Work on Mr. Dressup documentary lands Oakville college alumnus top TIFF award


Published September 22, 2023 at 2:57 pm

Mr. Dressup TIFF film festival documentary Sheridan College Ernie Coombs

Sheridan College alumnus Robert McCullum has won the top award at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festive (TIFF) for his do documentary on the importance raising children with kindness, compassion, inclusion, and empathy.

A graduate of the Advanced Television and Film ’06 course at Sheridan’s Oakville campus, McCallum was presented the People’s Choice Documentary Award for his work on Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe.

McCallum is the director, writer and executive producer on the documentary that goes beyond the nostalgia and celebrates the life and work of Ernie Coombs, the American artist who became rose to fame as one of CBC’s most beloved children’s personalities.

McCallum and six-time Emmy winner Craig Henighan (Media Arts ’95) were among the more than 30 Sheridan alumni from the Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design who showcased their talent at this year’s TIFF.

“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.”
The FAAD graduates roles in the films and TV series shown at the festival range from sound editor to writer and producer.
Henighan, who won two Emmys for Stranger Things last year, was back at the film festival for his work as Supervisor Sound Editor on 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 Sept. 10.

Allison White (Advanced Television and Film ’04), well-known for Cast No ShadowCloset Monster, and Cancergirl, is the Producer of The King Tide, which tells 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.

The film tells the 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 also played various roles in bringing to life a new CBC documentary series, Black Life: Untold Stories. The documentary  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.

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