Toronto Urban Film Festival Finalists Announced

Toronto Urban Film Festival Finalists Announced

Onestop and Art for Commuters announce this year’s TUFF film selections and screening times at Press Conference featuring Genie Award-Winning director and this year’s Guest Judge, Deepa Mehta.

Toronto, Ontario [September 1, 2010] – The finalists for the 4th annual Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF) were announced today at a press conference hosted at The Drake Hotel and attended by filmmakers, media — and the judge and jury. The festival opens Friday, September 10 and runs concurrently with TIFF up until Sunday, September 19 on Onestop’s TTC network of digital displays on subway platforms reaching over one million commuters daily.

Genie Award-Winning director Deepa Mehta, guest judge for the 2010 festival, spoke about her impressions of TUFF. “Trying to communicate a story in 60 seconds or less is no easy task. Especially when you cannot use any sound and you must rely on purely visual storytelling. I must congratulate everyone for conquering this difficult challenge. I was amazed at the quality and ingenuity of these very short, yet powerful films. Each film was unique, original and managed to explore fascinating topics. This has proven to be a very successful year for TUFF, and this unique and creative platform continues to be an incredible way to celebrate our diverse city,” said Deepa Mehta.

Also at the podium to help celebrate this year’s finalists was: Michael Girgis, President and CEO of Onestop Media Group, TUFF Director, Sharon Switzer, TTC Commissioner Bill Saundercook, Executive Director of WIFT-T Sadia Zaman, and Michael Booth from the City of Toronto Mayor’s Office.

This was a banner year for the festival, with 355 submissions from 25 Countries, including Canada; a 43% submission increase from 2009 and a 118% increase in international submissions.

“This year marks a turning point for TUFF, with the festival gaining respect and recognition around the world, as well as at home. The creativity and skill of the filmmakers is apparent in these silent one-minute jewels. I am excited to be able to bring such a wide range of topics, stories and styles to the TTC and the people of Toronto,” said TUFF Director Sharon Switzer.

TUFF features seven different urban-themed categories of one-minute silent films, running every 10 minutes from September 10 – 19, 2010. This year, TUFF includes more designated screening areas called “TUFF Film Zones” at select downtown stations including: Bloor (north and southbound platforms), St Andrew (southbound platform), and Dundas (DWA on southbound platform), where the festival will screen non-stop for 10 days.

Each year the official selection of TUFF finalists is made by a guest jury of well respected filmmakers, video artists, programmers, curators, and academics. The 2010 Jury Members are: Chris Gehman, Min Sook Lee, Jorge Lozano, Kathleen Mullen, Haema Sivanesan, Sarah Robayo Sheridan, and Michael Zryd.

Some of the more unique films featured at the press conference and in the running to win over $15,000 in TUFF awards and other prizes, include:

Ride The Rocket, by CODY CAMPANALE & PAUL WILSON (Toronto, Canada) — A futuristic ride on the TTC brings a whole new meaning to ‘ride the rocket’.

Casablanca 1 PM, by OCTAVIAN FEDOROVICI (Arad, Romania) — Midday, Casablanca, Morocco: the streets swirl into mosaics, and the eagerness to grasp life becomes playful ritual.

Paper Games, by STEVEN SHANAHAN (Toronto, Canada) — Bored, and without technological distraction on the subway, a resourceful guy with a pad of paper brings his own game to life.

Daily Violence, by PAYAL KAPADIA (Mumbai, India) — Overcrowding in the Mumbai local trains has made them a dangerous death trap for the 5 million passengers traveling daily.

The Bee, by VIKRAM DASGUPTA (Toronto, Canada) — This beautifully shot and skillfully animated film shows the day in the life of a busy bee.

For the complete list of TUFF finalists and the film schedule, visit: http://www.torontourbanfilmfestival.com/tuff-ttc. For a complete list of 2010 TUFF awards, visit: http://www.torontourbanfilmfestival.com/awards

All 2010 official selections will be available online for viewing and voting as of Sept. 7th. The film with the most online votes receives the Audience Choice Award, and the 10 audience picks play again on the final Saturday of the festival.

For more information, visit TUFF online at:
Website — http://www.torontourbanfilmfestival.com
Facebook — http://www.facebook.com/torontourbanfilmfestival
Twitter — http://www.twitter.com/tuffestival
YouTube — http://www.youtube.com/user/torontourbanfilmfest

– END –

For more information, contact:
Sharon Switzer, Director, Toronto Urban Film Festival
Tel: 416-646-2744 ex63 || E-mail: sswitzer@onestopmedia.com

TUFF is co-produced by Onestop Media Group and Art for Commuters, and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.

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