28 May 2017 | 1:00 p.m to 4:00 p.m. | Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto
Canada 150 | Unity in Diversity: Fusion of Communities in Canada
Presented by Asian Heritage Month–Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc. and Social Services Network in partnership with Reelworld Film Festival.
Short Film showcase
1. Like the Flow of a River | Director: Natalie Murao
This film is a dramatic short film that focuses on a young girl’s struggle to converse with her grandmother. The two generations of Japanese-Canadians are divided by a language barrier and are forced to communicate with each other after eating in a restaurant. The two characters connect by sharing a joke together, but their laughter eventually fades as they settle back into silence. The film explores the disconnect between generations, yet the bond that persists in family.
Natalie Murao is a filmmaker from Vancouver, B.C. She is currently studying Film Production and Asian-Canadian Studies at Simon Fraser University. Although she enjoys dabbling in production design, her primary focus is to write and direct films that can engage the Asian-Canadian community through cinema.
2. Descendants of the Past, Ancestors of the Future | Director: Albert M. Chan
Expecting a baby girl, Chinese-Canadian Director Albert M. Chan realizes he is desperate to understand how his immigrant mother (played by Golden Globe nominee Tina Chen) and grandfather spent most of their lives apart.
Albert M. Chan is a Chinese-Canadian actor and filmmaker whose films have been recognized by the National Film Board of Canada and screened at more than 30 film festivals on four continents.
3. Little Mao | Director: Allan Tong
Little Mao tells the life story of Mao Tse-Tung through 12-year old Bobby Tung and his baseball team. After a pop fly liberates shy Bobby, the Chairman emancipates the neighbourhood kids from their chores and leads them to victory on the field. However, does Chairman Bobby take his power too far?
Allan Tong is a Toronto filmmaker, programmer and film journalist. His films ‘I Want To Be A Desi’ (Bravo!FACT) and ‘Grange Avenue’ have won awards and been broadcast on television. Tong is a Sundance Institute Documentary Fellow and he co-directed the documentary, ‘The Flying Stars,’ now broadcast on the CBC’s Documentary Channel.
Panel Discussion with filmmakers
In conversation with feature filmmaker, Nayani Thiyagarajah, on why it’s important for Asian Canadians to tell stories and the diversity of storytellers in Canada. Moderated by Gave Lindo, Executive Director, Reelworld Film Festival
Watch the video of this conversation with Nayani Thiyagarajah: Part I, Part II
Screening of ‘Shadeism: Digging Deeper‘ | Director: Nayani Thiyagarajahz
This film explores the issue of shadeism, the discrimination between lighter-skinned and darker-skinned members of the same community. This issue around skin tone, of certain shades being considered better than others, was never missing from conversation while growing up for Director Nayani Thiyagarajah. She was able to feel its presence in conversations among family and friends, but she did not have the language to name it. And so, it became easier to ignore its presence, suppress its signs, and normalize its existence. In 2009, a conversation with her niece Maanu forced Nayani to face the fact that we cannot continue to ignore this issue. Silence will not save anyone from suffering. Alongside her friends and family, Nayani begins to recover and re-imagine what beauty means for women globally. This film looks at where shadeism comes from, how it directly affects women, and explores how we can move forward together.
Nayani Thiyagarajah is a director, writer, producer, trained doula and yoga instructor. She completed her Bachelor of Journalism at Ryerson University and her master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies at York University. Thiyagarajah’s first feature documentary, ‘Shadeism: Digging Deeper,’ premiered in 2015. She is currently co-producing, writing and directing multiple independent film projects.
Organizers: Asian Heritage Month–Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc., Social Services Network in partnership with Reelworld Film Festival
Co-Organizers: Asian Heritage Month—Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc.; ReelWorld Film Festival; Richard Charles Lee Canada Hong Kong Library, University of Toronto; Social Services Network; Bata Shoe Museum
Asian Heritage Month Festival is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council