York’s top young film talent shines at CineSiege 2008

CineSiege 2008, York University’s seventh annual juried film showcase, brings outstanding student productions to Toronto’s Royal Cinema on Oct. 20.

Sharing the silver screen will be five films – short fiction, provocative documentaries and cutting-edge alternative works – selected by four leading lights of the Canadian film and media scene. The winning titles will be announced at the event.

The jurors for this year’s program are Hussain Amarshi, founder and president of Mongrel Media (releases include Academy Award-winners Lives of Others [2007] and The Counterfeiters [2008]); Susan Cole, senior entertainment editor of NOW magazine; video artist Deirdre Logue, development director at Vtape; and Winnipeg indie filmmaker, writer and actor John Paizs (Marker, The Kids in the Hall, Crime Wave), currently director in residence at the Canadian Film Centre.

The jury made their selections from a short list of 22 nominees, chosen from a pool of 198 films produced last season by undergraduate students in York’s Department of Film. In addition to genre winners, recognition is also given to exceptional achievement in specific creative and technical aspects of filmmaking: direction, screenwriting, cinematography, sound and editing.

“The wealth of talent in our program gave the jurors some really tough choices,” said York Department of Film Chair Brenda Longfellow. “The audience at CineSiege can expect an evening of riveting cinema from this new generation of Canadian filmmakers.”

Jurors will be on hand at the screening to introduce the CineSiege picks and explain why they were chosen.

Making the cut at CineSiege is often a harbinger of great things to come. Many York student productions launched at CineSiege have gone on to screenings and honours at festivals around the world.

Such success stories include The School (2003) by Matthew Miller and Ezra Krybus, which has played at more than 25 festivals and picked up awards including second place of 525 entries at the Manhattan Short Film Festival, best Canadian short at the Atlantic Film Festival, and the gold plaque for best student narrative at the Chicago International Film Festival. Hugh Gibson’s Hogtown Blues (2004) screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Palm Springs International Short Film Festival as well as taking home the audience award at the 46th Bilbao Film Festival in Spain. Tess Girard’s Benediction (2005) won a special jury citation at the TIFF Group’s National Student Film Showcase and the National Film Board’s Norman McLaren Award for best overall production at the 36th Canadian Student Film Festival in Montreal. Joyce Wong’s Banana Bruises (2006) was shown at the Hong Kong International Film Video Awards, San Francisco International Asian Film Festival and the closing night gala of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. Jamie Cussen’s Rock Paper Scissors (2007) won Outstanding International Short at the Beijing International Student Short Film & Video Festival and screened as an official selection at the Austin and Atlantic international filmfestivals.

CineSiege is made possible through the support of Cinespace Film Studios. The event runs one night only, Monday, Oct. 20 at 7pm at The Royal, 608 College St., Toronto. Admission is free.

For more information, visit CineSiege 2008 or call ext. 33592.