TIFF and U of T's Munk School talk global film

Author: 
Sean Willett

The Toronto International Film Festival is bringing together the worlds of film and education by partnering with the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs on the Contemporary World Speakers series.

This initiative pairs five films in the Contemporary World Cinema programme with expert scholars from the Munk School.

During the festival audiences have the chance to interact with filmmakers and scholars in extended discussions, following each film’s second public screening. Here, the films serve as springboards to facilitate a deeper understanding of film aesthetics in relation to the broader issues facing the world today. Speakers include Ron Deibert, Janice Gross Stein, Ron Levi, Brian Stewart and Michael Ignatieff.

The series is programmed in conjunction with the TIFF Adult Learning department which provides students, teachers and the community with innovative exhibitions, presentations and hands-on workshops throughout the year.

Since its inception 30 years ago, the Festival’s Contemporary World Cinema program has been home to some of the most relevant social, political and economic stories from around the world. The program continues to be a favourite of Festival audiences.

In an article from the Toronto Star featuring the new partnership, TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey said, “It’s going to be fun for everyone involved, in terms of just deepening and expanding the conversation around these films.”

The Munk School's Ignatieff, echoed the sentiment.

“This is where academics ought to be, right?" Ignatieff told The Star. "We ought to be breaking down barriers, sharing knowledge, and leading discussion.”

TIFF Films and their speakers in the Contemporary World Speakers series:

After the Battle ---
Director: Yousry Nasrallah,
Country: Egypt/France
Premiere: North American Premiere
Mahmoud is one of the “Tahrir Square Knights” who, on February 2, 2011 — manipulated by Mubarak’s regime — charged against the young revolutionaries. Beaten, humiliated, unemployed and ostracized in his neighbourhood near the Pyramids, Mahmoud and his family are losing their footing. It is then that he meets Reem, a young Egyptian divorcée. Modern and secular, Reem works in advertising, is a militant revolutionary and lives in a nice neighbourhood in Cairo. Their meeting will change their lives.

Munk School Speaker: *Janice Gross Stein, Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and member of the Order of Canada, is an internationally renowned expert on conflict management.

Clandestine Childhood
Director: Benjamín Ávila
Country: Argentina/Spain/Brazil
Premiere: North American Premiere
Argentina 1979. After years of exile, Juan (12) and his family come back to Argentina under fake identities. Juan’s parents and his uncle Beto are members of the Montoneros Organization, which is fighting against the Military Junta that rules the country. Because of their political activities, they are being tracked down relentlessly. His friends at school and the girl he loves, Maria, know him as Ernesto, a name he must not forget, his family’s survival being at stake. This is a story about militancy, undercover life and love.

Munk School Speaker: *Brian Stewart, Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, is an acclaimed foreign correspondent and an expert on foreign affairs and the military.

Eagles
Director: Dror Sabo
Country: Israel
Premiere: World Premiere
Alienated from a society that no longer seems to have a place for them, two elderly ex-soldiers undertake a vigilante campaign against injustice and disrespect on the streets of Tel Aviv.

Munk School Speaker: *Ron Levi, Director of the Master of Global Affairs at the Munk School, is an expert on global justice, and human rights regimes.

Him, Here, After
Director: Asoka Handagama
Country: Sri Lanka
Premiere: North American Premiere
Returning to his community after defeat in the Sri Lankan civil war, a former Tamil rebel known only as "Him" faces hostility, suspicion and bitter recriminations in Asoka Handagama's beautifully elegiac meditation on the aftermath of war.

Munk School Speaker: *Michael Ignatieff, Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs, is an internationally renowned writer, journalist, former politician, and expert on foreign affairs.

Underground
Director: Robert Connolly
Country: Australia
Premiere: World Premiere
Set in 1980s Melbourne, Underground is a riveting thriller that focuses on the teenage years of one of the most controversial figures of modern times —Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (newcomer Alex Williams in his first major role). The film follows Assange and his gang of close friends —  the International Subversives as they call themselves — as they wage a battle from their bedrooms, trying to break into the computer systems of the world’s most powerful organizations. In the process, they are forced to battle authorities and eventually one another. Written and directed by Robert Connolly, the film also stars Anthony LaPaglia, Rachel Griffiths and Callan McAuliffe.

Munk School Speaker:  *Ron Deibert, Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, is an expert and advisor on cyber security, cyber-crime, freedom of expression, and access to information.