The young filmmakers from this year's program come from Philippines, Thailand, Iran, Cuba, China, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Nepal and Mauritius.
Tonight's YMCA Voices Film Festival is hosted by MTV host/producer Aliya-Jasmine Sovani. The screening takes place at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West. There is an opening reception from 5pm and the screening begins at 6pm.
The event is free.
YMCA Voices Film Festival
The YMCA Voices Film Festival is the culminating event of months of hard work and dedication by the young participants of Voices: The YMCA Newcomer Youth Film Project. The festival draws attendance from the settlement, education, employment, health, arts, and government sectors, as well as members of the community, the film festival circuit, and YMCA volunteers and supporters. The event is heavily attended by youth and various youth groups from within the Association as well as from our partner organizations.
Each year, the YMCA of Greater Toronto invites special talent to host the ceremony. Young, diverse Canadian artists working within the entertainment industry offer insight on their experiences, inspiring both the youth and the audience.
The YMCA Voices Film Festival will be hosted by MTV host and producer Aliya-Jasmine Sovani. A native of Ottawa, she has always had a passion for music and television. In both her personal and professional endeavours, she has a heartfelt connection to the issues facing immigrants and refugees.
As master of ceremonies, Aliya-Jasmine brings a wealth of industry experience she'll share with the youth and the audience.
Experience the TIFF Bell Lightbox
In its third year, Voices moves to its new home at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the dynamic and innovative new film centre in the heart of Toronto. Voices will be premiering eight new films by 13 newcomer youth from nine countries.
When: Wednesday, March 23, 6 to 9 p.m.
(Reception from 5 to 6 p.m.)
Where: TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West,
Tickets: For free tickets contact 416-928-3362 x 4122 or
At the launch in spring 2009,
comedian/actor/writer Sabrina Jalees, entertained and energized the crowd with a unique touch of humour. She continues to host YTV's In Real Life and CBC's Laugh Out Loud, while touring across North America.
In 2010, the YMCA proudly welcomed Judy Jiao and Raymond Ablack, stars of CTV's award-winning international hit, Degrassi: The Next Generation, who shared hosting duties together and who took part in the official unveiling of the program's logo.
Judy and Raymond are both supporters of charitable causes. While Raymond's work continues on Degrassi, Judy has now left the show to pursue higher education at Harvard University.
Voices youth are rich in personality, culture and passion. Though their back stories distinguish them from each other, their common desire to learn and to grow and to find their place in Canada, unites them. They end the program with a new moniker for their resumes: filmmaker.
Meet the filmmakers of Voices 3!
Adrianne "ACE" Escarian
Home Country: Philippines
Interests: Film-making, Creative Writing, Volleyball and K-POP
Future Ambition: A respectably famous film-maker and/or writer or teacher.
Favourite Food: Pizza!
Favourite Movie: The Lovely Bones
Role Model: Sidney Sheldon (Writer) I am so inspired by his passion and talent in writing. I love reading his books. I always try to apply his writing techniques in my own and also in the films I make. He succeeded into fame and became an award-winning writer. I believe I can also achieve heights with the gifts God has given me.
Fun Fact: I traded my 16th, 17th and 18th birthday celebrations so that my parents would allow me to see the concert, “Super Show 2”, by Super Junior, a Korean boy-band’s first ever visit and concert in the Philippines.
Quote: “Yes, you can, if you want and will.”
Why Voices? As a newcomer here in Canada, I wanted to do an activity where I will be able to meet new people and be productive for my own good. Film-making has been one of my interests and is a candidate program I would like to have in post-secondary (education). Voices gave me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge and experience in film-making, be involved with immigrants like me, and not just meet people, but meet new friends.
Home Country: Thailand
Interests: Music, movies, shopping, computers, and helping newcomers
Future Ambition: I would like to work in customer service because I like helping people. I would like to work at the airport. I think the employees have nice uniforms!
Favourite Food: Sushi and noodles
Favourite Movie: New Moon (Twilight series)
Role Model: I admire singers, because singers use their voices to tell stories. I like slow soft music.
Fun Fact: In Thailand, we only use one name, but when I came to Canada we had to use first name and last name. I don’t have a last name, so I repeat my first name. My nickname is “Yorekco”, which in my language, means youngest sister.
Quote: “Helping people is good. Help people to get more friends and have better relationships.”
Why Voices? I was attracted to Voices because I want to share my experience of my life. When I saw the movie that another youth did and I got interested and I applied to join. When I saw the people in the movie, I thought people can watch my movie too. (After) I love the program so much because now I have a movie too. I’m so proud of that. I recommend Voices to other newcomers. Some of my friends are interested and say that (it would be nice if) people could watch their movies like the one I did.
Home Country: Iran
Interests: Playing tennis, reading books
Future Ambition: Doctor
Favourite Food: Kabab
Favourite Movie: Spiderman
Role Model: Isaac Newton
Fun Fact: I like to play tennis and I have good skills in math and science.
Quote: “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.”
Why Voices? I wanted to learn different things in different aspects of moviemaking and build my own movie. I also wanted to meet other people and communicate with them.
Home Country: Cuba
Future Ambition: Interior design, film production, fashion
Favourite Food: Cuban food
Favourite Movie: The Fifth Element
Role Model: My aunt, Ingrid. I have chosen her because she has been through lots of problems and no matter the obstacle she is always happy. My aunt sees life in a positive way and I hope one day I can see it the same way.
Fun Fact: I can sleep until 3:00 pm!
Quote: “Never look back, always look forward.”
Why Voices? It was a good opportunity to make a video for the benefit of other people.
Home Country: China
Interests: Taekwondo, music (piano & violin), reading books
Future Ambition: My goal is to be a teacher
Favourite Food: Pizza
Favourite Movie: Another Cinderella Story
Role Model: Selena Gomez
Fun Fact: I am very good at making people feel good and I'm good at baking cakes.
Quote: “There are many stars in the sky. You are one of the stars, so shine yourself up and believe in yourself.”
Why Voices? I was looking for something to do during the summer, and then I heard about YMCA's Voices program. I wanted to learn more about it, and then Sylvia (a YMCA Newcomer Youth Specialist) came to talk about it, so I got more information and how to apply for it. After, I went for the interview and I got in!
Home Country: United Arab Emirates
Interests: Dancing, karate, DJ-ing, music producing, etc.
Future Ambition: Music Producer
Favourite Food: Pizza
Favourite Movie: The Unthinkable
Role Model: Michael Jackson and David Guetta. The King of Pop, Michael Jackson always had a unique dance style which I admired a lot. He created some unforgettable steps such as his moonwalk, which caught my attention the first time I saw it. I fell in love with his dance. David Guetta is the no.1 house DJ in the world. His music production is so catchy and different always. It never sounds the same, which I admire.
Fun Fact: I am a dancer, DJ, and music producer. I have taken part in lots of dance competitions. I do karate too.
Quote: “Try and try till you succeed.”
Why Voices? I always wanted to learn how filmmaking was done and Voices was a great opportunity for me to (get to) know other people and to build a network.
Home Country: China
Interests: Martial arts, computer games, and sports
Future Ambition: Have a successful life with a job filled with action!
Favourite Food: Burger, pizza, spaghetti
Favourite Movie: Resident Evil
Role Model: Jet Li
Fun Fact: A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths.
Quote: “While most are dreaming of success, winners wake-up and work hard to achieve it.”
Why Voices? I want to express my experiences and to (have them) seen in by the world.
Home Country: Taiwan
Interests: Eat, sleep, and shoot random films.
Future Ambition: I want to be a vet when I grow up, because I think animals should have more rights than getting abused.
Favourite Food: Instant noodle, but I’m pretty much fine with any food, as long as it’s eatable.
Favourite Movie: Despicable me
Role Model: I don’t really have one...
Fun Fact: Hmm... I have a dog name Max. He is a golden retriever.
Quote: “Every day is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.”
Why Voices? Because I believe that the Voices program would give me an opportunity to be in the world of filming. I thought that trying our different things would give me new ideas. I like filming and drama, so I want to try it out through Voices! it give me a lot of new experiment that I never had before, sometime it's confusing. (Like the fine editing part, I had no idea what I'm suppose to!) While other times it is fun and great (I liked the animation workshop, and I got a lot of new friends!
Home Country: Philippines
Interests: Photography, music, movies, television
Future Ambition: Anything related to film or advertising
Favourite Food: Pizza, pasta, Filipino food
Favourite Movie: Too many to state just one!
Role Model: My family. They have guided and been there for me for every choice in my life.
Fun Fact: I’m able to find joy in the littlest things.
Quote: “Carpe diem!” (Seize the day)
Why Voices? I found (out about) the Voices program through my mom. She thought it might be something I would enjoy because I like film. I found it quite interesting that there was a way to learn about the equipment used and the process that occurs in filmmaking in just a short time. It is just a few introductions about the different kinds of film but it's a start.
Home Country: Nepal
Interests: Swimming, photography, partying!
Future Ambition: I want to be able to do something good for Nepal.
Favourite Food: Momo (Nepali dumplings)
Favourite Movie: I do not have a favourite movie but I love many.
Role Model: My grandmother and Anuradha Koirala, (CNN Hero of 2010), because she has done tremendous work to prevent the trafficking and sexual exploitation of Nepal’s vulnerable females)
Fun Fact: I once went on an elephant safari in Nepal and I saw a roaring tiger that literally jumped right in front of my face. The elephant was 14 feet tall and the tiger was up in the air, about a foot away from my face. I still get goose bumps when I think about it!
Quote: “The man who wins is the man who thinks he can.” – Walter D. Wintle
Why Voices? I want to make documentaries about the culture and social issues in Nepal, such as poverty, someday, and I thought Voices would give me an opportunity to learn how to do so.
Home Country: China
Interests: Art, reading, writing stories, photography, archery, and playing the piano.
Future Ambition: Cinematographer, graphic designer, or within video and audio editing.
Favourite Food: Sushi, Kim chi and curry chicken.
Favourite Movie: Finding Nemo and Howl’s Moving Castle.
Fun Fact: I have hopes of being able to publish a novel someday.
Quote: “Everyone complains that roses have thorns, but I’m glad that thorns have roses...”
Why Voices? I like imagining different scenarios and the different angles of a shot and I’ve always been interested in movies and the process of making one. When I heard about Voices, I decided to try the program for the experience and to learn the process of making a movie.
Home Country: China
Interests: Music, travelling, photography
Future Ambition: Teacher
Favourite Food: Sushi
Favourite Movie: A Walk to Remember
Role Model: Secret Garden (music group) because they have great musical abilities. They have composed some of my favourite songs like, You Raise Me Up, Secret Garden, and Fairytale.
Fun Fact: I can play 3 instruments: the flute, the trumpet, and the zither (Chinese instrument) :-)
Quote: "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. - Buddha"
Why Voices? Because it is a great opportunity for me to make new friends, learn about film-making, and express myself through the film. I got to meet people from all kinds of backgrounds and really took my understanding of their cultures into another level. I had an absolute amazing experience at Voices program and it really taught me how much is done during the film-making process.
Home Country: Mauritius
Interests: Meeting friends and people, watching movies, pumping iron, going downtown, swimming, cycling, jogging, summer outings, and the latest electronics.
Future Ambition: Graduate (from) university and become a great person, do some acting in the movie industry, help poor people.
Favourite Food: I like all food, provided it’s good.
Favourite Movie: An Inconvenient Truth
Role Model: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Fun Fact: I have 2 rings that do not fit my fingers
Quote: “No matter what task you undertake, you must have passion for it. If that passion is not there, then better not do it.”
Why Voices? I wanted to join because I wanted to get knowledge in the movie industry, learn to promote myself, share my opinions and experiences, meet new people, and to know more about other cultures.