Interview with a TIFF Volunteer, Part I

Cynthia Cheng

The Toronto International Film Festival, now underway all over the city cannot possibly be as successful as it is without its volunteers. Prospere Magazine recently had the chance to speak with two of TIFF’s volunteers. Stephanie Jones is volunteering at TIFF for the first time. A recent McMaster University grad with a degree in psychology, Stephanie is now interested in a career in event planning. This is one of the reasons why she decided to volunteer for TIFF this year. Stephanie will be working in the communications department as well as with the Canadian Initiatives event this year.

Stephanie on other reasons why she is volunteering for TIFF:

[The Toronto International Film Festival] is such a grand event that attracts a great diversity of people from all over the world. This multicultural aspect of the festival really reflects the diversity of the people of Toronto. To bring so many various people together for the art of film, it definitely inspired me to want to lend a hand.

Stephanie on her experience with the festival so far:

I believe my one expectation that has been blown away, is the scale of the festival. I did not realize how many departments and employees there were. I’ve met so many people fulfilling very different roles for the festival, ranging from theatre technicians to the co-director of the entire festival.

On what she most looking forward to:

The excitement of it all. The hustle and bustle of working behind the scenes. It will also be interesting to see the other side of the festival, who will attend, the industries that they will come from, and their reactions to the films and the festival as a whole.

On potential favourite films at TIFF 2008:

The Toronto Star, Now magazine and the TIFF website have listings that will help anyone find their favourite festival film. The prospects I have right now include, Blindness, Borderline and Che. I’m attempting to keep away from blockbuster, big-name films that may be released in local theatres in the coming year.

Any favourite directors/actors/writers who are involved with the festival?

I anticipate seeing Benicio Bel Toro, as Che Guevara, in Che. As an actor he has an essence that draws me in. I can only imagine how great his performance as such a legendary figure will be. Furthermore, I believe that an actor that stays loyal to festival films usually chooses great films to be a part of. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is no stranger to indie films, is a favourite of mine whose film Uncertainty will be screened.

Thanks so much, Stephanie for your time! Later this week, Prospere Magazine will have a profile of a volunteer who has been with TIFF for 10 years. Look for it on Wednesday.