World follows a girl wandering aimlessly through the city of Fredericton.

O'Toole developed his first film, That Cowboy Kid, back in 2011 while a student in UNB's Media Arts and Cultures program. Since then, he has created several other short films including On the Last Day (2012) and Pop (2014). He is also currently in post-production on his latest short film, A Ways Away, which received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

After graduating in 2013, O'Toole became UNB's first ever Media Artist in Residence, where he had the opportunity to create new work, host film screenings, and mentor current students on their film and video projects.

"Throughout my residency it quickly became apparent how much everyone needs each other in a smaller city like Fredericton," says O'Toole. "And not just as an audience, but as collaborators, critics and emotional support systems."

O'Toole (second from left) at Cannes Film Festival 

Pop, which was created during his residency at UNB, was later chosen by Telefilm Canada's Not Short on Talent program to be screened at the ever-popular Cannes Film Festival in France -  an experience he describes as "incredibly exhilarating and humbling."

Though a Fredericton native, O'Toole is currently pursuing a Master of Media Arts at The New School in New York.

"The most exciting part of my career is being lucky, and privileged enough, to study and make art," he says. "Working hard to make something from nothing, simply because you and a small group of others believe in the project."

With another short film in the making and plans to create a feature film in the summer of 2017, this is just the beginning of an exciting and successful career. Keep an eye on Ryan O'Toole - he is doing incredible things.