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News & Updates

Announcing the 2022 Unsung Voices Participants

28 Jun, 2022

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival is excited to announce this year’s Unsung Voices participants! The Unsung Voices Summer Youth Video Production Workshop will provide young Asian Canadians who have a keen interest in film and media art the chance to express themselves as artists, learn from professionals in the field, and to produce a distinctly Asian Canadian story on screen. The films made will receive a world premiere at the 26th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival in November 2022.

We asked this year’s cohort to answer the following questions: What about Unsung Voices are you most excited for? Why do you want to get into filmmaking? Read their responses below!

Meet the 2022 Cohort

Roda Medhat

Roda Medhat is a Kurdish-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist based out of Toronto, Ontario. Roda is a graduate of OCAD University’s Integrated Media program and a student of FAMU Film and Television School of Prague.

IG: reallyroda

What about Unsung Voices are you most excited for? Why do you want to get into filmmaking?

“Unsung Voices gives me the opportunity to share my voice and create work from the perspective of a Kurdish artist, a voice we don’t often see in the media. Unsung Voices allows me to create work from a west asian perspective that doesn’t focus solely on war and conflict and highlights actual experiences and the culture of western Asia.”

Hannah Polinski

Hannah Polinski is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker from Southern Ontario. With an interest in the passage of time, her work explores familial memory, shifting landscapes, and the surreal.

IG: wallcreeping

What about Unsung Voices are you most excited for? Why do you want to get into filmmaking?

“I started writing my film two years ago. I didn’t think I’d ever feel ready to make it, so finally being in the process of bringing it to life feels surreal. I’m excited that I get to work with one of my close friends on the project, as we’ve collaborated together in the past and always inspire each other in unexpected ways.”

Samyuktha Movva

Samyuktha Movva is an emerging Indo-Canadian writer-director based in Toronto, working on turning her childhood dreams into reality. She seeks to explore our complex experience of time, memory, beauty, love, and loss through intimate character studies that traverse language and culture.

IG: @samyukthamovva

What about Unsung Voices are you most excited for? Why do you want to get into filmmaking?

“I am especially looking forward to challenging and exploring my identity as a filmmaker in the structured space that Unsung Voices provides, with the support of a talented community of peers from across the country and the invaluable guidance of industry mentors. I’m drawn to filmmaking because for me, it represents the perfect medium that can best allow me to amalgamate the myriad of interests and curiosities that keep me up at night. Filmmaking is the collaborative, tangible application of storytelling that I crave after spending so much time in my mind during the writing process, which can often feel quite lonely. Film never ceases to feel like a form of magic to me – and I really want to be able to create that magic myself!”

Vivian (Xiao Wen) Li

Vivian Li is a writer, editor, and musician who enjoys exploring various artistic disciplines. Her works are published in The Fiddlehead, CV2, and Vallum, among others. A MFA candidate at UBC, she is currently an editor for PRISM international, and can be reached on Twitter @eliktherain.

IG: elik_rain
Twitter: eliktherain

What about Unsung Voices are you most excited for? Why do you want to get into filmmaking?

“I’m excited to spend a summer exploring and expanding on an idea I’m passionate about, as well as engaging with musical elements in a short film! I’m interested in filmmaking as I would love to translate my inner cinematic vision to a tangible experience for others to share. As well, the collaborative aspect of film feels precious to me.”

André-Anne Côté

Born in Nanchang, China in 1995, André-Anne Côté/陈新华 is a Sino-Canadian adoptee living in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. As an anthropologist, she is interested in autoethnography as a source of creative writing. Her Master’s thesis at Peking University focuses on the return of adoptees to their birth country. Her texts have been published by Moebius, Le Crachoir de Flaubert, Le Devoir, the Huffington PostNüVoices, and Inkstone. André-Anne lectures on anti-Asian racism and the rights of international adoptees. She is involved with L’Hybridé (an organization for adoptees in Quebec province), the Asian Coalition for a Relève Émancipatrice (CARÉ), and the Directory of Asian artists in Quebec at the invitation of the artist and curator Claudia Chan Tak. She recently co-founded Soft Gong, the first francophone organization by and for Chinese adoptees.

IG: dedechen_
Twitter: dedepicote
Website: https://linktr.ee/dedechen_

What about Unsung Voices are you most excited for? Why do you want to get into filmmaking?

“Unsung Voices is a platform to express hidden narratives, those of international adoptees, who are also part of the Asian diaspora. Filmmaking has always been part of my practice in anthropology and literature, but I was scared to fully dive in. It is a way to access unconscious memory, trust the image, let it evoke, without words, and create a new language. Thanks to Reel Asian, I am excited to explore new forms of documentaries by mixing performance and archiveology.”

Yi Shi

Born and raised in Hangzhou, China, Yi is a 27 year old queer multidisciplinary artist, tattooer, photographer, craft lover, dedicated lifelong learner, currently based in Tkaronto, aka Toronto, Canada.

IG: postyism

What about Unsung Voices are you most excited for? Why do you want to get into filmmaking?

“Through the Unsung Voices program, I am ready to learn more about filmmaking professionally. The resources and mentorship we are given access to are unparalleled. Too used to being a one-person crew, this will be my first time writing and directing a film on a bigger scale. I’m also excited to jump out of my comfort zone and bring my vision to life along with this year’s cohort – healing broken hearts, one story at a time. There will never be too many queer diaspora stories.”

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