filmmaking equipment arranged on a concrete floor including cameras, microphones, and a tripod

Want to find out more or ask a question about the Certificate in Film Studies? Express interest to connect with this program and receive updates.

Express interest

Build a solid foundation in the principles, contemporary theories, and techniques of the motion picture medium.

You may take one or more courses or workshops or choose to pursue the full certificate program, which is a basic professional program of study.

The certificate program is an excellent starting point if you want to pursue a career in the film industry or satisfy your curiosity about film and film production.

What Will You Learn?

This certificate program is an excellent starting point if you want to pursue a career in the film industry or satisfy your curiosity about film and film production.

Courses range from an introduction to basic filmmaking to specialized courses such as:

  • screenwriting
  • cinematography and lighting design
  • directing screen performance
  • production design
  • sound design
  • the business of developing, producing, and marketing motion pictures
  • fundamentals of directing and producing
  • film and digital editing

Who Should Take This Certificate?

You may be interested if you:

  • work in the film industry and want to improve your qualifications
  • are new to the industry and want to better understand all aspects of production
  • work in other fields and want to make a career change
  • work in allied fields and want to better understand film production

Who Teaches the Courses?

Our Film Studies instructors have real-world industry experience and long histories of teaching at The Chang School.


Industry and Careers

This certificate program is designed to provide a strong practical foundation in technical and business skills as they relate to film production.

It will provide you with an excellent opportunity to build your professional portfolio.

Completing the certificate may help you attain entry-level positions within Toronto’s $1.5 billion film industry.

Certificate Requirements

  • 5 required courses
  • 3 39-hour electives (or courses totalling 117 hours)
  • Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 1.67+

Admission Criteria


  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent
    • With 6 Grade 12 U or M credits (including English)
    • With a minimum average of 60 percent


  • Mature student status with relevant professional experience

Why Register for the Certificate?

Completion of our Certificate in Film Studies adds value to you! Here are some great reasons to pursue your certificate.

  • Build a comprehensive base of practical, real-world knowledge and skills.
  • Earn a well-respected credential that carries significant weight in this industry.
  • Develop professional connections through your fellow students, expert instructors, and other industry specialists.
  • Make your education a priority, complete a full program of study, and enjoy the reward of achieving a milestone goal.

Awards and Financial Aid




Intensive Option

Our Summer Film School offers the unique opportunity to learn the basics of filmmaking and earn a Certificate in Film Studies through an intensive 12-week program. The focus of the program is on production, and learners will have the opportunity to create a number of short films, discover their creative potential, and demonstrate their acquired skills and knowledge.

CDMP 999 - Summer Film School


Skill Meets Mastery: Joanna Tsanis

Joanna TsanisGraduate, Certificate in Film Studies (Summer Film School); Writer and Producer, Eleftheromania (Winner, Best Drama, Toronto Shorts International Film Festival, 2018)

Joanna Tsanis admits that her first film won’t stand out as her best: as a 10-year-old, she made a crude imitation of the “Scream” horror series, with her brother playing the killer.

“My parents bought me a VHS camcorder, and I would write a little script and we would make these ridiculous horror films,” she says.

Sadly, the films (it was a trilogy) later went missing, but Joanna was bitten by the film bug. Through high school, she honed her writing.

The trick was then finding a way to break into the industry. A month-long film workshop in New York gave her some grounding, but she lacked the technical skills to make a go of it in an industry famous for chewing up and spitting out ambitious youngsters.

“I guess I just wanted more hands-on experience,” she says. “But I also wanted more of a holistic comprehension of filmmaking.”

A Google search led her to the 12-week Summer Film School program at The Chang School, where she found what she was looking for: a course focused on the basics of film production.

“It was very intensive; it was five days a week of classes, and most weekends were spent filming the class assignments,” she says.

The program gave Joanna access to up-to-date technology, and gave her a sense of the different roles needed to produce a film.

Since taking the course, doors have begun opening for her.

“I’m producing a World War II-era short film that I wrote, and I’m writing a feature-length psychological thriller,” she says. She’s also produced two documentary shorts and numerous branded content videos, which helps pay the bills.

She’s opened her own production company called Ideamaker Films, and her long-term goal is simple: “To produce a feature film.”

She may not use a camcorder this time.

Story by Cameron French, Learner, Creative Writing

Peter Gerretsen Film Awards

The Peter Gerretsen Film Awards have been honouring excellence in student filmmaking since 1999. Created by the late Peter Gerretsen – a passionate filmmaker and dedicated instructor, and a former coordinator of The Chang School’s Film Studies program – these awards showcase the talents, skills, and dedication of our continuing education film students.

Each year, nominated films in the categories of Production, Screenwriting, and Film Editing are screened during the event, highlighting works produced by our students – future filmmakers who will one day lead the Canadian film industry.

Check back for updates about the 2020 awards evening.

Celebrating 20 Years of Student Achievement: Where Are They Now?

Many of our Film Studies alumni have gone on to successful careers in film and television. Here are a few of their inspirational stories.

Class of 2009

Michael Sheehan is an award-winning director and writer with more than 100 television network credits to his name, and is a graduate of The Chang School’s Summer Film School. Michael has won Gemini Awards as a director for Best Series (Til Debt Do Us Part, Slice, 2011) and as a story editor for Best Lifestyle/Practical Information Series (Holmes in New Orleans, HGTV, 2009). He also was awarded Best Short Comedy at the 2007 New York International Independent Film Festival as the producer, director, and writer of Known Donor.

Class of 2014

Andrew Lau is a Toronto-based filmmaker working as a freelance director of photography and camera assistant. His current professional work focuses on corporate videos, commercials, music videos, and short documentaries. Since graduating from The Chang School’s Summer Film School, Andrew has built an impressive demo reel that displays many of the musicians he has filmed, including rapper Drake.

Merle Robillard is a Cree filmmaker who was born and raised in the Northwest Territories. After graduating from The Chang School’s Summer Film School, he opened a production company where he has produced, edited, and directed several films. With help from The Chang School Film Hub, Merle directed and produced the short documentary Giiwe: This is Home, which chronicles the journey of Brent Mitchell, a survivor of the Sixties Scoop. Giiwe has been screened at both the 2018 Regina International Film Festival and the 2018 Auckland International Film Festival, and was recently featured at The Chang Film Festival.

Joanna Tsanis is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, and a graduate of The Chang School’s Summer Film School. She is the writer and producer of Eleftheromania (2018), a World War II-era short film starring Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis. The film has screened at several festivals worldwide, including the Raindance Film Festival. Eleftheromania won Joanna Best Short Screenplay at the Mindfield Film Festival in Los Angeles and Best Drama at the Toronto Shorts International Film Festival. She has also produced numerous animated and live-action branded videos; her branded documentary short Girls Helping Girls screened at New York City’s Carnegie Hall for the 2017 Gabby Awards. Joanna recently wrote and directed the short horror film Imagine a World (2019), which is in post-production.

Class of 2018

Silvet Ali is a journalist and filmmaker who divides her time between Montreal and Toronto. She completed a BA in Journalism with a minor in Film Studies at Concordia University, and she joined the CBC’s Montreal team as a journalist and producer in both radio and television in 2009. In 2018, she took a summer off to explore her love for film, and completed The Chang School’s Summer Film School. As a 2018 grant recipient of The Chang School Film Hub, Silvet directed the short film Rishta, which recently premiered at the International Film Festival of South Asia.

Mauro Cecchi is a recent graduate of The Chang School’s Summer Film School. Throughout this intensive program, Mauro wrote, directed, produced, and performed in a number of short films and documentaries. As a 2018 grant recipient of The Chang School Film Hub, he produced Rishta with director Silvet Ali. Mauro is currently in pre-production for two short horror films, as well as a documentary interview series on taboo and controversial issues. He continues to build a compelling portfolio and his film industry journey.

Contact Us

Questions? Contact James Warrack, Academic Coordinator.

Phone: 416-979-5000, ext. 2237

Additional Details