Monday, 15 November 2010

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2010 Day 6 - Sunday November 14, 2010

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Exploring family, heritage and asking questions were there themes of the afternoon on Day 6 of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival with the screenings of the Japanese drama Dear Doctor and documentaries Marker and One Big Hapa Family from Japanese Canadian directors. As day turned to night the festival location shifted from Innis to The Royal as the festival finished with day with the closing Gala screening of Au Revoir Taipei and awards ceremony.

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Dear Doctor
Dir: Miwa Nishikawa
Cast: Tsurube Shofukutei, Eita, Kimiko Yo, Kaoru Yachigusa
Japan

Set in a Japanese village of 1,500 aged residents, Dear Doctor follows the stories in and around the disappearance of the village doctor Osamu Ino (played by Tsurube Shofukutei). Using a storytelling style that weaves perspective changes and occurrences between the villagers, Osamu himself, the new medical intern Keisuke Soma (played by Eita), and resistant patient Torikai-san we see many different sides of Osamu and the village itself. A captivating story that gentle unfolds and presents interesting questions surrounding health, happiness and knowledge. n With it's compelling dramatic nature, beautiful locations and stunning look into human nature, it's no surprize that Dear Doctor is a multiple award winning film. In fact, since the screening at Reel Asian it's already added another award to the mix with the award from Reel Asian for Astral's Harold Greenberg Fund Best Feature Film or Video Award.

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One Big Hapa Family director Jeff Chiba Stearns and Marker director Louise Noguchi

Marker
Dir: Louise Noguchi
Canada, 28 minutes

A fascinating exploration through travels to shrines of martyrs in North America & Japan, delving into their stories, histories, the effect and reactions of people affected by them then and now. Very interesting exploration.

One Big Hapa Family
Dir: Jeff Chiba Stearns
Canada, 48 minutes

I absolutely adored this documentary! As a personal journey and exploration, director Jeff Chiba Stearns notices that in his own family tree everyone in his Japanese Canadian family married interracially after his grandparents. Starting with that as a departure point and delving into the family history but expands further into question and reality of the high percentage of interracial marriages of Japanese Canadians, as well as the experience and perception of multiracial identities and interracial marriages. There's a beautiful openness and curiosity that drives the film, which is always honest and respectful but also charming and funny throughout. It was a breath of fresh air and a true celebration of spirit. Filled with family interviews, a huge archive of family photos and videos and fantastic animations sections, this film kept me interested, engaged, informed and happily smiling throughout. A stellar and inspiring documentary.

See more or buy the DVD for One Big Hapa Family here.

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

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