Sonya Stefan – Filmmaker
stories & testimonials
Birthplace: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Principal Training: The School of Toronto Dance Theatre
Danced With: Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault, Toronto Dance Theatre, Dancetheatre David Earle, Cas Public, Montreal Danse, and more.
Retrained in: Film Production
Currently: Producing films for her company, Bande Interdite
Making a complete transition out of dance and into a new career seemed too extreme for me, but after the birth of my child, I felt the enormous stress of motherhood and didn’t feel ready to leap back into the dance milieu. I wanted to re-train in an area that would complement the knowledge I had acquired from dance, that would also allow me to develop a new, independent vocation. A parallel career would afford me the space to create alternatives in and out of the dance milieu, fusing my dance background with fresh and diverse projects. Studying in a university program has re-energized me to see new, creative possibilities in my life.
While in the program, I have had the opportunity to work with Jean-Claude Bustros, a researcher at Hexagram, the Canadian Institute for Research and Creation in Media Arts and Technologies. In collaboration with his team, we integrated movement elements into his editing systems allowing improvised narratives to spontaneously exist in his films. University has also exposed me to the work of my professor, Francois Miron, and the collective Double Negative, which has expanded my thoughts about media arts and inspired me to incorporate film into my dance creations.
Another benefit of studying within a program that offered both practical and theoretical practice was the chance to improve my writing skills. The process of researching and creating a well-thought-out essay has advanced my ability to express ideas and develop projects, as well as the day-to-day administration of my own production company, with Yves St-Pierre and Sylvain Poirier, called Bande Interdite.
The DTRC has always been supportive, giving me peace of mind and easing some of my worries as I was negotiating my new life as a single mother and student.
Being able to work less and study more alleviated my fatigue, as I was concentrating on only two projects – motherhood and school. This period of study has been exciting, encouraging and fruitful, and resulting in numerous awards – most notably, the 2010 Mel Hoppenheim Cinema Award. I couldn’t have done it without the support of the DTRC.