Star independent filmmaker Kevin Smith will be spending a lot more time in Vancouver in the coming year.
Smith has been named creative ambassador for the Vancouver Film School (VFS) for 2020, which will see him making a number of appearances at the school and helping set up a new scholarship.
Smith completed four months of an eight-month VFS program, where he met creative partners Scott Mosier and Dave Klein, prior to his breakout 1994 film Clerks.
“Vancouver Film School was the first step on the road to making Clerks,” said Smith in a statement.
“In the hallowed halls of VFS, I not only learned the basics of my craft — I also met other like-minded dreamers who would go on to help me tell my stories for the rest of my life.”
Smith hasn’t always been as effusive about the school. In a now-archived 2009 interview with Film School Rejects, he complained the program wasn’t being hands-on enough and wouldn’t have let him fully produce his own film.
In a later interview with Vice, Smith said dropping out of the school was a matter of getting his tuition back to help fund Clerks.
Today, Smith has nothing but good things to say about VFS.
“I’m proud and humbled to be named a Creative Ambassador for my alma mater, and I look forward to sharing what little I know with the next generation of VFS artists,” he said.
Back in 2018, when announcing he was partnering with the school and chipping in significant funding for new scholarships, Smith said his breakout film “never could have happened” without the school.
In his role as creative ambassador, Smith will make multiple campus appearances, including a “Storyteller’s Studio AMA (ask me anything)” event.
The school says he will also be taking the lead on creating a new scholarship program for would-be filmmakers.
Since his time at VFS, Smith has maintained an ongoing Vancouver connection, and even gave the Vancouver Canucks a cheeky nod in his 1995 film Mallrats.
A noted comic book fan, Smith has also visited the city several times to direct episodes of CW TV shows The Flash and Supergirl.
In 2018, he made a high-profile appearance in Vancouver as a part of a successful campaign to crowdfund the purchase of the single-screen Rio Theatre to protect it from potential future development.