In one of my many writers block moments this summer I was scrolling the #UofT hashtag on twitter in search of some inspiration. Hidden between messages about course selection and Orientation week was a post by Hart House.
I was originally intrigued on behalf of a friend of mine who’s an aspiring filmographer. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for him to showcase his amazing work to a crowd of film enthusiasts as well as up-and-coming artists such as himself. After suggesting/forcing him to apply, I did some more research into the Hart House Film Board.
I had never heard of the organization before, and after speaking the Program Advisor Rick Palidwor, I learned that it’s one of “U of T’s best kept secrets.” The Hart House Film Board has been dedicated to assisting aspiring artists since 1975. Not only do they offer inexpensive equipment rentals and workshops, they also provide extensive support to the U of T film community at large.
The film screening showcases the eclectic work of U of T students and alumni. The annual screening is held in the picturesque Hart House Quad, with a lit cocktail tent and make-shift outdoor theatre.
Having a personal connection to one of the filmmakers, David Bedford the creator of Film II, I expected to go into the screening with a bit of a bias. However once the first film began to play I was immediately amazed and captivated. The films were a variety of lengths and styles, and covered a variety of subject matter. Everything was showcased from documentaries, to comedies, to experimental films.
The Hart House Film Board hosts an even larger screening party, as a part of the U of T Film Festival, each year in March. They bring in outside judges to critique the film submissions and choose a select few to be shown at a large gala style screening. This event, as well as the one I attended, is completely free to attend and even offers free food and a cash bar.
As someone who is enthusiastic about film, but not a content creator themselves, I loved getting to attend such a unique event. Not only did I get to witness some amazing art, but I also got to experience an entire other world that exists within U of T.
If you’re an artist yourself, check out www.harthouse.ca/classes. Upcoming classes include 100% Hands-on Film Exercises for Absolute Beginners and Digital Video Editing with Adobe Premiere.
However if you’re like me and lack a single creative bone in your body, but do have an enthusiasm for film and art, check out the Hart House calendar. There are hundreds of unique and free events featuring student made film, photography, and theatre production.
So congratulations to all the amazing teams that put together the films showcased, and to the Hart House Film Board for hosting such a great event. If you go to any events at Hart House, or see any other great opportunities you think I should check out, leave them in the comments below or share them with me over on twitter at @Rachael_UofT.