Toronto, November 23, 2011 – The 15th annual Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival came to a close on Saturday, November 19th, wrapping its biggest and most successful edition yet - bringing the best of Asian and pan-Asian cinema to Toronto and Richmond Hill audiences who look forward to the festival’s unique programming.
While promoting cross-cultural exchange, the festival continued to showcase innovative films and videos, presenting 60 films from 12 countries to enthusiastic audiences from across the region. Highlights include the opening night gala presentation of LOVER’S DISCOURSE from Hong Kong, the Canadian shorts program TRAILBLAZERS, the world premiere of Vietnamese-Canadian feature film PEARLS OF THE FAR EAST, the new media exhibition LOST SECRETS OF THE ROYAL, multi-award winner from Taiwan JUMP ASHIN! and the Closing Night Gala presentation of BUDDHA MOUNTAIN from China, with lead actor Chen Po Lin in attendance.
Reel Asian’s sixth annual INDUSTRY SERIES created networking opportunities, industry dialogue and professional development opportunities for up-and-coming filmmakers and producers. Highlights include a panel discussion with Director Lin Yu-hsien (JUMP ASHIN!) at the Munk School of Global Affairs, Artist Talk with Director Derek Tsang (LOVER’S DISCOURSE) and the annual SO YOU THINK YOU CAN PITCH? LIVE COMPETITION. As Reel Asian continues to experience tremendous growth, the festival looks forward to many more years of excellence.
2011 REEL ASIAN AWARD WINNERS:
REEL ASIAN AUDIENCE AWARD: JUMP ASHIN! (Taiwan 2011) by Lin Yu-hsien
All feature films at the festival are eligible for this prize.
The favourite feature film is selected by the audience. $2,000 cash prize
FASKEN MARTINEAU BEST FEATURE FILM AWARD: BUDDHA MOUNTAIN (China 2010) by Li Yu
All feature films are eligible for this prize. $2,000 cash prize
In a film about the power of perseverance and the complexities of inter-generational relationships, this stunning narrative represents the best in global Asian cinema: master storytelling with a daring and distinct voice. Set in China after the 2008 earthquake, Director Li Yu focuses on the daily lives of some of the most riveting and charming characters in recent cinema.
NATIONAL BANK BEST FIRST FEATURE FILM AWARD: THE JOURNALS OF MUSAN (South Korea 2010) by Park Jungbum
All first feature films are eligible for this prize. $500 cash prize
In this raw and moving story of a quiet North Korean refugee we follow one man's struggle to find his way in a new environment. The jury selected this film because of its honest and inspiring protagonist and the enduring spirit of survival.
Jury Honourable mention: PIERCING 1 (China 2009) by Liu Jian
This story about neglected youth and corporate corruption in modern China could only be told through animation. Brilliantly illustrated by artist Liu Jian, this independent debut film is rich with social bite.
ANIMASIAN AWARD: IN A PIG’S EYE (Japan 2010) by Atsushi Wada
All animated films and videos are eligible for this prize. $500 cash prize
With a hand-drawn aesthetic, the characters were charming, playful, and whimsically nonsensical. The narrative reveals slices of life and/or cold cuts of a quirky family and their gigantic pig. The animation has impeccable timing and features enigmatic characters who seem both oddly confused yet deliberate in their motivations. The filmmaker holds us captive in his imaginary world
Jury Honourable Mention: SKETCHI (Canada 2010) by Lily Sun
Sweet, humourous, and perfect in its simplicity. The film is visually adorable, and self-reflective in animation's ability to bring something to life, in this case, back to life. It's the story of a girl reconnecting with the memory of her dog through her own drawings. The film is both light-hearted and touching.
MOVIEOLA BEST SHORT FILM OR VIDEO AWARD: UNE CHANSON D'HIVER (A WINTER SONG) (Canada 2011) by Aonan Yang
Opportunity for broadcast on Movieola. $500 cash prize
The winner of this award is an intimate, quiet film. The director takes a familiar story of hardship and struggle and tells it with remarkable sensitivity. With its measured pacing and restrained performances, the film evokes the fragility of life with both melancholy and hope.
NFB BEST CANADIAN FILM OR VIDEO AWARD: LES CORDES DE MUYBRIDGE (MUYBRIDGE STRINGS) (Canada/Japan 2011) by Koji Yamamura
All Canadian works are eligible for this prize. $1,500 cash prize
With exquisite artistry, the film takes the revolutionary work of sequential photography known for its historical and empirical value, and weaves them into a stunning tumultuous narrative. Through the time-based medium of animation, the film explores the essence of time, motion, musical rhythm and artistic expression.
WIFT-T AWARD: THE SUGAR BOWL (Canada 2011) by Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson
All films made by female GTA-based artists are eligible for this prize.
$1,200 programming pass, one-year membership and mentorship from WIFT-T
$1,000 in equipment rental from Videoscope and 15% off rentals from Videoscope for one-full year
This beautifully shot documentary captures personal accounts of a bygone era within the context of local and global political change. It highlights the evolving relationships of people with land through compelling stories. The multiple perspectives reveal the complexities of preserving the past and the precariousness of what the future may bring.
An independent jury comprised of distinguished members of the media arts community selected this year’s award winners. The features jury consisted of King-Wei Chu (Co-director of Asian programming at the Fantasia Film Festival), Renata Mohamed (Filmmaker and Membership Coordinator at Liaison of Independent Film Toronto) and Masashi Niwano (Festival & Exhibition Director for the Center for Asian American Media). The shorts jury consisted of Jane Kim (Ph.D. candidate at York University), Jonathan Ng (Animator) and Tam-Ca Vo-Van (Director of SAW Gallery).
THE SO YOU THINK YOU CAN PITCH? AWARDS
This year’s pitch competition was a public event hosted by local artist Keith Cole. An audience of over 100 people watch 6 teams compete for more than $36,000 in services from Charles Street Video. The winners were chosen by a panel of jurors including Nobu Adilman (Toronto-based artist working in television, film, music, journalism, podcasting and web interactive), Eileen Arandiga (Festival Director of the Worldwide Short Film Festival), and Lila Karim (Managing Director of Arts North York with the Toronto Arts Foundation and Festival Director for the Toronto Irish Film Festival).
The CHARLES STREET VIDEO AND REEL ASIAN PITCH PROFESSIONAL ARTIST AWARD goes to Keith Lock for THE MAGIC CHARM.
Production package (equivalent to $18,000 at industry rental rates), post-production support, and $2000 cash.
Synopsis: A fifteen minute dramatic film about a Chinese Canadian man who speaks no Chinese and a non-Chinese woman who speaks Mandarin. They meet, start a relationship and acquire a magic 8 ball that foretells the future. The ending of the film will be improvised by the actors in consultation with the magic 8 ball.
The CHARLES STREET VIDEO AND REEL ASIAN PITCH EMERGING ARTIST AWARD goes to Stephanie Law for LITTLE MISS JIHAD. Production package (equivalent to $10,000 at Industry rental rates) and $2,000 cash.
Synopsis: When 10-year-old, Afghani-American, Sally Khan, discovers that the father she never knew disappeared on September 11, 2001, she becomes convinced that he is a terrorist. Now if she could only figure out what that means! LITTLE MISS JIHAD is a dark comedy, yes, comedy, about faith, tolerance, and a child's imagination running away with her.