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The Emergence of the Ontario International Film Festival

The latest film festival grown out of Canada, sprinkled with Trebas Institute alumni

While the decade kicking off with great uncertainty, things seem to be returning to normal, albeit a slightly altered normal. Despite its rocky start, 2020 will be remembered as the inaugural year of the Ontario International Film Festival (ONIFF).

To be held in Toronto this upcoming October, ONIFF was created with the intent to give all independent Canadian and international filmmakers the prospect to work within the film industry, aiming to give people from varying cultures and backgrounds the opportunity to integrate and become acquainted.  Their goal is to push for a more inclusive experience, raising awareness to the importance of diversity and multiculturalism in film.

The beginning of this exciting new endeavour has also led to illustrious opportunities for several Trebas Institute alumni, as the festival’s President, Rasha Asfur, is a former Trebas student herself.

Head of the Jury Committee is Ioannis Koutroubis, Trebas graduate and acting Technical Director of the Institute’s Film and Television program for over 10 years. It was with his influence and expertise that the additional members of the jury were selected, allotting the chance for five - among other Trebas graduates - to make-up the committee. Bedir Afşin, Pasqualino Di Pancrazio, Tareq Abdel Ghaffer, J.P. Bothello and Alex Chehrazi, all graduated from the institute, venturing out into the film industry with high hopes in becoming master filmmakers. With many projects collectively under their belts, this lends as an occasion for them to give back to the community and help those in the same way they were helped at the inception of their careers.

ONIFF intends to aid those who have submitted their projects in refining their filmmaking skills and push their creative practice to a higher level of artistic prowess. With the submission deadline on Saturday 18 July, filmmakers have the chance to submit to several categories including feature films, documentary films, short films and student films.

Once submitted and selected, members will be invited to attend sessions where their knowledge will be magnified through theoretical classes and where they will be trained in practical assemblies. Members will also be encouraged to interact with one another to benefit from the experience and expand on their social network within the entertainment community, while at the same time acquiring valued advice from trained and experienced mentors.

Canada Multicultural Entertainment is the not-for-profit organization which founded ONIFF. Its objective was to create a space where filmmakers from around the world can unite and be artistically free and where their diversity is appreciated.

Be sure to check out the festival this year taking place from Monday 19  - Thursday 22 October as we here at Trebas congratulate all those who have put in the hard work and effort to get Ontario Film Festival up and running, as well as to our instructor and past graduates working on the  jury committee. We expect this to be the first year of many in which we will be following ONIFF.

For more information on the Ontario International Film Festival, check out their official website and Facebook page.

Written by Al Brunet.


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