Tobias Canto: A Passion For Film.

21 Nov

Tobias Canto

Toby Canto was in the 6th grade when he realized what his life long passion would be. An after school coordinator was playing a movie-actor game. She would say an actors name and the kids were urged to answer with a movie that correlated with the actor. For the most part she would say movies that the kids would know. For fun though she decided to throw out the name Orson Welles, which she presumed would be obscure to the children. They were indeed befuddled. Except for Canto, who replied nonchalantly “Citizen Kane”.  His supervisor was taken a back.

It was right then and there that Canto knew his interest in movies was far more than a fleeting hobby. “I had never actually seen Citizen Kane but as a kid, I would read the TV guide and I would remember names that went with movies. At that point I knew that movies was kind of an obsession.” Said Canto

Growing up in Tucson, Arizona Canto originally has aspirations to be an actor, something he participated in during his high school years, however Canto eventually realized his passion for film wasn’t only about acting. He wanted to be at head of making movies as well.

“Growing up watching works of Directors such as Edgar Wright, Frank Darabont and David Fincher, I became fascinated with the process of filmmaking.  I realized that there was this very involved technical side to filmmaking and decided I want to do that more than act.” Said Canto.

As of now Canto has only one feature film under his belt, ‘Dorm of the Dead’.  The process of making the film has been his greatest learning experience as a filmmaker thus far and plans to use the knowledge he’s gained as a catapult into bigger and greater works.

The process in which the opportunity to make a feature came about for Canto was quite intriguing.

As  Canto Explains “It was our senior producing capstone class. The class was divided into two semesters. The first section is working with a BFA production student and producing their senior thesis film. After that first semester you don’t really do anything and that was frustrating to me.  Our teacher managed to get us passes to the American Film Market in Los Angeles for a very good price and this was an interesting class trip because as a class we got to see the film distribution process. What we realized is that a lot of bad films get distributed so it inspired us to make something hopefully better than those films that would get distributed.”

Upon returning from the American Film Market Canto approached his producing capstone professor about the idea of spending the next semester making a movie. He agreed as long as the class had a script written by christmas break. Toby had an idea in his back pocket entitled ‘Dorm of the Dead’ and so he submitted that script and his professor accepted.

This was the first time a student had every shot a full feature length film on the campus of the University of Arizona.

screen shot from dorm of the dead

Over the next year Canto and his class worked tirelessly at making Dorm of the Dead.

When they finally finished the film was well received winning best student film at the Phoenix Comic-Con.

“It was really awesome to get recognized for a film I had finally finished. Until that point I had just made very short films. This was my first feature.” Said Canto.

It is from this experience that Canto looks to create a successful career in filmmaking.

Dorm of the Dead

“I’ve got a lot of ideas. Right now I am working on a mockumentary, that I am really excited about and on top of that I am a part of a sketch comedy troupe that I help formed called Tea Time For Felines, which is real fun. Down the road I just want to make movies and maybe act a little you never know what will happen.” Said Canto.

For those who are interested in a career in filmmaking, Canto has one piece of advice. “Just make movies, it’s seriously the best way to get good at it.”


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