20 for the 20th – Reel Career Profile Series: Kyle Bornais
Kyle Bornais is a Canadian Screen Awards-nominated producer that executive produces, and produces, film and television for the Canadian and International marketplace. He co-founded Farpoint Films and has worked to develop and launch new productions and partnerships for the company ever since. Highlights of past projects include award-winnipeg feature films Room For Rent, Sorry For Your Loss, Menorca, Teen Lust, Mother’s Day and Wild Cherry; television series Kid Diners, Escape Or Die!, The Illegal Eater (2014 Rockie Award for Best Lifestyle Series), The Medicine Line (Best Documentary Series at the 2014 Yorkton Film Festival), House Party; documentaries Bachman, Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap: Every Song Tells A Story, Lost Heroes, The Sheepdogs Have At It, and There’s Something Out There – CTV’s first HD documentary that had a million viewers for its premier broadcast.
I got my start in film when I was 19 as a camera assistant and the worked in that job while completing my degree in film from the UofM. It was actually at school that I met John Barnard who after we graduated in 1999 told me I should start a production company with him. I said sure, why not and Farpoint Films was incorporated on February 1, 2000.
I consider myself to be a producer although I do a lot more Exec Producing now than actual producing. Being a producer is what I wanted to do since I was in school and is why Farpoint started actually, with John Barnard as a director it made sense for him and I to start a company together since we didn’t want to do the same job. I used to love being on set but my job has taken me into my office and to markets far more now. I actually think my career trajectory has been pretty good since I have a pretty good idea of what being crew is like when I budget and green light shows and because of that I think it makes me a better producer than I would be if I didn’t have that experience.
Well, we I first started everything was still shot on film, in fact I left the camera department before the transition to HD even happened and as such I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to work in that department anymore. And then as a producer I have seen the world shrink and the demand for content grow which has been great. What it means for me as a company is that we are selling projects around the world before even talking to Canada and the opportunities have grown substantially with so many more content providers than just the channels that existed when I started.
If you could give yourself advice today to yourself in the past, what would it be?
I try not to look back too much but I guess I would tell myself to relax more and have fun. When I was younger set was the greatest place ever and I would stress about it and it really wasn’t until I got older that I realized we are just making TV and movies. We aren’t saving lives and what we do is entertainment so we should try to enjoy ourselves more while making it.
A huge number of the people that work for Farpoint have gone through programs with FTM and it shows in their professionalism and knowledge. Farpoint has also been lucky enough to have FTM provide training opportunities to crew on our sets and that has been great. We get to bring on more people that we are budgeted for and a number of the crew that stared working with us this way have stayed on. In fact we have two editors who were here on FTM programs that have become full time employees of Farpoint. I’m not sure we could have made that happen without the support of FTM.
Start. Take all the opportunities you have and try different jobs. There are so many different positions within this industry and I have seen many people switch from one to another until they found the role that they enjoyed the most. It’s full of great people who are happy to mentor you so take that opportunity and run with it.
I actually didn’t plan on being in this industry. I was in Europe right after I graduated high school when I was accepted into university. Back then the internet wasn’t a thing so my friends picked my classes at the U of M and they signed me up for Art of Film 1. I was planning on transferring from Arts to Education and becoming an English teacher but the last class in the evening on my very first day of university was that film class and when I walked out of there I told my friend (who had picked it for me) that I wasn’t going to be teacher, I was going to produce movies. So yeah, total fluke that I am here and not enjoying summers off.
Retired. Or close anyway. I have loved my years in this industry but Farpoint is 20 now and I have been in doing this for 23 years, so in another 10 I hope to step away and let a new generation take over. There are some amazing filmmakers in Manitoba that are a good 20 years younger than me and I look forward to seeing where they take this industry. I am actually lucky that a lot of them currently work for Farpoint so maybe they will take over the company and let me walk away.