Wednesday, 19 November 2008

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


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.

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
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
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.

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
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.

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

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.

Min Sook Lee director of Tiger Spirit

Tiger Spirit
Dir: Min Sook Lee

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

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.


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