Last night, the winners of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (Reel Asian) were revealed at the digital awards ceremony. This year, Canada’s leading pan-Asian film festival returned with a hybrid in-person and virtual format and included programming available across Canada. Co-host of CTV’s The Social, Etalk co-anchor, and founder of LaineyGossip.com, Lainey Lui hosted the online awards ceremony, revealing the winners for the juried features and shorts prizes. The ceremony also included performances by local Toronto artists Sakako and Ley Vara. The Festival which opened on November 9 and runs until November 20 is screening 77 films from regions including Canada, the United States, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, India, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Australia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. Tickets for online screenings and other events — including the closing night live musical presentation of Canadian Spotlight artist Romeo Candido’s web series Topline at Isabel Bader Theatre — are still available at reelasian.com.
“Every year we’re enamoured by the diverse stories being told and our 26th hybrid-edition is no different,” said Deanna Wong, Executive Director, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. “It’s undeniable that this year’s jury chose films that are exceptional, showcased a range of styles and highlighted timely subjects that reflect perspectives across the Asian diaspora.”
Feature films honoured include the Opening Night film Riceboy Sleeps, which won the Reel Asian Best Canadian Feature Film Award; winner of the Reel Asian Best Documentary Award, The Grizzlie Truth; and the CineSend Best First Feature Award, presented to Bad Axe.
Independent juries comprised of distinguished creatives, filmmakers and industry professionals selected this year’s award winners.
Features Jury: Ada Tseng, Sami Khan, Aashna Thakkar
Shorts Jury: Micah Kernan, Kim Sun-woo, Chris Chong Chan Fui
2022 Reel Asian Award Winners
Air Canada Short Film or Video Award:
All short films and videos are eligible for this prize and will have the opportunity to broadcast on Air Canada’s in-flight entertainment screens on all Air Canada flights. The jury selected four films for this year’s Air Canada Short Film award, highlighting a great mix of perspectives and styles. All films showcase the reality of unsettled moments in life, while leaning into humour, beauty and the resilience of relationships.
Everything will be All Right (Farhad Pakdel, Canada)
Jury statement: This short film did a great job of capturing the moments at the start of COVID, when so much felt uncertain. Farhad was able to seize a moment in time that reflected the unknown.
Desi Standard Time Travel (Kashif Pasta, Canada)
Jury statement: This film was so heartwarming. It really allows an audience a moment to reflect on family and how at the end of the day we are all doing the best we can.
Further & Further Away (Polen Ly, Cambodia)
Jury statement: Further & Further Away is such a unique look at the struggle of needing to leave a place you are comfortable with, but it can be made easier with the thoughts of what are truly important in life.
Madhu (Tanmay Chowdhary & Tanvi Chowdhary, India)
Jury statement: Madhu, dir. Tanmay and Tanvi Chowdhary, is filled with vivid colours and unique shots. It captures a beautiful moment in time showcasing two young women enjoying themselves.
Michael Fukushima AnimAsian Award:
All animated works are eligible for a $600 cash prize.
To Kill the Birds and the Bees (Calleen Koh, Singapore)
Jury statement: For the Michael Fukushima AnimAsian Award, the jury selected To Kill the Birds and the Bees directed by Calleen Koh. This film tackled the way gender cultures and norms are viewed by various generations and delivers a strong message that navigates the conflict caused by differences in thoughts. The film’s tempo and witty comedic elements intensified the film’s intent and left a lasting impression on the jury.
Armstrong Acting Studios Outstanding Performer in a Canadian Feature and Short Film:
The award recipients will receive full class tuition coverage of a class at Armstrong Acting Studios. $2,250 value.
Feature winner – Riceboy Sleeps (Actor, Ethan Hwang)
Jury statement: For his role in Riceboy Sleeps, Ethan Hwang receives the Armstrong Acting Studios Outstanding Performer in a Canadian Feature Film. Hwang’s riveting performance as Dong-Hyun marks the arrival of one of North America’s most promising young actors.
Shorts winner – Knots (Actor, Kim Villagante a.k.a “Kimmortal”)
Jury statement: For the Armstrong Acting Studios Outstanding Performer in a Canadian Short Film Award, the jury selected Kim “Kimmortal” Villagante in Knots. We were very impressed by Kim’s performance in this film, in the way they brilliantly played the main character who struggles with various external factors. In particular, we noted the change in emotional performance in the final scene by Kim was outstanding.
DGC Ontario and WIFT Toronto Film Award:
All films made by female-identified Ontario-based artists are eligible to receive a $1,000 cash prize. $500 in programming gift certificates and two one-year memberships to WIFT Toronto.
Wherever you are, Wherever I am (Kay Chan, Canada)
Jury statement: The jury would like to present the DGC Ontario and WIFT-T Film Award to Wherever You Are, Wherever I Am by director Kay Chan. Chan’s poetics in the spoken word and visual expression of their cross-cultural ancestry sets new perspectives that live within our skin and thrive upon the lands that define us. A lyrical film that crafts a simple sentiment into a grand movement of compassion.
Nathalie Younglai Award:
All Canadian short filmmakers over the age of 40 with fewer than two writer/director credits (film OR television) in the last five years are eligible for a $2,500 cash prize.
Winner – Natalie Pelletier
Jury statement: Congratulations to Natalie Pelletier, an Indigenous middle school teacher who went back to school for filmmaking and is writing her first drama pilot about an Indigenous woman who helps others while being haunted by an evil ghost from residential school. We admire Natalie’s courage and making such a drastic career change to pursue her dreams, the strength of her vision, and I believe her pilot can get her into writing rooms which embodies what this award is about.
National Film Board of Canada Best Canadian Short Film Award:
All short works made by emerging Canadian artists (with credits fewer than four films) are eligible for this prize of post-production services. $5,000 value.
majboor-e-mamool (Haaris Qadri, Canada)
Jury statement: The winner of the NFB Best Canada Short Film Award is majboor-e-mamool by director Haaris Qadri. Director Qadri took great care and attention in a simple trip to the doctor. The duty of a daughter to her mother reveals a delicate balance of resistance, authority, and unconditional care. With an outstanding mature performance by the lead performer, the film handles the eternal and universal story between mother and daughter with great warmth and subtlety.
Honourable mention – Tehura (Wei Li, Canada, French Polynesia)
Jury statement: The jury would also like to give an honourable mention to the debut short film animation Tehura by director Wei Li for the film’s powerful and cutting take on the colonial gaze.
Reel Asian Best Documentary Award:
All documentary films are eligible for this $1,500 cash prize, donated by Karla Bobadilla, Diang-Yee Iu, Immanuel Lanzaderas, Sonia Sakamoto-Jog, and Victoria Shen.
The Grizzlie Truth (Kat Jayme, Canada)
Jury Statement: This year’s Reel Asian Best Documentary Award goes to The Grizzlie Truth from filmmaker and superfan – Kat Jayme. In this expertly crafted, engaging and delightful documentary, we follow Kat’s journey to discover the truth behind why her beloved NBA basketball team, the Grizzlies, were moved from Vancouver to Memphis. Featuring candid interviews with players, team owners, coaches, and fans, she leaves no stone unturned in her search for answers. But the real revelation is Vancouver’s continuing emotional connection to the sports team and the community of fans which endures. Sports have the power to inspire and unite, to uplift and heartbreak. The Grizzlies were a way for Kat to connect with her family, with her roots in Canada and the Philippines. We applaud her positive, heartwarming, and authentic portrayal of Asians finding connection and community through sports.
CineSend Best First Feature Award:
All first feature films are eligible for this award: $500 cash prize and CineSend Files Team Annual Plan (valued at $4,500)
Bad Axe (David Siev, USA)
Jury statement: The jury awards the CineSend Best First Feature to Bad Axe. In this personal documentary, director David Siev turns the camera on his family in rural Michigan during the pandemic, as the adult children come back to their hometown to help their parents with their family restaurant. Siev courageously and delicately documents each family member’s vulnerabilities, and captures the complex emotions that arise from generational trauma and the racial tensions that are exacerbated during this time.
Osler Best Feature Award:
All feature works are eligible for a $2,000 cash prize.
Free Chol Soo Lee (Eugene Yi & Julie Ha, USA)
Jury statement: The jury awards the Osler Best Feature Film Award to Julie Ha and Eugene Yi’s Free Chol Soo Lee, a moving and brilliantly constructed documentary that sheds light on a pivotal moment in American history and offers us all urgent lessons on how to navigate our fraught present. Relying on exhaustive research, stellar editing, and deep empathy, Ha and Yi’s film provides not just compelling historical and social insight, but a profound and ultimately tragic portrait of an Asian-American icon. Free Chol Soo Lee is an absolute must-see film for Asian-Americans, Asian-Canadians, and everyone who is interested in understanding the full cost of fighting injustice.
Reel Asian Best Canadian Feature Film Award:
All Canadian feature films are eligible for a $1,000 cash prize.
Riceboy Sleeps (Anthony Shim, Canada)
Jury statement: This beautifully crafted film highlights the need for community and familial connection. From its heartrending script, its haunting cinematography, and an incredible cast of actors – this film is a clear standout in Canadian cinema this year. Through its genuine reflection of an immigrant single mother and the growing pains of her son as a second generation Korean in Canada, this film attempts to heal the wounds of loss and grief between loved ones. The recipient of the Reel Asian Best Canadian Feature Film Award goes to Anthony Shim’s Riceboy Sleeps.
Honourable mention – Big Fight in Little Chinatown (Karen Cho, Canada)
Jury statement: We’d also like to give an honourable mention to Big Fight in Little Chinatown directed by Karen Cho. This urgent story of gentrification, racism, and the importance of maintaining family legacies dove deep into some of North America’s most overlooked cultural hubs. Through the many deeply personal stories told, this film helps paint a fuller picture of how Chinese communities in the diaspora have taken control over their narrative through organizing and activism.
Blue Ant Media Audience Choice Feature Film Award
The winner of the Reel Asian Audience Award—Feature is selected through a tally of votes from the viewers of the 26th edition Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. $2,500 cash prize.
Reel Asian Audience Choice Short Film Award
The winner of the Reel Asian Audience Award—Short Film is selected through a tally of votes from the viewers of the 26th edition Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. $500 cash prize.
(Both awards will be announced on Reel Asian’s social media at the end of Festival.)
The 2022 Reel Asian Awards Ceremony can be watched here.
The 2022 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival kicked-off tonight with Opening Night Gala RICEBOY SLEEPS starting things on a high note. The acclaimed Feature from Vancouver’s Anthony Shim recently won the Platform Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival, and also nabbed the Audience Award at the Busan International Film Festival shortly after. The Film was followed by a Q&A with Shim and its stars Choi Seung-yoon and Ethan Hwang, and it centers on a mother and son who immigrate from South Korea to Canada, facing hardships here as a rift grows between them.
A Reception was held at the Annex Hotel prior to the Premiere, with notable guests in attendance including Shim, Choi and Hwang. The Festival, now in its 26th edition, is comprised of Symposiums, Features, Shorts and the opportunity for Filmmakers to pitch.
Others in attendance were:
A Reel of highlights:
The 2022 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival goes through November 20, 2022 in-person and online. More here.
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong)
| The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (Reel Asian), Canada’s premier pan-Asian festival, today announced its full 2022 programming lineup including its Opening and Closing Night Galas. From Canadian filmmaker Anthony Shim, Riceboy Sleeps (this year’s TIFF Platform Prize winner) and closing with Topline, created by this year’s Canadian Spotlight Artist, Romeo Candido, with a live musical accompaniment. This year’s lineup consists of 77 films from regions including Canada, the United States, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, India, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Australia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. Taking place November 9 to 20, 2022, this year’s Festival will welcome audiences back to more in-person programming while continuing to offer digital programming to a wider audience across the country. For the full programming lineup and ticket information visit reelasian.com.“There has been a creative explosion of Asian talent both on screen and behind the camera this past year, as our collective storytelling gets stronger,” said Deanna Wong, executive director, Reel Asian. “This year, we are incredibly fortunate to be able to share an abundance of outstanding films with our audiences and also expand our offerings to both in person and digital experiences as we continue our commitment to showcasing the best in Asian cinema.”|
Below is a list of highlighted Reel Asian programming over the course of the Festival. For the full Festival programme and schedule, please visit: reelasian.com.
Have a cinematic encounter with the stars of today as they take you through their worlds of fiction, and documentary, reflecting on connections with their community, their culture, and imagined worlds captured in feature-length. This year’s Features include:
|Riceboy Sleeps, Anthony Shim (Opening Night)|
A Canadian drama film, directed by Anthony Shim and released in 2022. Based in part on Shim’s own childhood, the film centres on So-Young, a Korean immigrant single mother raising her teenage son Dong-Hyun after moving to Canada to give him a better life. Winner of the 2022 TIFF Platform prize. Nov 9 at 7PM, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Expected guess include: Anthony Shim (dir), Seung Yoon (actress), Ethan Hwang (actor)
|Land of Gold, Nardeep Khurmi (International Premiere)|
When truck driver Kiran hears pounding on a shipping container and finds a young Mexican-American girl inside, his already tumultuous life takes a drastic turn as he seeks to reunite her with her family. Nardeep Khurmi won the 2021 Tribeca/AT&T Untold Stories Program to develop this first feature. The film had its world premiere at 2022 Tribeca. Nov 10 at 6PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox. Expected guests include: Simon Taufique (producer)
|All That Breathes, Shanauk Sen (Toronto Premiere)|
This doc features brothers Saud and Nadeem, who live in a working-class, predominantly Muslim neighbourhood in New Delhi, where they have made it their lives’ work to care for injured black kites falling from the polluted skies of the city. Having grown up with a fascination for the birds and learning early on that caring for them would keep troubles at bay, the brothers are all consumed with a mission that feels deeply as noble as it is overwhelming, with a record number of birds falling from the sky every day. Nov 10 at 8:45 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
|Crossings, Deann Borshay Liem (Canadian Premiere, director and subject present)|
In a crucial feminist interrogation of inter-Korean politics and U.S. imperialism, Crossings follows international women activists attempting to cross the 38th parallel, demanding an end to the ongoing Korean War. With incisive style, Deann Borshay Liem documents the Women Cross DMZ movement—including Christine Ahn, Leymah Gbowee, and Gloria Steinem—as they undertake a precarious peacemaking journey. In partnership with OCADU. Nov 10 at 7PM, OCADU Auditorium. Expected guests include: Deann Borshay Liem (dir), Christine Ahn (doc subject)
|Noise, Ryūichi Hiroki (Canadian Premiere)|
Based on a manga by Tsutsui Tetsuya, Noise is a suspenseful drama full of twists and turns. The great Battle Royale (2000) actor Tatsuya Fujiwara and Matsuyama Kenichi of Blue (2021) reunite after the Death Note films for another synergic collaboration. With the direction of Ryūichi Hiroki, a film and television veteran, Noise delves into more than just unravelling the mystery, through its study of friendship, grudges, and desires. Nov 10 at 8:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
|Free Choi Soo Lee, Julie Ha & Eugene Yi|
The story of a Korean American death row inmate convicted of a 1973 Chinatown gangland murder in San Francisco, and the activists who led a pan-Asian American movement to free him. Spanning the late 1970s to the early ’80s, this movement would for the first time bring together young, third-generation Asian American activists, many of them politically radical, with older, conservative Korean immigrants. Their unlikely victory, with Lee walking into freedom in 1983 after 10 years in prison, would inspire many young supporters to pursue careers dedicated to social justice. The film will explore the complex legacy of this landmark yet largely forgotten Asian American social movement, and how Lee and his supporters would intimately shape each other’s lives, during his imprisonment and long after his release. Nov 11 at 6:15 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
|Stay the Night, Renuka Jayapalan (Toronto Premiere)|
Featuring Andrea Bang (Kim’s Convenience) in the lead role of Renuka Jayapalan’s first feature film that premiered at 2022 SXSW. A failed work opportunity prompts chronically single Grace to pursue a one night stand with a stranger. Turns out he’s an on-the-outs professional athlete in town with a problem of his own. Maybe they can help each other. Nov 11 at 8:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox. Expected guests include: Renuka Jayapalan (dir)
|Bad Axe, David Siev|
Unfolding across the turbulent year of 2020, this personal documentary follows Siev’s family as they struggle to keep their restaurant afloat amid family tensions, neo-Nazis, and the COVID-19 pandemic. At times, the film is an unsettling portrait of racism’s existence in our everyday lives, but it equally insists on being about family and community. In his feature-documentary debut, Siev gives us an intimate account of a family in troubled times, fraught with uncertainty, yet held by a bond as deep as roots go. Nov 11 at 9:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
|Some Women, Quen Wong (North American Premiere)|
Against the context of a conservative nation-state, Some Women also uses dialogue and gathering to address a fuller spectrum of queer life on the island, threading Wong’s own story with recollections and perspectives from other generations of trans women, through the accompaniment of Sanisa and Lune Loh. These moments in the film archive and celebrate trans and queer folks’ evolving strategies for survival, protest, celebration, and continuance. Through Some Women, Wong practises vulnerability so as to request it from others, and celebrates herself so she can celebrate others. The lens is up close and personal, enmeshed fully in the act of bearing witness. Nov 12 at 2:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
|Beyond Extinction: Sinixt Resurgence, Ali Kazimi|
From last year’s Canadian Spotlight Artist comes a documentary about three decades of Indigenous struggle by the Sinixt people, whose traditional territories are in Southwest British Columbia and the USA, divided by the border. It weaves together observational footage, contemporary interviews, oral histories, survival stories told by matriarchs, personal as well as public archives, to tell a story never told before. This film traces the journey of matriarchs Marilyn James, Eva Orr and Alvina Lum; Marilyn was appointed the official spokesperson of the Sinixt in 1992. Nov 12 at 2:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox. Expected guests: Ali Kazimi (dir)
|If From Every Tongue It Drips, Sharlene Bamboat|
A film that uses the framework of quantum physics to explore the ways that personal relationships and political movements at once transcend and challenge time, space, identity and location. The film follows the lives of a couple living in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, one of whom writes Rekhti, a form of 19th century, Urdu, queer poetry; the other, her lover, the camera operator. As their personal lives unfold on camera, the lines between rehearsal and reality, location and distance, self and other dissipate and reinforce one another. Nov 12 at 4:45 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox. Expected guests: Sharlene Bamboat (dir)
|Unidentified, Jude Chun (Canadian Premiere)|
Allegorical, humanistic, and poetic, Unidentified reflects on mankind’s primordial need to seek for answers. Through disparate, cohesive vignettes, Jude Chun’s existential debut uses fundamental science-fiction concepts to examine our inner selves, as only then may we know the things that bind or alienate us from one another. Combining multi-genre elements such as comedy, mystery, and even musical theatre to delve into the depths of soulful connection and the universal theme of social identity, the film also subtly comments on the repercussions of a nation’s traumatic past—and the vision of a transformative future. Nov 12 at 5:45 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox. Expected guests in attendance: Jude Chun (dir)
|Therapy Dogs, Ethan Eng (Canadian Premiere)|
Ethan and his best friend Justin are students trying to make sense of their high school existence. In what will be the last chapter of their teenage lives and the beginning of adulthood beyond, they decide to make the ultimate senior video in their search for answers. Exploring teenage suburbia in a no-brakes adventure, questions arise whether there’s more to their lives than simply growing up. A headstrong and experimental feature, Therapy Dogs is more than a coming-of-age film, it’s a time capsule for the rebellious. For the ones that pushed the boundaries when deciding to leave their childhood behind. Therapy Dogs had its World Premiere at Slamdance 2022. Nov 12 at 8:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox. Expected guests include: Ethan Eng (dir)
|Big Fight In Little Chinatown, Karen Cho (Canadian Premiere)|
Taking a wide scope, Canadian documentary filmmaker Karen Cho’s Big Fight in Little Chinatown traverses Chinatowns in New York City, Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, and San Francisco, shining a light on the twin legacies of displacement and resistance that characterize these neighbourhoods. Through interviews with business owners, community groups, and academics, Cho draws a line between the midcentury urban renewal projects that decimated North American Chinatowns and the current development pressures that threaten to drive away residents and organizations — and the community struggles against both. Amid rapidly gentrifying urban landscapes that jeopardize the future of not only Chinatowns but many other urban racialized communities across the continent, Cho offers an incisive look into what it means to decide to stay rooted in a place that, despite all odds, has become a home. Nov 13 at 2:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox. Expected guests include: Karen Cho (dir)
|An Act of Worship, Nausheen Dadabhoy (Canadian Premiere)|
A polyphonic portrait of the last 30 years of Muslim life in America. Told through the lens of Muslims living in the United States, the film offers a counter-narrative of pivotal moments in U.S. history and explores the impact of anti-Muslim rhetoric and policy on young Muslims who came of age after 9/11. Due to their first-hand knowledge and intimate access to the Muslim community, the filmmaking team is able to take charge of the account, which has previously been shaped by outsiders. Nov 13 at 3:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox. Expected guests include: Nausheen Dadabhoy
|Dream Palace, Ka Sung Moon (International Premiere)|
Hye-jeong (Kim Sun-young) leaves a protest group of closely knit families, mourning the victims of an industrial accident, to which she also lost her husband. To move on with her life, she buys a sparkly new apartment with the settlement money, but things go awry when she notices the unit’s construction defects that render her and her son without any usable water. When she attempts to get the problem fixed, an unexpected group stops her in the act: her new neighbours. Beyond being ostracised and called a traitor for accepting the settlement money, Hye-jeong must now stand up against her neighbours, who would do everything in their power to stop her from making the defects publicly known, for fear of their real estate getting devalued. Nov 13 at 5:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
|The Grizzlie Truth, Kat Jayme (Centrepiece, Toronto Premiere)|
To die-hard fans of NBA franchise, the Vancouver Grizzlies, like filmmaker Kat Jayme, the team’s abrupt move to Memphis in 2001 is much more than a sore spot, it’s an unsolved mystery and possibly a criminal conspiracy. What begins as a superfan’s investigation into her hometown team’s disappearance, becomes a love letter to the worst professional sports franchise in history, and an exploration of the deep roots of fandom. Nov 13 at 7:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox Expected guests include: Kat Jayme (dir)
|Topline, Romeo Candido (Closing Night)|
Tala is a reclusive singer-songwriter whose alter ego is named Illisha. When Tala is discovered by and joins a hitmaking team of topliners, she must secretly follow her passion while dealing with her family’s grief over their mother’s passing. And in the process, Tala just might find her voice. Topline features many of Candido’s hallmarks: dramatic, funny, and touching, with an amazing soundtrack. This web series has something for everyone. Featuring emerging talent from across the Greater Toronto Area, the Topline cast will perform its songs live, for a one-of-a-kind experience. Nov 20 at 7:00 PM, Isabel Bader Theatre
|Canadian Spotlight ArtistChallenging norms, paving the road, and telling fresh stories, the Canadian Spotlight Artist program is dedicated to a member of the dynamic and talented Asian Canadian film community. This program celebrates a selected artist through activating their journey, process, and future works.|
This year’s Canadian Spotlight Artist is Romeo Candido whose CBC Gem Series Topline will be screened along with live performances at Reel Asian’s Closing Night. Additionally, his horror film Ang Panama: The Inheritance will be screened in advance of the Festival and a selection of Candido’s shorts, music videos and features— including Lolo’s Child, which opened the festival in 2002—will be made available for Reel Asian audiences digitally at reelasian.com.
Candido is a dynamic multi-disciplinary Filipino Canadian award-winning storyteller with experience in narrative and factual storytelling for film, television, advertising, theatre and digital platforms. Candido’s horror film Ang Pamana: The Inheritance played in theatres across the Philippines and won Best Feature at the Winnipeg International Film Festival. His award winning transmedia project Prison Dancer: The Musical, based on the Dancing Inmates of Cebu, is the recipient of the National Creation Fund and is being developed as a stage musical with the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. Candido is the winner of the Bell Media / WGC diverse screenwriter program and was invited to be a story coordinator for season two of Kim’s Convenience. Candido made his Netflix debut as a writer for both seasons of the sci-fi thriller Another Life. He made his comedy television directing debut as the series director of the CSA nominated comedy Second Jen.
Click here for the full Canadian Spotlight overview.
Great things come in small packages. Reel Asian’s eclectic short film programmes, like your favourite mixtapes, are sure to have something for everyone. Laugh, cry, sing, and shout with these powerful bursts of cinema.
This year’s Shorts programming includes:
MOVING ON: These films do not shy away from difficult and layered stories, distant memories, and buried feelings. Our characters ground, trace, and reconnect pathways toward recognizing the resiliency within oneself through their roots and relations to the places around them.
MUSCLE MEMORY: How do our bodies and environments absorb and hold onto repetitive patterns, habits, and routines? This presentation of shorts exercises the capacity to confront harmful structures, encourage reflexivity, and affirm the embodied knowledge we carry.
S-EXPRESS INDONESIA: Initiated in 2002, S-Express is a short film program exchange. This year, we spotlight Indonesian filmmakers with a programme curated by Fransiska Prihadi of Minikino that hopes to recharge your festival experience.
UNSUNG VOICES 11: Six first-time and emerging filmmakers embarked on a summer-long filmmaking journey online through the Reel Asian Unsung Voices Video Workshop. We’re proud to present their world premieres here. Filmmakers include artist Roda Medhat making their directorial debut after exhibiting at Nuit Blanche 2022.
ENCOUNTERS: Missed chances, unspoken conversations, fated meetings, connections sparked in the most unexpected places: these shorts delve into the weight of all our relations in their fullness and in their absence.
MIDNIGHT SNACK 2.0: Festival favourite Midnight Snack returns for another bite! This time, 2.0 features six talented female directors who cook up tales full of intrigue and awareness, boldly confronting themes that are often left indigestible
NIGHT SHIFTS: From dusk ’til dawn, the night takes centre stage as a mood, setting, tone, and place for our characters’ lives and their environments to be illuminated on screen. Films include Nanitic by Carol Nguyen, winner of TIFF IMDbPro Short Cuts Share Her Journey Award and Same Old by Lloyd Lee Choi, which received honourable mention for TIFF IMDbPro Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Film.
Click here for a full list of films in each Shorts programme.
Tune into this beloved section online to access free programming for all ages that will spark joy, inspire creativity, and encourage wonder.
This year’s Wee Asian short film lineup includes:
Wherever you are, Wherever I am
Footprints in the Forest
Heart is a Witness
Film Untuk Babeh (Kid Terminator)
Click here for a full list of Wee Asian films and virtual activities.
|REEL IDEASThis year’s Reel Ideas Conference gathers industry professionals, filmmakers, and performers to reflect on the specificity in their works, representing their own nuances along with their communities’ lived experiences. These conversations offer insights and tools to help future generations build their own storytelling skills, allowing them to share confidently.|
Based on a recent report released by the DOC Institute that points to the lack of data on funding for documentary content produced by Indigenous, Black or racialized filmmakers, one of this year’s not-to-be-missed events is the Funding for BIPOC Documentary Content session. Moderated by filmmaker and DOC Ontario Board Member, Min Sook Lee, this panel will discuss why it’s important for agencies and broadcasters to collect and share race-based data in order to achieve their stated equity goals. The panel will also analyze the stories and experiences shared by BIPOC filmmakers which speak of systemic barriers to funding. Panel members include Joan Jenkinson, Executive Director, Black Screen Office; Lisa Valencia-Svensson, Executive Director, REMC; Kadon Douglas, Executive Director, BIPOC TV & FILM; and Sally Lee, Executive Director, CISF for BPOC creators.
Additional Reel Ideas sessions include the Producers’ Round Table, Asian Jokes, Second Time Around, UPLIFTED by UPROOTED: THE PLANTEMIC, CULTURAL SPECIFICITY in CBC’s Run the Burbs: Screening + Artist Talk with Andrew Phung and guests.
Click here for more information on this year’s Reel Ideas panels, which run from Saturday, November 14 to Thursday, November 19.
|RA:XThis year’s RA:X Puncta exhibition is presented in collaboration with Jasmine Gui (Reel Asian special projects programmer) and keiko Hart (co-curator). The exhibition aims to present a plurality of punctum moments (as defined by Roland Barthes) that disturb and prick at diasporic Asian narratives and slip beyond an easy legibility of “Asianness”. The exhibit will present 5 multimedia works from artists including Noor Khan (Toronto), Vince Ha (Toronto), Jes Hanzelkova (B.C.), Brannavy Jeyasundaram (Toronto) and Mo Phùng (Halifax).|
For additional Reel Asian programming information, please visit reelasian.com.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the 2021 Reel Asian International Film Festival, takes place between November 10-19, 2021 with the theme being “HERE FOR THE BIGGER PICTURE“. Canada’s only pan-Asian Film Festival, will be available almost Canada-wide, a majority of it being virtual this year.
Martin Edralin‘s ISLANDS is set to kick things off as the Opening Night film! The Film premiered at SXSW 2021! Edralin and cast members will be in attendance too for a Q&A in-person.
The festival is proud to celebrate Governor General award-winning artist Ali Kazimi this year as the Canadian Spotlight Artist, with a focus on three of his feature-length documentaries. Continuous Journey, Random Acts of Legacy, and Shooting Indians look at intersectional community building and notions of history and friendship. Kazimi’s works, in addition to the live-streamed Canadian Spotlight Artist Talk alongside photographer Jeffrey Thomas, will be viewable on the Reel Asian website. The Canadian Spotlight Artist was produced in collaboration with imagineNATIVE and SAVAC.
An overview of this year’s Programmes at the 2021 Reel Asian International Film Festival.
Reel Asian X (RA:X) – Absence|Presence
Absence|Presence is a series of panel conversations, screenings and workshops reintroducing Desh Pardesh to Reel Asian’s audiences and community. Desh Pardesh was a multidisciplinary arts and culture festival that engaged with political issues of South Asia and its diasporas through a multi-day festival and conference, taking place in Toronto every year from the late 1980s until 2001. The festival programmed works and conversations about feminism, class, sexuality, access, disability, race, caste, imperialism, and capitalism, centering on the voices and experiences of underrepresented and marginalized voices within the South Asian diaspora. Absence|Presence seeks to honour and remember the histories of radical arts and culture spaces like Desh that paved the way for numerous queer diasporic art collectives and programs in the city, including SAVAC. From 2013 – 2017, SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) worked on an oral history project aimed at collecting the stories of the organizers, artists, participants and community activists behind the festival.
The features programme represents the filmmaking community as a whole and spotlights the breadth of talent from master storytellers to first-time feature makers. This programme gives audiences a chance to settle in with a familiar voice or discover a new filmmaking perspective. They will be transported to different worlds through a variety of genres, including from experimental to environmental docs to political and fictional tales of family, self, home, community, and culture.
Thoughtfully examining family and loneliness while retaining an undercurrent of levity, Islands tells the story of Joshua, a shy middle-aged Filipino immigrant, who has lived in the comfort of his parents’ home his entire life. As their health declines, he longs for a partner, terrified of being alone after they pass.
In Frederik Hana and Marius Lunde’s Codename: Nagasaki, the two friends weave together a genre-bending cinematic search for answers in this unique, and captivating documentary. Another documentary being featured this year is Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust, Ann Kaneko’s account of generations of women coming together to defend their land and water. The award-winning drama Drifting will screen for the first time in Canada at this year’s festival. Writer/director Jun Li shows audiences a grittier side of Hong Kong, a marked contrast to the often glamorized version portrayed in film. In Chen Yu-hsun’s My Missing Valentine, audiences are whisked into the life of a young woman who lives life a step ahead of everyone else. Her whirlwind ways finally catch up to her when she wakes up to realize she has mysteriously missed an entire day … one that may hold the key to true love. Already a festival favourite across the world, Debbie Lum’s Try Harder! is a documentary set within San Francisco’s most competitive high school, where students vie for admission into elite universities. In Mari Walker’s thoughtful and compelling film See You Then, two people reconnect a decade after breaking up, one of them having transitioned. In Three Sisters from Lee Seung-won, the title characters gather in their hometown for their father’s birthday, but their little brother’s abnormal behaviour brings to light some things they’d all rather stay hidden. Junta Yamaguchi’s film Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is a fantastical tale about a cafe owner who discovers that the TV in his cafe suddenly shows images from the future, but only two minutes into the future. The documentary This Stained Dawn is a riveting account of the preparation behind the multi-city Aurat March (Women’s March) in Pakistan. Canadian filmmaker Anam Abbas follows the organizers of the march as they negotiate a deeply surveilled, paranoia-inducing, and often physically violent space in the hopes of spurring a revolution. A former Scripps Spelling Bee champion must reconcile with her estranged brother when he returns home to help care for their sick mother in Sujata Day’s Definition, Please. Pallavi Paul’s The Blind Rabbit is a mid-length experimental film touching on police brutality in Delhi, India, that will be sure to spark engaged discussion. A product of Telefilm’s prestigious Talent Fund, Emilie Serri’s Damascus Dreams is a documentary that is at once very personal while also touching on universal themes of homeland and identity. Muzzamer Rahman’s Hail, Driver, is the story of Aman, who after the death of his father decides to become an illegal e-hailing driver in Kuala Lumpur. Written and directed by KEFF, the film Taipei Suicide Story is a gripping tale of human connection that takes place over the course of one night in Taipei. The South Korean Digital Video Editing with Adobe Premiere Pro: The Real-World Guide to Set Up and Workflow from visionary director Hong Seong-yoon successfully combines horror, comedy, and romance into a truly unique cinematic experience.
Anchoring the features programme are two films spotlighting Hawaii, Waikiki (Christopher Kahunahana) and I Was a Simple Man (Christopher Makoto Yogi), both examples of a new wave of important narrative works currently emerging from the Aloha State. These ambitious and groundbreaking films both show important Native Hawaiian and local Asian perspectives on Hawaii that they know and love; a place that had too often has its stories told by outsiders.
This year’s Shorts programming includes films from notable directors including Jess X. Snow, Albert Shin, and Fawzia Mirza, amongst many others.
Midnight Snack: Delectably genre-bending, this programme serves up a seven-course meal that will surely leave you questioning whether you were even hungry to begin with.
Feel The Beat: Sing along to this collection of short films featuring characters who find themselves confronting systemic, structural, and personal challenges, all while defying conventional narratives and reconstructing alternative possibilities of storytelling
In The Moment: How does one trace lineages and map origins? Derailing form and convention, each of these films pave new pathways of understanding by reconceptualizing the relations between pasts, presents, and futures.
Familycore: Amid the abundance of narratives revolving around kin, this presentation of shorts brings refreshing and surprising takes into the un/intentional family-centric storytelling landscape, offering room for possibilities and reimaginings.
Ecologies of Place: Carefully set and intentionally crafted, the site-specificity of these short films recognize the role of place as a character integral to offering layered understandings of self, community, and purpose.
Sites of Affect: Recognizing the in/tangible ways feelings and relations can influence one’s actions, these six films tenderly hold the complexities of characters, places, and memories that are more than enough just as they are.
S-Express Myanmar: Guest-programmed by Thaiddhi in partnership with the Minikino S-Express Short Film Program Exchange, this collection of short films showcases young and new voices of independent filmmakers from Myanmar amid the sociopolitical changes of the country.
Unsung Voices: Four fearless emerging filmmakers embarked on a summer-long filmmaking journey online. We’re proud to present their world premiere here, in the landmark 10th edition of Reel Asian’s filmmaking program.
This year’s Reel Ideas conference is named “Here in The Future Past,” and wishes to ground in the present moment, looking backward and forward simultaneously through the abundant energy of the community in the now. Gathering industry professionals, filmmakers, performers, media artists, programmers, and curators, this conference reflects on how our present dialogue, work, and stories will form the foundations of memory, genealogy, and history for the future. Some of the most dynamic thought leaders in North America will be participating including, V.T. Nayani, Sagan Yee, Catherine Hernandez, JP Larocque, Khanh Tudo, and many more. This year’s sessions include (re) Rites of Passage: Asian Canada in Motion Anthology Editors’ Table Talk, Animating Place into Character, Telling “Asian” Stories, The Function of Festival in Crises II, Narrative in Other Mediums, For New Kids on The Block, and Sustainable Storytelling Careers.
CANADIAN SPOTLIGHT ARTIST
Ali Kazimi is Reel Asian’s Canadian Artist Spotlight in 2021. Appropriately for our 25th festival, the documentary filmmaker, media artist, activist, author, and educator has been a fixture in the Asian Canadian community, and we celebrate his over three decades of vital contributions to Canadian media. In 2019, Kazimi became the first Indo Canadian to receive the Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Visual and Media Arts award winner. His documentary and media-arts work deals with race, social justice, migration, and memory, and emphasizes essential connections across racialized communities, between personal and public, through past and present.
Born, raised, and educated in India, Kazimi came to Canada to study film production at York University in 1983. Two decades later, after receiving over two dozen awards and honours as an independent filmmaker, Kazimi returned to York, where he is currently an associate professor in the cinema and media arts department.
Reel Asian is pleased to offer a sampling of Kazimi’s seminal documentary films, as well as a suite of talks that will give greater insight into his process, and a viewing of excerpts from new works in progress.
Inspired by his films’ spirit of friendship and collaboration, Reel Asian is presenting Kazimi’s work with our friends and neighbours imagineNative Film + Media Arts Festival, and South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC).
Wee Asian is a collection of shorts filled with imagination, possibility, and nuance that will surely resonate with audiences of all ages.
This year’s Wee Asian short film lineup includes:
The Good, The Bad, The Dokkaebi
Your Hand in Mine
Sorry for the Inconvenience
Story of a Beginning
Winning in America
Polar Bear Bears Boredom
Living with Viola
Back for a second year, join the Wee Asian Arts Channel for sweet and simple pre-recorded arts activities led by a lineup of talented local artists including Rosena Fung, En Lai Mah, Natalie Mark, Basil AlZeri, and Joanna Delos Reyes.
Public tickets will be priced at $9.49 and are on sale beginning October 20, 2021 at reelasian.com.
Now in its 24th edition, the Reel Asian Film Festival runs November 12-19, 2020, this year in a digital format available Canada-wide for the first time.
Opening the Festival this year is Ursula Liang‘s Documentary Down a Dark Stairwell which looks at how two coloured communities in New York City navigate a criminal case. The Closing Night selection is a live script reading with cast, the directors, and author of upcoming screenplay Scarborough, following three kids who find community, compassion, and resilience at a drop-in literacy centre over the course of a school year.
Other selections include:
Dust and Ashes, which unfolds over three days as a woman tries to navigate bureaucracy, her mother’s death, and a desperate desire to escape impoverishment; and A Rifle and A Bag, a documentary about a former communist rebel couple’s work to integrate into an unwelcoming Indian society following surrender. Making their Canadian Premiere at the Festival are The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time, a Western about fractured families and survival in the wake of violence; and documentary short I Do My Work, following students as the school year begins at the Afghan National Institute of Music ahead of the 100th anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence; as well as the Ontario Premiere of Moving On, chronicling family relationships, growing up, and getting old as a family moves in with their ailing grandfather in the wake of failed marriages and money troubles; and the Toronto Premiere of Mogul Mowgli, co-written by and starring Emmy-winner Riz Ahmed (Rogue One) which explores self-expression, identity, and intergenerational trauma in a story of a British-Pakistani rapper whose international breakthrough tour is compromised by a debilitating medical condition. The lineup also includes the first French-language Canadian feature to screen at the Festival, The Greatest Country In The World, set in an alternate universe with Quebec borders closed by an anti-immigrant government, desperate people try to make the best of their crumbling world; Goodbye Mother, a Vietnamese LGBTQ story chronicling a son subverting his community’s expectations of patriarchy and legacy, leading to the unearthing of family secrets; The Taste of Pho, which explores the different meanings of home to a father and his daughter; Labyrinth of Cinema, the swansong of the almost 60-year career of the late Japanese director Nobuhiko Obayashi; and an archive presentation of A.K.A. Don Bonus (1995) directed by Spencer Nakasako, a forerunner to the now-popular diary and vlog-style documentary format.
Tickets priced at just $7.99, are on sale October 15, 2020. This and more on the entire slate of selections available at http://reelasian.com.
(Photo credit: Reel Asian)
The Reel Asian Film Festival is set to take place November 8 to 16, 2018 throughout the greater Toronto area once again. Canada’s top pan-Asian Festival is now in its 22nd year, announcing its lineup earlier today. Over 50% of the 62 Films at Reel Asian are from a diverse 16 regions this year, 50% directed by women.
In addition to some high-profile titles, Reel Asian introduces for the first time ever, a VR Installation. Homestay is brought to us by Creator Paisley Smith. It takes us right inside one family’s experience with international students, looking at immersion, clash and what we can take away from it.
Canadian Director Min Sook Lee is spotlighted with her Film, Hogtown: The Politics of Policing returning to the screen after its award-winning debut at Hot Docs more than ten years ago. It takes another look how the Toronto Police Services Board stands today versus then. A panel discussion is to follow.
Some of the marquee Films at Reel Asian this year:
Opening Night Gala, eight-time Golden Horse Award nominee DEAR EX
Legendary Hong Kong Band Wynners’ Biopic, HOUSE OF THE RISING SONS
Closing Night Gala WISH YOU WERE HERE
Tickets are on sale now here.
(Photo/video credit: Reel Asian)
Now in its 21st year, the Reel Asian Film Fest runs in Toronto from November 9-18, 2017.
The annual Festival has stamped itself as a fixture in the City giving lovers of contemporary Asian Cinema a public forum to share their bond. Highlighted by Opening Film DEAR ETRANGER from Director Yukiko Mishima (she will be in attendance) there are several Films giving Movie Lovers an array of options and genres to choose from. STAND UP MAN will be wrap the Festival also as the official Closing Night Gala.
Above this, there will be an In-Conversation-With spotlighting Canadian talent and the Cast of CBC’S Kim’s Convenience too will be appearing at the Festival on November 15, 2017 at Glenn Gould Studio. The Festival also will be offering free screenings for students and seniors before 5:00 PM.
Our Siobhán Rich (@Typo_Eh) had the chance to preview one of the Festival’s marquee titles, BAD GENIUS, which she tells us in the one Film you must see at the Festival!
Most Heist Movies follow a formula that ends with the hero walking away with vast sums of stolen money. In Thai Director Nattawut Poonpiriya’s new Film Bad Genius, her ragtag group of thieves aren’t hardened criminals looking to take down a casino but rather teenagers looking to ace their exams.
Scholarship student Lynn (Chutimon Chuengcharoensuking) is one of the smartest students at her elite high school. Her friend Grace (Eisaya Hosuwan), however, isn’t terribly bright so the two hatch a scheme to help Grace pass an important math test. News of Grace’s extra assistance gets around and soon Lynn is helping dozens of people in her year achieve better grades. With the biggest test of the year on the line Lynn, Grace, and their friends devise a plan that will take Lynn to Sydney where she must take the most important test of all their lives.
Although people may make parallels to 2004’s The Perfect Score, Bad Genius stands as a far more interesting and inventive premise. The plot twists are unexpected adding to the tension, particularly during the climactic Third Act. While the Film’s dénouement is less than satisfactory, a sharp script and strong performances make Bad Genius a must-see at this year’s Reel Asian Film Festival.
See the Trailer:
More on the Festival here.
(Photo credit: Reel Asian)
The 20th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival kicks off today, running through Saturday, November 19, 2016. With 77 titles from 11 regions, the Festival this year will devote a bit of focus to Hong Kong Filmmakers with two feature Films and three Shorts coming from the territory.
In town to ring-in the occasion courtesy of the Festival and the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office (Toronto), is Actor/Filmmaker Derek Tsang, son of Chinese Cinema and Television icon, Eric Tsang. His Film SoulMate has the honour of opening the Festival at Isabel Bader Theatre.
A collaboration between Mainland China and Hong Kong, SoulMate has opened to great Box Office and critical success in China and just opened in Hong Kong a couple weeks back. Tsang speaks at a junket for the Festival held at Ramen hotspot Momofuku in Toronto, recalling his journey as a Filmmaker after graduating from University of Toronto, heading to Hong Kong to enter the entertainment business.
He landed his first job with respected Producer Peter Chan, knowing little at the time about film production. After branching out from acting into filmmaking, it was Chan who reached out to him after seeing his debut effort, Lover’s Discourse, which too premiered at Reel Asian. Confident that he had enough raw talent but needing still the help of a good Producer and guidance to marketing a Film in Mainland China, it took about five years before they both landed upon on a project they both thought was the right fit.
The project would become SoulMate, adapted from a 21-page Novella which he later learned was a well-loved by many Chinese women growing up in the ’80s. He promised to ardent fans on the internet of the Novella, to be faithful to the story seeing how it was such an important part of the social conscience for many women.
I ask Tsang how his experience growing-up in Canada has helped him today as a Filmmaker. He says, “It’s taught me about diversity. Canada is a multicultural country, where we respect each other’s cultures”. Being from Hong Kong and working in Mainland China, he admits “As a Filmmaker going to China, it was a big culture shock. My experience in Canada helped me make a Film where I was not looking in as an outsider, but someone that understands how Chinese citizens live.”. He spent much time in China before making the Film to immerse himself in the local culture.
See the Trailer for SoulMate:
See some Snaps of Tsang:
We also are hearing positive buzz on Weeds on Fire at the Festival.
Contributors David Baldwin and Siobhán Rich preview for us a few titles at Reel Asian, including SoulMate.
SoulMate – Review by David Baldwin
July and Ansen become best friends instantly at the age of 13, and are practically inseparable. But by the time they are 15, they begin to drift apart – each taking a radically different path with their life.
There is something inherently beautiful about SoulMate. Director Derek Tsang allows the Film to really hone-in on what it means to be friends, and the emotional toll that time and age takes on all of us. The Film has a habit of meandering through certain time periods before jumping into fascinatingly chaotic montages of others. Tsang’s message about friendship (and his darker messages about societal norms) get lost in some of these whirlwind moments, allowing the Film to fall into ridiculously predicable plot tropes – although a third act twist really shakes things up during the finale. The lead performances by Ma Sichun as July and especially Zhou Dongyu as Ansen more than make up for the plot’s flaws. They bring just the right amount of genuine emotion to their roles, making their characters’ multi-year journeys feel both real and downright devastating.
The Bacchus Lady – Review by Siobhán Rich
After a stunning debut at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival, E J-yong’s The Bacchus Lady has finally arrived in Toronto. The Film centers on So-young (Youn Yuh-jung), a sixty-five-year-old woman who ekes out a living as a prostitute in a society where many senior citizens are destitute. Her life becomes more complicated after taking in Min-ho, a half-Filipino boy whose mother is arrested in the Film’s opening minutes. To make matters worse, her clients have begun asking for far more than simple transactions for sex.
The smartly-written script defies convention at every turn even discussing the economic realities of South Korea and “young vaginas” in one awkwardly earnest five-minute conversation. Whether the Film is attempting to enlighten viewers about the difficulties of old age or the painful indignities of sex work, director J-yong’s lens never wavers. In a scene that could easily turn crass he captures the juxtaposition of So-young having sex in a park on a bed of fallen leaves with the hollow look in her eyes as she takes in the barren trees around her.
The Bacchus Lady is a must-see during the Festival for its poignant story and brilliant performance by lead actress Youn Yuh-jung.
Tyrus – Review by David Baldwin
Tyrus is a Documentary telling the true story of little known artist Tyrus Wong, who celebrated his 105th birthday last year. His style helped shape and influence the look of the landmark Disney classic Bambi from 1942. After getting fired from the studio, he went on to work as an artist within the Film industry for the next three decades.
Director Pamela Tom briskly runs through the highlights of Wong’s life beginning as a Chinese immigrant in the 1920s, all the way through his multitude of works and career achievements. She fills in the gaps through interviews with Wong himself, animation historians, artists and family members. The Doc briefly glazes over some of the xenophobic struggles Wong and other Asian artists faced before, during and after World War II, as well as some family tragedies. But neither subject seems to merit much depth or discussion. Tom just seems content focusing on Wong, his work and the indelible impression his art made at the time and continues to make today.
More on the 2016 TORONTO REEL ASIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL here including schedule and Films.
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong)
Hong Kong Cinema Legend Simon Yam since the ’70s has charmed Fans of Chinese Television and Film and in a rare visit to the City, the Star descended upon Toronto in support of his Directorial Debut, Tales from the Dark 1. The Horror Film is the first of three parts, premiering at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival tonight at The Royal.
Yam drew an at-capacity Crowd to the Venue for the Film in which he also stars in addition to helming, surprising Fans with Photo Ops following the Screening. On how to make it through a Horror Film with a loved one, he told the Audience tonight, “Hold her hand if she’s scared. Even if you’re not scared, pretend”, drawing laughter from the Crowd.
I have fond memories watching Chinese TV Dramas with my Mom as a Child, some of the most memorable ones which starred Yam who back then was relegated to Supporting Roles before eventually going on to become a bankable Leading Man at the Box Office. In 2010, he was awarded Best Actor for his work in Echoes of the Rainbow at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards, proving his longevity as a Star. He made his North American debut back in 2003 starring in Lara Croft Tomb Raider, alongside Angelina Jolie.
See the Trailer for eerie Tales from the Dark below:
Although I just missed the tail-end of Yam‘s appearance tonight at The Royal due to work, I did manage to catch him in the nick of time before leaving town. The Actor, who lives in Hong Kong with his Supermodel Wife Qi Qi and Daughter Ella, was amazingly nice and actual v. fluent in English. And for being 58, he actually looks amazingly stylish and youthful – showing exactly why he is widely regarded in Asia as a Sex Symbol! “We’re going to take two Pictures okay?”, he tells me gratuitously. Yam was surprised that I was fluent in Cantonese, surprised that I was actually born in Canada. Not confident our Photos turned out, he ensured I double-checked to make sure I was happy with our Snaps.
You be the judge!
Now in its 17th year, the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival continues around the City until Saturday, November 16, 2013. More details here.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong/Movie Addict Productions)
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