A short film by University of British Columbia graduate Bahar Noorizadeh was among the top ten student films featured in the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) ninth annual Student Film Showcase which was held last Tuesday, May 22nd, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in down town Toronto.
The short film, titled Lingo, was written and directed by Noorizadeh, 23, during her fourth and final year in the program.
The film tells the story of a young Afghan boy who starts a neighborhood fire which leads his mother to panic and cultural isolation during the police interrogation.
“[Lingo] is one of the most intriguing premises that I saw this year,” Student Film Showcase co-programmer Magali Simard told Salam Toronto in a phone interview. “It’s a very unique story but it’s also a very, very intelligently paced film.”
“I feel thrilled to be a part of it,” said Noorizadeh referring to TIFF’s annual Student Film Showcase. “And the fact that TIFF programmers pick the films is out of this world.”
Curated by TIFF programmers Magali Simard and Alex Rogalski, the Showcase featured ten short films made by up-and-coming filmmakers from across Canada.
Presented in association with the Film School Consortium, a national group of 17 colleges and universities, the programme recognizes Canada’s emerging filmmakers at a one-night-only screening.
Each college and university in the consortium entered up to 60 minutes of their best work to TIFF programmers. Out of all the entries, ten made the cut.
Born in Tehran, Noorizadeh came to Canada four years ago and once she moved to Vancouver permanently, she changed her major discipline from engineering to film.
“I always knew I wanted to work in the arts,” said Noorizadeh in an interview with Salam Toronto. “Honestly, I didn’t want to (be a filmmaker in Iran) because it’s not a good environment back there.”
Simard called the programme a “win-win” situation for the festival and students and said TIFF keeps track of the selected few to encourage them throughout their careers.
After the showcase, a jury of industry professionals selected “Life Doesn’t Frighten me” by Stephen Dunn as the Best Live Action Film and “Swift” by H. Kristen Campbell as the Best Animated Film. Jury included filmmaker Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun), actress Lisa Ray (Water, Bollywood/Hollywood) and film critic Norman Wilner (NOW Magazine).