TIFF fails to support film school

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By Nicole Siena

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has launched and is once again using the Ryerson Theatre as a main venue. Each year moviegoers, actors and filmmakers flock to Ryerson for some of the biggest premieres of the year.

However, some Ryerson film students believe that both the school and the festival could cooperate better to include student talent in the festival.

“I think it’s great that TIFF has gotten this big. Taking the big films from around the world, and have their world premieres here,” said Kristin Waterson, director of the film “Drop”, which played at the Ryerson University Film Festival (RUFF) this past May.

The festival draws international attention to Ryerson, considering some of the hottest films are slated for release or showings in the theatre.

“But, I don’t think that Ryerson has really taken advantage of the fact that TIFF uses our theatre,” said Waterson. “They’re just letting TIFF slide in, and [could be helping] Ryerson students get their names out there. I definitely think they should be doing more to promote our film program.”

Kazik Radwanski, a 2008 Ryerson film school graduate, directed “Green Crayons”, a film being featured in TIFF. “It would be great for Ryerson to integrate student work because it’s such an amazing opportunity,” said Radwanski.

So far Ryerson has given some opportunities for students to showcase their work at TIFF, but Waterson said, “teachers opinions are usually biased.”

Fourth year student films are presented to professors who then narrow the selection down before passing it on to TIFF for the Student Showcase.

“I always found TIFF mysterious. I always wondered what happens during the application process,” said Radwanski, who to date has had three films featured at TIFF.

“The Showcase really put a face to it, it humanized it for me.”

Applying to film festivals with reputations like TIFF can be daunting. After filling out several applications, it can take up to five months to receive a response.

“It’s a complex world all on its own, and it’s important for students to learn about it,” said Radwanski.

“Students should have the opportunity to see films, to be inspired, to learn and to ask questions, because that’s what Ryerson should be about,” said Waterson.

Photo: Nicole Siena

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