Modern Cinema Club alumni travel to Toronto Film Festival

Bella Lee, Staff writer

Every year, the Modern Cinema Club has the opportunity to attend the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). While some things were different, this year was no exception. “This is one of the best events we are involved with every year and we were glad to go back in 2021 in a limited capacity,” said Kristofer Gossett, DBA, Associate Dean of the Walker College of Business and advisor of the Modern Cinema Club. Due to the pandemic, changes had to be made to ensure that the club could have the safest and most rewarding experience. Gossett stated that normally the trip consists of a variety of Mercyhurst students and friends including current students, alumni, family/friends of alumni and a few faculty and staff members. This year the TIFF trip was made up of 14 Mercyhurst alumni.“This year we were not able to bring current students, so the trip actually consisted mostly of alumni of the Modern Cinema Club who have been coming on the trip since we started back in 2017,” Gossett said. “Ken Henning and his wife (bus driver), a family with an alumnus flew in from Philadelphia to attend, eight other alumni came back and then myself. In comparison, we had over 30 people go on the TIFF 2019 trip when we were able to take students as well,” said Gossett. Additionally, everyone had to make sure they were safe to cross international borders. “The planning to get everyone across the Canadian border was extensive,” Gossett said. “Every person had to be fully vaccinated prior to the trip and we all had to have a negative COVID-19 test result seventy-two hours or sooner from the time we crossed the border. Everyone also had to fill out the ArriveCan app with all of our COVID-19 history and documentation before we could cross.” Despite the hardships to make the trip work, it was an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. “The trip is a whirlwind for all of us,” Gossett said. “We arrived Friday around noon and immediately some of us (me) we already heading to movies.” Attendees typically see somewhere between four and eight or nine movies between Friday afternoon and Sunday evening. “We attended a TIFF Honors Press Conference which high-lighted individuals who were receiving awards from the festival this year. That included the likes of Dionne Warwick, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jessica Chastain, and the director of Dune Denis Villeneuve. It was quite an experience,” Gossett said. Most all the films watched were either world premiers or North American premiers of films that don’t come out to the public anywhere from a week or two to sometimes years. The range of films is always expansive and gives attendees the ability to watch movies that they are interested in from filmmakers around the world.“It was almost like COVID wasn’t happening. The favorite part of the trip for me every year is watching great films with other people from the group,” Gossett said. The pandemic may have changed the landscape of the entertainment industry, but it did not weaken movie lovers passion for film.“Even standing in line waiting on films is fun as you are around people from all over the world who love film as much as I do,” Gossett said. Hopefully next year current members of the Modern Cine-ma club will be able to have these experiences, but this year’s trip was a unique one for everyone involved.