Friday, 14 November 2008

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


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Kurt Halfyard said...

Watching this tonite, and really looking forward to it.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Ohhh which one? Hansel and Gretel? Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!

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