This September I was lucky enough to attend the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) thanks to generous funding from the Department of Film and Media Studies and the Dean’s Office Conference Grant Fund.
At the festival I immersed myself and saw twenty films over the course of five days, with standouts being La La Land directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as well as Jackie directed by Pablo Larrain and starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Onassis-Kennedy. I wrote reviews for both of the films for The Daily Gazette, which helped me view the films through a more critical lens, but the trip also helped bolster my knowledge of the independent film business.
While most of Swarthmore’s film curriculum focuses on theory and production, having on-the-ground experience at film festivals and summer experiences interning in the film industry back home in Los Angeles has helped me get a truly comprehensive knowledge of the realm of film and media. Additionally, the festival’s conference pass allowed me to attend Master Classes by industry professionals and creatives. Two noteworthy examples include hearing from Ewan McGregor about his directorial debut in American Pastoral and legendary Chinese director Zhang Yimou in a rare Q+A.
As I’m inching closer and closer towards graduation I find myself increasingly grateful for all of the opportunities I have had here at Swarthmore. Going to TIFF was truly the icing on the cake, especially after my trip to SXSW last spring. I know this experience will positively affect my experience postgrad, especially as I embark to utilize my knowledge gained at Swarthmore to leave a positive mark on the film industry.