With the growing number of independent films made in her city and her own love for movies, Trista DeVries decided to create Toronto Film Scene to bring focus to what was happening as the film industry evolved in Toronto. Read all about what TFS plans to offer lovers of film and film culture with their new mobile app.
What motivated you to start TFS?
In 2008 I was part of a group of local film bloggers, and one day I looked around the room and realized we all wrote about film and we all lived in Toronto, but few of us ever wrote about film in Toronto. I felt there was a major gap in the listings and reporting that happened on film events at a grassroots level, so I started Toronto Film Scene. Over the past six years we have evolved from a news site into a magazine publishing a single-topic issue each month, primarily on Canadian and independent film.
Describe your average reader and/or target audience.
Toronto Film Scene’s readers are primarily between the ages of 25 and 44 (20-percent between 25 and 34; 30-percent between 34 and 44) and are equally divided by gender. Our readers enjoy creative hobbies such as visiting art galleries, attending film events and festivals, as well as seeking out handcrafted arts. They are more likely to shop in a community-based store than to purchase a similar item in a big box store.
Readers of Toronto Film Scene are more likely to attend an independent or specialty film screening, but like all film lovers, are not immune to the siren song of Hollywood fare. Of course, they have a special interest in discussion featuring Canadian film.
How do you plan on reaching new readers?
Well, to be honest, we hope the app will help a lot! With so much content moving into the palm of our hands, having an app is a huge asset to the type of single-issue publishing we do. Beyond the app, however, we reach our readers through social media, live events such as magazine and arts shows, film festival sponsorship, and perhaps in the next year a live podcast taping.
How do you see TFS evolving over the next few months and years?
TFS is constantly evolving – to be honest, it has to. The way content is consumed and the speed at which the film industry is changing demand that we stay on top of current trends and find new ways to best serve our readership. In the next couple of years I hope to increase readership significantly (by about 30% each year) and begin short print runs of the magazine for sale in local book and magazine stores.
How long have you been publishing? Is this your first magazine?
I have been publishing since I was a little girl, when I would make zines on the photocopier at my parents’ business. When I look back, it seems this was the only logical conclusion for my life’s work. (I wish I had figured it out sooner, though.) In a formal sense, however, yes this is my first magazine, and we have been publishing since 2009.
How do you define the success of your magazine?
You guys only ask the hard questions! I am happy when someone comes to a film event and says, “Toronto Film Scene said this would be great, so I came.” I am happy when a filmmaker’s eyes light up when I am introduced to them, because we wrote about their film when no other outlet would. I am happy when my writers produce stellar content that comes from their heart and passion for film.
Toronto Film Scene was started in my living room with no money. When we were the recipients of both Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council funding, I was the happiest woman in the world, but monetary value is the farthest thing from what we define success as.
I am so grateful for the support of a team of over 100 writers (over the past six years), many of whom wrote without pay. I am grateful for the support and constant assistance of Will Brownridge, our Editor-in-Chief, who never gives up on this crazy thing we’re trying to do. I am grateful for the support of so many film organizations in the City of Toronto, without whom we wouldn’t exist.
People keep coming back to the site and reading what we produce, and I am grateful to every single one of them, every time.
That’s how I define success for my magazine.
What other magazines do you like? Digital/Print?
I am a huge fan of Shameless, a progressive magazine for girls. I read it whenever I get the chance. What they’re doing with that magazine is revolutionary.
It’s very mainstream, but I also read Women’s Health. It dances a good line between crappy journalism for women and real health and fitness tips that make your life better.
Of course, I’m also a huge knitter and I read Knit Simple every time it hits the stands. I keep asking my husband for a subscription, but one never seems to materialize. (Hint, hint, Honey.)
Love films and film culture? Start your free subscription to Toronto Film Scene today on Android or iOS!