Television and Film Arts goes to Toronto for annual festival



Television and Film Arts students and staff pose for a photo-op with actor Bryan Cranston. Cranston is well known for his role as Walter White in AMC’s hit TV series, “Breaking Bad.”

Najee Walker, Associate News Editor

Students enrolled in the Television and Film Arts program got the chance to travel to Toronto and visit the Toronto International Film Festival two weekends ago. It was the chance of a lifetime for those 24 students, to go on a three-day trip with hotel accommodations to see films from all around the world, and perhaps do a little stargazing and sightseeing.

TIFF is a rather big deal to those who attend it. It is a place where celebrities from the big and the small screen, students, aspiring filmmakers and actors come together to see premieres and trailers. There are also Q&A sessions after most of the premieres, usually with the actors and actresses.

This is the sixth year that the trip has been put together. During this trip, however, the students got the chance to see — and even briefly meet — a few celebrities.

Lindsay Utmik, a dual-major in Fine Arts and Television and Film, said that while she is not too into stargazing, she is pretty happy when she gets to actually speak with a celebrity. Julianne Moore, Sir Patrick Stewart and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston were a few visible and notable celebrities at TIFF this year.

“I had a blast,” Utmik said about the trip. “I wish it were longer than two days.”

Utmik and the rest of her classmates got the chance to meet with Bryan Cranston for a few minutes.

She describes him as being friendly, funny and recalls a moment where Cranston and Jeffrey Hirschberg, director of the TFA program and key organizer for the trip, were comparing each other’s facial hair.

Hirschberg said that there is a lot of benefit and fun for students who are chosen to go to TIFF.

“I want them to envision the career they want to have,” Hirschberg said.

Hirschberg believes that the biggest benefit that students get from the trip is the chance to visualize where they want to be after they are done with the program. Whether it be in front of the camera or behind it, Hirschberg believes that students will be able to understand what their career goals are.

TIFF is regarded as one of the top film festivals in the world. Most — if not all — of Hollywood goes out to Toronto to attend this festival of all festivals. TIFF, the TFA program and SUNY Buffalo State all collaborated so that students could take in what it means to go to such a highly regarded festival.

In addition to attending TIFF itself, the students of the TFA program got the chance to visit the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Different places for filmmakers, students and scholars to go learn and enjoy themselves including research galleries, learning studios, and even bars and restaurants, are all housed inside the five-story complex.

Hirschberg is working hard to create a “TFA/Toronto Film Festival.” The goal for Hirschberg is to create a festival and invite local universities to showcase their short films alongside Buffalo State students’ short films.

Utnik described the entire trip as an “incredible opportunity” and thanks Hirschberg and Student Life for the chance of a lifetime.

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