Reel Asian Cinema celebrates 25 years with in-person opening night

Three people kneeling infront of red candles
After being purely digital last year, Reel Asian returned to an in-person screening with the Filipino-Canadian film, Islands. Photo courtesy of the Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema website.
Daniel Centeno - CJRU - TorontoON | 16-11-2021

The Reel Asian Film Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month. The festival runs from Nov.10-19.

Since its inception, the festival introduced works of Asian diasporas and contemporary Asian cinema to wider audiences.

Its initiatives, including the Unsung Voices program, have helped uplift Asian-Canadian creatives through funding, mentorship and exposure.

Due to the COVID-19 lockdowns last year, films were streamed digitially exclusively.

This year, Reel Asian hosted an in-person opening night with the Filipino Canadian film, Islands, directed by Toronto's Martin Edralin.

The opening night is the festival's first in-person event indoors since March 2020.

Islands is about a middle-aged Filipino man named Joshua living in Scarborough, Ontario with his elderly parents. Joshua copes with his severe shyness, and longs for a wife and kids as he struggles to care for his parents.

He is helped by his cousin, Marisol, a caregiver who arrives from Kuwait to live with Joshua.

Islands is Edralin’s first feature film, and his past works are short films, including the globally recognized short, Hole, in 2014.

The film will have an encore presentation on Nov.19, with a Q&A with Edralin and the cast at the Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema.

Reel Asian’s other films are all available digitally until Nov. 19.

Notable award winners during this festival’s run include FICTIONS by Alice Liu, Inbetween Girl by Mei Makino and Three Sisters by Seungwon Lee.

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