Filmmaker Updates: Inside Out Edition

Last night, the 21st edition of the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film & Video Festival wrapped up another very successful year — the first at their new home, TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Reel Asian is extremely proud of Sonia Hong, who received the Best Up-and-Coming Toronto Film or Video Maker Award, presented by Charles Street Video, for A Dragged Out Affair. Hong, together with Olga Barsky (pictured at left with Hong) & Claire Lowery, won our So You Think You Can Pitch? competition in 2009 for this film, and it had its world premiere at the 2010 edition of Reel Asian last fall.

Vancouver-based filmmaker Jason Karman (State of Yo, RA 2008) was also in town to represent his short I’m In The Mood For Love.  I got to introduce his programme and do a short Q&A with him after the film, where we addressed the different experiences of his presenting at a queer fest like Inside Out vs. an Asian fest like SFIAAFF.  The piece was well received by the audience, and Karman got many accolades in the lobby afterwards too.

Also screening at Inside Out was Wayne Yung (Miss Popularity, RA 2007), a Chinese Canadian video artist who has been living in Germany for the past decade.  Yung was one of the first Chinese Canadian queer artists I ever knew about, and his work has always resonated with me, so it was an honour to meet him and introduce his programme.  Yung is also featured in Reel Asian: Asian Canada On Screen, the anthology we co-published with Coach House Books in 2007.

I was joined at Inside Out’s annual filmmakers’ brunch by Selena Lee, Reel Asian’s 2011 programming assistant.  It was great for us to meet the other queer Asian delegates in attendance, including Jehd Canceran (Rochester), Christine Chew (Toronto), Michael Gamilla (Rochester) and S. Casper Wong (NYC).  Wong’s documentary feature, The Lulu Sessions, is a powerful elegy of loss and redemption. Shot over 15 months at the end of her friend Louise Nutter’s life, the film would go on to place second in the audience competition for the Elle Flanders Award for Best Documentary Film or Video.

Congratulations to Inside Out on entering their third decade in style, providing a place for queer filmmakers to exhibit their work and tell their stories for the world to see!