The 2024 Fire Horse Jury

Keith Lock

Keith Lock, MFA, is a filmmaker who works in both experimental as well as dramatic and documentary films. He is also Canada’s first Chinese Canadian filmmaker. Keith has worked as Claude Jutra’s assistant, he was also Michael Snow’s cinematographer on several projects, including “Two Sides to Every Story“, one of TIFF’s 150 Essential Works of Canadian Cinema. He was a founding member and first Chair of the Toronto Filmmaker’s Co-op, Canada’s first film co-op, which later became LIFT. He also founded “New Films”, the first regular screenings of independent and experimental films in Toronto, which later became The Funnel.

Keith Lock’s high school film, “Flights of Frenzy“, won the Best Super 8 award at the UNESCO 10th Muse International, Amsterdam,1969. His experimental feature, “Everything Everywhere Again Alive“, 1975, screened in TIFF’s Retrospective of Canadian Cinema,1984, “A Brighter Moon“, received a Gemini Award Nomination for Best Short Drama, 1987. Keith was the first recipient of the Chinese Canadian National Council’s Media Applause Award in 1998. “The Road Chosen: The Lem Wong Story“, received the NFB Innoversity Conference Award, 2002, “The Dreaming House“, 2005, received Best GTA Filmmaker Award at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.

More recently, Keith was the featured artist at 8 Fest Toronto, 2016. He created a 360 Virtual Reality prototype for the NFB, “The Secret“, 2017. His experimental feature, “Everything Everywhere Again Alive,” is being released on Blu-Ray by Black Zero Releasing, 2022 and was selected one of “100 Best Canadian Films of All Time” by AGO Film Curator, Jim Shedden, 2019. Keith is the inaugural winner of Reel Asian Film Festival’s trailblazing Firehorse Award, 2022. He is Executive Producer of the feature film, Café Daughter, winner Audience Choice Award at the Imaginative Film Festival, Toronto, 2023.

Ali Kazimi
Filmmaker & Academic

Ali Kazimi is filmmaker, author and media artist whose work deals with race, social justice migration, history and memory. He is the recipient of the 2019 Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts. and the same year he received a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa from the University of British Columbia. In 2023 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has taught film production in the Department of Cinema and Media Arts at York University, where he is a full professor.

His critically acclaimed documentaries include NarmadaA Valley Rises (’94), Shooting Indians: A Journey with Jeffrey Thomas (’97), Documenting Dissent (’01), Continuous Journey (’04), Runaway Grooms (’06), Rex versus Singh (’09), Random Acts of Legacy (’16) & Beyond Extinction: Sinixt Resurgence (2022).

The films have been shown at festivals around the world, winning more than 30 national and international honours and awards. Highlights include a Gemini Award (Donald Brittain Award) for Best Social/Political Documentary; Golden Gate Award, San Fran. Intl. Film Fest; Golden Conch, Mumbai International Film Festival; Golden Sheaf, Yorkton Short Film Festival; Best Director & Best Political Documentary, Hot Docs and audience awards for Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival and Los Angeles Indian Film Festival.

Hannah Sung
Journalist & Podcaster

Hannah Sung is a co-founder of the award-winning Media Girlfriends, a production company led by journalists of colour who prioritize inclusive perspectives in media. She is a 20+ year veteran of Canadian media and the founder of At The End Of the Day newsletter and podcast, an Apple Podcasts Best of 2022. Previously, she worked at the Globe and Mail and CBC. In 2020, she was the Asper Fellow at the University of Western Ontario. Hannah began her career in music television at MuchMusic, where she was the host of shows including MuchNews and The NewMusic.

Introducing the 2024 Fire Horse Award Recipient

Paul Wong

Paul Wong photographed by Claudia Fernandez

Paul Wong is a media-maestro making art for site-specific spaces and screens of all sizes. He is an award winning artist and curator known for pioneering early visual and media art in Canada, founding several artist-run groups, and organizing events, festivals, conferences and public interventions since the 1970s. Wong has produced projects throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

In 2005 Wong received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Art. In 2008 was awarded Best Canadian Film or Video at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. In 2016, the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Visual Arts. In 2023 he received the Outstanding Artist Award from the Federation of Gay Games, and was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Emily Car University of Art and Design (ECUAD).

Paul Wong recently completed a year-long residency 身在唐人街/OCCUPYING CHINATOWN. Inspired by hundreds of letters and familial artefacts of his late mother Suk Fong Wong, Paul Wong created intimate exhibitions, public art pieces, artist talks, events, workshops, and the website www.occupyingchinatown.com. 身在唐人街/OCCUPYING CHINATOWN was a public art project commissioned by the City of Vancouver Public Art Program in partnership with the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The Occupying Chinatown book was released fall 2021 and was the finalist for 2022 City of Vancouver Book Award.

He is the Artistic Director and curator of On Main Gallery (On The Cutting Edge Productions Society).

2024 Fire Horse Award

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival proudly established the Fire Horse Award in 2021 to commemorate Reel Asian’s 25th anniversary. We envisioned an annual prize recognizing an Asian Canadian in the media arts or screen-based industries who has dedicated their energy and talents to breaking down barriers, uplifting Asian Canadian communities, and sparking cultural change.

The award was created in honour of Reel Asian’s founder Anita Leee, Chief Programming Officer at the Toronto International Film Festival and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Fire Horse is Anita’s Zodiac sign, which only occurs once every 60 years.People born in those years are said to be change makers: original and creative thinkers, independent and mission-driven leaders.

The Fire Horse Award will recognize the award recipient’s remarkable body of work and its significant impact on the larger community, and anticipation of future contributions to the fields of film, television, media arts, and other screen-based practices, which have a powerful influence on how Asians see ourselves and how others see us—making the support of authentic voices vital.

We’re currently accepting ongoing contributions to ensure the sustainability of the award for years to come. We invite you to make a donation to support this cause. 

All donors will receive a full tax receipt* and receive recognition on the Fire Horse Award page.

*Reel Asian is a registered charity based in Canada. The tax receipt issued by Reel Asian can only be used for the Canadian tax reporting purpose. For international donors, a gift acknowledgement receipt is available upon request for gifts of $100 CAD+. Please contact development@reelasian.com should you have any questions or requests.

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