Try as I might, I usually end up missing out on most of TIFF. It’s a busy time of year for us at Reel Asian because we’re putting the final touches on our festival programme guide right around the time when one of the industry’s biggest and most important film festivals is bringing the world to our town. The upside is that good friends from afar have a good reason to visit!
That’s Chi-hui Yang on the left, who recently stepped down after a mind-boggling ten years as festival director at SFIAAFF – he’s now based in NYC. In the middle is Christine Kwon, SFIAAFF’s program and publications manager. On the right is Masashi Niwano, SFIAFF’s new festival & exhibitions director (by way of Austin, TX). Chi-hui wrote a great supporting letter that helped get me a professional development grant from the Ontario Arts Council to go to SFIAAFF next year, so I was happy to meet Masashi and reconnect with Christine.
Also in town from the west coast were filmmakers Julia Kwan (Smile, RA07) and Jeff Chiba Stearns (Yellow Sticky Notes, RA07). Both are here taking part in TIFF’s Talent Lab, an intensive 4-day artistic development programme.
Thanks to relocated BC native (and two-time Reel Asian award winner!) Randall Okita for getting us all together, and to Shamez and his staff at La Palette for a fantastic meal.