The Regent Park Film Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary next month by showcasing free screenings, panel discussions, installations and performances that reflect the perspectives of the Regent Park community and inner-city neighbourhoods around the world.
The festival will feature over 50 films by up-and-coming and established Canadian and international filmmakers, including documentary, fiction and animation programming for all ages.
“We’re proud to make excellent contemporary cinema accessible to Regent Park and the surrounding community for the 10th year,” said Regent Park Film Festival Executive Director, Ananya Ohri. “The festival provides a key platform for Toronto’s inner-city and inner-city communities around the world to share their stories, engage in critical discussion and, most importantly, enjoy great films.”
This year’s festival will include a Youth Media Arts Program, which will feature short works by filmmakers age 26 or younger, followed by a discussion with the films’ directors. The Youth Media Arts Program will be preceded by a panel on the theme, “Where we come from”, hosted by Canadian producer Sandra Cunningham, former chair of the Canadian Film and Television Production Association.
Two of the more intriguing films to be screened during the Youth Media Arts Program are Roda Siad’s documentary, In Between Stories, which follows four young artistes living in African diaspora communities in Toronto; and Fredrick King’s Life after High School, a comedic mockumentary about prejudice in today’s secondary school systems.
The Regent Park Film Festival will feature the screening of the documentary, Rezoning Harlem, which chronicles public backlash against a 2008 rezoning that threatened to replace a longstanding Harlem community with luxury housing and retail outlets.
Following the film, there will be a panel discussion moderated by Regent Park Film Festival Vice-Chair, Jason Creed. Panelists will include Rezoning Harlem directors Natasha Florentiono and Tamara Gubernat; Deany Peters, a health worker at the Regent Park Community Health Centre; and Mustafa Ahmed, the 16-year-old “poet of Regent Park”.
One of the most interesting documentaries to be screened at the festival is The Directors, directed by Steve James (Hoop Dreams; Stevie). The Directors is about three Chicago individuals with troubled pasts who are now trying to stop violence. Following the film, a panel discussion will be held to explore violence prevention strategies for Toronto. This will be moderated by Olu Quamina, executive director of the youth engagement organization, Concrete Roses. In addition, Colby Williams, who is featured in the film, will be present for a question and answer session.
Additional festival highlights include the family screening of Tetsu Hirakawa’s Japanese animated feature, Light of the River, which includes free breakfast provided by the Christian Resource Centre, and Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau’s documentary, Doin’ it in the Park, an examination of the pickup basketball culture in New York City.
The Regent Park Film Festival will also offer a free school program for children in Grades One to Eight. The festival’s education committee has developed lesson plans based on the Ontario curriculum to help teachers incorporate the festival experience into the classroom. Lesson plans can be downloaded at: www.regentparkfilmfestival.com/learn/for-teachers.
The Regent Park Film Festival will be held from Wednesday, November 7 to Saturday, November 10. All screenings will take place at Daniels Spectrum, Regent Park’s new arts and cultural centre, located at 585 Dundas Street East. Free childcare will be provided during all festival programming.
For more information, visit: www.regentparkfilmfestival.com.