TORONTO — Isaac Cravit has had a short film in the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) for each of the last three years.
The 28-year-old filmmaker is currently working on another one for the festival.
Cravit said that for him the best part of living in the city is the presence of the film festival and that the palpable energy of the festival has made being part of it an amazing experience.
In 2009, the festival screened his eight-minute film Homeland Security, about a border guard who thinks his wife is cheating on him. It was a learning experience, Cravit said, adding that he probably didn’t know how to use his time at the festival wisely that first year.
“I know what to do there now and how I should manage my time. I see as many movies as I can and try to make contacts because that’s how movies get made.”
Cravit, who graduated from Concordia University in 2006, made his first movie at the end of high school. He always knew that filmmaking was something he wanted to do.
“Anyone who’s known me would know that this is what I want to do, and it’s very rare that people get to do what they want,” he said. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a filmmaker.”
The shorts Cravit made for TIFF had only two-day shooting schedules, but he said his 2011 contribution, Good Boy, which runs six minutes, took about 1,000 hours to complete. He added that every hour of work he does makes him a better filmmaker.
“I’m better at reacting now, and this is a largely reactionary job,” he said. “The more experience you have, the more comfortable you are with reacting, and you can only plan and prepare for so much.”
In Good Boy, he worked with a dog and a baby, and he joked that there was no way he could control a dog or a baby, so he could only see how they would react to each other.
Cravit plans to start shooting his next film this April, a short about kids in the 18th century who come across an injured animal and the implications that will have for their community. He also plans to shoot a feature film this summer.
“My ultimate goal is to be able to make a living at making films or TV,” Cravit said. “Most people don’t make a living at this and do it in addition to their full-time jobs.”
He said that one of the difficult aspects of being a filmmaker is the necessity of applying for public funding, which he often waits for months to receive. He has received funding from Bell Media’s Bravo!Fact (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent).
Cravit’s friends and family remain supportive as he gets his career off the ground. “I think there’s an idea of how close Jewish families traditionally are, and my family is that close,” he said. “They’re my biggest support and they’ve always encouraged me.”