By Lachman Balani
TORONTO: The annual ReelWorld Film Festival is here again.
Founded by actress Tonya Lee Williams, the five-day festival – which kick off on Tuesday – is a platform for budding filmmakers from culturally diverse backgrounds.
Reelworld cultivates creativity and promotes the careers of artists and helps people enter the film and television industry. During the five days at the Famous Players Canada Square Cinema on Yonge and Sheppard, ReelWorld will present world-class cinema that tells stories from culturally diverse lenses.
Celebrating its 13th glorious year, the festival offers a top of the line indie smorgasbord of movies, videos, documentaries and music, with excellent fare from South Asians.
For its closing night gala on April 14, Reelworld has once again chosen a South Asian movie. If last year it was Kareena Kapoor’s starrer Ek Main Aur Ek Tu, this year the curtain call honour will go to Samit Kakkad’s Marathi film Aayna Ka Bayna.
Award-winning Samit has taken the title from the popular Konkani phrase meaning ‘We won’t leave till we get what we came for’.
The movie is about nine boys trapped in a draconian remand home and dreaming of finding their identity through street dance.
This socially relevant theme about not treating adolescents as hard-core criminals is put across really well and made extremely appealing vide an applaud-worthy dance extravaganza rather than a dull, dark and foreboding production.
Other noteworthy South Asian fare includes Shabani Azmi starrer A Decent Arrangement, directed by Sarovar Banka. Banka graduated of Ivy League Brown University and lives in Los Angeles. This film, which screens on April 12 at 6 pm at Famous Players, is the story of Indian American Ashok Khosla’s tussle between an arranged marriage to an Indian girl and an American woman who is traveling through India.
For a free family outing on Saturday, April 13 starting at 1 pm, Reelworld has chosen two South Asian movies – Shyam Uncle turns off the lights by director Suman Ghosh and Vikram Dasgupta’s Calcutta Taxi.
Again on Saturday April 13 at 6 pm, Dev Khanna of Toronto, who has had his short films screened at the Toronto International Film festival (TIFF) including his acclaimed A Hindu’s Indictment of Heaven, will debut his feature film Fondi’91 about an Indian teenager who goes to Italy for a football game, falls in love and witnesses a crime.
At the same time, well-known Montreal based film maker Arshad Khan will screen his short film Doggoned about a girl Maria living her dream life in the beautiful city of Montreal until her work permit is denied whereupon she must find creative ways to make ends meet.
Besides offerings from the people of South Asian origin, there are many from other different countries including Ghana, Canada, the US, Australia, Egypt, France, Latin America and several other countries giving festival lovers a real treat!
Workshops on how to make and finance movies and other artistic productions are also part of festival. A special music night will be held on Friday, April 12. There will also be an award giving ceremony.