TIFF 2012: Discuss TIFF films with Ron Deibert and Janice Stein

September 10, 2012

Published on Saturday September 08, 2012, TheStar.com

TIFF organizers have formed a new partnership with the Munk School of Global Affairs, that will allow festival goers to discuss films with top intellectuals.

Five films from the Contemporary World Cinema program have been paired with Munk scholars, who will lead discussions with the filmmakers and audiences after the second screening of each film.

TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey is thrilled. “It’s going to be fun for everyone involved, in terms of just deepening and expanding the conversation around these films,” Bailey said, adding that the Munk speakers have been matched with each film based on their areas of expertise.

The North American premiere of Sri Lanka’s Him, Here, After, about a former Tamil fighter returning home after defeat in the civil war, will be discussed by Michael Ignatieff, a Munk senior fellow and well-known writer, former politician and foreign affairs expert, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Sept. 10 at 3:15 p.m.

“That’s where academics ought to be, right?” Ignatieff says. “We ought to be breaking down barriers, sharing knowledge and leading discussion.”

He expects to learn from the audience, as well. “The Sri Lankan issue arouses deep feelings in Toronto and we’ll have an interesting discussion,” Ignatieff says. “It’s what happens after a war. How do you overcome the bitterness, scars, hatred and violence? They are big themes.”

The thought of discussing big themes in this forum excites Ron Levi, an expert on global justice and human rights regimes.

“We’re a global affairs school in the heart of Toronto and … TIFF brings that global perspective here as well. It’s a natural partnership,” Levi says. “We can do really interesting things together.”

Levi will lead a discussion Sept. 11 after the 4 p.m. screening at Jackman Hall of Eagles, an Israeli film about two elderly ex-soldiers, who undertake a vigilante campaign against injustice and disrespect.

“One of the really important things about this partnership with TIFF is the opportunity to think about big questions and that film prompts us to think about big questions in global affairs,” Levi adds. “It’s not only about the topic of soldiers, it’s really about all these big themes of experiencing justice and injustice in one’s own life.”

Levi is director of the Master of Global Affairs Program at Munk, as well as director of Academic Programs. “We can provide that lens in which we have expertise to the audience, but more importantly for me it’s engaging with the audience that comes to TIFF.”

Other films in the speaker series include:

Clandestine Childhood, an Argentinian film about a 12-year-old boy who covers for his parents’ political activities. Brian Stewart, an acclaimed expert on military and foreign affairs will speak after the screening Sept. 12 at 12:30 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Australia’s Underground, which focuses on the teenage years of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, will be examined by Ron Deibert, an expert and adviser on cyber security, cyber crime, freedom of expression and access to information, on Sept. 10 at 12:30 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The series kicked off with Munk school director and conflict management expert Janice Gross Stein, who led a discussion Friday after a screening of the Egypt and France collaboration After the Battle.

Find this article online at TheStar.com.