As I mentioned in a previous post, one of my favourite things at Ryerson is all the opportunities available to us. Being at the heart of Toronto, there are endless activities to do and you definitely never feel bored.
One of those opportunities is the really cool Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Want to know the best part? It happens on campus!
TIFF is well-known as one of the largest attended film festivals in the world. Being home to one of the largest theatres in Toronto (the Ryerson Theatre), Ryerson becomes a temporary home to movie premieres, red carpets and celebrity interviews right by our beautiful Quad.
The festival attracts hundreds of filmmakers, producers, actors and set designers every year to premiere their upcoming films. Not only is it a great opportunity for students in the Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) to interact with those industry professionals, it’s also a great opportunity for other students to volunteer! My first time volunteering for the festival was in September 2019 and to be honest, I wish I had done it sooner.
To break it down for you: the festival lasts around 10 days and has different types of programming that happens across seven venues throughout the city. I had the chance to work in four of those venues and of these, the Ryerson Theatre was my favourite.
When you sign up to volunteer and complete your orientation you have a chance to select the venues you want to work in. These range from the Scotiabank Theatre and Roy Thompson Hall to the beautiful Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre. If you’re flexible like me, you can even do an “ACE” shift where you’re at a central meeting location and get dispatched to any venue they need additional assistance in. The great thing is that all of these locations are minutes away from Ryerson, and I was able to complete my shifts between classes!
When I was working an ACE shift, I happened to be dispatched to Ryerson. They needed assistance monitoring the red carpet of our Ryerson Theatre – basically greeting the celebrities who arrived on campus. Do you know who I had the chance to meet? Drum roll please… Jamie Dornan, Anthony Mackie and Kristen Stewart!
In the past, students have spotted a number of celebrities on campus including Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Radcliffe. By the way, you don’t have to volunteer for TIFF to see them! If you follow the festival program you can find out when your favourite celebs will be visiting the Ryerson Theatre and visit between classes.
I just personally recommend volunteering for TIFF to anyone, because not only is the whole experience and getting to be behind the scenes of the festival so much fun, you also get the opportunity to see award-winning movie premieres for FREE!
I do want to point out that the current global pandemic has affected some of the programming, so although the 2020 festival did still take place, a lot of it was virtual and there is no knowing yet what the festival will look like for 2021. Still, I look forward to volunteering for TIFF on campus again sometime in the future, post-pandemic!