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Showing posts from October, 2009

Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival : Nov. 11th - 15th

The October 13th Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival Press Launch @ the Japan Foundation. I love this year's promotional image. It really captures the vibrancy and kick-ass nature of RA. The pan-Asian festival has really come into its own over the past 13 years.

This year's Opening Night Gala is the film OVERHEARD starring Louis Koo (what a hottie!) and produced by the team that brought us the Infernal Affairs trilogy. YES! RA fave, Lesley Loksi Chan, and Serena Lee's work LIVE LONG AND PROSPER will jump start the evening.

(L-R) Director, Randall Okita (Fish in Barrel), actor Bobby del Rio (Unlocked) and director, Mio Adilman (Unlocked); RA Exectutive Director, Sonia Sakamoto-Jog.

(L-R) RA Artistic Director, Heather Keung; RA International Programmer, Raymond Phathanavirangoon

(L-R) RA Pitch This competition winners; An assembling of some of the filmmakers and talent that will be in attendance at RA '09

Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival: Sense of Wonder

Images from films, FISH in BARREL by Randall Okita and FOUND by Paramita Nath. Both films are part of the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival's SENSE OF WONDER short programme which screens on Friday, November 13th, 6:15 pm at Innes Town Hall on the U of T Campus.

One of the things I love about doing TmTm is the fact that I get to directly question the creators of various works of art. On Saturday, Oct. 24th, I had the chance to ask director, Randall Okita about his work Fish in Barrel, a short film that I had seen at TIFF '09 and that many people will get an opportunity to see at Reel Asian. I had screened Fish in Barrel several times at home, and found it interesting and puzzling at the same time. The film is dark in lighting and in theme, so asking Randall, the "what were you thinking" questions was something I was looking forward to. Well, turns out, that like dance or abstract paintings, Randall's work is all about communicating emotions rather than a putting fo…

ImagineNative Film & Media Arts Festival: On the Road Again

BARKING WATERReview by TmTm Member, Gord (photo at left)
This was my first time going to a screening at ImagineNative and I am so glad I got to see Barking Water. Although this picture is nothing new (I'm very familiar with the road movie genre) it introduced me to two wonderful actors: Casey Camp-Horinek and Richard Ray Whitman, and a very good young director Sterlin Harjo.

The plot is minimal: Frankie (Whitman) is dying and wants to go home, Irene (Camp-Horinek), his old flame, breaks him out of the hospital and drives him to his destination. The beauty of the film is the journey itself; we see via flashbacks the turbulent relationship between Frankie and Irene, lovers for years who just never got it right. In the present, we see through many quiet and contemplative scenes the regret and ultimate forgiveness between the two leads. I liked the quiet moments and the close-ups of the actors and their lived-in faces.

This film reminded me of the movies they used to make in the 70’s.…

ImagNative Film & Media Arts Festival: Closing Night Images

ImagineNative Executive Director, Kerry Swanson; Barking Water director, Sterlin Harjo

Sterlin Harjo, director, Adam Garnet Jones (Wave a Red Flag) and Kerry Swanson

Imaginative Board/Events Team Member, Gail Maurice leads Closing Night Q & A. Gail is also a director/writer/producer; Sterlin Harjo, Adam Garnet Jones and Gail Maurice

Gail Maurice; Adam Garnet Jones and Gail

Closing Night performers wrap up ImagineNative on a great note.

Photo Credit: all photos by donna g. Location: Royal Cinema on College Street.

ImagineNative Film & Media Arts Festival: Laughing Out Loud!

Canadian Keesic Douglas' short film F.A.S examines the "jean-etics" of demim while Australian Richard Frankland's feature Stone Bros takes us on a cannabis-filled road trip in search of culture and identity.

Director, Adam Garnet-Jones (Wave a Red Flag, Go Get Dad) and friend Scott outside the Al Green Theatre. Adam was a guest on TmTm along with Michael Corbiere (Sit By My Fire); Bon vivant, Christopher Pinheiro. Pin and I laughed often and loudly at the double bill of F.A.S. and Stone Bros.

Bear Witness dj and filmmaker and I had a quick chat in the lobby of the Miles Nadal JCC (location of Al Green Theatre). I had seen his short film Eyes in the experimental shorts program on Thursday.

Bear Witness and Sami journalist, Suvi West; Suvi West and I chatted about the Sami film festival. I also found out that she used to do radio and misses broadcasting.

Eileen Arandiga (ImagineNative) with directors, Keesic Douglas (F.A.S) and Richard Frankland (Stone Bros).

F.A.S. and St…

ImgagineNative Film & Arts Festival: What's in a Face?

Ran into director, Neil Diamond (left) at the Al Green Theatre today. We had a great conversation, not about his documentary, Reel Injun, but about glasses and contacts. While speaking with him a young Sami woman approached us. She was absolutely gorgeous, with a face that you could look at for ages.

Most black people look at other black people and try to guess what they are mixed with. We can see the Chinese, East Indian, White in every black person. We look at hair, skin colour, noses, lips for any indication as to a black person's heritage. Being a black person at ImagineNative is a feast for me, as I look at all the different facial features in the crowd. The one thing I don't dwell on is who is Native and who is not. Been there, done that in my own culture where some black people are thought of as not being "black enough" because they are too light/white.

I feel as comfortable at ImagineNative as I do at any other film festival. No one looks at me and wonders why…

ImagineNative Film & Media Arts Festival: What are We Being Taught?

Filmmaker, Alanis Obomsawin's new documentary looks at education and how children are taught in our society. the subject of her new film PROFESSOR NORMAN CORNETT asks the question: "Since when do we divorce the right answer from an honest answer?" This award-winning (Governor General's award, Order of Canada) director, usually focuses her lens on Native peoples, but she turns the camera on Professor Cornett after his dismissal by McGill University. What is he teaching? Why was he dismissed? I'm going to find out. Why don't you.

Professor Norman Cornett
Thursday, October 15, 9:00 PM
Al Green Theatre
750 Spadina Avenue (Spadina/Bloor)
Tickets: 416-967-1528 or try your luck 1 hour before screening time

10th Annual ImagineNative Film Festival

What better way to open the ImagineNative Film & Media Arts Festival than with a documentary about the depiction of Indians on film. A hesitant Neil Diamond was astounded that the line up for his documentary, REEL INJUN wrapped around the Bloor Cinema and that the film was being shown to a jam-packed audience of over 800 people. I've seen similar films about how minorities have historically been branded by American cinema, so this was not a ground-breaking film for me in terms of it's intent; instead, it is a welcome addition to the collective voices of oppressed peoples righting cinematic and historic wrongs and reclaiming their respective cultures. This collection of voices is not demanding to be seen as nobles or savages; they simply want to be seen on screen (and in life) as human beings.

TUNGIJUQ. This short film (which preceded Reel Injun) is absolutely breath-taking with it's frosty white images of the north punctuated by piercings of blood red. Spare and thought…

Toronto Theatre Scene: September '09

The thing I love about theatre is the fact that no two audiences will ever experience the same play. The actors and words will be the same, but the magic of the evening comes from the synergy that is created by the individuals that comprise the audience in which you sit. Unlike film that you now can rent on DVD or see at a second-run movie house, once a play's run has ended you can't always depend on a remount. Theatre is ephemeral, so my varied theatre experience for October 2009 rests solely in these pictures and in the wonderful memories I have of each. (Farley Flex and me at Secrets)

Secrets of a Black Boy Opening Night at the Danforth Music Hall

The t-shirst seen around Toronto all summer; playwright/actress, Trey Anthony sister of Secrets' playwright, Darren Anthony I love the new look of urban theatre that Darren has created with his play about 5 black men sharing their intimate thoughts.

Rowan Starr (Student Council President, Westview Centennial) and friend, Wendy Na…