VFS Film Production Students work alongside Ryan Reynolds’ Maximum Effort for SickKids ad

By VFS, on January 3, 2024

Last month, we got into the holiday spirit with the help of a feel-good (and hilarious) commercial for a good cause. A lucky group of students from our Film Production program had the chance to work with Maximum Effort to shoot part of their ad for SickKids right here at VFS. The ad, which premiered last Monday, December 4, also features a surprise special guest – Grammy Award-winning singer MICHAEL BUBLÉ!


In the commercial Ryan Reynolds, with his trademark comic wit, comments on the dual nature of children – equal parts “gifts from heaven” and, well… “pricks.” But of course, Ryan brings the message back to the importance of supporting the SickKids organization, so that their patients have a chance to be real kids. The commercial also features a guest appearance from Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews (much to one child’s dismay) and, of course, Mr. Bublé.

You can watch the full commercial here:


Maximum Effort is a film production company and digital marketing agency founded by Canada’s favourite actor, Ryan Reynolds. They’ve been a production company for many of Ryan’s films including Deadpool 2, Free Guy, and The Adam Project, and created ads for Aviation Gin, Mint Mobile, Match.com, and SickKids. Ryan has made his ugly holiday sweater an annual tradition in support of SickKids (and frankly a gift to all adults as well).

Besides getting the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet Canadian singer (and Christmas icon) Michael Bublé, our Film Production students had the opportunity to receive valuable first-hand experience working on an actual industry set. The director of this shoot, Bryan Rowland – also a director on Reynolds Welcome to Wrexham series on FX – oversaw the students as they operated cameras and followed focus stations. This is the industry experience VFS strives to offer all students in our programs, as it provides real-world experience – plus a lot of fun!

Michael Bublé on set filming a commercial for SickKids at Vancouver Film School.

About the experience, Jason Curtis, Producer at Maximum Effort commented: “Film production is the art of risk management. Our experience filming with a crew made up of VFS students proved itself to be anything but risky. I owe this to the incredibly hands-on nature of the VFS curriculum. This practical approach is preparing the next generation of film crews the right way. The VFS staff, students, and facilities were best in class. I would not hesitate to partner with the school again in the future.”

Jon Bell, VFS’s Managing Director said: “We are so pleased that VFS was able to join forces with Maximum Effort to create a commercial for such an important cause. This collaboration ultimately demonstrates that not only the film industry, but the creative industries as a whole can rely on Vancouver Film School for its resources, facilities, and most importantly its students to get the job done – whatever the job may be.” 

VFS’s Head of Film Production, Bob Woolsey also commented: “To say this was an incredible opportunity for our film students is an understatement. At VFS, we strive to create opportunities for out students to gain real industry experience while they’re in school, and this commercial could not have been a better way for them to get their hands dirty on an actual set.”

VFS Film Production students working on the set of the SickKids commercial.

We are thrilled Maximum Effort chose VFS’s studio to film this commercial for such a powerful organization. The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is not only a hospital, but the largest centre dedicated to improving children’s health in the country. Along with ongoing medical research, they provide support services for patients and families in need.

Back to THE BLOG homepage

Chat With Us

International Chat:
Asia | Others