University of Toronto

Innis Alumni & Friends

Hon. Degree Recipient, Piers Handling, Speaks with CSI Students & Alumni

Q&A with Piers Handling, Director & CEO of TIFF

On June 13, 2016, TIFF Director & CEO, Piers Handling received an Honourary Doctorate from UofT. Handling’s degree was conferred amidst graduands of the Rotman School of Management and the School of Graduate Studies, where he delivered a reflective and poignant address. Handling left the graduands with this call to action,

You can all make a difference, even if the challenges look overwhelming — even if it seems that the individual can make little impact. You do not know your own power. Start believing in it. We need your commitment. We need your creativity. We need your energy and passion. We need the best parts of you. I send you every good wish as you set off on your life journey. Make it a safe one, and make it a caring one.

Following the ceremony, Innis was honoured to host Handling for an intimate conversation with students, alumni, and faculty of the College and the Cinema Studies Institute. For Cinema Studies student, Mahlet Tesfu, engaging with Handling had a profound impact:

Every year the Cinema Studies Institute boasts special events and guest lectures. But this year alone has been unmatched with guest appearances of industry professionals sharing their story and providing invaluable insight about the industry. The Toronto International Film Festival is an organization that has shaped the Toronto film scene and thus means a great deal to many students in the Cinema Studies program at U of T and across Canada. It was wonderful to hear Mr. Handling speak about the history of TIFF, and hear his opinions on the different movements of film across the world. What was especially wonderful for the attendees of this event was the Q&A portion, which was longer than the talk itself. We were all able to ask Mr. Handling any questions we had, and he provided us with the most thoughtful responses. Moreover, when the Q&A portion was over we had the opportunity to speak with Mr.Handling and introduce ourselves or ask any remaining questions we had. This event was one of the most memorable and useful events I have been to in all my four years as a Cinema Studies student, and I hope there continues to be more in the future.

Click here to read the full UofT News story, by Jennifer Robinson.

View a webcast of Piers’ address below: