Meet the TIFF
Next Wave

TIFF Next Wave 2013: Back Row L-R: Ekaterina “Kate” Prigaro, Emma Seligman, Nasma Ahmed, Nina Samanian, Will Monahan, Julia Galle, Torin Craig; Front Row L-R: Maiesha Zarin, Samah Ali, Sam Hughes, Corina Bizim (not pictured Matilda Davidson) Copyright (c) 2013 Dan Truong

This weekend marks the start of the second annual TIFF Next Wave Festival designed to bring some of the best teen oriented programming to area high schoolers (and those with a genuine interest in film or who remember what it was like being young, for that matter).

The films selected for the TIFF Next Wave Festival have been chosen by a committee of 12 area youths aged 15-18 from various art institutes, and public and private schools from across the GTA. These teens have sufficiently impressed the people at TIFF by showing a genuine interest in all aspects of filmmaking from acting and directing to business and cultural events planning.

With the festival kicking off this Friday with the popular Battle of the Scores and running through Sunday with a total of fifteen films for – and in some cases by – teens screening (and a John Hughes marathon on Saturday afternoon and evening), we asked several of the Next Wave committee members on their thoughts about the festival and their picks for what you absolutely shouldn’t miss at any age. You might recognize them from yesterday’s music post, but they are back again today to impart some more wisdom on teens and old dorks alike.

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Emma Seligman, 17 years old

What made you love movies?

I grew up in a family of film fanatics so I never questioned liking movies but TIFF is what made me love movies. Up until my first festival experience at 14 years old, I had only obsessed over Hollywood classics. I continue to revere movies like His Girl Friday and All About Eve to this day, but TIFF opened me up to independent and foreign films I was so unfamiliar with. The festival showed me how film is really universal, and that is what I love about the medium today.

What do you hope teens get out of the Next Wave programme?

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By giving teens an opportunity to see great free films at the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival, I hope they feel encouraged to further their involvement at TIFF and all the wonderful films and opportunities it offers to students.

What is your favourite film from this year’s line up and why?

We have a very wide range of films this year, but I would have to pick Dead Before Dawn 3D. Most importantly, it is hilarious, but it also extremely clever. For a Canadian movie, it’s hard to have a big budget in general, let alone for a horror movie. This is one that uses humor very effectively and special effects sparingly to create something brilliant.

How do you think what you have learned at Next Wave will help you in the future?

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Every aspiring filmmaker has fears about joining the competitive industry, but TIFF Next Wave taught me that film is a strong community in addition to being a strong business. The shared enthusiasm you experience at any TIFF screenings or events really confirms you are entering an industry where there is more support than sabotage or rivalry.

 

Torin Craig16 year old student at Blyth Academy

What made you love movies?

I would have to say that the escapism effect movies have is what made me love them. I would also have to say that I think movies are an excellent way to prove a point, as shown in documentaries and in satirical films. I love that movies can have the power to take you away to a completely different world and immerse you in it for a couple of hours, or that you can be educated in an interesting way that helps to make what you are learning about or trying to prove more real.

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What do you hope teens get out of the TIFF Next Wave programme?

I hope, in addition to having a great time and wanting to come back next year, that teens get a better understanding of the wealth of foreign and lesser known films available to them. Many teens are only really aware of what major films are coming out of Hollywood, and they miss out on some of the most interesting, entertaining, and moving motion pictures out there.

What is your favourite film from this year’s line-up and why?

I would have to say either Family Weekend (which is NOT a family movie by the way) or Dead Before Dawn 3D. Both films are absolutely hilarious and very unique. Family Weekend has some very interesting characters in it, and makes for an excellent viewing experience. The other film, Dead Before Dawn 3D, is an excellent take on the horror genre with its teen archetype characters and their demonic zombie enemies. I find both these films to be refreshingly funny, and would recommend them to anyone going to the festival.

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How do you think what you have learned at Next Wave will help you in the future?

I think that the teamwork skills, organization, and ability to work with film I have learned from my time at Next Wave will help me in many aspects. Firstly, I firmly believe that experience of working with a team will be highly beneficial in the future as I will be able to more effectively work in groups. Also, the process of organizing the festival has given me insight into the process of putting on an event such as a festival. Lastly, I have now gained a greater knowledge of the world of film, and will use this as I continue to enter the arts world.

 

Maiesha Zarin, 16 year old student at RH King Academy

What made you love movies?

I’ve explored a lot of art mediums throughout my life such as singing, acting and dancing but none of them have made me feel as comfortable and easy to connect with the way movies did. They were the easiest way for me to relate to the world around me while exploring and understanding things I never could have imagined coming across. Simply put, I love movies because in the moment, for an hour to two, I am able to be at peace with the world around me and am able to see and show others that nobody is ever alone in anything they experience.

What do you hope teens get out of the TIFF Next Wave Programme?

I really hope teens will get a new found interest and love for discovering independent and foreign films out of the TIFF Next Wave programme. We’ve got such a great lineup of movies that are all gems. They’ve come from all over the world and shed light on issues every teenager has felt at least once in their life whether that is the struggles of social groups, political unrest or just trying to find a place in the world amidst all the chaos. The programme is really a great chance for them to watch and discover these films, meet other teens who love the same things they do and meet industry professionals to get a better glimpse at how the world of film really works and turns in this day and age.

What is your favourite film from this year’s line-up and why?

My favorite film from this year’s lineup is hands down Ghost Graduation. The reason I love this movie so much is because not only is it hilarious but it’s able to use so many classic pop culture references and create a clever, interesting story line at the same time. The film’s ability to use classic yet cheesy music at the perfect moments and the idea of teenage ghosts from the 80s who make amends with a teacher who is labeled as crazy is such a cool plot line to me. I just feel like it was all around perfect and is the reason that I’ve started looking for more Spanish comedies.

How do you think what you have learned at Next Wave will help you in the future?

I don’t doubt for a second that what I’ve learned with my time so far with the TIFF Next Wave committee will help me greatly in the future. I’ve learned so much about the way TIFF really works whether that is with programming or with social media. I’ve gotten such amazing experience working with a large group of people with different tastes and insights and have been given the chance to meet so many new people who have inspired and motivated me. I’ve even discovered what I might like to do in the future through the Next Wave committee which is perhaps work in the line of being a Social Media Consultant. I’ve really been opened up to so many new ideas.

 

Will Monahan, 16 year old student at University of Toronto Schools

What made you love movies?

For me, watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for the first time was what made me love movies (I’m the guy in the Next Wave trailer who says that it was like a life changing experience).  I remember when I was about 10 years old, I saw Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with my two best friends at a sleepover.  I’d seen movies before that, but Ferris Bueller was the first movie I’d ever seen that really drew me in, and made me feel like I was a part of the story.  It was the first time I’d ever watched a movie, and forgotten that I was watching a movie, I was completely immersed in it.  And that’s what I love about movies.  I think that film is the most powerful medium for telling a story because when you watch a movie, you can throw yourself into it, and forget about the real world.

What do you hope teens get from the TIFF Next Wave programme?

I hope that teenagers, including myself, can broaden their taste in film.  High school students have a tendency to go for the big budget, Hollywood films.  I do that too, but there are so many other types of film from all over.  In the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival, we have movies from Ireland, Japan, South Africa, Spain, US, and multiple films from Canada.  I hope that teenagers can come away from the Next Wave film festival (change to festival) with an interest in more than just big Hollywood movies.

What is your favourite film from this year’s line-up and why?

My favourite film playing at the festival this year is 5-25-77.  It’s a movie about a teenage filmmaker living in a small town who becomes obsessed with STAR WARS.  I loved this movie because it’s something really really unique.  As a high school student with big dreams, I was immediately drawn in, because it’s just so relatable.  I think every teenager knows what it’s like to feel really strongly about something, but have nobody understand, or to just not fit in.  It’s also such a great movie because it’s autobiographical: it’s about the director’s experience growing up as an aspiring filmmaker in a small town.

How do you think what you have learned in Next Wave will help you in the future?

I’ve learned lots of valuable skills from being on the TIFF Next Wave committee.  I’ve learned how to chair meetings, how to work with a large group of people, how to work as a part of a large organization, and how to organize large events.  I know that I will have many opportunities to apply these valuable skills later on in life, no matter what field I go into.  I’ve also learned so much about the film industry and what goes on behind the scenes when running a film festival.  Before I came to Next Wave, I’d always wanted to be a filmmaker. Being on the committee has shown me that there are so many other great things that can be done in the film industry, and it has taught me how important film festivals are to the industry.



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