September 9, 2022

Over 25 AMPD community members dazzle at TIFF

Over 25 AMPD community members are premiering pieces at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). From Lina Rodriguez‘s (MFA’ 20) sensitive and subtle return to the screen to Antoine Bourges’ (MFA’ 18) portrait of Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park immigrant community, AMPD alumni, students and faculty members are telling diverse and empowering stories on the main stage.

This year, Mahsa Razavi (MFA’ 15) was selected to participate in the TIFF Filmmaker Lab, a talent development programme, during the Toronto International Film Festival. Only 20 Canadian and international directors receive the honour. They are offered exceptional professional development experience and an introduction to the global filmmaking community.

Shant Joshi (BFA’ 17) was selected to participate in 2o22 TIFF Series Accelerator. The Canada Media Fund presents the program to offer tailored mentorship for emerging Canadian series-creator teams from under-represented communities.

Features

So Much Tenderness by Lina Rodriguez

So Much Tenderness, directed by film alum Lina Rodriguez (MFA’ 20), tells the story of a Colombian environmental lawyer who flees to Canada after the death of her husband. Still, her attempt at a new life is challenged when she discovers that the past is not so quickly left behind. Six AMPD community members worked on the film with Albert Shin (BFA’ 06) and Igor Drljaca (MFA ’10) executive producing. Nikolay Michaylov takes on the Director of Photography role, while Ibrahim Issa (gaffer), Momo Daud (1st assistant camera) and incoming MFA student Felipe Lopez (1st AD and Casting director – Colombia) took on roles behind the scenes.

With sensitivity and subtlety, Colombian-Canadian filmmaker Lina Rodríguez (Mis dos voces, This Time Tomorrow) brings a rare level of nuance to this deeply personal immigrant tale. Sidestepping clichés of nostalgia, trauma, and identity, So Much Tenderness takes a bittersweet look at both the challenges and the possibilities that come with migration.” – Ravi Srinivasan, Senior Manager, Festival Programming (TIFF)

The Swearing Jar by Lindsay MacKay

Lindsay MacKay’s (BFA ‘07) The Swearing Jar talks about issues of love, forgiveness, and self-recrimination as a newly married woman discovers that love can happen regardless of circumstance, invariably complicating what should be straightforward.

Holding it all together is MacKay’s confident direction. Her debut, Wet Bum (TIFF’ 14), was well observed and emotionally intelligent — but The Swearing Jar is a serious leap forward in ambition, scope, and skill, telling a complicated story with charm, humour, and grace.” – Steven Gravestock, Senior Programmer, TIFF

Ever Deadly by Tanya Tagaq and Chelsea McMullan

Chelsea McMullan (BFA ’07, MFA’ 10) co-directed Ever Deadly with Polaris Music Prize and Juno Award-winning artist Tanya Tagaqa. The feature is a thrilling glimpse into the life and sounds of Tagaq. Concert footage of Tagaq’s performances is interspersed with personal moments, like the singer traversing over shale with her kids and discussing how her parents shaped her. 

Soft by Joseph Amenta

MFA student Alex Farrah edited Soft (formally titled Pussy), a matter-of-fact drama that follows three queer Toronto kids whose friendship is tested over one pivotal summer by divided loyalties, differing social situations, and anger issues.

To Kill a Tiger by Nisha Pahuja

Cinema & Media Arts Professor Manfred Becker story-edited Nisha Pahuja’s documentary, To Kill a Tiger, a harrowing, courageous, and universally resonant look at an Indian family’s arduous quest for justice after a teenage girl is brutally assaulted.

Shorts

MFA grad Kurt Walker’s thesis filmI Thought the World of You, turned film festival short. The story is a 21st-century rediscovery of Canadian outsider musician, Lewis, interwoven with gauzy imagined episodes from his life and career. AMPD peers Sandra Ignagni co-produced the film while Jessica Johnson took on the role of co-cinematographer, and Nikolay Michaylov supported additional photography.

MFA student Salar Pashtoonyar brought a work created in AMPD’s Essay Film course to the big screen with Hills and Mountains. Shooting on location in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, Pashtoonyar uses a thought-provoking yet powerfully humane hybrid of documentary and fiction to delve deep into the experience of a woman forced to the edge of her society.

Sophy Romvari (MFA’ 20) created It’s What Each Person Needs with editing support from current AMPD MFA student Kalil Haddad. Portrayed in a series of chats and calls in which she caters to the emotional needs of members of two very different demographics, actor Becca Willow Moss serves as the fascinating centre of director Sophy Romvari’s latest provocative blend of fiction and documentary.