Announcing the 2019 Summer Higher Learning Season at TIFF Bell Lightbox

A key initiative of the Toronto International Film Festival is to mentor and advocate for emerging artists and creators. To this end, Higher Learning at TIFF organizes events that are intended to create a bridge to the film industry for current students and young creators. Our goal is to expose young people to a variety of possible career pathways in the creative industries, introduce them to established professionals who can share their experience, and create space to meet and learn from one another.

Events are free and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. To inquire about availability and how to claim a ticket, please contact

Higher Learning at TIFF

Tasha Hubbard and Jon Montes on Collaboration in Indigenous Storytelling
Monday, April 29, 4pm
Writer, director, and producer Tasha Hubbard and producer Jon Montes join Higher Learning and TIFF Next Wave audiences for a conversation on the making of nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up. More than just an insight into the producer-director relationship, this moderated discussion will focus on how a non-Indigenous producer supports a Cree storyteller’s investigation into colonial histories and ongoing systemic injustices in an era promising reconciliation.

Tell Me What You See! Found Footage Films by Christoph Girardet and Matthias Müller
Wednesday, May 8, 7pm
As part of an exploration into working with found materials, German experimental filmmaker and curator Matthias Müller joins us to introduce a selection of the more recent films he co-directed with Christoph Girardet, followed by an onstage conversation with Concordia’s Catherine Russell. This event is part of the 2019 Summer Institute at York University, Archive/Counter-Archives.

An Introduction to Approachable Conversations through Film
Wednesday, May 29, 6pm
In partnership with TIFF’s Community Initiatives, this event will offer an interactive introduction on how to engage an audience in conversation through film. Learn strategies to connect a film to the unique interests and experiences of your audience, so that everyone feels equipped to join the conversation. If you have ever wondered how you can use film and media to lead conversations in your own community, this event is for you!

Planning an Approachable Film Conversation
Wednesday, June 12, 6pm
As a follow-up to our May 29 event that considered how film can be used to connect audiences and spark meaningful dialogue, this event is an opportunity to hone your own approach to hosting a film talk. This workshop might be for you if you’re considering running your own film programming on campus or in your community — or perhaps you want to start a monthly film discussion group with your friends!

Meet-Up for Emerging Screenwriters
Wednesday, June 19, 6pm
If you’re stuck transferring your creative concept from your brain to the page, this drop-in event offers an opportunity for emerging writers to workshop challenges and ideas with a group of peers.

Please note that the Higher Learning programme is intended to be a bridge for students, recent grads, and emerging creators to the creative industries, so this event is designed for those who are looking to build and connect with a community of writers.

TIFF Next Wave: Open Screen
Tuesday, July 9, 6pm
Seeing your work on the big screen offers a helpful perspective that can impact the decisions you make during production and in editing. Emerging filmmakers are welcome to drop in to Cinema 4 to preview their works-in-progress or finished works. Even if you don’t feel like you’re ready, we hope that you will come out regardless, as you will be welcomed and encouraged by a community of creators! There will be light refreshments served following the screening, providing attendees a chance to meet each other.

This event is co-programmed with TIFF Next Wave and the Future of Film Showcase, a festival screening short films by Canadian filmmakers aged 30 and younger to foster the future of emerging talent.

Navigating the Festival Circuit – An Event for Emerging Filmmakers
Wednesday, July 24, 6pm
Representatives from some Toronto-based film festivals will reflect on their experiences as programmers, with a particular focus on the contemporary short-film landscape and selection process. At the end of this session, you will have the opportunity to connect more directly with the participating organizations and other attendees.

Get to Know MDFF
Thursday, August 15, 8pm
MDFF co-founders Kazik Radwanski and Dan Montgomery share the motivation behind starting their own production company, reflect on the filmmaking collaborations on which they’ve worked, and offer insights into filmmaking in Toronto.

Meet-Up: How to do TIFF ’19
Tuesday, August 28, 6pm
The countdown to the 2019 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival is upon us, and this meet-up is a chance to get answers to your questions, hear some recommendations from the TIFF Next Wave Committee, and meet some potential moviegoing friends. If you are a student new to Toronto, have never been to TIFF previously, or just aren’t sure how to get the most out of the Festival, this event is for you!

Further information about reserving tickets

Tickets: Higher Learning events are free and open to students, recent graduates, and emerging artists pursuing a career in the creative industries. To inquire about availability and how to claim a ticket, please contact or 416-599-8433 ext. 2044.

Venue: All events take place at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West. Please note that TIFF Bell Lightbox is an accessible venue.

Questions? Please reach out to if you have any questions about the information listed here.
Consider signing up at to receive Higher Learning emails in order to stay up to date with upcoming events and access to tickets.