By Alisha Dayaram
What started off as an idea for a university project has become an official film festival dedicated to showcasing the work of young, trail-blazing Canadian filmmakers.
Five creative industry students are changing up conventional film festivals—with the GenZed FilmFestival. GenZed is a student run non-profit that focuses on supporting young filmmakers in Canada.
During the festival, GenZed aims to give exposure and critique allowing filmmakers to build experience and prepare to work in the industry.
After a successful inaugural year, GenZed Film Fest is preparing for their second festival on March 13 at The Globe and Mail Centre.
“There are [so many] other talented filmmakers, who may end up [working together in the future]”
The Eye spoke to executives of the GenZed festival, including director Erina Penkovsky, sponsor-ship & funding vice president Anna Lomonosova and communications manager Ariadne Dunn.
All in their final year of Ryerson’s creative industries program, the team realized the gap in the industry for emerging artists lies in . GenZed wants to create an accessible event, where one’s dis-ability, gender and ethnicity are not only embraced, filmmakers stories are encouraged and highlighted at the festival.
This isn’t the first time Ryerson students have branched out of traditional film festivals. The Muslim International Film Festival, started by a Ryerson alumni Hirra Farooqi, hopes to have the same impact as GenZed, creating a platform forMuslim filmmakers specifically.
Unlike the Ryerson University Film Festival (RUFF) that caters specifically to showcase the works of fourth-year film students, GenZed allows students from universities across Toronto to submit.
“There are [so many] other talented filmmakers, who may end up [working together in the future.]” Penkovsky also said GenZed will give filmmakers a platform to showcase their work, whether applicants are videographers, photographers and even just hobbyists.
“With audience and networking opportunities, this may be the push students have been looking for.”
“…seeing York students talking to Ryerson students and others exchanging ideas, we could see our vision really come alive”
Last year on April 6, the event took place at The Catalyst at Ryerson’s Rogers Communication Center (RCC), reaching over 100 guests.
“It was beautiful seeing the energy in the room, seeing York students talking to Ryerson students and others exchanging ideas, we could see our vision really come alive,” said Penkovsky.
So far, they have received over 150 submissions for their upcoming festival. Each member of their team collaborates to select which 10-12 films will be showcased.
“Some of us have experience in acting, producing, screenwriting, different aspects of the film industry to help with the decision,”said Dunn.
Submission for this year’s festival are now closed.