Top undergrad film talent set to shine at CineSiege

CineSiege 2009, York University’s eighth annual juried film showcase, brings outstanding student productions to Toronto’s Royal Cinema on Oct. 20.

Sharing the silver screen will be the top picks in each genre – short fiction, provocative documentaries and cutting-edge alternative works – selected by five 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 Scott Miller Berry, executive director of the Images Festival; film and television producer Sandra Cunningham (Fugitive Pieces, "Triple Sensation", Being Julia, Possible Worlds); documentary filmmaker Min Sook Lee (My Toxic Baby, Tiger Spirit, Hogtown: The Politics of Policing); filmmaker, writer and actor Daniel MacIvor (Whole New Thing, Marion Bridge, Past Perfect, Wilby Wonderful); and CBC film critic Jesse Wente.

The jury made their selections from a short list of 22 nominees, chosen from a pool of 173 films produced last season by undergraduate students in York’s Film Department. In addition to genre winners, recognition is also given to exceptional achievement in specific creative and technical crafts of filmmaking such as cinematography, sound and editing.

"CineSiege is an important event in the life of our department each year,” said York Film Department Chair Amnon Buchbinder. "We not only showcase some of the best of the hundreds of films our students make each year, we welcome five very accomplished jurors from the film and television world to recognize these students’ exciting accomplishments."

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

Many York student productions launched at CineSiege have gone on to screenings and honours at festivals around the world. Among tne success stories:

  • The School (2003) by Matthew Miller and Ezra Krybus has played at more than 25 international fests and picked up numerous awards, including 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 and took 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, the San Francisco International Asian American 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 Film & Video Festival and was screened as an official selection at the Austin and Atlantic international filmfests.
  • Pouyan Jafarizadeh Dezfoulian’s Morning Will Come (2008) played at the Los Angeles and Montreal film festivals and won the audience vote for the Vtape Award for Best Student Video at the 2009 Images Festival.


After, still image


Director: Mark Pariselli
Director of Photography: Kirk Holmes
Editor: Jeffrey Zablotny
Sound Design: Matt Greyson

Three teenage boys idolize and fantasize about an older teenage football player until they witness his death.

The Architect, still image

The Architect

Director/Writer: Joshua Demers
Producers: Cameron MacLaren & Joshua Demers
Director of Photography: Sarah Blevins
Editor: Matthew Shoychet
Colourist: Conor Fisher
Sound Editor: Jessica Wu

An aspiring architect has to convince his wife and employer that he is not blind after suffering a workplace accident.

Beneath the Cracks, still image

Beneath the Cracks

Director/Director of Photography/Producer/ Editor/Sound: Danielle Hebscher
Producer: Ian Campbell

Why does an individual need to commit a crime in order to gain access to adequate mental health care?

Broken Wood, still image

Broken Wood

Director: Vu Van (Franco) Nguyen
Writer: Vu Van (Franco) Nguyen
Producer: Janna Jeffrey
Director of Photography: Greg Biskup
Editor: Erich L. Chan
Production Designer: G.P. Fantone
Sound: Joey Christopher

A young boy enters a card game and is forced to grow up.

Chasing, still image


Writer/Director: Alix Eve
Producer: Tess Marie Garneau
Director of Photography: Andrew Hunter
Editor: Jordan Darville
Sound: Shannon Fewster & Josh Ratcliffe

Step into the world of Emily, a messed-up girl who wanders the highway aimlessly.

The Durian Experience, still image

The Durian Experience

Director/Writer/Production Designer: G.P. Fantone
Director of Photography: Elisa L. Iannacone
Art Director: Kayla Cooper
Editors: G.P. Fantone, Vu Van (Franco) Nguyen, Lizz Hodgson
Sound: Joey Christopher

When a sudden discovery surfaces, insecurities set in between two boys that test the strength of their friendship.

Even Flowers Wake Up In The Morning, still image

Even Flowers Wake Up In The Morning

Filmmaker: Tara Khalili 

Only memories stay.

Film Concerto in Hanging Major, still image

Film Concerto in Hanging Major

Director/Writer/Producer/Editor: Meelad Moaphi
Director of Photography: Andrew Hunter
Production Manager: Dylan Hayward
Production Design/Wardrobe: G.P. Fantone
Sound Design: Joe Krumins

A useful guide into the most effective ways.

The Golden Pin, still image

The Golden Pin

Director/Editor: Cuong Ngo
Writer/Associate Producer: Matt Guerin
Executive Producer: Doug Dales
Producer: Igor Szczurko
Art Director/Associate Producer: Tom Yarith Ker
Director of Photography: Stu Marks
Sound Designers: Arthur Zaragoza & Alex Zaragoza
Composer: Mike Freedman

Long, an avid swimmer, finds himself caught between the expectations of his Asian family and the demands of his heart. Is love more powerful than fate?

Ground Floor, still image

Ground Floor

Director: John Hooper
Director of Photography: Sean McGrail
Sound: Oliver Lomeli

The real origin of Rochdale College in ’68 can be read between the lines of history.


Director/Writer/Producer: Howard  Shefman
Director of Photography: Jameson Bevington
Production Manager: Josh Ratcliffe
Editor: Brad Tinmouth
Sound: Jordan Darville & Mike Cannon

Some guys have it all: looks, luck and charm. Henry, not so much.

Keep Older, still image

Keep Older

Director: Tess Marie Garneau
Director of Photography: Jameson Bevington
Editor: Joe Krumins
Sound: Tess Marie Garneau & Adam Clark

Adrienne describes living, dying and what it means to grow old.

Make Me Legal, still image

Make Me Legal

Director/Editor: Oliver Lomeli
Director of Photography: Owen  Sheppard

An exploration of the relation between illegal labour in Canada and globalization.

Our Future is Bright, still image

Our Future is Bright

Writer/Director/Editor: Rebecca Gruihn
Producer: Amy Davis
Director of Photography/Sound Design: Tyson Burger

A young woman struggles with the pressure to reproduce in a post-apocalyptic setting.

Pine Away, still image

Pine Away

Director/Writer/Producer: Jesse Parnell
Director of Photography: Daine Bohner
Editor: Dave Schmidt
Sound: Joshua Lightfoot

A short excerpt of a teenager’s relationship with his grandfather.

Radwan, still image


Director/Writer/Producer: Mahmoud El Safadi
Director of Photography: Catalin Patrichi
Editor: Shannon Fewster
Sound: Sara Takkedin
Composer: Caroline Khaouli

Radwan opens a falafel stand in busy downtown Toronto and learns a few lessons about life and immigration.

The Thirty Thing, still image

The Thirty Thing

Director: Michael Mazzuca 
Writers: Michael Mazzuca and Stuart Marks   
Editor: Mina Sewell Mancuso
Director of Photography: Conor Fisher
Sound Designer: Pedro Peres

As if turning 30 and still living with your parents isn’t enough!

This Is Our Land, still image

This is Our Land

Director: Kirk Holmes
Producer: Ian Campbell
Directors of Photography: Kirk Holmes & Jeffrey Garriock
Picture Editor: Jessica Wu
Sound Designer: Danielle Hebscher

It’s the only planet we have, and when it comes to uranium there are no second chances.

UNALASKA, still image


Writer/Director: Ariana Andrei
Editor/Sound Designer: Mike Cannon

Explore the metaphysical place where ideas are born while you travel through a mind reincarnated as a building.

Welcome to Holland, poster image

Welcome to Holland

Director: Lizz Hodgson
Director of Photography: Vu Van (Franco) Nguyen
Editor/Sound Design: Joey Christopher
Location Sound: Ariana Andrei

The reality of family, and the uncharted healing power of love.

Whatever That Is, still image

Whatever That Is

Writer/Director/Producer: Inga Dievulyte
Director of Photography: Jameson Bevington
Production Manager: Mahmoud El Safadi
Picture Editor: Gerald Patrick Fantone
Sound Editor/Composer: Joey Christopher

A peek at the secrets lurking behind the facade of ordinary life.

Whisperwalk, still image


Director: Elli Weisbaum
Director of Photography: Robert Walsh
Editor: Jeffrey Zablotny

An unexpected coupon changes the daily routine of a retired woman in Florida.

CineSiege is made possible through the generous support of Cinespace Film Studios. The event runs one night only, Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 7pm at the Royal Cinema, 608 College St., Toronto. General admission is $10 or $5 for students.

For more information, visit CineSiege 2009 or call 416-736-2100 ext. 33592.