Thursday, March 6, 2014

2014 ReelWorld Film Festival announces full programming lineup

ReelWorld Film Festival announced today that it is presenting 79 films and videos during its eight-day festival, being held from April 2 to 6, 2014 in Toronto and from April 11 to 13, 2014 in Markham.

In her opening remarks, Founder and Executive Director Actress Tonya Williams said: "We're bringing 25 features to screens in Toronto and Markham this year, along with 37 shorts, eight webisodes and nine music videos. Once again we're introducing audiences to new Canadian talent from the Aboriginal, Asian, Black, Latino, Middle Eastern and South Asian communities."

The 2014 ReelWorld Film Festival is showcasing 70% Canadian content, and presenting films from Australia, China, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Grenada, Guadeloupe, India, Iraq, Jamaica, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The Philippines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, The United Kingdom, and the USA.

Special film highlights include:

Opening night film in Toronto is the world premiere of Jeremy Whittaker's Destiny. A co-production between Canada and Jamaica, this drama features singers Karian Sang and Christopher Martin. It is a story of love, the pursuit of a music career and a return visit to the beautiful island of Jamaica. Presented by TD Bank Group.

Closing night in Toronto features Horizon Beautiful, by Stefan Jäger. It features a soccer magnate who becomes entangled in a fake kidnapping in Addis Ababa and is liberated by a 12-year-old street kid who is desperate to play the game. The film is a Switzerland and Ethiopian co-production created with the Blue Nile Film and Television Academy, the only film school in Ethiopia.

ReelSpeak spotlights Actor Oscar Torre for a one-hour candid conversation where our special host asks the questions that aspiring and established artists want to know. Torre is a multiple award winner, has guest starred on Dollhouse, NCIS, Cold Case, The Mentalist, and he was in HBO`s Larceny, Counterpunch, and Hunting of Man. He also played a supporting role in the 2013 blockbuster film The Hangover Part III. Immediately following ReelSpeak, Torre's award-winning feature film Pretty Rosebud is screens. NBCUniversal presents ReelSpeak.

Music Video Night recognizes the artistry and the mastery that is involved with creating riveting music videos. For 2014, ReelWorld presents nine music videos in both Toronto and Markham. This screening is fully Canadian. TD Bank Group presents music video night in Toronto.

ACTRA Toronto's YEAA Shorts are back this year with world premieres of short films that were directed by actors who play younger characters on film and TV. Behind the camera or seen on-screen, these films feature the work of many talented Canadian actors.

The ReelWorld Shorts Series is a stepping stone for emerging Canadian artists to showcase their talent and for established artists to share their innovations. This year, there are three shorts programs. One explores the theme of identity. Another focuses on artistic innovation, and the third is a Canadian showcase. Throughout the festival, ReelWorld programmers have scheduled many award-winning and star riddled shorts in front of features.

Family Friendly Screenings offer age-appropriate free films to children 12 and under, when accompanied by an adult.

Toronto's and Markham's family screening features the short Momsters Playground by Stephen Roscoe with the feature Music for Mandela by Canadian filmmaker Jason Bourque. This is presented by Global Toronto. Music For Mandela won the audience award at the Amnesty International Festival in Vancouver in 2013 and explores the role music played in the extraordinary life of one of the world's most important icons.

Markham also has a second family friendly screening with Bekas, the story of two children in war-torn Iraq who dream of a different life after discovering Superman. The film's director Karzan Kader won a silver medal in the foreign film category at the 38th Student Academy Awards. Screening before Bekas is a A World Out There - an award-winning short from the Multi-Media Film Festival of York Region.

Opening Night in Markham features The Rocket, an Australian film by Kim Mourdant about a young boy who everyone believes is cursed with bad luck. To prove himself, and save his family, he builds a giant rocket, daring to hope his projectile will win the most dangerous competition of the year. The Rocket was selected at AFI and Tribeca and was Australia's official selection for the Oscars.

Closing Night in Markham is Filmistaan, a South Asian film and directorial feature debut by Nitin Kakkar. It features a wannabe actor who is mistaken for an American crew member and held hostage in the home of a man who deals in pirated Hindi films. Filmistaan is a story of new cultural understanding forged through film.

These are just a few of our special presentations. Our features include:

Amin Amir, Will Beauchamp's documentary about a political cartoonist. After Mas by Karen Martinez screens before.

Celluloid depicts the turbulent life of Dr J.C. Daniel, the pioneer of Malayalam cinema. It is directed and written by Kamal. Are We Different by Canadian filmmaker Adrian Wong screens prior.

Sushrut Jain's Beyond all Boundaries focuses on three people's obsession with cricket during the 2011 World Cup of Cricket, hosted in India.

Author Alvin Yapan directed Debosyon, which brings viewers into a world where a man seeks to battle a curse in order to bring the woman he loves home with him. Filmmaker Mahi Bena's Last Ditch screens prior.

Forward Ever: The Killing of A Revolution delves into the assassination of Grenada's Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. It is directed and written by Bruce Paddington and Luke Paddington.

Hollywood Chaos is a drama directed by Abel Vang about a young reporter who must decide between pursuing her career or destroying her friendships. The Lever by Canadian filmmakers Kirk Taylor and J.A. Worthington screens prior.

Hue: A Matter of Colour, by renowned director and cinematographer Vic Sarin, is a personal, heartfelt investigation into the history and often-tragic effects of colourism. Vivre screens before.

Lakshmi is the true story of a beautiful 14-year-old-girl whose life takes a tragic turn. She is snatched from her family in the village and sold to a brothel in the city. Against all odds, she stands up in court and in an historic landmark case succeeds in putting the traffickers behind bars. It is directed by Nagesh Kukunoor and stars Satish Kaushik and Shefali Shah, who is known her roles in Monsoon Wedding, Gandhi and My Father.

Mama Rainbow is a documentary that features six mothers from all over China who are giving a whole new definition to Chinese-style family bonds, as they speak out about their love for their gay child. It is directed by Fan Popo. Gaysian by Canadian filmmaker Austin Wong screens prior.

Meryem is the story of a teenage bride living in a small town with her inlaws, forced to re-evaluate her life and recognize her dependence on her absent husband. When a past admirer returns, Meryem is forced to make a choice. Directed by Atalay Tasdiken. We Each Have Our Armies screens prior.

Millions shows us the lives of a group of young Asian Canadians chasing the almighty dollar. It is directed by Canadian Andrew Chung. Girlfriends screens prior.

Moose River Crossing is Dr. Shirley Cheechoo's film about residential schools. Canadian.

Rock Paper Scissors, starring Roy Dupuis, is the story of three men who are all looking for the way out. It is directed by Directed by Yan Lanouette Turgeon.

Sleeping with the Fishes is the directorial debut of Nicole Gomez Fisher. It is a comedy starring Gina Rodriguez (Filly Brown) and Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty). Us, Regardless by Canadian filmmaker Lizz Hodgson screens prior.

The Desert Fish by Canadian director Mohammad Ghorbankarimi is a cinematically beautiful film that centres on Ahmad, a young boy who wants to unravel the mystery of his deceased mother. Last Ditch by Mahi Bena screens prior.

The Red House shows what can happen when an aging couple uproots themselves from their home, to travel from New Zealand to China to take care of an aging parent. It is directed by Alyx Duncan. Incident at Elysian Fields by Canadian filmmakers Michael McNamara and Judy Holm screens before at the Toronto venue. Familiar Strangers screens prior at the Markham screening.

Racial politics and armed robbery collide in The Suspect - a tense, psychological suspense where nothing is quite what it seems. It is directed by Stuart Connelly and stars Mekhi Phifer. 100 Musicians by Canadian filmmaker Charles Officer screens prior.

Pascal Atuma's The Trace shows the consequences when business mixes with pleasure and what can happen when a young gang member falls in love with the daughter of a rich man. Anatomy of Assistance screens prior.

Complementing the film showcase is the industry series, which was previously announced.

The ReelWorld Film Festival screens dramas, documentaries, shorts and music videos by emerging and establishing artists who view the world from a variety of perspectives. Founded in 2001 by Actress Tonya Williams, ReelWorld has become a game-changer in the industry, helping racially diverse talent find their niche and exercise their entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to slating films that answer audience demands to include more than 50% Canadian content, the ReelWorld Film Festival is among the leaders in offering professional development activities for talent who are focussed on lifelong Arts careers. Key sponsors include: TD Bank Group, Telefilm Canada, NBCUniversal Canada, Global Toronto, Wired Messenger Inc., Pierre Laurent, DJ Woods and Cineplex Entertainment LP. .Early bird festival passes and tickets on sale now at The ReelWorld Film Festival runs from April 2 to 6, 2014 in Toronto and April 11 to 13, 2014 in Markham.

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