TIFF’s impact on young filmmakers TIFF’s impact on young filmmakers
Toronto International Film Festival has ended its 47th edition after 11 days of featuring Canadian and international films. The festival was held in Toronto’s... TIFF’s impact on young filmmakers

Toronto International Film Festival has ended its 47th edition after 11 days of featuring Canadian and international films. The festival was held in Toronto’s media and entertainment district from Sept. 8 to Sept. 18.

Austin Mazumder-Roberts is a French Canadian filmmaker and a graduate of the Toronto Film School. He has been in the film industry for seven years now with his first feature film Peppergrass in 2020 which premiered at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival. He has been collecting movies since the age of 10 and has over 2,000 movie collections, including TV shows.

“I don’t pay an incredible amount of attention to the awards. Maybe the people’s choice I tried to kind of keep up with but overall, I don’t really look at the awards because I feel like it’s kind of, it’s somewhat like the Oscars where the fact that you made it to the Oscars is kind of the more important part than you winning the award,” he says.

Mazumder-Roberts says he tends to focus on Midnight Madness in the previous years. Midnight Madness is a program where horror and mystery/thriller movies were shown at midnight. His biggest regret he said was being unable to attend the festival prior to a commitment.

One of the awards that have been on the lookout by everyone was the People’s Choice Award. The award was won by The Fablemans by Steven Spielberg and the People’s Choice Documentary Award was won by Black Ice by Hubert Davis. The Midnight Madness award was won by Weird: The Al Yankovic Story by Eric Appel.

Mazumder-Roberts is currently collaborating with TIFF features director, Sean Garrity and actor, Jonas Chernick on a feature film. He says he was “very interested” when they found him.

“I know that not everything that goes to TIFF is phenomenal. Not everything that goes to every film festival is phenomenal but if you go to one, you have some talent there and also you have some recognizability, people know your name. Funnily enough, when I looked up their names, I knew who they were,” he says.

He says he was “almost already sold” from the moment he knew who they were since they were going to TIFF. He says he’s “very, very happy” that he was in this project with them.

TIFF presented the 2022 TIFF Tribute Awards which recognize contributors for their talents. The Ebert Director Award was awarded to Sam Mendes who worked as the writer, producer and director of Empire of Light. The TIFF Variety Artisan Award’s recipient is Hildur Guðnadóttir for her work in Women Talking, meanwhile, the TIFF Emerging Talent Award’s recipient is Sally El Hosaini for directing The Swimmers. Brendan Fraser is the recipient of IMDBPro’s Tribute Award for performance due to his role in The Whale and Michelle Yeoh is the recipient of BVLGARI’s Share her Journey Groundbreaker Award for her performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Then Buffy Sainte-Marie is the recipient of the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media.

Milena “Mila” Pogrebnaya is a third-year film and media production student from the Humber College Lakeshore campus who says she chose her program at the last second.

“I legit thought Don’t Worry, Darling is gonna premiere at TIFF. And I was, okay, I’m gonna watch it but, you know, you learn as you go, so I didn’t worry much and when you attend, they gave me like little schedules and the first day I looked at the movies. I didn’t know any of the names, literally any of the names and I was like, well, that’s sad, I know nothing about TIFF,” Pogrebnaya says.

She says that her parents initially wanted her to study business but when she was preparing for it, she felt that everything was wrong. She looked into acting and learned that she can be a filmmaker and pursue acting which urged her to study in the program as she wanted to be a leader and act as well.

Last summer, she and her friends joined the 48-Hour Film Challenge which was her first time directing a short film. Her filming crew consisted of people she knew, meanwhile, her actors were people she found on Instagram.

“Most of the time, if you have your movie screen on major festivals, it means a lot to you as a filmmaker because it shows you that, first of all, you made a good movie, and then it looks good on your resume. So to me as far as like to be a part of the shortcut program and the short films, if I get to do like my feature, and then if it goes to TIFF that’d be like a goal to me as well,” she says.

There were other prizes at the festival as well such as the Platform Prize with an award of C$20,000 given to the best film in the program which was received by Riceboy Sleeps which was written and directed by Anthony Shim. Meanwhile, the Shawn Mendes Changemaker Award with a C$10,000 prize money was awarded to Something You Said Last Night directed by Luis De Filippis.

Pogrebnaya says she is currently focusing on school-related projects only as they are expected to do a short film by the end of the semester. However, she shared that the actress from the 48-hour film challenge asked the same team to do a movie with them as she has a script ready. She wanted to try producing the film this time.

Thalia Nualda