10 Genuinely Great Gifts for Film Students in 2023

gifts for film students

Picking out a “cool” gift for a film student can be challenging, especially if you’re not a filmmaker or cinephile yourself. If you decide to go the gadget route, you may quickly find yourself overwhelmed by the vast array of film gear available; even gifting something as simple as an SD card can lead you down a rabbit hole of research. 

Alternatively, if you opt for a cultural item – a film-related decor piece, let’s say – you’ll be confronted with the fact that cinephiles occupy an incredibly niche subculture where having good “taste” is considered paramount. 

A quick glance at Letterboxd, the TrueFilm Subreddit, and #filmtok will confirm this. Unfortunately, this can also leave you doubting your gift ideas. Suddenly the Jaws t-shirt you planned on gifting is looking thoroughly uncool… darn hipsters!

But fear not! We’ve put together a list of 10 genuinely great gifts that are sure to impress even the fussiest film enthusiasts in your life.

10 Gifts for Film Students

Subscription to Criterion Channel

Skip Netflix, and give the gift of endless cinematic inspiration with the Criterion Channel. Beloved by film buffs around the world, this streaming service features a massive library of classic films, exclusive interviews, and special features. With films ranging from rare French New Wave titles to the latest Bollywood hits, the Criterion Channel is unlike anything else on the market. It’s the perfect supplement to a film student’s education!

DJI Mini 2 SE Drone

Drones are more affordable and accessible than ever. So take advantage and gift your film student the new DJI Mini 2 SE. This palm-sized drone comes equipped with an impressive MOS sensor that can capture 12MP still images, record 2.7K res videos, and offers up to 4X digital zoom capabilities. With a DJI drone in-hand, they can do incredible shots like this:

@torontofilmschool

#FilmProduction Alumni @Will Dano shares how to transform your footage into a mind-bending masterpiece with AfterEffects! Follow these simple steps to achieve an Inception-style video. #TorontoFilmSchool

♬ original sound – torontofilmschool

The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael

By now, every film student is familiar with the work of Roger Ebert. So, if you’re opting to give the gift of film criticism, we recommend this collection of essays by the legendary critic Pauline Kael who worked at the New Yorker for nearly 25 years. Without a doubt, this book features some of the best and most original film reviews ever written, and Kael’s perspectives remain refreshing to this today. If you haven’t heard of her, you’re going to have to trust us on this one. Your film-loving friend will not be disappointed. 

Calibrite ColorChecker 

At first, a Calibrite ColorChecker may seem a tad boring to gift. It’s an analog tool used to help filmmakers achieve accurate and consistent colours and exposure. However, rest assured that a gray card and color checker have probably been sitting in your film student’s Amazon cart for some time now. So, why not take their pain away and just buy it for them already.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Great movies require great sound, which is why you should consider gifting a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. These studio-quality headphones were designed specifically for audio mixing, making them an ideal choice for sound design and video editing. 

Enno Vatti 100 Movies Scratch Off Poster

On the more playful end of things, we have the Enno Vatti 100 Movies Scratch Off Poster. As its name suggests, this quirky gift features 100 classic films, all of which can be physically scratched off, like a scratch-to-win lottery ticket. The idea here is that your cinephile friend can scratch off a new square whenever they watch one of the movies featured on the poster, allowing them to track their film-watching progress. 

Nebula Capsule II Mini Projector

Take your film student’s movie-watching experience to the next level with Anker Nebula Capsule II Mini Projector. This portable projector is one of the smallest and sleekest on the market – it’s literally the size of a pop can! It also features 360-degree sound, cutting-edge DLP technology, and impressive battery life. Without a doubt, every film buff would appreciate a gift that allows them to transform any room into a high-quality home theatre. 

Cinephile: A Card Game

If you’re shopping for a cinephile who also loves game nights, then Cinephile: A Card Game is a no-brainer. This trivia-based game features over 150 cards, each of which dons a director or actor. The box includes multiple games, most of which involve flexing how many film titles you can name per corresponding card. While Cinephile: A Card Game may sound slightly gimmicky, it features a sleek design and was developed to be a truly challenging trivia game – so don’t underestimate it!

A24 Embroidered Long Sleeve

There’s a decent chance your film student friend’s favourite production company is A24, the studio behind movies such as Everything Everywhere All At Once, Spring Breakers, Lady Bird, Moonlight, and more. So, why not help them flaunt their passion by gifting them the A24 Embroidered Long Sleeve shirt? Not only will this sweater help them gain indie cred, but it’s pretty damn stylish to boot. 

Sony ZV-E10

Our final gift may be the most impactful on this entire list – the Sony ZV-E10. While drones are a nice equipment addition, and headphones are crucial for sound mixing, there’s no gadget more practical for a film student than a high-end video camera. We chose the ZV-E10 because it has been designed specifically for video and because it comes with a truly affordable price tag. In addition, 4K video recording, interchangeable lenses, top-notch autofocusing, and a fully-articulating screen make this the perfect camera for a budding filmmaker.

Film Student Gifts Made Easy

There you have it – 10 genuinely great gifts for film students, all of which cater to different needs and budgets. Whether you go with an impressive new gadget like DJI Mini 2 SE Drone or something more playful (and cheaper!) like Cinephile: A Card Game, these gifts are sure to please even the pickiest of film students.  

What’s more, thanks to this list, you no longer need to worry about navigating the overwhelming world of film gear or deciphering cinema’s niche subcultures – all you got to do is pick a gift from above and get on with your day!

P.S. If you’re interested in breaking into the creative industries – then sign up for Toronto Film School’s industry-focused newsletter, Insider Advantage.

Packed with exclusive content and useful insights, Insider Advantage is essential reading for anyone looking to make their mark in the world of film and television.

Niko Pajkovic

Niko Pajkovic is a marketing copywriter at the Toronto Film School. He’s also an academically published author whose research focuses on algorithms, AI, and their intersection with film and television. Niko holds an MA in Professional Communication from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Hon. BA in Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. His freelance bylines include Film Threat, Independent Australia, Film Matters Magazine, and Film Cred.

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