john st. Wants Us to Know that Toronto is ‘More Than Ford’

By Jordan Teicher 

Making a city self-promo is hard enough without having to compete against a crack-smoking homicidal mayor who has become a big-bellied joke of a scandal around the world. Toronto-based john st.’s “More Than Ford” compilation video of all things pleasant in its hometown attempts to do just that for a Canadian city that has been the unfortunate butt of the news for too long. The project comes from a good place, but the execution is typical, and as a result, uninteresting.

I think there’s a way to do this, to help Toronto separate itself from Rob Ford, but doing so would require a more self-aware, confrontational approach. john st. repeatedly puts out quality work, but this spot feels much too clean for the circumstances. Every city has people doing cool gymnastics in parks and drinking coffee. What makes this interesting and specific to Toronto? Where is the voice? It’s out there, but it doesn’t sound like a benign, glossy magazine cover.

Credits and a brief disclaimer after the drug-free jump.

This video is a compilation of some of the things that we love most about our city. Our views do not reflect those of the people and footage featured.

Creatives: Hannah Smit & Marie Richer
Director: Shelley Lewis @ Suneeva (
Cinematographer: Stuart Campbell (
Editor: Stephen Sora @ PosterBoy (
Assistant Editor: Redrik Barbaza
Producers: Mike Hasinoff, Hannah Gill & Kristina Anzlinger
Typography: Jan Avedano

Music: “Run, Run, Run” by Dragonette (

Additional Filmmakers:
Rob Kent (Piece of Mind at the Toronto Fringe):

Kian Marandi, Jad Knayzeh & Christopher Sun (“live from toronto…”):

Chenbin Ma (Here We Go):

Tien Ta (Caribana Parade 2011):

Roll Toronto (Biking Blading and Beaching):

Jon Simonassi & Biz Media (Nuit Blanche Toronto 2012):

Orbit Media (TRANSIT Feat. Arkells “Pulling Punches”):