Still from the short film Shahzad

Sheridan grads premiere their films at TIFF

Sep 8, 2016

Sheridan’s alumni and film industry leaders are in the spotlight this week at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), celebrating film premieres and sharing their cutting-edge knowledge.

Two films directed by alumni will premiere, including India in a Day. Directed by Richie Mehta and executive produced by Ridley Scott, the documentary is a new form of non-fiction filmmaking.  On Oct. 10, 2015, millions of people used their smartphones and cameras to record their lives. They uploaded the footage to a website, and Mehta, a graduate of the Advanced Television and Film program, edited the different perspectives into a portrait of the country that includes stories from all walks of life.

Mehta says he wanted to make the film because it was a chance to extend what he began years ago at Sheridan: exploring his cultural heritage through film. “What I've come to learn now, after years, is that if we can understand what's happening in India, we'll have a better understanding of what's happening in the world, and - quite simply - of humanity,” he says. “When too many people are squeezed into a place with too few resources, and they get along like India does, it's extraordinary.” 

India in a Day will be screened at TIFF on Sept. 9 at 6 p.m., Sept. 11 at 9:15 p.m. and Sept. 16 at 3:45 p.m. Find out more about the film.

Alumna Haya Waseem’s short film also delves into the emotion and struggles of everyday life. Shahzad tells the story of a young boy and his father moving from Pakistan to Canada. Their relationship is tested as they learn to navigate a new country and new culture. The 11-minute film was created almost entirely by Sheridan alumni. Waseem, a 2012 graduate in media arts (now the Bachelor of Film and Television), is the director, and it’s produced by fellow media arts grad Prionnsias Murphy. In all, nearly a dozen Sheridan grads lent their skills to the film.

Shahzad will be screened on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sept. 16 at TIFF.  Read more about the film

Off screen, members of Sheridan’s Screen Industries Research and Training (SIRT) Centre will take part in panel discussions examining how Virtual Reality will change how filmmakers tell stories. On Sept. 15, SIRT’s director John Helliker will join a discussion exploring how production teams can build virtual reality projects. Later that day, David Dexter, SIRT’s operations and business development lead, is part of a conversation examining how virtual reality is changing the business landscape.

Sheridan’s presence at TIFF is just the latest example showcasing the college’s excellence in filmmaking. Last year, recent animation graduates Melody Wang and Taha Neyestani each directed films that earned a nod on TIFF’s list of Top Ten Student Films of 2015.

Maija Saari, Associate Dean for Sheridan’s Department of Film, Television and Journalism says Sheridan’s accomplishments at TIFF are a testament to the skills and knowledge students gain at the college. “We’re known for our hands-on, real world experiences. Sheridan gives students the confidence to become top writers, directors, producers and editors in Canada and beyond. We are so proud of all our alumni’s accomplishments.”

Pictured top right: Still from the short film Shahzad provided by Haya Waseem.

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