November 24

Reel Asian International Film Festival 2021

By Sally Warburton

Film Festivals are back!…. Although not fully… The Opening Ceremony was in person at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema but the rest of the films were online.

Opening Night on Wednesday, November 10th was the screening of the film ISLANDS. The in-person screening guests included director Martin Edralin, Producer Priscilla Galvez plus cast members Sheila Lotuaco, Esteban Comilang, Pablo S.J. Quiogue and Vangie Alcasid. The story of a Filipino family living in Scarborough – a single man looking after his elderly parents – until he can help them no longer alone. Luckily his cousin Marisol flies in from the Phillipines to help with caregiving.  He falls for Marisol with her cooking skills, her excellent caregiving and her interest in adult group dance classes. It’s a very emotional film.  The storyline was intriguing with a sad ending.  Acting was excellent.  Even though viewers had to see the end of the film online due to technical difficulties at the screening, the evening was still very good.  The film ending sooner allowed for an earlier and longer Q & A with the Director and jovial actors which was enjoyed by all.  

Director Martin Edralin is a Filipino Canadian, Toronto-based filmmaker. He’s made short films but ISLANDS is his debut feature film. The film was in Tagalog, English with English subtitles. 

Deanna Wong, Executive Director, welcomed everyone and gave an introduction to the Reel Asian International Film Festival. The programming team – Aram Siu Wai Collier, Kelly Lui and Jasmine Gui spoke as well.  

Before the welcoming words and the film screening. Guitarist and Producer Ricky Tillo set the evening mood by playing guitar. Currently he is one of the touring guitarists for Lady Gaga and his own project thebandknives.  Writing and performing credits include Lady Gaga, August Rigo, DVSN, Kehlani, Gowan, Esthero, Miguel, SATE, Divine Brown and Melanie Durrant. 

Online screenings were available November 10th -19th and the selection was amazing! Feature films, short films, animations.  Films from all over the world.  Films such as Hawaiian Waikiki,  I was a Simple Man (USA), Code Name: Nagasaki from Norway, My Missing Valentine from Taiwan – to name a few. The variety of themes, acting and cultures was brilliant. 

The Reel Asian International Film Festival was another great success story. And it’s a film festival we’re all looking forward to attending in person in 2022!

We would like to thank Ally La Mere-Shedden, Route 54 PR