York University’s top young film talent shines at CineSiege

Celebrating its 40th anniversary amid a rising wave of fresh young talent, the Department of Film in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts presents its annual CineSiege screening at the newly opened TIFF Bell Lightbox on Oct. 26.

Now in its ninth year, this juried film showcase presents outstanding student productions made at York in the previous season.

Sharing the silver screen will be the top picks in three genres – 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.

In a nod to the department’s landmark four decades, all jurors for CineSiege 2010 are former York film students. The members:

  • Seven-time Gemini Award-winning director and former York film student Jerry Ciccoritti (CBC’s Trudeau and “Dragon Boys”, CTV’s Lives of the Saints);
  • Experimental filmmaker, curator and critic Chris Gehman (MFA ’09) (Refraction Series, First Dispatch from Atlantis);
  • Gemini-winning feature film and TV casting director Jenny Lewis (BFA Spec. Hons. ’94)(Grown Up Movie Star, Defendor, Men With Brooms, “Little Mosque on the Prairie”);
  • Behind-the-scenes documentarian Julie Ng (BFA Spec. Hons. ’02) (whose work accompanied the DVDs for Willard, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the Hairspray and Time Traveler’s Wife remakes);
  • Thomas Wallner (BFA Spec. Hons. ’91), co-president of the Emmy Award-winning production company Xenophile Media.
Above: From left, CineSiege jurors Jenny Lewis, Julie Ng, Thomas Wallner, Chris Gehman and Jerry Ciccoritti

The jury made its selections from a shortlist of 23 nominees, chosen from a pool of 172 films produced last season by 2009-2010 undergraduate students in York’s Film Department. In addition to the top genre picks, recognition is also given for exceptional achievement in specific creative/technical crafts of filmmaking, such as cinematography, sound and editing.

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

“Since our department was established 40 years ago, moving images have come to permeate our world,” said Amnon Buchbinder, chair of York’s Film Department. “The easier it’s become to capture an image, the greater the challenge to achieve a meaningful impact with it. The films screening at CineSiege, selected by a jury of our own alumni, show that our students are meeting that challenge.”

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 Hugh Gibson’s Hogtown Blues (2004), which played at the Toronto International Film Festival and Palm Springs International Short Film Festival and took home the audience award at the 46th Bilbao Film Festival. 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 and Video Festival and 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 at the 2009 Images Festival in Toronto.

Mark Pariselli ‘s After (2009) was shortlisted for the prestigious Iris Prize and has screened at high-profile festivals in cities around the world including Paris, Athens, Toronto, Montreal, Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco and in Germany and Switzerland.

CineSiege is made possible through the generous support of Cinespace Film Studios. The event runs one night only, Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 7pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 363 King Street West, Toronto. Admission is free.

For more information, visit the CineSiege 2010 website.