If you’ve watched CTV London News at any time over the past 20 years, chances are you’ve seen Janice Zolf on your screen. She’s an award-winning broadcaster, documentary filmmaker, and storyteller who has covered it all—music, art, dance, theatre, fashion, film—for everyone from TIFF to the Oscars to the Stratford Festival.
Working in traditional media, Janice knew that the future was all about digital—and she wanted to stay ahead of that curve. While considering pursuing an MBA, she heard about the MDEI program on Waterloo’s Stratford campus, and was intrigued. She loved the idea of a program that broke down silos and integrated marketing with communications and design, with a focus on the digital. These factors, along with small class sizes, provided the impetus Janice needed to push her out of her comfort zone and challenge her thinking. She also found that the MDEI could truly enhance skills and open new doors for those students coming to it with some years of work and life experience.
After graduating with the first MDEI class of 2012, she started Janice Zolf Productions, producing marketing videos for businesses. 3 years later she ventured into documentary filmmaking, directing and producing her first film for the big screen, Revealing Marie Saint Pierre. She followed that up with a film she directed on Michael Buble for the National Film Board of Canada. That film was released in June at the 2017 Governor General’s Awards. Her latest film MU, about the spectacular murals of Montreal, will soon appear on Bravo. It is currently touring festivals around the world and will soon screen at the prestigious Asolo Art Film Festival near Venice, Italy. She is now working on her 4th project, a feature length film on Cité Mémoire, the world’s largest multi-media projection. As a filmmaker, she feels the success of her films, are a result of her collaboration with creative production people; an extension of what she learned in the MDEI. In her words, “Working in multicultural teams with fellow students who each brought their expertise to the group was a valuable life lesson I implement every day as a filmmaker.” She also uses the skills she gained in her MDEI marketing studies every day, from social media marketing to positioning her work for an audience.
Without the MDEI, I may never have taken the leap to become a filmmaker.
Janice was particularly impressed by the way in which the program supports students in the kind of risk-taking that is key to entrepreneurship; she claims that “without the MDEI, I may never have taken the leap to become a filmmaker.”