Willow Cove is an 18-acre 3-season RV park in Prince Edward County with 850ft of shoreline on Wellers Bay and sunsets that will take your breath away. It was a pleasure to capture the property and lifestyle for the rebranding of this impressive property. They still have a few park models on the water for under $200,000 left if you’re looking for a sweet repose from the city. Visit https://www.willow-cove.ca/ for more information. xo
I know. I know. It’s already January 8th! It has been a whirlwind holiday and New Year! I was on a deadline to finish my most recent directorial foray; an acid barbie music video for my friends in Mexico City who did ‘Pachanga.’ Look out for that video in the post to follow and take it as my excuse for the tardiness of my year-end wrap-up. 2019 was full of abundance on all fronts! And extremely busy. So let’s get to it. My top ten professional highlights of 2019:
Now, this was my #1 highlight last year in anticipation of publishing this book much earlier than October 2019. As it turns out, getting a book out into the world is a long and arduous process. I worked with the wonderful people at Bookart in Montreal and we brought the book to life. The final product ended up being 11″ by 16.5″ aka HUGE with 90 silk pages wrapped in a paperback cover. The book features the full photo series of The Goddess Array each accompanied by a sonnet detailing the myth of each Greek goddess. There is a perforated tear-out print of Nike Goddess of Victory in every copy numbered and signed in a very limited edition of 62. I am so pleased with the result. The presale saw half of the books go and the remaining half will be for sale at a proper book launch early February in Toronto. Keep an eye on this space for your invitation! The book is available for purchase at the following link as well: https://jennifertoole.com/Shop-2
2. Acceptance into the International Cinematographers Guild
The application process is long and the interview was stressful. I was sure I had bombed it when I got a call one day in April from the coordinator offering me acceptance! Then she said, “Are you available today?” And all of a sudden I was on the set of Titans! I worked on three big shows in 2019 which I will tell you about below. I have been a creative freelancer my entire working life and now, with a union behind me, I feel a new sense of support and security. It is blissful.
3. Suits: The Final Season
I guess I can spill the beans now that it’s all over Netflix. Mike comes back! 🙂 Working on the camera team of Suits was an incredible challenge for me as it was my first big show stint. I had a real learning curve to overcome. It was also my first foray into the lengthy hours film people work. 14 hour days are considered “not bad.” I was curious if I could muster the stamina and I did. It was a joy to work with Katherine Heigl, Gabriel Macht, Sarah Rafferty, Amanda Schull and Dule Hill. They are all seasoned pros and made the work easy. Rick Hoffman, however, is such a delight to be around and had me and the rest of the crew in stitches laughing all the time, which is the best medicine. He made the days shorter, that angel.
4. Tiny Pretty Things: Season 1
“Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed series featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.” – Google Reads
This series is going to be FIRE! I can’t talk about it as it isn’t out until Autumn of 2020, but be sure to watch it on Netflix when it does come out. The scandal! The drama! The dancing! I’m excited to watch. The Tiny Pretty Things set was a dream to work on and the camera team became my family for a couple of months. It was an experience I will never forget. Here’s a pic of me slating:
5. Good Witch: Season 6
Now, I’m not a big fan of the show or the Hallmark channel in general, but it is the top rated station in the U.S.A. so millions of people love and appreciate it. Personal opinions aside, this show was a joy to work on. It’s a well-oiled machine being in its sixth season and the camera team members were relaxed and eager to teach, which was awesome. As my third show of 2019 it was eye-opening to witness and compare the wide variety of styles of lighting and shooting from three different DOPs. As I watch, I learn and soak it all up like a sponge.
6. Blenders Pride Fashion Tour
I got the awesome opportunity to work with the elegant and hilarious Priyanka Chopra on this Blenders Pride commercial last winter. It was shot by the legendary DOP Robert Richardson, who’s CV includes all your favourite films like both Kill Bills, Platoon, The Doors, Natural Born Killers, JFK, Aviator, Inglorious Bastards, Casino, Django Unchained, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood etc. If you don’t know of him look up his catalogue and be entertained for days. It was quite the experience hanging out with Richardson for the week. He is one of Hollywood’s elite. If you buy me a glass of wine I’ll tell you the whole story. 🙂 Amber Fairlie of The Manor Salon in Toronto came through in a hair emergency and saved the day. Many thanks to P.M. Lisa Ericsson for giving me this opportunity. It was a blast! xo
7. Vogue Italia
The fashion bible published two of my submissions in 2019 to PhotoVogue.
The first photo features jewellery by Mindham Jewellers on model Teesh. It’s called “Still Life w. Canary Diamonds” and was styled by Asia Vickovic.
The second image is a black and white 35mm still of my little brother River Rae and his snake at an abandoned women’s penitentiary in Davie, Florida.
8. Poppies to Remember
To commemorate Remembrance Day, the team at The Manor Salon put together a beautiful shoot featuring gorgeous headpieces by Fresh Floral Creations with an emphasis on the poppy. The photos turned out to be quite regal as the models balanced their enormous crowns while teetering on the side of a highrise. We added some couture into the mix and got some powerful photos. Take a look:
9. I AM IN THE WORLD AS FREE AND SLENDER AS A DEER ON A PLAIN
I received my first camera credit on the big screen for this sensitive look at the cold, dry experience of coming of age in the era of online dating.
“A young woman (Micaela Robertson) begins to figure out what she does and doesn’t want from the men in her life in this evocative piece from Toronto writer/director Sofia Banzhaf…” – NOW Magazine
After discovering the pleasure a CBD massage candle can bring to aches and pains, I decided to make a bunch so that all my friends could have the same experience. Then I thought I would test my marketing skills with a commercial for the product starring dancer Alison Keery, and much to my suprise, the Goddess Massage Candles infused with CBD were a hit! I sold out and even had them carried in a store on my block. I had to put a stop to the whole thing as my focus is on filmmaking not candle making, although now I have something to fall back on if times get tough. 🙂 Here’s the ad campaign:
I am currently developing my first dramatic short. I wrote the script when I was 20-years-old and thought I would bring it to life on screen. It is a dark, abstract exploration of a young woman’s sexual perversions and their roots in her childhood trauma. Should be uplifting! I am excited to share it with you.
Here is a photo of me for good measure, taken after the Good Witch camera wrap dinner a couple of weeks back:
Here’s to an abundant and fabulous 2020! Thanks for reading. xo
I got the awesome opportunity to work with the elegant and hilarious Priyanka Chopra on this Blenders Pride commercial a few months back. It was shot by the legendary DOP Robert Richardson, who’s CV includes all your favourite films like both Kill Bills, Platoon, The Doors, Natural Born Killers, JFK, Aviator, Inglorious Bastards, Casino, Django Unchained etc. If you don’t know of him look up his catalogue and be entertained for days. Amber Fairlie of The Manor Salon in Toronto came through in a hair emergency and saved the day. Many thanks to P.M. Lisa Ericsson for giving me this opportunity. It was a blast! xo
These 6oz 3-in-1 massage candles function as a scented candle, an organic moisturizer, and a relaxing massage oil. Simply light the candle and massage the warm oil directly into skin. Each candle is infused with CBD oil, which works as a muscle relaxant when applied topically, and a carefully selected blend of essential oils that smells divine. I became so obsessed with the delight and pleasure this product was giving me that I decided to make a big batch and offer them up to all of you. It is a sensual and healing Valentine’s Day gift to yourself or a loved one. You can purchase them @ https://jennifertoole.com/Shop-2 . Take a peek at the instructional video and photos below to learn more. xo
Director: Jennifer Toole // Model: Alison Keery // Sound: DJ Fathom
Not to be totally cliche here, but looking back on 2018 has me feeling so much gratitude that I get to do what I love and make money doing it. I am so grateful to be free and able to express myself creatively. It is not lost on me what a privilege this is. That being said, here is a little bit of what I got up to professionally this past year. My top ten highlights of 2018:
A book! The entire Goddess Array on your coffee table! It’s a dream come true. I have spent the past four years shooting these contemporary incantations of ancient Greek goddesses in the nude with their totems of power in spectacular locations all over the world. Now that the series is complete it will be commemorated in print on coated silk paper tucked into an embossed linen hardcover of the highest quality. I have penned a sonnet detailing the frequency and history of each goddess to be displayed beside each photo. It’s an art book of the highest quality, visually scintillating, well-researched, and curious to read. Each goddess is an archetype that puts a face onto one of the innumerable moods a woman can embody every day. The book will run a limited edition of 100 signed copies. They are available at a discounted rate for preorder now on jennifertoole.com. Preorder yours now to ensure you get one! Here are a few shots taken behind the scenes on location for The Goddess Array in 2018:
The ‘Pachanga’ video is a socially conscious acid trip that leaves you feeling turned on and grossed out at the same time. The artists, based in Mexico City, pushed me over the limits of my editing skills and into a zone I had never been in before, which is always at the same time scary and thrilling. It was an evolutionary learning experience to direct the talent and create visuals that gave life to this epic song. I am forever grateful to my amazing team who came out to support me on this crazy music video adventure and to the artists for trusting me with their music.
DIRECTOR: Jennifer Toole // MUA: Elena Pacienza // HAIR: Amber Fairlie @ The Manor Salon // STYLING: Megan Ann Wilson // CHOREO: Jenny-Anne McCowan // TALENT: Ximena, Nohemie Renaud, Meredith Jay, Sarah Toole
3) In Full Bloom: A Dance Film
This film came to life in the most organic creative process with my dear friend, constant muse, and expert modern dance choreographer, Jenny-Anne McCowan. Last winter, on a whim, Jenny-Anne offered to choreograph and teach me a solo dance piece. We began to train in the ice cold studio, warming up our muscles with ballet movements and efforts at completing the splits before we would tackle the choreography. I’ve included a very embarrassing but amazing video of one of our sessions below. I suggested we turn the choreography into a video and “In Full Bloom” is the result. Every time I work with Jenny-Anne we make something of beauty and heal a bit in the process. xo
…& the process…
SOUNDTRACK: DIE ANTWOORD – FOK JULLE NAAIERS (GOD’S WICKED JUNGLE REMIX) (Instrumental)
4) Group Shows
I was asked to show works in four group shows this year, which was an honor. “Hey Y’All” at Only One Gallery, “Portraits Exhibition” at Blank Wall Gallery in Athens, Greece, “Hear Here: intersections,” and “The Soulfood Toronto” respectively.
We’ve carved out an art nook in Bloordale Village. A little slice of storefront on Bloor West just east of Ossington is now up and running as the tiniest art gallery in Toronto curated by myself and my partner, David Mussio. The space is currently home to an eclectic group show of works by our nearest and dearest artist friends. Follow me @jentoole on Instagram to get updates and receive calls for submissions. xo
6) Sheridan Camera Course
In my first foray back to school in many years, and my first formal education in anything camera-related ever, I completed Sheridan’s two-week long-format camera assistant course and it was worth every penny. We got to play with the best equipment in the industry, had a day trip to the set of Suits, got lessons from Hollywood veterans (including one of our teachers who pulled focus on Legend of the Fall), and gained the knowledge needed to be an excellent member of any camera team making a feature film or TV series. I’m taking the steps to be upgraded into the International Cinematographers Union and this course was a great addition to my application. Wish me luck!
Last January I met up with Demi and she told me about her dream to create a safe space online where mothers could share their stories with one another free from any artifice or filters. A new mum herself, Demi found her experience to be worsened by the pressures social media put on her to be a “perfect mother.” We got together and did a little photoshoot and video shoot and The Motherland Collective was born. A year later the movement has grown into a real community providing safe spaces for parents/mothers in the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community including birth services, workshops and advocacy. Demi is a doula herself and obviously a goddess of the highest order. Check out www.motherlandcollective.com for more of her goodness.
8) Commercial Work
My bread and butter! It was another busy year in the commercial world in Toronto thankfully and I cut my chops further in the production and camera departments on set. TIFF was especially exciting this year with a couple of star-studded shoots for Vanity Fair featuring Samira Wiley (Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black) and Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give), both incredible women to meet. We shot an iPhone commercial starring Kevin Bacon and Simon Bird, which was also a blast. And the list goes on. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to enter into the at times elusive world of film and I’m so excited to move into long format this year! Much thanks yet again and always to Miss Lisa Ericsson, my P.M. angel. Here’s to a busy 2019!
I am embarking upon my fourth year working with Jessica Viola of Viola Gardens, an ecological landscape design firm in L.A., running their socials and website. The brand is a dream for me to step into twice weekly. It’s a world of growth, permaculture, sustainability, design, health, and inspirations. Follow us on Instagram @violagardens to see the journey. We have big things planned for 2019!
10) Event Photography
I love shooting events. Everyone is dressed to impress and usually receptive to me and my pesky camera asking for a photo. The collection of photos the end of the night tells the whole story from start to finish and memories are made. It’s the best. I shot mostly private events this year and am sadly not allowed to share the photos, but here are a few from The Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Toronto exhibit, which is always a special time.
2018 was awesome. Here’s to a thrilling year ahead! Thanks for reading. xo
Bombshell Canadian coloratura soprano Ambur Braid, one of the great talents in her field, is about to begin her first season as an ensemble member of the Frankfurt Opera as Queen of the Night. We captured her portrait, published in Oper Frankfurt, in a window-lined east-end Toronto studio donated by the generous Jenny Burton, and ran the gamut of emotions from silly to stunning to sensational. You can see more of our shoot and read about Ambur’s many accolades on http://amburbraid.com/home/. xo
I was a P.A. on this this one & it turned out so well! We scanned Toronto with a lidar scanner to create a 3D model of the city to animate the fibres through. The helicopter shots turned out great as well. According to Bell, fibre internet works at the speed of light. Check it out: