Beneath a bullet-grey sky on the road to Cherry Beach, two of Toronto’s up-and-coming film professionals pose for their picture. One mugs. He’s clearly an actor. The other studies his phone, worry etched into his brow. He’s the producer.

Meet Phil Carvahlo and Martin Deenen. They recently collaborated on a Jon Murray short film, called Today I Will Tell Her. Phil brought the management skills and Martin starred. The film won the Best Short Film Showcase in the Moving Image Film Festival of 2012. It was the first film on which Murray, Carvahlo, and Deenen collaborated. Funny and endearing and only seven minutes long. Think 500 Days of Summer cut right down to the bone. There are only two characters in the film – Cute Girl and Loser Guy. But there’s arguably a third character – Toronto.


Carvahlo began his career in the film industry in construction. He’s been building creative construction sets and pieces for the last few years. “If you can think of it, we can build it,” like a recent 11-foot razor his team constructed and attached to a zamboni at the World Juniors Hockey Final for Gillette. Transitioning to producing was easy for Carvahlo. “Managing and overseeing people is a skill set that [transcends] genres,” he explained.

Deenen began acting as a child in the well-known Canadian cable TV Bodybreak commercials, starring Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod.

“That ‘stache was iconic,” said Deenen, recalling the thick handlebar moustache Johnson sported throughout the ‘90s era commercials.

Since then, he’s been in a number of Canadian projects, including Streets of Wonderful and A Kind of Wonderful Thing, as well as music videos for Canadian bands like Silver Gun and Spleen. He’s also in a Toronto-based punk/ska band, called Riot Club. And he’s in the process of working with Jon Murray again in 2013. He’d love to one day do a biopic on an epic punk band. In his checked pants and leather coat, he looks like he could fill the role admirably.

While they both travel extensively for work (from Hamilton, Ontario to Los Angeles, California), Carvahlo and Deenen love living in Toronto. They’re homegrown boys and have lived all over the city. Carvahlo calls Parkdale home with his wife, who is also a film producer. Deenen grew up living in between the Beaches (in Toronto) and Florida, where his father owned a business.

Carvahlo loves his bourbon and frequents Baby Huey on the Ossington strip to “get his drink on.” Carvahlo feels that Toronto’s art and dining scene are beginning to get the recognition they deserve. He says he can’t resist a burger from Harbord Room, but is also intrigued by the recent surge in Latin cuisine from La Carnita to Grand Electric. Deenen was quick to add La Revolucion in the Junction to the list.

These are the men of Toronto’s film industry. They’re ambitious, hard-working, and proud of their work (as they should be.)