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AMPD Alumni Premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

AMPD Alumni Premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

Movie theatre popcorn

September signals back-to-school for many, but for cinema buffs in Toronto, it marks the beginning of film festival season. The 46th annual Toronto International Film Festival is just around the corner, and the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) is proud to have alumni talent on screen in this year’s Official Selections.

“From Matt Johnson & Matt Miller’s Blackberry in wide theatrical release, Salar Pashtoonar’s Bad Omen receiving a Student Academy Award, countless invitations to the Berlinale, TIFF, HotDocs, and essentially every other film festival around the globe – each recognition of a work by a York graduate from the BFA or MFA program is also an endorsement of the creative collaboration between faculty, staff and students at York University’s production and screenwriting program to nurture creative talent in an inclusive and supportive environment,” shares Manfred Becker, MFA graduate program director in Cinema & Media Arts.

Cinema & Media Arts alumni screenings this year at the festival

Atefeh Khademolreza headshot

Atefeh Khademolreza

Meteor - Directed by Atefeh Khademolreza (MFA 2019)
Canada | 2023 | 10m | Persian

Combining a stunning visual aesthetic and acutely personal reflections, Khademolreza delivers an expression of grief and defiance in the face of the repression suffered by women and the LGBTQ+ community in Iran.

Artistic depiction of a mouth sewn shut

Stunning visuals from 'Meteor' by Atefeh Khademolreza

Chelsea McMullan headshot

Chelsea McMullan

Swan Song - Directed by Chelsea McMullan (MFA 2010), Co-Director of Photography: Tess Girard (BFA 2005)
Canada | 2023 | 100m | English

McMullan's intimate process documentary takes us inside the National Ballet of Canada's 2022 production of Swan Lake, choreographed for the first time by the company's artistic director Karen Kain, who famously debuted in the ballet in 1971.


Poster for Express by Ivan D Ossa. A young man stares ahead with colourful blurred lights around him.

'Express' by Ivan D Ossa

Express - Directed by Ivan D. Ossa (BFA 2021)
Canada | 2023 | 22m | English

In this energetic and perceptive short film by Ossa, a young man who prides himself on his drive and determination makes some tough discoveries as he awaits some big news.

Ivan D. Ossa headshot

Ivan D. Ossa

M. H. Murray headshot

M. H. Murray

I Don't Know Who You Are - Directed by M. H. Murray (BFA 2015)
Canada | 2023 | 103m | English

In this ferocious debut from writer-director Murray and writer-star Mark Clennon, a Toronto musician spends a weekend trying to find the money for HIV-preventive treatment after a sexual assault.


Theatre alumni among this year’s TIFF Rising Stars

Amrit Kaur headshot

Amrit Kaur

Theatre alumni Amrit Kaur (BFA ’15) is among this year’s cohort of TIFF Rising Stars. The Rising Stars program provides exclusive access to professional development, mentorship sessions and industry events for emerging actors.

Kaur is best known for her breakout role on Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble’s HBO Max hit series The Sex Lives of College Girls, and her performance has been praised by critics like the Chicago Sun Times’ Richard Roeper as “funny,” “clever” and “captivating.”

smiling person with short grey hair, round black framed classes, blue patterned dress shirt and dark blue sportcoat

Dean Sarah Bay-Cheng

“There is nothing more gratifying than witnessing the professional success of our graduates. We know that degrees in the performing arts lead to career success in film, television and a range of other media. It’s great to see Amrit’s success across international screens and to celebrate her recognition by TIFF,” shared AMPD Dean Sarah Bay-Cheng.

Kaur appears at TIFF this year in The Queen of My Dreams, directed by Fawzia Mirza, as Azra, a queer Muslim grad student travelling back to her ancestral home in Pakistan. Set in 1999, she returns home after the sudden death of her father, Hassan (Hamza Haq). Her stern mother, Mariam (Nimra Bucha), demands she play the role of the perfect grieving daughter. But through flashbacks to Mariam’s own life in Karachi 30 years before, the film shows the connections uniting mother and daughter, starting with their shared love of Bollywood star Sharmila Tagore.

Another version of this article was published previously to York University's YFile website

AMPD invites other alum who want to be celebrated as part of TIFF to reach out to through the Faculty’s social media channel on X, formerly known as Twitter: @YorkUAMPD.