Dir: Lester Alfonso | Canada 2008 | 42:33 | Betacam SP | World Premiere | Director In Attendance
What would you tell your 12-year-old self if you had the chance? Philippine-born filmmaker Lester Alfonso attempts to answer this question by interviewing 12 diverse subjects, each of whom – like he did himself – moved to Canada at the age of 12. Due to raging teenage hormones, 12-year-olds often experience emotions with more intensity; adapting to a new country during this already-confusing age can be an overwhelming experience.
In exploring issues of identity and belonging through other people’s stories, Alfonso is forced to examine the demons from his own past. Will this journey finally set him free?
Lester Alfonso is a filmmaker, writer, and video artist whose work has appeared on CBC’s Zed TV, Nickelodeon Asia, and Salon.com. Trying To Be Some Kind Of Hero (2001), his award-winning documentary tracing the footsteps of his missing grandfather, was the official selection for more than a dozen film festivals across North America, including Reel Asian in 2003. Alfonso’s concept for Twelve won the National Film Board of Canada’s Reel Diversity competition in 2007.
Dir: Monika Delmos | Canada 2008 | 52:00 | Betacam SP | World Premiere | Director In Attendance
They arrive underaged and alone, often traumatized and seeking asylum in a country completely alien to their own. Surprisingly, some provinces, including Ontario, have no government program in place to care for these unaccompanied minors.
This documentary is a cinematic portrait of a year in the life of two such teenagers, Joyce and Sallieu. They seem like typical teenagers, except that reserved Sallieu, 16, witnessed the murder of his mother as a young boy in war-torn Sierra Leone, and vibrant Joyce, 17, left the Democratic Republic of Congo to avoid being forced into prostitution by her family. Both are courageously making new lives for themselves in Toronto. They speak equally frankly about losing loved ones and what they want to buy at the mall. As they bear the pressures of being ‘normal’ teenagers while undergoing the refugee application process, it is the guidance and support of a handful of people that make a real difference in their daily lives.
As director, Delmos eloquently illustrates, these children ultimately belong to all of us.
Monika Delmos is a Toronto-based filmmaker and journalist who was one of the winners of the NFB’s Reel Diversity competition in 2006. Mostly recently she worked as a producer at the CBC’s documentary unit, where she was nominated for a Gemini Award. Before she entered the world of documentaries, Delmos worked as a journalist for more than 10 years in Toronto, Vancouver, London, New York and Afghanistan. In 2002, she was one of the recipients of the Canadian Journalism Fellowship
at the University of Toronto. Everybody’s Children is her directorial debut.