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Reel Asian gives a home to filmmakers who deserve every bit of help and resources a festival can offer to their films and a much needed platform. Films that typically struggle with traditional distribution models are screened for international audiences, helping build the reputation filmmakers need to attract investments and partners so that they can continue to tell their stories. -  Savine Wong Interim Executive Director, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival







FESTIVAL & PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHTS For the first time, Reel Asian opened with a Japanese film with female director Yukiko Mishima in attendance. Mishima intrigued the audience with the award winning family drama DEAR ETRANGER, starring internationally celebrated actor Tadano Asano and Rena Tanaka. Director Yukiko Mishima and Producer Toru Emori were in attendance.

INTERNATIONAL HIGHIGHTS Reel Asian continues to bring the best and newest Asian cinema to Toronto. Hong Kong director Tam Wai Ching came to Toronto to share her directorial debut IN YOUR DREAMS, a love story between a high school teacher and her student, starring internationally acclaimed actress Carina Lau.

Taiwanese director Tseng Ying Ting and actor Fu Meng Po pulled the heartstrings of audience members with the North American premiere of THE LAST VERSE. Documentarian Hui See Wai took us down memory lane as revealed the story of legendary poster artist Yuen Tai Yung, creator of the iconic movie posters of Hong Kong in the 1970s and 1980s in THE POSTERIST.


This year’s Canadian Spotlight Artist is award-winning animation filmmaker Lillian Chan. Reel Asian had the honour of showcasing Lillian Chan’s interactive virtual reality project YUMI AND BOOM, in partnership with the CFC Media Lab and Seneca College.

AWARD WINNERS As Reel Asian becomes the hub for Asian filmmakers to make connections and exchange ideas, the festival continues to provide essential industry opportunities both at the festival and year-round. This year, Reel Asian awarded 12 filmmakers with a total of $25,800 in cash prizes.

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN PITCH? At the annual So You Think You Can Pitch? Live Competition awards were given to Alice Liu and Bianca Linhares-Huang for their film TELL IT TO MY MOTHER in the Emerging Category and Alice Shin for her film HARU’S NEW YEAR in the Established Category.

AWARD WINNERS “A big thank you from the bottom of my heart for programming our film and really making us feel like a part of the family throughout the fest. You guys are amazing and your hard work in putting up one of the most important festivals in the city does not go unnoticed.� - Mariam Zaidi, winner of the DGC-WIF-T Award for her short film OVER TIME

The Menkes Audience award went to Thai film BAD GENIUS, a box office winner from Asia that garnered a full house screening at Reel Asian.

ADVOCATING FOR ASIAN REPRESENTATION As a charitable cultural non-profit organization, Reel Asian strives to advocate for Asian representation in the arts. Now more than ever, Reel Asian is at the forefront of Canadian film festivals in supporting Asian Canadian talents in front and behind the scenes.

BEEN HERE SO LONG In celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, Reel Asian partnered with Vtape and commissioned 8 local video artists to create a short film through the use of archival footage and home videos based on and inspired by Asian Canadian histories within the province. This project was funded by the Government of Ontario and had a successful premiere at the festival.

ADVOCATING FOR ASIAN REPRESENTATION SUPPORTING HOMEGROWN TALENTS The festival closed with a sold out screening of Aram Collier’s STAND UP MAN, a Telefilm funded micro-budget comedy film featuring an ensemble cast of emerging Asian Canadian talents, including Rosalina Lee, a connection Collier had made at a previous edition of the festival.

“For me, to see movies from first time feature-filmmakers Joyce Wong and Aram Collier feels like a real coming-of-age for the Asian-Canadian film community...Perhaps more mainstream fests like TIFF and Sundance will recognize that these voices are vital, authentic, accessible and most of all, entertaining.” - Romeo Candido, Senior Producer at CBC Arts


Through many year-round and festival initiative, Reel Asian is dedicated to empower diverse storytelling by providing educational programming to youth in the GTA. Generasian Now calls for members of our community to support these important and necessary youth and education initiatives. Thanks to the support of our members and donors, we successfully raised over $5000 in individual donations for the program.

UNSUNG VOICES The 6th edition of this tuitionfree summer production program enabled 7 young filmmakers to make their first short films and premiere them at the film festival.

YOUTH VOLUNTEERISM 140 youth volunteers helped at the 2017 festival and gained hands on experience.

GENERASIAN NOW YOUTH WORKSHOPS Over 210 high school students attended animation workshops and youth short film programmes at the festival.

CAREER IN THE ARTS TOUR In May, Reel Asian took 3 filmmakers on tour to 10 high schools in the GTA to speak about career prospects in the arts.

“The only time that I care about diversity is when Reel Asian talks about diversity in films in my school today.” - Michelle, high school student

REEL IDEAS The Reel Ideas series blends education and industry at Reel Asian, and is an extension of Reel Asian’s ongoing mandate to nourish the growth of Asians in the arts. This year, with the support from our industry partners and public funders, we presented a series of Reel Ideas tea talks, panels, and artist talks. It also marks the first year that Reel Asian became an official partner of the Telefilm Talent to Watch program. Through a rigorous training and selection process, one Reel Asian alumni’s project will be recommended to receive funding from the Talent to Watch program to make a micro-budget feature.

Highlights include an Artist Talk James J. Yi, producer of Justin Chon’s award winning Asian American feature film GOOK, a meetand-greet with the KIM’S CONVENIENCE cast members, a panel discussion on Representation in Mainstream Media, and a Tea Talk with OMDC.

BEYOND THE FESTIVAL Reel Asian is a year-round organization that continues to grow in the GTA beyond its flagship festival in November.

February 2017 - Moving into The Commons @ 401 Richmond Along with four other non-profit arts organizations including imagineNative Film & Media Arts Festival, South Asian Visual Arts Centre, FADO Performance Art Centre and Vtape, Reel Asian moved into The Commons @ 401 Richmond. The new exhibition room, multipurpose room and research centre allow for increased programming capacity year-round.

BEYOND THE FESTIVAL May 2017 - Foodflix @ UTSC With the support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Reel Asian presented FOODFLIX at University of Toronto - Scarborough, a day of films, food and community fair.

June 2017 - Creative Visions To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, Reel Asian presented: Creative Visions: Hong Kong Cinema 1997-2007 and showcased 8 classic Hong Kong films in downtown Toronto.

Thank you to our members Donors



AYCE T-shirt Company Zenia Castanos Louanne Chan Jennifer Chen Norman Chen Wesley Clarke Patricia Coburn Anneli Ekborn Michael Fukushima Sarah Goodwin Kimberley Hong Jason Kendlbacher Sean Kubin Vithiya Murugadas Iris Ng Richard Park Adrienne Marcus Raja Karthiga Ratnasabapathy Lisa Roosen-Runge Amy Thind Quentin Thwaites Christopher Vo Lori Wilcox Lily Wong

Zenia Castanos Marie Chen Jason Kendlbacher Yohan Mathew Joanna Miles Jen Sakato Molly Tsoi

Andy Chau May Cheng Simran Prihar Karthiga Ratnasabapathy David Wong

Supporters E.J. Alon Tommy Brown Louanne Chan Doris Chung Stephen Chung Anneli Ekborn Sonia Jog Philbert Lui Alistair Martin Jaspreet Sandhu Angela Sue Brian Terry Philip Tsui Candice Wang Martin Wasserman Philip Wong Savine Wong Betty Xie Susan Yang

Patrons Doris Lau Geoffrey Peers Quentin Thwaites

Thank you to our sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors

2018 Reel Asian Impact Report  

Reel Asian is a charitable and cultural organization that advocates for Asian representation in the media arts. Review the impact that Reel...

2018 Reel Asian Impact Report  

Reel Asian is a charitable and cultural organization that advocates for Asian representation in the media arts. Review the impact that Reel...