By Stephanie Bomba
After almost 20 years, the TARA Awards are moving into the 21st century with a redesigned award, a new venue and broadcasts on both television and the Internet.
“We’ve taken it up to a new level,” said Jennifer Howe, a fourth-year RTA student and producer of this year’s TARAs. “We are trying to make the TARAs better known in the industry and make it more prestigious. We are trying to celebrate the achievements of the students.
“We’re all pretty excited about it,” Howe says, adding that more than 100 people are involved with the show.
“The goal is to turn out a really good show and to make the students feel really good. This is their show.”
The TARAs were started in 1979 by the School of RTA to celebrate the students’ achievements over the course of the year.
The theme of this year’s TARAs is “Mind, Soul, Hands, Passion.”
“It’s what we put in our school projects,” explains Howe. “It’s an artistic representation of our hard work.”
There are always celebrity presenters and judges at the TARA Awards. Past judges and presenters have included Peter Mansbridge, Sandi Rinaldo, Carla Collins and Humble and Fred of Radio Station 102.1 the Edge.
This year, some of the presenters and judges include the Dean of Applied Arts at Ryerson, Robert Fisher from Global News, Claude Lajeunesse and Rob Christie from Mix 99.9.
“It’s very reflective of the industry,” Howe says of the ceremony, referring to the Oscars and the Gemini Awards.
“They are being evaluated by actual producers, editors and industry people. This is the students’ first chance to get that.”
The names of this year’s nominees will not be made public until the night of the ceremony.
However, those who have been nominated will be receiving a phone call the Monday before the ceremony.
Howe says that they want to make sure the nominees attend the ceremony.
Several invitations have been sent out to those already in the industry. Howe explains this as an opportunity for RTA students to make possible job contacts.
“We’re hoping to facilitate some conversations,” she says. “If one person gets a job, it’s worth it.”
In the past, the TARAs have been held at venues such as the Ryerson Theatre and Glenn Gould Studios in the CBC building. This year is will be held at the Guvernment.