Students and teachers from Toronto District School Board at Sheppard Grande Cinemas
It's amazing to think that we've been doing these multi-school Cineplex events in Toronto for five years. The first year, we started with the nine alternative schools that are part of the Toronto District School Board, and nearly all 500+ alternative school students from across the city attended. The second year, we opened it up to the entire board, and got about a dozen schools in. Every year, the event gets a little bit bigger, and the audiences get more diverse. Some schools come year after year, but we attract new ones every single time. This year, a record 20 schools participated.
Dwain Murphy (left), Daniel Keith Morrison (left middle), Jack Blum (right middle), and Kevin Duhaney (right).
At this year's event, we kicked things off with a screening of the hilarious short PEDESTRIAN JAR, with director Evan Morgan in attendance to talk to a packed house, before they settled into a screening of GUNLESS. Across the way in another equally full auditorium, another group of students watched SHARKWATER, which was followed by a spirited and inspiring talk with Emily Hunter. But the room (and the enthusiastic crowd) was our HOW SHE MOVE audience, which was treated to a visit by Dwain Murphy (who plays the lead role, Bishop, in the film) as well as co-stars Kevin Duhaney and Daniel Keith Morrison, the only bonafide dancer in the bunch (Kevin and Dwain modestly claim to be actors who only pretended to know how to dance).
How She Move Q&A
At lunch, Pizza Pizza came in with 100 pizzas to feed the 1000 students who came to the event. It was a madhouse, but nobody was left hungry, and by the time the afternoon screenings started, we saw a lot of happy faces heading back into the cinema (with seconds or thirds of pizza tucked under their arms).
In the afternoon, students watched BOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD, BON COP BAD COP and THE ROCKET - truly a program with something in it for everyone. As we were leaving the Cineplex Sheppard Grande at the end of the day, I overheard one student say to a friend that the film he saw (BON COP) was "dope". I didn't realize that slang was even in use anymore, but back in my day, it meant "awesome".