University of Toronto

Innis Alumni & Friends

Sharon Lewis

Class of 1989 – BA, Innis

Sharon Lewis’s has had incredible success as an award winning director, actor, producer and writer in tv/film and digital platforms. Sharon is the first woman of color in Canada to host a national prime time talk show, CBC’s counterSpin. She is a Leo and Gemini nominated television host for ZeD an interactive television and web CBC show. Sharon has directed over 200 hours of network television and won awards for her sci-fi short film, Chains. Sharon is developing The Burn an urban sci-fi ipad story. Sharon leads the way as a hybrid artist in this ever changing landscape.

What do you find personally rewarding in your career?

I work as an independent filmmaker and as a hired TV director and both are rewarding in different ways. When I work on my own  projects I have full creative control and that’s rewarding in that I can tell the story exactly the way I see it. I can hire the talent in front  of and behind the lens, so I work with people I respect and grow from. When I work as a hired hand as a TV director it’s rewarding in that I am working to a tight deadline and there to execute someone else’s vision which is challenging and inspring. On a personal level my career allows me to grow as an artist/a storyteller and work with a wide range of people who always have something to teach me.

How did your time at the University of Toronto and Innis College influence your career path?

I studied political science at U of T and although I was at Innis College the irony is that I wasn’t involved in the film community at all  but I chose Innis because I think deep down that’s where I wanted to be. Because of my background in political science and the  analytical lens that I acquired during my study at U of T I was able to apply that to my play that got published and as a host for the  political CBC debate show, counterSpin.

What advice would you offer to current Innis College Students?

My advice is the same  advice I give myself on a daily basis, keep going, no means not now, no sometimes push harder, no never means  you’re not good enough.

What is your favorite memory of your time at the University?

I was exactly what I should be in my 20s, angry,  political, revolutionary and my favourite memory at university was as coordinator of the now defunct bastion of feminism, the women’s centre at U of T and storming the president’s office, which of course I would never advocate now!


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