A Beautiful Campus Film Festival

Written by Imbar Slavat, Israel Engaged Campus Intern, Hillel Ryerson

On February 4th, I had the amazing opportunity to host my first official Hillel event as an  Israel Engaged Campus Intern, and it was truly a rewarding experience.

I am a first year student in the Radio and Television Arts program.  I got accepted as an Israel Engaged Campus Intern at Hillel Ryerson, and my very important task would be engaging students with Israel. Not from a political or cultural standpoint, but from a professional one, by showing the students the unique innovations that Israel excels in within their professional faculty. I met with Jewish and non Jewish students for coffee dates, and we talked about the most interesting things, like their backgrounds, Israel’s efforts in the media industry, and even surprising connections some non-Jewish student had to Judaism and Israel. When second semester began, I had to create a small event that could engage my fellow students with Israel, and excite them at the same time. Since I am majoring in media, and the students I have been engaging are all interested in pursuing a profession in that field, I decided to create a film festival. Not just any ordinary film festival. As you may know, Israel is one of the world’s leading app designers, an element that I wanted to incorporate into the event and so I created an app based film festival!

Magisto, an automatic video editing app, was created by a company in Israel and is used all over the world. Over the span of 2 weeks, I encouraged participating students to download the app, film a few clips on the app, choose a theme and a song, and then the app edited a perfect short film for them. “A Beautiful Campus Film Festival” was born, as the theme was to show why our campus (Ryerson University) is so beautiful. We also got a few students from Israel to submit films from universities like Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University, and Ben Gurion University. This was another effective way to bring Israel into the conversation. With the help of Gal, our Israel Fellow, she reached out to the creators of Magisto, and they created a welcome video for us, including a shoutout to thank us for using their app for my event. To make this event even more special for everyone involved, we got three grand prizes, including a private studio tour of the Bell Media and Newstalk 1010 studios. We also had the privilege of having two men with decades of experience in the industry, Aaron Mandel and Igal Hecht, to be our honourable judges, who critiqued the films that were submitted.

The event began, the movies played, I heard laughter and I saw smiles and I knew the event I worked so hard for was truly paying off. At one point during the night, I reminded the audience that, as an Israel Engaged Campus Intern, it was my responsibility to engage students with Israel from a professional standpoint. I told them how Israel is a key player in the media industry today and will continue to be in the future. I hung up some apps that Israel had created and invited students to look around and see how Israel is truly changing the world with these apps, among their other great innovations in the media industry.  The students were very interested, and some of them even asked me questions about Israel’s innovations after the event. At the end, prizes were handed out, dessert was on the table and the whole room was filled with smiles. I have to say it wasn’t too bad for my first time planning a Hillel event. I know for sure that it will definitely not be my last.