A group of eight RTA school of media students will be screening VIABLE, a non-profit film, on March 3. What started as a fourth-year thesis project has since turned into a movement to raise money and awareness for multiple sclerosis (MS).
The 40-minute film is based on Mary Gyulay’s own experience with MS, an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. She was diagnosed in the summer of 2014. Gyulay is also the director and co-writer of the film.
“I definitely had input and insight from my own experience,” she said. “There are some scenes that are directly related to what I went through.”
The students, also known as MakeShift Productions, have created the #IAmViable campaign which will feature voices of the MS community on social media and on their website. The film also contains a six-part soundtrack in association with renowned Canadian band Blue Rodeo.
Melissa Scicluna, executive producer and co-writer of VIABLE, estimated the cost of this project to be $45,000. She said that contributions came from a number of different sources and didn’t all go directly towards the film. Some were supportive of the marketing, the campaign and the fundraiser. Some of these sponsors include Ryerson University, Ryerson Community and Design Society and the RTA school of media.
Gyulay says her goal with the film is to not only reach the arts community but a younger MS community.
“When I was diagnosed I felt alone and I didn’t think that there were other people my age that were experiencing the same thing, so we’re trying to reach that community,” she said.
David Tucker, past chair of the RTA school of media and current adviser on the project, says he is very honoured to see the success of VIABLE and credits the students for their hard work.
“It looks very professional …They worked very hard on every aspect of the film from planning through to marketing. Their success is certainly due to talent but also in large part to teamwork. They are a great group and deserve the recognition that I am sure the project will garner,” he said.
Since its inception, the students have pushed for VIABLE to be more than a school project, with hopes of submitting it to film festivals around the world after completion.
Receiving full support from the MS Society of Canada, Gyulay hopes that her story inspires people around the world.
“It’s a message of, regardless if you have MS or if you’re struggling with the disease or not, you have to go out and go for what you believe in and what you hope to do for the rest of your life because something like that shouldn’t hinder something that you love,” she said.
Check out more of this interview below: