Sunday, 30 November 2008

DIY Entertainment Club

Photobucket

Tried YesAsia.com for the first time in October, slightly tardy posting this DIY! The reason I strayed from my usual amazon order was the search for the ever elusive John Woo film The Killer. I have had it on request from the Toronto Public Library (after 2 years, I'm 14/110 people for the *VHS* copy). I missed the a showing at the Bloor and finally enquired about it at HMV where I was informed it had no current North American release. On the Criterion site, it's Out of Print too! BOO to that! I needed to see it before December 1, 2008 to complete my 101 films I can't believe I haven't seen list, and I was determine to get it! I heard good things from others that used YesAsia, so I gave it a try. As I'm a sucker for getting free shipping, I picked out 2 other selections snagging Johnny To's Sparrow starring Simon Yam and Wong Kar-Wai's My Blueberry Nights.

Film Reviews - Philippines

Fable of the Fish / Isda
Santa Mesa *
Yanggaw

*indicates co-production

Back to Countries List

Friday, 28 November 2008

Film Fan Fridays for Friday November 28, 2008

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday November 28, 2008! Can you believe it's almost December? I can't!

All the new releases are limited releases! Out of what we are looking at I'm most likely to check out the French thriller The Killer / Le Tueur. We also have the rather disturbing looking Restless. The biggest buzz for this weeks limited release is definitely for A Christmas Tale / Un conte de Noël, a Cannes charmer starring Bond's latest baddie Mathieu Amalric in a family drama. Oddly, even though it's gotten great buzz, no one I know personally liked it and I'm also a little leery consider for another reason: the film is French, but the trailer has a English voice over to 'walk you through' the set up. Weird.

There are no wide release this week hot off the coals are the mid week releases of Australia, Four Christmases and Transporter 3 all in wide release; or Milk in limited release.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch

aluCine
Toronto Latin Media Festival
Continues until November 29, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Brazil Film Fest
Continues until November 30, 2008 at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Eh!U European Film Festival
Continues until November 30, 2008
at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screenings

Free Japanese Films at the Bloor!
Arrive early to check out films presented by the Japan Foundation at The Bloor this weekend:
Shangri-La (Dir: Takashi Miiki) Friday November 28, 2008 at 7pm
Breather In, Breathe Out (Dir: Tetsuo Shinohara) Saturday November 29, 2008 at 4:30pm
Half A Confession (Dir: Kiyoshi Sasabe) Saturday November 29, 2008 at 7:00pm

Wednesday November 26, 2008 Releases

Australia
Dir: Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet, Strictly Ballroom)
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Bryan Brown
Australia/USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer site unseen - spoiler sensitive beware!

Four Christmases
Dir: Seth Gordon (The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters)
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Mary Steenburgen
USA/Germany
Official Film Site(autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Milk
Dir: Gus Van Sant (Gerry, Paranoid Park, Good Will Hunting)
Cast: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco, Alison Pill, Diego Luna
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film by the halfway point

Transporter 3
Dir: Olivier Megaton (La Sirène rouge)
Cast: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, François Berléand, Robert Knepper
France
Official Film Site (autoplays clips from film), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer 2a spoiler free until 2/3rds of the way through

Friday November 28, 2008 Releases

A Christmas Tale / Un conte de Noël
Dir: Arnaud Desplechin (Kings & Queens / Rois et reine)
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Catherine Deneuve
France
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

The Killer / Le Tueur
Writer/Dir: Cédric Anger - directorial debut
Cast: Grégoire Colin, Gilbert Melki
France
Limited Release
Film info on Evokative Films Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film at halfway point

Restless
Writer/Dir: Amos Kollek (Nowhere to Go But Up, Bridget)
Cast: Moshe Ivgy, Ran Danker
Israel/Germany/France/Canada/Belgium
Limited Release
Film MySpace Page, IMDb Page, Trailer (includes mature content)
Trailer is spoiler free

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of November 28, 2008**

Thursday, 27 November 2008

My Week in Film

Photobucket

There has been a bunch of big film stuff going on recently! I spent a glorious 5 days at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival which continues to impress with its selection of fantastic Asian film. See my complete coverage of the festival here.

Although I caught up on a several new releases, including heading out to catch JCVD in it's theatrical release, I think it is safe to say that *the* film of the moment is none other than Twilight (click through for full review). I went on opening night with my sister Jamie and it was one heck of a fun time. We were originally going to go to a mid afternoon show, but when I noticed it was in theatre 14 (at Scotiabank - good theatre, but one of if not the smallest there), I asked if there we tickets still available for the prime time showing. And there were. And it was in theatre 1 - the biggest house. I exchanged those suckers right then and there and then heard something I've not heard at a regular theatre for a while:

"It's going to be pretty crazy. I'd recommend coming 45 minutes early."

Oh course, I wouldn't have expected something other than craziness but being in a full theatre in a non festival setting happens to me so infrequently that it got me nostalgic and added to the fun of the experience. For the record, we ended up going 30 minutes early and sat 3rd row up on the side and those seats are just fine. It's exactly where I sat when I watched Mongol.

Other films I've taken in are the latest Bond instalment Quantum of Solace which I enjoyed a fair amount, likely due to revisiting many of the classic Bond films from Dr. No to Live and Let Die over the summer. I felt Quantum of Solace holds up well and it's refreshing to see that it continues where Casino Royale left off and that they chose to break the formula by showing the effects of events over time.

The last trip to the regular theatre lead me to what may very well be the best US release of 2008 that I've seen so far: Rachel Getting Married. The acting is was absolutely fantastic not only by Anne Hathaway but the entire cast, the story is compelling and the setting feels so real. For me it was a kleenex required screening and at one point I had pools of tears in my clavicles, and was hoping for a loud scene so I could sniffle away unnoticed. A stunning film that I highly recommend.

Hey, that's my 55 cents! Ticket prices have increased at some of the Toronto downtown theatres recently. From trekking to the theatre I found out that Varsity and Scotiabank tickets have gone from $11.95 to $12.50 and the Carlton lists new prices as $10.50 from $9.95. It does feel like ages since the price has been raised but those feel like odd numbers for tickets. But, 2 for $25 is a very convenience pocket price.

Odd to note is after the preshow (read: cycling adds) at the Twilight screening they actually had a slide that went up saying 'Thanks for watching the preshow'. I didn't know anyone but me referred to it as that. Weird!

How was your week?

Photobucket
One of the few times I've actually pre purchased tickets! Of course it was on the day of the first big snow.

Photobucket
Twilight crowd on opening night. Were you there?

Monday, 24 November 2008

Twilight

Dir: Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, The Nativity Story)
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Cam Gigandet, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Anna Kendrick, Rachelle Lefevre, Gil Birmingham
USA, 2008

Seen: Opening Night! Friday November 21, 2008 at Scotiabank

Reason to see: Teen vampire drama romance - of course I'm going to see it. Plus, I loved the book.

The theatre was certainly bustling on opening night of Twilight, the film adaptation of the novel by Stephenie Meyer that has taken people by storm. Were their screaming fans at the screening? Sure there were. Giddy laughter? You bet. But it wasn't all for Robert Pattinson who plays the male lead, Edward. There was a fair share of screaming for Peter Facinelli in his entrance as Carlisle. On the flip side the woman beside me that kept saying things like "oh, please!" and "settle yourselves!" during the audience eruptions.

The film itself is a faithful adaptation that is a sure to please its audience. I found the strength in the film to be the performance from Kristen Stewart as the protagonist Bella. A character that is amidst a time of great change yet shows a grace and strenght we do not often see in film. She is true to herself, kind to her friends and of course falls for the bad boy. Don't we all want to be her? Robert Pattinson does a solid job playing Edward, but falls to my only criticism of the film which would be the choice of some the special effects. I found they had the tendency to break the illusion of the world and when this occurred it affected his character, which is a shame. Also, the PG rating explains why the romance itself feels a little quieter than the book although I feel the relationship does come through strongly.

Another joy of the film is the supporting cast, who do a great job creating natural relationships. I particularly enjoyed Anna Kendrick as Jessica, Billy Burke as Bella's father Charlie, Taylor Lautner as Jacob (although looked a little older than should have) and Gil Birmingham as Billy. The casting for James (Cam Gigandet) and Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) were brilliant choices, they had strong screen presence every time they appeared. Even though the supporting cast didn't get a lot of screen time, what they did with it was memorable with an understated beauty.

Overall, it was just what I was hoped the film would be. It is a film made for its fans, and if you are one of them you will be delighted with the result.

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I'd buy it
I'd recommend to fans of the book and fans of vampire drama/romance.

14 minutes of preshow including 2 commercial and 5 previews: Confessions of a Shopaholic, Dance Flick, Inkheart, Fired Up and Know1ng

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2008

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 Coverage

Photobucket

Pre-Festival Coverage
November 11, 2008

Daily Coverage
Day 1 - Wednesday November 12, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 2 - Thursday November 13, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 3 - Friday November 14, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 4 - Saturday November 15, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog
Day 5 - Sunday November 16, 2008: Write-Up, Vlog

Film Reviews - Features and Mid-length Films
Adrift in Tokyo / Tenten
Confessions of a Salesman
Daddy Tran: A Life in 3-D
Drummer, The
Everybody's Children
Flower in the Pocket
Hansel and Gretel
Long Story Short
Oh Saigon
Santa Mesa
Tiger Spirit
Twelve
West 32nd
Wonderful Town

Film Reviews - Shorts
Around the Corner from Solitude
Audience, The
Catalogue
Damn the Past
Discopedia
Machine with Wishbone (WSFF'08 Review)
Others, The
Parallel Adele
Playgrounded, The
Running (Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit)
Self Portrait
Summer Afternoon
What You Eat

Videos - Q&A's, Introductions, Awards
Lester Alfonso: Selections from Twelve
Kenneth Bi: Selections from The Drummer Intro and Q&A
Christine Choy and Jody Long: Selections from Long Story Short Q&A
Aram Siu Wai Collier: Selections from The Others Q&A
Selections from Q&A for Daddy Tran: My Life in 3-D
Selections from Full Boat Program Q&A
Michael Kang: Selections from West 32nd Q&A
Min Sook Lee: Selections from Tiger Spirit Q&A
Ron Morales: Selections from Santa Mesa Q&A
Randall Okita: Selections from Machine with Wishbone Q&A
Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers Performance on Opening Night
Selections from Closing Night Awards Ceremony

Post Festival Coverage
Wrap Up
Awards

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 Wrap Up

Photobucket

I'm thrilled that in comparison to last year, this year I saw many of Reel Asian Award Winning Films. I agree with many of the selections but also have a few films I'd like to highlight, and because there were so many amazing films I could rarely narrow it down to just one.

Best Features: Adrift in Tokyo / Tenten, Flower in the Pocket

Best Mid-length: Oh Saigon, Twelve

Best Shorts (live action): Catalogue, The Others, Summer Afternoon

Best Short (animated): Running (Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit)

Best Experimental: Confessions of a Salesman

Best Program: Oh Vietnam on Day 5. Beautiful collection of documentaries. Definitely got me teary eyed though!

Best Q&A's: Micheal Kang at the West 32nd Q&A, the packed audience had great questions. Also Christine Choy and Jodi Long were very entertaining at the Long Story Short Q&A.

Best Experience: Seeing all the happy people during the Awards ceremony and then getting to see the lovely closing night film Adrift in Tokyo / Tenten

Fullest Screenings: The Drummer, West 32nd, Adrift in Tokyo / Tenten

Repeating themes:
Portraits (self or others), bringing families together, reunification, home, use of found images from the Internet

Funnest collective experience:
The rat toss yet really got people going, there were some competitive catchers out there! Especially for the make up / perfume prizes.

Wish I hadn't missed:
Paul Wong spotlight

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Selections from Reel Asian 2008 Awards Ceremony

The following video clips are from the Awards Ceremony on Sunday November 16, 2008 at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. See a listing of all of the awards here.

Trinity Square Video Visionary Video Award presented to Aram Siu Wai Collier for The Others:


Doug Pringle and Chi-hui Yang present Centennial College @ Wallace Studios Most Innovative Film Production Award to Randall Lloyd Okita for Machine with Wishbone:


Presentation of the NFB Best Canadian Film or Video Award to Paul Wong for Perfect Day:


Lesley Loksi Chan announces the winner of the Animasian Award - Asa Mori's Up the Rabbit Hole:


Megan McPhee, Lesley Loksi Chan announce the winner of the Kim Orr Barristers P.C. Best Narrative Feature Film or Video Award – Liew Seng Tat's Flower in the Pocket:


So You Think You Can Pitch? Introduction by Nobu Adilman and presentation of the Charles Street Video and Reel Asian Pitch Emerging Artist Award to Ian Tuason for Continuity Problems:


Nobu Adilman presents the Charles Street Video and Reel Asian Pitch Professional Artist Award to June Chua and Christine Alexiou for Travels with My Brother:


Reel Asian Artistic Director Heather Keung and the final Rat Toss for the festival:


The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Selections from Q&A for Daddy Tran: My Life in 3-D

The following video clips are from the screening of Daddy Tran: A Life in 3-D as a part of the Oh Vietnam program on Sunday November 16, 2008 at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. See my review of Daddy Tran: A Life in 3-D here.

Daddy Tran: A Life in 3-D director Siu Ta and cinematographer John Minh Tran discuss how the film came to be:


Hai (Daddy) Tran responds to question regarding his favourite things to shoot:


Hai (Daddy) Tran dicusses further his love of photography:

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Selections from Tiger Spirit Q&A with Min Sook Lee at Reel Asian 2008

The following video clips are from the screening of Tiger Spirit on Sunday November 16, 2008 at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. See my review of Tiger Spirit here.

Tiger Spirit director Min Sook Lee introduces the film:


Min Sook Lee discusses the theme of the film:


Min Sook Lee responds to audience question on the possibility of a reunified Korea:


The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Selections from Q&A with Santa Mesa dir Ron Morales at Reel Asian 2008

The following video clips are from the screening of Santa Mesa on Sunday November 16, 2008 at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. See my review of Santa Mesa here.

Santa Mesa director Ron Morales discusses casting


Ron Morales discusses inspiration of the film:


The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Selections from Q&A with West 32nd director Michael Kang at Reel Asian 2008

The following video clips are from the screening of West 32nd on Saturday November 15, 2008 at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. See my review of West 32nd here.

West 32nd director Michael Kang discusses casting:


Michael Kang discusses choice of character and focus (includes plot spoilers):


Michael Kang responds to audience question on influences:


Michael Kang discusses different possible endings ideas (includes spoilers):


Michael Kang discusses subplots and CJ Entertainment's involvement:


Michael Kang responses to audience question about how CJ Entertainment got involvement:


The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Selections from Q&A Long Story Short director Christine Choy and writer Jody Long at Reel Asian 08

The following video clips are from the screening of Long Story Short on Saturday November 15, 2008 at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. See my review of Long Story Short here.

Long Story Short writer Jodi Long introduces the film and gives background on the films origins:


Long Story Short director Christine Choy and writer Jodi Long discuss the creation of the narrative structure of the film:


Jodi Long discusses acting and roles for Asian actors:


The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Selections from Q&A for Twelve with director Lester Alfonso at Reel Asian 08

The following video clips are from the screening of Twelve as a part of the Everybody Else Program on Friday November 14, 2008 at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. See my review of Twelve here.

Twelve director Lester Alfonso and producer Lea Marin discuss how the film came to be:


Lester Alfonso responds to audience question regarding representing a film that is so personal, and also discusses upcoming projects:


The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Selections from Q&A with Randall Okita at the Reel Asian 08 Screening of Machine with Wishbone

The following video clip is from the screening of the Full Boat Program on Thursday November 13, 2008 at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. See my review of Machine with Wishbone here.

Machine with Wishbone director Randall Okita discusses where the idea for the film came from:


Randall Okita responds to audience question regarding budget & time:


The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Selections from Q&A for Full Boat Program Reel Asian 08

The following video clip is from the screening of the Full Boat Program on Thursday November 13, 2008 at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. See my reviews of films in the Full Boat Program here.

Filmmakers from the Full Boat program respond to an audience question regarding how their non film backgrounds helped affected the film making process. Vid is a little dark, so here is the order of speakers:
Stefanie Wong dir: Around the Corner From Solitude
Ann Marie Fleming dir: Running (Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit)
Blair Fukumura dir: Catalogue
Khanhthuan Tran dir: Self-Portrait
Randall Okita dir: Machine with Wishbone



The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Film Fan Fridays for Friday November 21, 2008

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday November 21, 2008! Chilly enough for you? We just got our first snowfall here in Toronto and the cold feels like it is here to stay for the winter.

In limited release this week we have a series of directorial debuts lined up. The highly acclaimed Ballast, and Canadian coming of age in a pot world Growing Op are both by first time feature film directors. I Can't Think Straight seemed a little familiar to me being directed by Shamim Sarif and starring both Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth, in a striking coincidence, all three worked together on The World Unseen which was released just three weeks ago. For limited releases I'd to say the pick of the week is Repo! The Genetic Opera which opens at The Bloor this week, and director Darren Bousman will be in attendance on opening night for a intro the film 6:45 PM and also Q&A moderated by Richard Crouse.

In wide release this week we have animated animals run wild in Bolt but the big release this week is Twilight. Based on Stephenie Meyer's novel, this teen vampire romance phenomenon has become a force to be reckoned with. I already have my tickets for Friday and when I picked them up they advised me to arrive early for the screening as it would be "a little crazy". I haven't heard that for a while. It will be an interesting experience!

We also have numerous midweek releases for next Wednesday November 26, 2008 which means it's time to say Happy Thanksgiving to film fans south of the border. The films making an appearance will be the highly anticipated Australia and Milk, holidays come early with Four Christmases and action will be cubed in Transporter 3.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch

aluCine
Toronto Latin Media Festival
November 20 - 29, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Brazil Film Fest
November 27 - 30, 2008 at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Breast Fest
The World's First Breast Cancer Film Festival
November 21 - 22, 2008 at the ROM in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Eh!U European Film Festival
Continues until November 30, 2008
at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screening

Cubers

Documentary on the World Rubik's Cube Championship
Saturday November 23, 2008 at 3pm at The Royal in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
See trailer on the Official Film Site

Friday November 21, 2008 Releases

Ballast
Writer/Dir: Lance Hammer - feature film directorial debut
Cast: JimMyron Ross, Michael J. Smith Sr., Tarra Riggs,
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Spoiler free until halfway point

Bolt
Dir: Bryon Howard & Chris Williams - feature film directorial debuts
Voices: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Malcom McDowell, James Lipton
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Growing Op
Writer/Dir: Michael Melski - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Steven Yaffee, Rosanna Arquette, Katie Boland, Wallace Langham, Rachel Blanchard, Denis Theriault, Jon Cor
Canada
Limited Release
IMDb Page, YouTube Trailer
You get the gist of the film by the halfway point

I Can't Think Straight
Dir: Shamim Sarif (The World Unseen)
Cast: Lisa Ray, Sheetal Sheth, Antonia Frering, Dalip Tahil
UK
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Spoiler free until halfway point

Repo! The Genetic Opera
Dir: Darren Bousman (Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV)
Cast: Anthony Stewart Head, Alexa Vega, Sarah Brightman, Paul Sorvino, Terrance Zdunich, Bill Mosely, Paris Hilton, Nivek Ogre
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Twilight
Dir: Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, The Nativity Story)
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Cam Gigandet, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer site unseen - spoiler sensitive beware!

Wednesday November 26, 2008 Releases

Australia
Dir: Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet, Strictly Ballroom)
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Bryan Brown
Australia/USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer site unseen - spoiler sensitive beware!

Four Christmases
Dir: Seth Gordon (The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters)
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Mary Steenburgen
USA/Germany
Official Film Site(autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Milk
Dir: Gus Van Sant (Gerry, Paranoid Park, Good Will Hunting)
Cast: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco, Alison Pill, Diego Luna
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film by the halfway point

Transporter 3
Dir: Olivier Megaton (La Sirène rouge)
Cast: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, François Berléand, Robert Knepper
France
Official Film Site (autoplays clips from film), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer 2a spoiler free until 2/3rds of the way through

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of November 26, 2008**

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Poll Results: Who is Your Favourite Bond?

The Bond fans have spoken and I am surprized at the results - it's a tie for which Bond reigns supreme between Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. Perhaps it's the bias for recency as they are Bonds most fresh our minds and between them share the majority of the votes. After that the votes went classic with Mr. Connery, the to Roger Moore and finally some love for George Lazenby. The Timothy Dalton fans did not come out to play this time around but I know you are out there!

Here are the results:

27% Tie: Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig
22% Sean Connery
13% Roger Moore
9% George Lazenby
0% Timothy Dalton

Be sure to have your say on the current poll on the Best Vampire/Romance Phenomena

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 Awards

Photobucket
The huge crowd waits for the Closing Night Awards Ceremony and Closing film Adrift in Tokyo

This years award winners have been announced and it has been another stellar year at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. Festival goers turned out in record numbers bringing numerous sold out screenings and events. Energy and excitement was brimming at the Bloor during the closing night awards ceremony. Let's take a look at the winners and check out selections the ceremony here.

So You Think You Can Pitch? Winners
Charles Street Video and Reel Asian Pitch Professional Artist Award - June Chua and Christine Alexiou for Travels with My Brother

Charles Street Video and Reel Asian Pitch Emerging Artist Award - Ian Tuason for Continuity Problems

Award Winners:
NFB Best Canadian Film or Video Award – Paul Wong's Perfect Day
Honourable Mentions: Anh Minh Truong’s The Playgrounded and Midi Onodera’s A Movie-A-Day

Centennial College @ Wallace Studios Most Innovative Film Production Award – Randall Lloyd Okita's Machine with Wishbone

Kim Orr Barristers P.C. Best Narrative Feature Film or Video Award – Liew Seng Tat's Flower in the Pocket

Trinity Square Video Visionary Video Award - Aram Siu Wai Collier's The Others

Animasian Award – Asa Mori's Up the Rabbit Hole

NOW Audience Award - Kenneth Bi's The Drummer

Photobucket
Happy award winners and presenters at the Closing Night Ceremonies (left to right):
Paul Wong (director of Perfect Day), Randall Okita (director of Machine with Wishbone), Aram Siu Wai Collier (director of The Others), Chi-hui Yang, Doug Pringle, Ann Marie Fleming, Roy Mitchell, Lesley Loksi Chan, Lea Marin, Kass Banning, Megan McPhee.

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 Day 5 - Sunday November 16, 2008

Photobucket

The fifth and final day of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival was jam packed with energetic crowds and emotional films. It was a beautiful way to wrap the festival up, even though it was a freaking cold day!

Check out my Day 4 & 5 Vlog for highlights of the day.

Photobucket
Oh Vietnam guests left to right:
Oh Saigon director Doan Hoang, Parallel Adele director Adele Pham, Daddy Tran: A Life in 3-D filmmakers and guests - Mrs & Daddy {Hai} Tran, director Siu Ta, cinematographer John Minh Tran with Reel Asian Artistic Director Heather Keung

Oh Vietnam Presentation

Parallel Adele
Dir: Adele Pham
Documentary
USA, 2008
16 minutes

A touching an honest film exploring the bi or multi-racial experience and how it creates niche culture so specific that there is little chance to find someone of the same experience. Many of the stories revolve around not fitting as expected but also shine a light on fitting in when unexpected. People assume you are of one not many, and treat as such. I enjoyed the open discussions with the people involved

Oh Saigon
Dir: Doan Hoang
Documentary
USA, 2007
57 mintues

Oh Saigon is a beautiful documentary that traces the story of director Doan Hoang's family life as they move from Vietnam to the States in 1975. Although the film begins with how the family was shattered apart, the heart of it lies in the hope of reuniting not only with each other but also with coming to terms with the idea of a loss of a home country. It is such an emotional journey that I was thankful it was presented in the middle of the program as I needed some time to recover from the overwhelming experiences that are shared with the audience. One of the festivals best selections.

Photobucket
Mrs & Daddy {Hai} Tran, Reel Asian Artistic Director Heather Keung, Siu Ta (director) of Daddy Tran: A Life in 3-D

Daddy Tran: A Life in 3-D
Dir: Siu Ta
Documentary
Canada, 2008
47 minutes

I was happy to have the opportunity to see Daddy Tran: A Life in 3-D as it didn't quite fit my schedule at Hot Docs this year. The film is a portrait of Daddy {Hai} Tran whose love for photography, currently 3-D photography specifically, treads closely to an obsession but he's joie de vivre is so contagious that it overrides such thoughts. Overall a very charming portrait filled with candid interviews and great photography.

See selections from the Daddy Tran: A Life in 3-D Q&A here.

Photobucket
Ron Morales director of Santa Mesa

Santa Mesa
Dir: Ron Morales
Cast: Jacob Kiron Shalov, Jaime Tirelli, Melissa Leo, Angie Ferro, Pierro Rodriguez, Maria Lopez
USA/Philippines

Santa Mesa explores the complicated subject of being isolated within your own culture as we follow Hector, a 12-year-old who is unexpectedly shifted from the US to the Philippines to live with his Grandmother he never knew. We see him struggle to relate, communicate and learn all on top of the regular social pressures of being twelve. A heartfelt journey.

See selections from Q&A with director Ron Morales here.

Photobucket
Min Sook Lee director of Tiger Spirit

Tiger Spirit
Dir: Min Sook Lee
Documentary
Canada

The search of a tiger is the start of this film which has a strong theme of the power of belief as well as the hope of reuniting worlds and families. In this compelling documentary we see director Min Sook Lee as she travels to South Korea when 6 months pregnant. Her quest in searching for a connection to the country is paralleled with the hopes of the numerous families in South Korea who wish to reunite with family members in North Korea. A lottery system is in place to reunite the families through online conferencing and broadcasted publically. The search for completion is haunting throughout, especially for lost memories of personal stories.

See selections from Q&A with director Min Sook Lee here.

Adrift in Tokyo / Tenten
Dir: Satoshi Miki
Cast: Jô Odagiri, Tomokazu Miura, Kyoko Koizumi, Yuriko Yoshitaka, Ryo Iwamatsu
Japan

A wonderful oddball comedy following two near strangers as they walk almost aimlessly around Tokyo. If described in detail, the film would sound so serious as it includes debt collectors, crime and emotional detachment but the spirit of the film is lively, funny and touching. Sensitive realism is explored through a bizarre meeting of the minds, even if the minds are a little off kilter and logic is questionable. One of the most enjoyable films I've seen in recent history.

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 ran from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Photobucket

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 Day 4 - Saturday November 15, 2008

Photobucket

Day 4! Today had a lot of aggressive weather! Started off with rain, it was chilly throughout and ended with pelting wet snow. Gotta love November in Toronto! Want to hear all about it? Check out my Day 4 & 5 Vlog or check out the highlights of the day below.

Photobucket
Long Story Short director Christine Choy and writer/narrator Jodi Long

Long Story Short
Dir: Christine Choy
Documentary on entertainers Larry & Trudy Long and their daughter Jodi Long
USA

It was a true joy to see not only the film Long Story Short but also the Intro and Q&A by director Christine Choy and Jodi Long. The energy they provided to the screening was playful, practical and proud. The film traces the history of Jodi Long's parents, Larry & Trudy Long as innovative entertainers through the 40's and the 50's including an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. The journey is not only historical but personal to shows the realities of a show business family, which unfortunately shows how although we may have come along way that it doesn't mean we have actually come very far.

See selections from Q&A with director Christine Choy and writer Jodi Long here.

Damn the Past
Dir: Juli Kang
USA, 2007
29 minutes

A beautiful short film filled with song, dance, unconventional relationships which confront and embrace telling your own story and creating your own history in the midst of presumptions and assumptions.

Flower in the Pocket
Dir: Liew Seng Tat
Cast: Lim Wing Wei, Wong Zi Jiang, James Lee, Amira Nasuha Binti Shahiran, Mislina Mustaffa
Malaysia

Flower in the Pocket is an absolutely wonderful film following the tale of two young brothers, mostly unattended and getting into trouble but they appear to know nothing different. Fragile friendships, odd explorations and more than a few shocking moments kept the audiences attention for the duration of the film. Ultimately the film feels like a tale of familial and social completeness but the joy lies in its simplicity of togetherness and family regardless of the situation.

The Audience
Dir: David Eng
Canada, 2008

Hilarious short that prods, questions and validates not only the audience we are but the audience we see. This film was a definite crowd pleaser.

Photobucket
West 32nd director Michael Kang

West 32nd
Dir: Michael Kang
Cast: John Cho, Grace Park, Jun Kim
South Korea/USA

This slick New York set Korean gangster flick took me by surprize. Star power including John Cho and Grace Park was certainly a draw, but the complex nature and desire to understand the underground culture is what hooks you into the film. The exploration shows how quickly the lines can be blurred from professional to personal, as well as demonstrating the powerful dynamites of the community. I’m not usually one for gangster films, but the story pulls you tightly into the intriguing world and gives you many characters to connect to on multiple levels. Add to that a great cast including stellar performances especially from Jun Kim and you are ready to roll.

Want to hear the whole Q&A? You can! Check it out here at Toronto Screen Shots, film content is discussed (including the end) so spoilers sensitive folks beware.

See selections from Q&A with director Michael Kang here.

Photobucket
The packed house for the screening of West 32nd and The Audience

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 runs from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Photobucket

Monday, 17 November 2008

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 Vlog Day 4 & 5



Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival Day 4 & 5 Vlog!

Films Discussed:
Family - Celebrating: Long Story Short, Daddy Tran: A Life in 3-D
Family - Searching & Reuniting: Tiger Spirit, Flower in the Pocket, Oh Saigon
Crowded Houses: West 32nd, Adrift in Tokyo

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 runs from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 Day 3 - Friday November 14, 2008

Photobucket

Day 3 was a day of 3's. It was the third day in the festival and I went to 3 screenings! Want to hear all about it? Check out Reel Asian Vlog for Day 3.

Everybody Else Shorts Presentation

The first screening of the day was such a treat, both of the films shown were very touching in their expression of the immigrant experience. The program included Twelve and Everybody's Children, films that won the National Film Board of Canada's Reel Diversity competitions. I found the films to be a great reminder of the challenges that people face when coming to Canada from a different country. So many times Canada, and specifically Toronto, are known from their multiculturalism but that doesn't mean it can be a quick and easy fit. There is always room for more acceptance, sharing and kindness to those around us. The films were preceded by student PSA shorts that were tender and hilarious, ranging from anti-smoking ads to acceptance. Wonderfully done.

Photobucket
Twelve director Lester Alfonso

Twelve
Dir: Lester Alfonso
Canada, 2008
43 minutes

Twelve has such an interesting premise and shows a personal and collective journey in a very beautiful way. The film is a collection of interviews and memories of people, including the director himself, who all came to Canada at the tender at of twelve. It is a very brave and honest film that captures truths of the individual lives including the hardships of fitting in as well as advice they would give of how to make it through the transition. The openness and sharing of stories is done from a place of true caring and exploration which transforms the film from straight up documentary style to a collection experience for all, including the audience.

See selections from Q&A with director Lester Alfonso here.

Everybody's Children
Dir: Monika Delmos
Canada, 2008
52 minutes

This film brings to light the issue of unaccompanied minors arriving to Canada seeking asylum. We follow two teens who arrive with little more than the clothes on their back for the period of a year to see what the experience is like. I had no idea that this was something that happened to so many people, and the film touches on the fact that there is no formal system for taking care of them. As the case was, and sound like is with the majority of the unaccompanied minors, is that they have no one here in Canada. It was amazing to see the difference when they had access to or were part of a social community, like The Salvation Army or Matthew House. The film does have an emotional arms length from the people involved, which I can understand but it was a challenge because you really feel so much for teens involved that you want to be a little closer. It's wonderful that it brings to the surface such an important issue.

Photobucket
Matthew House Executive Director Anne Woolger-Bell and Everybody's Children director Monika Delmos

Wonderful Town
Dir: Aditya Assarat
Cast: Anchalee Saisoontorn, Supphasit Kansen, Dul Yaambuning, Sorawit Poolsawat
Thailand

Quietly paced film set in post tsunami Southern Thailand which is divided between tourist locations and hotels that are continuing on as they can or rebuilding. Many polarities are explored urban to rural, old to new, complex to simple but rarely are they set as a conflict but rather a choice. The film brings a gentle romance that is stemmed in opposites but grows nonetheless. A haunting sense of loss pulls the film just slightly out of emotional range for me, although the setting and acting is quite understated and beautiful to watch.

Disquieting: Late Night Shorts
Aptly named programmed that all and all I have to say freaked me out! The films were all disquieting in their tone and concept as opposed to just the visual depiction. Chilling and uncomfortable, but ultimately unforgettable. Here are reviews on a selection of the shorts.

The Playgrounded
Dir: Anh Minh Truong
Canada, 2007
18 minutes

The lightest of the group, The Playgrounded explores an unexpected nostalgic friendship in a time of utter boredom. Innovative ideas and lively energy contrasts beautifully against the stark setting to give a surreal yet familiar feel to the world it creates.

Photobucket
What You Eat director Jennifer Liao with Reel Asian Online Coordinator Kevin Lim

What You Eat
Dir: Jennifer Liao
Canada, 2008
9 minutes

The story of a father/son relationship where the father is insistent that if you kill something, you have to eat it. This idea prompts for many cringe inducing ideas and moments that had the audience squirming in their seats.

Highlights of the Q&A with director Jennifer Liao:
- the film was based on a short story
- stunts with the animals and casting the young actor were some of the challenges of the film
- it was the winner of Hear Me, See Me, Pitch Me competition in the emerging category at Reel Asian in 2007
- pre-production began in March 08, it was shot in May 08 and post done in July 08

Summer Afternoon

Dir: Ho Wi Ding

Taiwan, 2008
16 minutes

Beautifully shot in black & white this roadside escapade turns from standard third wheel scenario to a dark journey of power and twisted friendship.

Photobucket

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 runs from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 Vlog Day 3 - Friday November 14, 2008


Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival Day 3 Vlog!

Films Discussed:
From the Everybody Else program: Twelve, Everybody's Children
Wonderful Town
From the Disquieting: Late Night Shorts: The Playgrounded, Summer Afternoon, What You Eat


The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 runs from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 Day 2 - Thursday November 13, 2008

Photobucket

Day 2 of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival was filled with innovative films from experimental to re-interpreted fables. Arriving for the first screening at Innis Town Hall for the day felt a bit like opening night all over again as it was the first day at this particular venue. Helpful and friendly staff directed people to all the appropriate places, and new for this year is the badge & passholder pick up is on a different side of the theatre to the regular box office. Regular tickets are picked up at the box office area right off of St George Street, passholders and badge holders are just around the corner. I hit up three screenings on Day 2 and it was a quite a great set of films!

Want to hear all about it? Check out Reel Asian Vlog for Day 2.

Photobucket

Confessions of a Salesman
Dir: Ho Tam
Canada, 2007
55 minutes

Confessions of a Salesman pieces together different selections of Ho Tam's work from 1994 to 2008. Although each section has its own unique message, it was fascinating to see the works as a series to touch back to themes and styles that repeat over time, like old radio ads and newspaper clippings. What amazed me more than that was the different techniques and formats used which brought depth showing continuously innovative works. The tone also ranged from serious to tongue-in-cheek, but always had an air of challenging perceptions. My favourite of the works was what felt like an association game, showing a word from A to Z with an 'Asian' quality to it, then it showed an image paired with the word. Often the image was one you wouldn't expect. A fantastic journey of commentary and redefining perspectives and perceptions.

For more information on the director check out Ho Tam's website.

Photobucket
Directors from the Full Boat program (left to right): Stefanie Wong (Around the Corner From Solitude), Ann Marie Fleming (Running (Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit) ), Blair Fukumura (Catalogue), Khanhthuan Tran (Self-Portrait), Randall Okita (Machine with Wishbone).

Full Boat Shorts Presentation
I always look forward to the shorts programs and Full Boat was a great selection of Canadian shorts. It's interesting to note that the majority of the films had animation or had a strong presence of line in the films. Five of the filmmakers were in attendance, Ann Marie Fleming (Running (Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit) ), Khanhthuan Tran (Self-Portrait), Blair Fukumura (Catalogue), Randall Okita (Machine with Wishbone) and Stefanie Wong (Around the Corner From Solitude) which always makes for a lively screening and we were treated to a brief Q&A after the films. Here are reviews of a selection of the short films. More pictures, vids and details from the Q&A to follow.

See selections from Q&A with Full Boat directors here.

Running (Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit)
Dir: Ann Marie Fleming - in attendance
Canada, 2008
5 minutes

Animated character Stick journeys through on and through surfaces and into the heart and back again. Lively and fresh this short is simply beautiful.

Q&A with Ann Marie Fleming reveals that the film is inspired on acupuncture theory.

Self Portrait
Dir: Khanhthuan Tran - in attendance
Canada, 2007
2 minutes

Fascinating exercise in self portrait, we see the director drawing himself. It is interesting as the process although a self portrait is from the viewers perspective and we are left seeing the directors.

Discopedia
Dir: Ho Tam
Canada, 2007
8 minutes

Night clubs scenes and beats fill our senses as the text crosses the screen with phrases you'd heard and likely said on the dance floor from pick up lines to longings to brush offs. Very effective.

Catalogue
Dir: Blair Fukumura - in attendance
Canada, 2008
4 minutes

There was lots of love in the house for Catalogue, a short film that explores the culture and fashions from 1970's catalogue in comparison to current shopping and social culture. Playful, comedic and insightful on changing and repeating cultural trends.

Machine with a Wishbone
Dir: Randall Okita - in attendance
Canada, 2007
5 minutes

It was a treat to see this innovative short film again, check out my review of it from the Worldwide Short Film Festival here. See selections from Q&A with director Randall Okita here.

Around the Corner From Solitude
Dir: Stefanie Wong - in attendance
Canada, 2008
3 minutes

Innovative short film that shows animation through embroidery. I had no idea it was embroidery until the Q&A - what a fascinating way to create a short! Seeing the embroidery gives the film a very tactile and unique feel to it as you wait in anticipation to see what stitches will come next.

Hansel and Gretel
Dir: Yim Pil-sung
Cast: Chun Jeong-myoung, Eun Won-jae, Shim Eun-kyoung, Jin Ji-hee
South Korea

I'm always looking forward to a good horror film and Hansel and Gretel sure has that to offer. The film has a share of scares, but also has fantastic art direction and costumes that successfully give it a storybook atmosphere. The re-interpreted fable of evil kids in a house surprized me, in a good way. It felt much more than a straight-up horror film, there was a fair share of heart and emotion as well as the fear which made very accessible to slip into the created, crazy world. The acting was very strong by the entire cast, the majority of which are quite young. Overall very engaging, vivid and scary.

Photobucket
The packed house for Hansel and Gretel.

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 runs from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Film Fan Fridays for Friday November 14, 2008

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday November 14, 2008! It's a bit of a quiet week with only three releases in the theatres, but we do have 2 special screenings and 6 festivals in town so there is sure to be something to fit your tastes.

In limited release this week we have the extraordinary JCVD starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as Jean-Claude Van Damme. If you have ever been a Van Damme fan, I'd highly recommend checking it out! Our second limited releases is Died Young, Stayed Pretty a documentary on poster artists and their work.

It's a quiet week for regular releases, perhaps to cull the competition against our only wide release of the week Quantum of Solace with Daniel Craig back as James Bond.

Be sure to check out my daily coverage at Movie Moxie of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival from November 12 - 16, 2008 for reviews & pictures.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch

Eh!U European Film Festival
November 16 - 30, 2008
at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

New Serbian Film Festival
November 14 - 16, 2008 at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Reel Awareness
Human Rights Film Festival
Continues until November 16, 2008 at the NFB Cinema , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival
Films focusing on mental health and addiction
Continues until November 15, 2008 at Workman Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

Continues until November 16, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Voices Forward
Film & Culture about people from Israel & Palestine
Continues until November 16, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screening

The Burrowers

Missed it at Midnight Madness at September? Now is your chance to see it!
Thursday November 20, 2008 at 9:30PM at The Bloor, presented by Rue Morgue
Director J.T. Petty will be in attendance for the screening.

The Order of Myths
Wednesday November 18, 2008 at 6::30 and 9:15PM at The Bloor, presented by Doc Soup
Director Margaret Brown in attendance for post screening Q&A.

Wednesday November 12, 2008 Releases

Slumdog Millionaire
Dir: Danny Boyle (Sunshine, 28 Days Later)
Cast: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor, Irfan Kahn
UK/USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer unseen for spoilers as I know I'll see this one - watch at own risk!

Friday November 14, 2008 Releases

Died Young, Stayed Pretty
Dir: Eileen Yaghoobian
Documentary on poster culture and poster artists
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

JCVD
Dir: Mabrouk El Mechri (Virgil)
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, François Damiens, Zinedine Soualem, Karim Belkhadra
France/Luxembourg/Belgium
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is mostly spoiler free, but if seeing the film I'd say don't past the 2/3 way point

Quantum of Solace
Dir: Marc Forster (Stranger Than Fiction, Finding Neverland, Monster's Ball)
Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Jesper Christensen
UK/USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is sight unseen - watch at own risk of spoilers!

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of November 14, 2008**

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 Vlog Day 2 - Thursday November 13, 2008


Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival Day 2 Vlog!

Films Discussed:
Confessions of a Salesman
Full Boat Program, including Machine with Wishbone
Hansel & Gretel

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 runs from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 Day 1 - Wednesday November 12, 2008

Photobucket

The red carpet was out, photographers were snapping shots left right & centre and a set of drums were set up on the stage of the Bloor Theatre. That can only mean one thing: The opening night of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008! The evening was filled with energy and love for the arts, film and the festival. An awesome introduction by Reel Asian Executive Director Deanna Wong followed by numerous inspiring speeches from members of the Toronto community including Mayor David Miller and Olivia Chow. Then the audience was treated to the beats of Toronto's Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers and the films for the evening: The Others (Aram Siu Wai Collier) and The Drummer (Kenneth Bi).

Want to hear all about it? Check out Reel Asian Vlog for Day 1

Photobucket
Mayor David Miller

Photobucket
Olivia Chow

Photobucket
Toronto's Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers. See vid of the performance here!

The Others
Dir: Aram Siu Wai Collier
Starring: Lou Diamond Phillips
Canada, 2008
9 minutes

The Others is a fascinating exploration of the numerous roles depicting a variety of ethnicity all played by Lou Diamond Phillips. The film succeeds not only is showing the range of 'the other man' but through creative editing tells us a very different story than any of the films ever have. Clever & witty, this short had the crowd laughing along from beginning to end.

Hear a selection from Q&A with director Aram Siu Wai Collier here.

Photobucket
The Others director Aram Siu Wai Collier, The Drummer director Kenneth Bi

The Drummer / Zhan. gu
Dir: Kenneth Bi
Cast: Jaycee Chan, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Lee Sinje, Josie Ho, Angelica Lee
Hong Kong/Taiwan/Germany

The Drummer is quite a unique film, and certainly the first gangster/Zen drumming film I've ever seen. It shows us two different worlds with very different objectives but both have a unique, collective structure. We see Sid, the son of a gangster, as he fumbles through both of these worlds not even trying to fit in. How will these worlds respond to his impulsive and self-centric nature? Who will change, the world or Sid? A beautiful journey in transformation.

Selections from Q&A with director Kenneth Bi here.
See The Drummer official website here.

Photobucket
The Drummer director Kenneth Bi

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2008 runs from November 12-16, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012