The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television announced their nominees for the 2023 edition of the Canadian Screen Awards on February 22 and there are Reel Asian connections throughout the nominations. Click below to explore the many ways that Reel Asian continues to foster the growth of the Asian Canadian creative communities.

Film | Riceboy Sleeps

The début feature from Vancouver-based filmmaker Anthony Shim was selected to open our 2023 festival and it was wildly popular with the capacity crowd. It would go on to win the Best Canadian Feature Film or Video award and lead actor Ethan Hwang would garner an Armstrong Studios Acting Award at our festival. We are proud to see Shim and his cast & crew getting their flowers with multiple CSA nominations. Watch the episode of our Backstory Podcast featuring Shim and lead actress Seung-yoon Choi here!


This film by South Asian Canadian director Nisha Pahuja was recently selected as one of TIFF’s Top Ten. Pahuja was a panelist at our Canadian Films Shot in Asia Industry Series session (the precursor to our Reel Ideas stream of programming) in 2015.

Ann Shin‘s powerful and unnerving documentary opened the 2021 Hot Docs Festival and the work is up for two awards. Shin has been a friend and advisor to the festival many times over the years.

TV | Run The Burbs

RUN THE BURBS was a marquee live event for Reel Ideas at RA2022. A popular and well-attended event saw the cast and showrunners addressing the importance of bringing a cultural consultant on board to ensure the specificity and authenticity of the work. The show is up for numerous awards involving Reel Asian alumni.

  • Best Direction, ComedyAleysa Young, for the episode “Blockbuster”
    → Young cohosted an IS panel called Renaissance Filmmakers back in 2012. She has supported the festival over the years, most recently attending the 2022 Fire Horse Awards Luncheon.
  • Best Lead Performer, ComedyRakhee Morzaria
    → Morzaria was a panelist at the Reel Ideas marquee live event Cultural Specificity in CBC’s Run The Burbs in 2022
  • Best Lead Performer, ComedyAndrew Phung
    → Phung moderated the TallBoyz artist talk in 2019 and MC’d the Lunar New Year Fundraiser in 2020. He appeared in the anti-piracy messages for RA2021 and was a panelist at the Reel Ideas marquee live event Cultural Specificity in CBC’s Run The Burbs in 2022

This dramedy airing on CBC Gem stars South Asian performer Bilal Baig as Sabi Mehboob, a non-binary millennial trying to balance their roles as a child of Pakistani immigrant parents, a bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore and café, and a caregiver to the young children of a professional couple. Among its nominations, the series has a pair involving Reel Asian alumni.

  • Best Comedy SeriesJennifer Kawaja, Bruno Dubé, Bilal Baig, Fab Filippo
  • Best Direction, ComedyJoyce Wong, for the episode “Sort Of I Love You”
    → Wong’s films have played Reel Asian numerous times and she worked for the festival in the mid-to-late 2010s
  • Best Writing, ComedyJP Larocque, for the episode “Sort Of Broke”
    → Larocque was a panelist at our Reel Ideas sessions Sustainable Storytelling Careers (RA2021) and Web Series Development and Distribution (RA2017)

The TallBoyz troupe appeared in the anti-piracy messages of the 2021 festival and were featured in an artist talk in the 2019 Reel Ideas stream of programming. Troupe member Franco Nguyen is also a filmmaker whose works have been screened at the festival.

Montréaler Michael Fukushima was the former executive producer of the National Film Board‘s English Animation Studio before retiring recently. He was our Canadian Spotlight Artist in 2012 and after serving as a Pitch Juror for us for many years, he currently sits on Reel Asian’s Board of Directors, where he helps spearhead our Reel Asian Alumni Network activities. In what he describes as probably his last nomination for a Canadian Screen Award, he is being recognized for his work as an executive producer for THE ORCHID AND THE BEE.

Vancouver-based creative Paisley Smith was part of RA2018 with her VR project HOMESTAY the focus of that year’s RA:X stream of programming. She is nominated for her work on the immersive piece UNCEDED TERRITORIES.

TOKENS, now in season 2, is the creation of Winnifred Jong, whose microshort MILK played the Food For Thought: Short Eats programme at our 2017 festival. The web series is a tongue-in-cheek comedy about the actors who find themselves randomly sent to productions desperate to hit their diversity quotas and features tons of BIPOC creatives & talent both in front of and behind the camera.

Digital Media | Topline

TOPLINE is the brainchild of prolific FilCan creative Romeo Candido, who has screened extensively at Reel Asian and was featured as our Canadian Spotlight Artist at the 2022 festival. The series stars Cyrena Fiel as Tala, a 16-year-old girl who dreams of being a singer with an alter ego called ‘Illisha’. When one of her songs as Illisha goes viral her life begins to change and Tala must learn to find her own voice. Reel Asian showcased an electrifying screening of the entire series with live musical performances by the cast as the Festival Closing Gala event of our 26th edition.

TV | Romeo Candido

Prolific FilCan filmmaker Romeo Candido has screened extensively at Reel Asian, most recently being featured as our Canadian Spotlight Artist at our 2022 festival. He is nominated for his work on the young adult series THE NEXT STEP.

Toronto-based producer Teresa M. Ho is being nominated in for her role as showrunner on THE DEPARTURE. Ho served on Reel Asian’s finance committee in 2009-2010 and both she and her independent production company 100 Dragons have been strong supporters and friends of the festival ever since.

  • Best Drama SeriesChristina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Malcolm MacRury, Jackie May, T.J. Scott, Paul Donovan, Chris Philip, Karine Martin, Vincent Shiao, Nikolijne Troubetzkoy, Marsha Greene, Chris Moreton, Patrick Cassavetti, Teresa M. Ho, Julie Lacey

Veteran filmmaker Gloria Ui-Young Kim‘s first film at Reel Asian was the short A SOLITARY SILENCE back in 2000. Her most recent Reel Asian screening was her feature QUEEN OF THE MORNING CALM in 2020, and she has screened numerous works in between. She is nominated for her work on the dramatic series HEARTLAND.

Actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee is best known for his role as Appa on CBC’s much beloved (and sadly departed) series KIM’S CONVENIENCE. He participated in two marqeee Reel Ideas live events along with other KIM’S cast members in 2016 and 2017 and can always be counted on to keep coming out to support the festival. He is being nominated for his hosting work at the 2021 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE.

TV | Simu Liu

Marvel Universe superhero Simu Liu was part of the second cohort of our Unsung Voices programme all the way back in 2013. He credits Reel Asian in his recent book We Were Dreamers: “..the experience of learning how to put a film together from the ground up has continued to pay dividends for me, allowing me to produce my own work when others were not giving me the opportunities I needed.” Liu is being nominated for his work on THE 2022 JUNOS.


Ng is a long-time friend and supporter of the festival. An accomplished cinematographer, she was among our very first mentors in the inaugural cycle of our Unsung Voices program all the way back in 2012. She also served on the Features Jury for us that year. She is nominated for her work in the quirky comedy STRAYS.

Pornel co-hosted our digital Awards Show in 2021 with Angela Sun and will join the cast of RUN THE BURBS for season 2. She has come out to numerous festival events and screenings and she is nominated for the hosting gig that made her a household name, THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW.

Acclaimed director Warren P. Sonoda has been an awards presenter at Reel Asian on behalf of the Director’s Guild of Canada and Reel Asian was actively involved in promoting an online screening of his work THE THINGS I DO FOR MONEY, the first successful wide-release genre film to feature Japanese Canadian leads. He is nominated for his work on the kids series ODD SQUAD MOBILE UNIT.

Wei hosted the artist talk with Midi Onodera as part of the Reel Ideas Conference in 2019 and has more recently DJ’d the 2022 Festival Launch Party. They are co-nominated (along with Ann Tipper) for their work on SEX WITH SUE.

TV | Kevin C.W. Wong

Born in Hong Kong but now based in Toronto, cinematographer Kevin C.W. Wong was a panelist on our Industry Series session The Reality of DV Filmmaking all the way back in 2005. The Industry Series was the precursor to our Reel Ideas stream of programming. He is nominated for his work on the reality series MARY MAKES IT EASY.


Ye is a prolific and highly-renown director and cinematographer. She generously agreed to participate as a mentor in the 11th cycle of our Unsung Voices program in 2022. She is nominated for her work in the comedy series DETENTION ADVENTURE.

Young has appeared as an actor in several films that have screened at Reel Asian and he was a Pitch juror for us in 2021. He is nominated for his work on the children’s series DINO RANCH.

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