The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (Reel Asian), Canada’s premier pan-Asian festival, begins its 2019 edition next week. As always, Reel Asian will offer festival goers the opportunity to experience the evolution of Asian representation in cinema.
Reel Asian has been a favourite festival of mine for many years. I always enjoy curating a list of films and events for you to partake at the fest each year.
The Festival lineup will open with the latest from Canadian Screen Award-winning director Johnny Ma (Old Stone), To Live to Sing and closing the curtains on the 23rd edition is Yellow Rose, the debut feature from Filipina-American director Diane Paragas led by two-time Tony-nominated actress Eva Noblezada (Hadestown).
The classic 1919 silent film The Dragon Painter, starring the first Asian American leading man and one of the silent film era’s biggest stars Sessue Hayakawa and presented with a live score by Japanese American singer-songwriter Goh Nakamura will be featured in this programmge. Also featured in this programme is What We Left Unfinished, a compilation of five recovered and unfinished works from Afghanistan’s Communist era pieced together by director Mariam Ghani, who will be in attendance at the Festival.
Canadian Spotlight: Yung Chang
The festival will also celebrate the work of Artist Yung Chang, writer and director of the award-winning 2007 documentary, Up the Yangtze and more recently, This is Not a Movie which premiered at this year’s TIFF.
Reel Asian has curated programming honouring Chang’s career including a live reading of his first narrative script Eggplant.
A Spark screening of the 1966 classic martial arts film Come Drink With Me, starring beloved Wuxia actress Cheng Pei-pei (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). This is a FREE screening taking place on Friday, November 1 at Innis Town Hall.
The film was selected for the Festival by Yung Chang and inspired the main character in his new narrative script, Eggplant. If you’ve yet to see this film, I highly, highly recommend it.
Wee Asian Programme
Wee Asian returns for its fourth year. Parents and kids can explore the art of moviemaking and fuel their creativity through films, colouring and storytelling sessions from event partner Type Books as well as local author, Thao Lam, reading their recently-released book, My Cat Looks Like My Dad. This free drop-in event takes place Saturday, November 9 starting at 9:00am in the TIFF Bell Lightbox Green Room.
Reel Asian runs in November 7 – 15, 2019 in Toronto and North York. For full festival listings and advance tickets, please visit reelasian.com.