CityShorts Project

What are CityShorts?

Short documentary films made by students about their neighbourhood, its history, dynamic features and compelling residents.  The video program has been offered by Back Lane Studios since late 2015.

With the help of experienced filmmakers and journalists, Back Lane Studios offers CityShorts workshops in schools and in extracurricular settings for students.

The videos at the top of the page were made by Grade 12 students at Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Secondary School in Toronto.

Why make CityShorts?

Every neighbourhood is rich with stories – the people, the places, the landscape, the ghosts of history. But most of us are unaware of them, and much is being lost as the community goes through rapid change.

In making CityShorts, students engage in their communities in new ways, share what they learn through video in public venues, online through websites and social media. All of us will see our environment with new eyes.

Skills Development:

The project offers a unique opportunity for youth to develop skills in all aspects of documentary filmmaking and, at the same time, learn more about their neighbourhoods and local history.

Ontario Curriculum Objectives:

The program addresses  many objectives of the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Social Science and Humanities Curriculum, as well as those of the Canadian and World Studies Curriculum.  Specialist High Skills Major students in Ontario secondary schools will gain direct experience with the filmmaking industry through Back Lane Studios’ mentoring program. The opportunity to build portfolios and have their films publicly screened is of great advantage to these students.  

CityShorts Programs:

In Schools:

  • We have done workshops in Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Catholic High School, and Blessed Archbishop Romero. A new session starts at Bishop Marrocco in Fall, 2017. Photo workshops are also being conducted at Kensington Community School, Fall 2017.

Summer Programs:

Student Reaction to CityShorts

  • To read students’ reaction to the CityShorts program, check out this article by reporter Lisa Rainford, who interviewed some of the participants for her article in the Bloor West Villager newspaper.  Click here.