Reel Asian Announce Their 2008 Lineup!

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor

The 2008 edition of the Reel Asian Film Festival here in Toronto - one of the oldest and largest Asian focused film festivals in the world - has just announced their lineup for 2008 and, go ahead, ask me how I feel about Twitch being a sponsor of this year's festival? Sure, I've always felt good about working with Reel Asian, they're good people who bring in excellent films, but this has got to be by far their Twitchiest edition yet.

First of all, we're co-presenting two programs of late night short films, which is always a fun thing to do, but then things get rolling with the feature lineup. The opening film? Kenneth Bi's The Drummer, which we've written about extensively in these pages. Closing? A little Japanese picture called Adrift in Tokyo, which I firmly believe is one of the five best films in the world for 2008. We love this film and have also written about it rather a lot. In the middle? A two film retrospective of the HUGELY overlooked Japanese film maker Sabu, with rare, 35mm screenings of both Monday and The Blessing Bell. You'll probably never get another chance to see these on the big screen, so don't miss the opportunity. Also featured are Flower in the Pocket, Hansel and Gretel and the proverbial 'so much more'.

Read the complete press release below the break.

ANNOUNCING THE 12TH ANNUAL TORONTO REEL ASIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
NOVEMBER 12 TO 16, 2008

Toronto, October 21, 2008 — The 2008 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival will celebrate its 12th year as Canada’s longest-running showcase of contemporary cinema by East Asian moviemakers from around the world, including Canada! Reel Asian fosters the exchange of cultural and artistic ideals between East and West and is a community-based festival that attracts thousands of attendees to five frenetic days of screenings, industry panels, workshops, receptions and galas.

The official 2008 selection of Reel Asian will present a diverse selection of the best movies from 14 countries Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore/Cambodia, the Philippines, Vietnam, USA and Canada, and includes fifty-six premieres, (14 World premieres, 4 North American Premieres, 17 Canadian Premieres, 19 Toronto Premieres, 2 Mississauga Premieres). The highlights include: Opening Night Gala, Closing Night Gala, Canadian Spotlight, Centerpiece Presentation, Retrospective, Special Presentations, Industry series, Features, Documentaries, Shorts and Special Events.

Opening Night Gala: THE DRUMMER (Toronto Premiere) – by Canadian-educated Hong Kong-based director Kenneth Bi stars Jaycee Chan (son of action star Jackie Chan) in a part action, part spiritual drama about the rebellious son of a Hong Kong gangster who discovers enlightenment through the mesmerizing power of Zen drummers.

Closing Night Gala: ADRIFT IN TOKYO (Toronto Premiere) – An absurd Japanese comedy about Takemura, a wild-haired loser who finds himself taking a curiously funny walk across Tokyo with a debt collector.

Canadian Spotlight: PAUL WONG REMASTERED (Toronto Premiere) – Known for his tough engagement with sex, drugs and death, Wong presents remastered versions of his most groundbreaking performances and premieres new videos that resonate with a similar sense of raw humanity. The Canadian Spotlight also includes a pre-festival artist talk and exhibition at the University of Toronto Mississauga Blackwood Gallery and retrospective screening of ORDINARY SHADOWS. CHINESE SHADE.

Centerpiece Presentation: WEST 32ND (Toronto Premiere) – When a 14-year-old is accused of murder, an ambitious young lawyer, John Kim (John Cho of HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE), takes on the controversial case and dives headlong into the underworld of New York’s Koreatown. Director Michael Kang in attendance.

Retrospective: CINEMASIA – Two astute social satires, MONDAY (Canadian Premiere) and THE BLESSING BELL (Canadian premiere) by award-winning Japanese director Sabu, are part of a retrospective focus in collaboration with the University of Toronto’s Asian Institute.

Special Presentation: EMPTY ORCHESTRA – Reel Asian’s first grand multimedia project is a two-part creative project inspired by karaoke in collaboration with Gendai Gallery. It includes an exhibition with five full-scale self-contained karaoke rooms at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House and one night only of live vocal performances to newly commissioned videos by Canadian video artists at the Rivoli.

INDUSTRY SERIES – Reel Asian provides a public forum for homegrown Asian media artists and their work, and fuels the growing appreciation for Asian cinema in Canada, through the workshops, panels, networking events, salons and awards. The 2008 SO YOU THINK YOU CAN PITCH? competition includes 10 teams of filmmakers competing for over $28,000 in prizes from Charles Street Video.

FEATURE PRESENTATION HIGHLIGHTS
* FLOWER IN THE POCKET – A heart-warming film about a Malaysian father who struggles to care for his mischievous boys.
* SANTA MESA – A young American boy is sent to live with his estranged grandmother in the Philippines in this touching coming of age story.
* WONDERFUL TOWN – is a tragic love story in a small town still feeling the effects of the devastating tsunami still resonate in southern Thailand.
* HANSEL AND GRETEL – A Korean horror adaptation of the Grimm Brothers’ timeless fable takes the fantastical palette of children’s storybooks to unearth deep psychological underpinnings of our darkest fears.

DOCUMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS
* TIGER SPIRIT – Documentary filmmaker Min Sook Lee joins the quest to find a legendary tiger in the demilitarized zone that separates millions of North and South Koreans. Playing with HERS AT LAST by Korean-based Canadian Helen Lee.
* OH VIETNAM – In 1975, Doan’s family left Saigon in the last civilian helicopter bound for America. Decades later, Doan uncovers a family history in her debut documentary OH SAIGON. At 65 years of age, Hai Tran is on a mission to leave a legacy of 3-D photos in Siu Ta’s DADDY TRAN: A LIFE IN 3-D.
* By award-winning documentary director Christine Choy, LONG STORY SHORT revisits writer-actor Jodi Long’s parents’ American showbiz career in ’40s and ’50s and their unrequited relationship with the Broadway production of Flower Drum Song.
* Youth Feature Presentation: AKI RA’S BOYS - At the age of 6, Boreak lost his right arm to a landmine and now lives at the Aki Ra’s Landmine Museum where he studies and helps educate visitors about landmines in Cambodia.

SHORTS PRESENTATION HIGHLIGHTS:
* As night falls, we present two eclectic selections of late-night shorts, DISQUIETING and CONFESSIONAL.
* Youth Shorts Presentation: RECOLLECTIONS – Four filmmakers explore the uncertainties of memory by using tangible archival remnants such as bubble gum, microfiche and sign language.

CANADIAN HIGHLIGHTS:
* CONFESSIONS OF A SALESMAN –Ho Tam questions his guilt and desire for the archetypical Asian man in an experimental re-mix of his archived images of schoolboys, young basketball players and business men.
* EVERYBODY ELSE – Two past winners of the NFB’s Canada’s Reel Diversity competition Lester Alfonso (TWELVE) and Monika Delmos (EVERYBODY’S CHILDREN) examine the journey of youth as they cross borders and social barriers in hopes of finding a home in Canada.
* FULL BOAT – an innovative program of shorts featuring Asian-Canadian from coast to coast animating with embroidery, the Victoria Symphony orchestra, and videophones. Including new shorts by by Ann Marie Fleming, Khanhthuan Tran, Jenny Lin, Ho Tam, Blair Fukumura, Randall Lloyd Okita, Stefanie Wong and Asa Mori.

PARTIES & SPECIAL EVENTS: Be sure to join us for special events including galas, parties, gallery receptions, and RAMeN (Reel Asian’s Music Night) to celebrate special guests, artists, directors, supporters and communities attending the festival.

THEATRE VENUES
Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor St W at Bathurst
Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave at St. George
National Film Board (NFB) Cinema, 150 John St at Richmond

SPECIAL EVENTS VENUES
Century Room, 580 King St W at Brant
Nirvana, 434 College St at Bathurst
The Rivoli, 334 Queen St W at Spadina
(IPRTY venue) L'Espresso Bar Mercurio, 321 Bloor St W at St. George
(FSCLB venue) Augusta House, 152A Augusta Ave at Dundas
(CFILM venue) Arbor Room, 7 Hart House Circle

EXHIBITIONS & SPECIAL PRESENTATION VENUES
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, 7 Hart House Circle
Munk Centre for International Studies, 1 Devonshire Place
Trinity Square Video, 401 Richmond St W Suite 376

ADVANCE BOX OFFICE (Noon-6PM, Oct 14-Nov 10 only)
Reel Asian Offices, 401 Richmond St W Suite 309, 416 703 9333
Online: Please go to www.reelasian.com and click on Buy Tickets

TICKETS & PASSES
Regular Price Discount Price*

Regular Programmes $10 $7
Youth Programmes $5 $5
Opening Night Gala $20 $15
Closing Night Gala $10 $7
Festival Pass $120 $100
Screening Pass (no galas) $95 $65
Industry Pass $45 $45
4-Pak (no galas, in advance only) $35 $25

*Discount applies to students (with valid current ID), seniors over 65 (no ID required), or group sales (by arrangement)

Reel Asian would like to acknowledge the support of our festival sponsors, Tenzing Communications Inc., Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto), Shaftesbury Films, the Asian Institute at the University of Toronto, and our festival partner, the National Film Board of Canada; Canwest, presenter of the Reel Asian Youth Programme; media sponsors, Toronto Star and NOW Magazine; Industry Series Lead Sponsor Astral Media The Harold Greenberg Fund, and Industry Series sponsors The Centre for Creative Communications at Centennial College, the National Screen Institute, and Unionville Insurance Brokers. We also are grateful to our public funders: Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, Department of Canadian Heritage, Toronto Arts Council, and Telefilm Canada.

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