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By Sarah Matthews

To celebrate its finest, Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts (RTA) students are rolling out the red carpet for the 28th annual TARA Awards.

It’s a “night for students to shine,” displaying their work to the public, producer Leanna Di Benedetto explained. “It gets everyone’s work out into the eyes of the industry.”

The awards, which began in 1979 and stand for “Television and Radio Arts,” are now an annual event for all students in the program, and a final toast to those who are graduating.

“It’s prom at the end of university,” Di Benedetto said. What defines the night is its theme, and this year it’s “RTA takes on Hollywood.”

Organizers are promising a few familiar faces on the red carpet. “We have a number of big names presenting,” explained talent co-ordinator Josh Hellyer, who cited Peter Mansbridge, Jessica Holmes and RTA grad Jay Onrait.

“The TARAs bring the RTA and professional communities together,” Hellyer said. “It gives those in the industry an idea of what to expect.”

The TARAs are also a chance for those in the business to give back to the community, and in particular, to those who are just getting started.

“It’s a chance to help out the people who will become them in the future,” Di Benedetto explained. “We are the broadcasters of the future.”

To qualify for an award, students submit projects eligible for judging throughout March and April.

There are awards for each year in the program, as well as specific awards, such as Best Multimedia Production and Best Editing.

On April 7, five nominees for each category will be announced at Reilly’s Bar and Grill, in conjunction with the release of the program’s CD, The Student Lounge Vol. 2.

It showcases music produced, written and performed by RTA students. Organizers are planning for 350 people to attend the event and the after party at Berkeley Church.

“It’s going to be a night to remember,” said Di Benedetto, who also has videos featuring Ben Mulroney and George Stroumboulopoulos planned. “And a lot of laughs will be shared.”

Tickets are available in The RRC Atrium until April 11, $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

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