In the following weeks, four films will be screened in the CCT atrium in light of UTM’s 50th Anniversary Film Festival. The four films, Kearen Pang’s 29+1, Francesca Comencini’s Mi piace lavorare (Mobbing), Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider, and Jeff Barnaby’s Rhymes for Young Ghouls, were selected to represent the diversity UTM’s academic body and community.
According to UTM’s vice-principal academic and dean Amrita Daniere, the impetus behind the film festival is in light of UTM’s 50th anniversary this year. Specifically, Daniere stated that the movies reflected both the heritage of UTM and the region of Mississauga. The festival is open to the general public and UTM community.
“It started with Michael Lettieri, who was the vice-dean of academic experience. [Inspiration was drawn from] the Toronto International Film Festival,” commented Daniere on the topic of how the idea for the film festival was generated. Daniere noted Alison Syme, associate professor and chair of visual studies department, to be the main organizer of the event.
Syme said that all the films deal with the subject of “globalization.” After viewing, each film will be followed by a question and answer period wherein a panel, comprised of differing departmental professors and film directors, will lead a discussion. Faculty members from the French, linguistics, and visual studies departments will be attending the event.
Syme examined census data surrounding the Mississauga community. From there, the advice of faculty members was taken into account when coming up with a list of potential available directors.
Describing the goals of the question period and the presence of UTM faculty members, Syme said, “We want to have a conversation that brings different perspectives together and that can engage community members, students, staff, and faculty alike.”
“Historically, the arts have not played the hugest role at UTM,” Syme added, “I think that’s changing.”
In general, Syme and Daniere further elaborated that the objective of hosting a film festival is to highlight UTM’s diversity in terms of its student population and art community—as represented by the contrasting departments involved, as well as through the selection of films. Syme cited the seeming invisibility of UTM’s profile, around the Mississauga community.
“UTM is sort of a hidden gem in Mississauga. Some people in the region don’t even know that it’s here. UTM sometimes flies under the radar, even though we have great working relations with the city of Mississauga,” Syme said, mentioning chair meetings and recruitment discussions wherein the concern of UTM’s low profile was regularly raised.
The hope is that, alongside celebrating UTM’s 50th anniversary by screening films directed by reputable persons, such as Vishal Bhardwaj, the interest of Mississauga residents will be peaked, leading to an increased recognition of UTM and an incentive to visit the campus.