Asians Keep on Rock’n in the ReelWorld

While we are not officially co-presenting anything at this year’s ReelWorld Film Festival, we are happy that our filmmakers (and some of our films!) are all over the programme.

Here is a rundown of films with connections to Reel Asian, as well as our other Asian picks for ReelWorld, on now in Toronto thru April 6 and then next weekend (April 11-13) in Markham.

This year we are pleased to see ReelWorld expanding to Markham.  Having expanded to Richmond Hill ourselves in 2011, we welcome more film festivals bringing more films to more audiences outside the downtown core.  This year, ReelWorld will open their Markham component with Kim Mordaunt‘s The Rocket บั้งไฟ (Australia/Laos/Thailand 2013), the film that won our National Bank First Feature Film Award last year.  This charming family-friendly tale screens at the Cornell Community Centre Rehearsal Hall on Friday, April 11 at 6:30pm and tickets are available here.

Two shorts that had their world premieres at Reel Asian last year are getting traction at other festivals, including at ReelWorld:
• Toronto director/producer Austin Wong‘s queer comedy short Gaysian will screen at ReelWorld prior to Fan Popo 范坡坡‘s PFLAG China doc Mama Rainbow 彩虹伴我心 at Canada Square 6 on Friday, April 4 at 6:30pm
• Reel Asian’s own Betty Xie produced her short Girlfriends through our Unsung Voices summer intensive programme; it will screen at ReelWorld prior to Andrew C‘s webseries Millions at Canada Square 4 on Saturday, April 5, at 8pm and at First Markham Place 10 on Saturday, April 12 at 5pm.

Sol Friedman, who won the Movieola Best Short Film or Video Award at our festival in 2010 for his earlier work, Junko’s Shamisen, has his (aptly titled) 2011 film Beasts in the Real World in the Innovation shorts programme playing Canada Square 4 on Friday, April 4, at 5pm.  Montreal’s award-winning RA alum Jonathan Ng is also in that programme with Requiem for Romance, a film produced in part through our So You Think You Can Pitch? competition, where it won the professional category in 2009. It had its world premiere at Reel Asian in 2012, and was short-listed for an Academy Award™ last year.  From the opposite side of the country, arts educator & animation champion Jeff Chiba Stearns is represented with his Yellow Sticky Notes – Canadian Anijam.  This shining example of collaborative animation film-making screened at Reel Asian last year, and Chiba Stearns has won our Animasian Award multiple times, including the inaugural award.

In addition to those films with connections to Reel Asian, there are other films by and about Asians at ReelWorld, including:

  • Beyond All Boundaries, dir. Sushrut Jain (India 2013). The Canadian premiere of this documentary feature about the unifying power of cricket will be ReelWorld’s closing night film in Markham, playing on multiple screens at First Markham Place on Sunday, Apr 13, at 5:30pm
  • Celluloid സെല്ലുലോയ്, dir. Kamal കമൽ (India 2013). A 2-hour biopic on JC Daniel, considered by many to be the father of Malayalam cinema. Plays exclusively in Markham at the Cornell Community Centre Rehearsal Hall on Saturday, Apr 12, at 11:30am.
  • Lakshmi लक्ष्मी, dir. Nagesh Kukunoor नागेश कुकनूर (India 2014). This feature-length Hindi melodrama based on a true story of kidnapping and child prostitution won the Audience Award at Palm Springs International Film Festival earlier this year and will screen in Toronto at Canada Square 5 on Saturday, April 5, at 9pm and then again in Markham at First Markham Place 10 on Saturday, April 12, at 7:30pm.
  • The Red House, dir Alyx Duncan (New Zealand/China 2012), is a documentary feature about a married cross-cultural couple, Jia & Lee. It screens at Canada Square 5 on Saturday, April 5, at 3:30pm & at First Markham Place 10 on Friday, April 11, at 4:30pm. For the Markham screening, it will be preceded by local director Melinda Tse‘s short Familiar Strangers (Canada 2013).
  • Joining Beasts in the Real World, Requiem for Romance, and Yellow Sticky Notes in the Innovation shorts programme at Canada Square 4 on Friday, April 4, at 5pm are two more films with Asian content or by Asian key creatives: Surita Parmar‘s clever Render has a couple trying to figure out if they can escape their computer-generated world; while Alejandro Valbuena‘s dance film Ruptura (Canada 2013) features a Japanese woman and a Mozambican man whose relationship is coming apart under the strain of mental illness. *Apologies to Johnny Vong, whose short The Marvelous Girl was also in this programme but was accidentally overlooked in our original blog post.
  • The Identity shorts programme (Canada Square 5 on Saturday, April 4, at 6pm) features Philip Leung & Alex Narvaez‘ mockumentary My Heritage (Canada 2013), about a white man purportedly adopted by an Asian family; as well as Joseph O’Brien & Samantha Wan‘s webseries Second Jen (Canada 2013), a cross-cultural multi-generational roomate sitcom.
  • ReelWorld is bringing shorts to their Markham component as well, with the Canadian shorts programme screening at First Markham Place 10 on Sunday, April 13, at 2:30pm. In addition to encore screenings of My Heritage, Requiem for Romance, and Second Jen; Bobby Del Rio‘s narrative short We Each Have Our Armies (Canada 2013) takes us inside the relationship between a South Asian woman and her caucasian boyfriend – and both their families trying to keep them apart.

Follow @ReelWorldFilm on Twitter for complete details and congratulations to all the filmmakers in selection!