This September, seven Millersville students traveled with Dr. Jill Craven to Toronto to join film industry professionals at the Toronto International Film Festival, which ran September 7-17th.
The group arrived in Toronto on the 8th, and they immediately started to view films and take in the film culture that surrounded them. Overall, they viewed 12-13 features plus shorts, including
- Kodachrome, with director Mark Raso and stars Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, and Elizabeth Olsen
- Verónica, with director Paco Plaza and 16-year-old star Sandra Escacena
- I, Tonya with director Craig Gillespie and stars Margot Robbie and Allison Janney
- I Love You, Daddy with director Louis CK
- Gala/Premiere for Mary Shelley with director Haifaa Al-Mansour and star Elle Fanning
- The Premiere for Brad’s Status, with director Mike White, Ben Stiller, and cast
- Midnight Madness film Mom and Dad, with director Brian Taylor, and Nick Cage with Selma Blair
- Suburbicon with director George Clooney
- Woman Walks Ahead with director Susanna White and starJessica Chastain
- Submergence, with director Wim Wenders
- Short Cuts with discussions by various directors
- mother! with director Darren Aronofsky
- Premiere of 3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri with director Martin McDonagh and stars Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell
- Premiere of The Shape of Water with director Guillermo del Toro, and stars Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer
Each film screening had a discussion following where the directors and cast took questions from an interviewer and audience members. The Millersville group found Aronofsky’s insights about mother! so fascinating that they are looking forward to seeing the film again when it opens this weekend. Overall, the group found mother!, 3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri, and I, Tonya the most intriguing films of the festival.
In addition to the film screenings, the group attended an industry session featuring 3 female film directors, including Angela Robinson and Brie Larson, both of whom had films at the festival. English major Rashna Yousef posed a great question to the directors, getting an extended personal response. See Rashna’s question to Brie Larson and the directors’ responses on YouTube.
TIFF Higher Education’s Jessica Lam also gave the group a tour of TIFF Bell Lightbox and the Film Reference Library, which is available to all film researchers free of charge.
On the way back, the group stopped at Niagara Falls to take in one of the world’s most impressive natural wonders. In addition, they checked out the kitschy town.
Overall, the trip was tremendous learning experience. In addition to expanding our travel experience into neighboring Canada, the group negotiated a complex festival and even got to ask questions of directors like Darren Aronofsky and Brie Larson.
Students who attended included senior and Film Club member Hunter Barrick, future English teacher Zach Richardson, Kayla Rishell, Autumn Kandrick, senior Jordan Ettien, English major Rashna Yousaf, and Film Club president Spencer Goodrich. Trips leaders were Dr. Jill Craven, Film Professor and Chair of English, and Kevin Ghaffari, SUNY Binghamton Fly by Night and Student Association Film Series programmer.