Friday, 12 November 2010

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2010 Day 3 - Thursday November 11, 2010

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I was really looking forward to Day 3 at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival because I always anxiously away seeing the Canadian Shorts Presentation, this year it was On The Flip Side and it held a numerous fantastic short films for the packed audiences viewing pleasure. It's so great to see so many people come out and support the love of shorts, and they certainly did night! Lots of the filmmakers were in attendance for the Q&A as well, which made it all the more fun. I was particularly excited to see Howie Shia's short Peggy Baker: Four Phases which combined several different styles including different styles of animation and was so beautiful it brought me to tears. Twice. And it's a mere 5 minutes and 25 seconds. Absolutely beautiful. After the shorts presentation it was straight on into the screening of the compelling and award winning feature film Bi, Don't be Afraid! Overall, another great night at Reel Asian.


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Above: Stills from Film Concerto in Hanging Major and The Auction

On The Flip Side - Canadian Shorts Presentation

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Filmmakers in attendance (L-R): Paul Wong, Meelad Moaphi, the crew from A Dragged out Affair: The Musical and Gloria Kim

Let's have a look at a selection of the short film presentation On the Flip Side!

Exit Upon Arrival
Dir. Paul Wong - in attendance
Canada, 2 minutes

Fascinating short showing 2 images at once of literally going in (or out?) or a doors. I loved watching this one and trying to decided where to look, ponder what was happening and if the two images were the same or different. Very engaging.

Wind + Snow
Dir. Leslie Supnet
Canada, 4 minutes

Mesmerizing and contemplative, Wind + Snow blends a documentary and sensory experience with a sensitive look & feel using footage of wild animals and humans at play imagery with beautiful colour overlays and alterantions.

Film Concerto in Hanging Major
Dir. Meelad Moaphi - in attendance
Canada, 13 minutes

Darkly comedic informative look at suicide options. Very gutsy, dark and extremely well done. I kept having a flip flop reaction between being shocked and being impressed - although most times I was both shocked and impressed!

A Dragged out Affair: The Musical
Dir. Sonia Hong - in attendance
Canada, 10 minutes

Last years So You Think You Can Pitch? winner is this years short musical featuring drag queens and set in Toronto's own Church Street. Touching on rivals and romance this raunchy short went well to the rowdy crowd.

Window Horses (Karaoke Project)
Dir. Ann Marie Fleming
Canada, 5 minutes

Whimsical & touching this animated short had me smiling from start to finish as a we watch a singing stick figure muse about horses and family. Loved it.

Peggy Baker: Four Phases
Dir. Howie Shia
Canada, 5 minutes

I was really looking forward to this short and it completely blew me away and brought me to tears. A beautiful, creative look at the dancer Peggy Baker at work, this film blends visual styles and animation style bringing the story she is telling to life with an acute sensitivity and depth to not only what we are seeing but also what we are hearing and feeling. It's a formidable accomplishment showcasing extraordinary talent. Absolutely brilliant and certainly a highlight of the festival.

You can see this beautiful short Peggy Baker: Four Phases at the NFB Site here.

The Auction
Dir. Gloria Kim - in attendance
Canada, 17 minutes

Touching dramatic short on the immigrant experience from perspective of young Meehee, following her family during challenging times and decisions around the holiday season. I loved the tone of this short and the lovely sense of memories and nostalgia it created.

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Bi, Don't be Afraid!
Dir. Phan Dang Di
Cast: Phan Thanh Minh, Nguyen Thi Kieu Trinh, Nguyen Ha Phong, Thuy Hoa, Tran Tien, Mai Chau
Vietnam/France/Germany

Bi, Don't be Afraid! is a calm and understated family drama following young Bi (Phan Thanh Minh), his mother (Nguyen Thi Kieu Trinh), father (Nguyen Ha Phong), aunt (Thuy Hoa), grandfather(Tran Tien) and the family nanny (Mai Chau) through their everyday lives, primarily though some very hot days. Their is a lot that is left unspoken in the film, and I'd be hard pressed to say I understood the significance of everything that happened in the film, but that didn't deter my enjoyment of it one bit. I found it compelling every step of the way from Bi's open curiosity and wonderous nature to his father's distance nature to his aunt's understated awkward ways. A truly beautiful film.

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Reel Asian International Programmer Raymond Phathanavirangoon points out the new premium seats that were raffled off at both screenings last night at the festival.

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2010 runs from November 9 - 15, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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