The Reel Toronto International Asian Film Festival kicked off Wednesday evening with the opening film The queen of my dreamsthe first feature film by Canadian filmmaker Fawzia Mirza.
The queen of my dreams tells the story of a young queer Canadian woman (Amrit Kaur) and her relationship with her Pakistani Muslim mother following the sudden death of her father, borrowing from the colorful imagery of Bollywood musicals, for which both women share a common love. The film will be released in early 2024.
This year’s Reel Asian festival includes a number of films that explore family relationships and intergenerational dynamics through genre cinema, according to Aram Siu Wai Collier, artistic director of the Reel Asian festival.
“We’re noticing how Asian Canadian cinema is booming and the storytelling is getting better and better,” Collier told CBC News.
WATCH | A trailer for The queen of my dreams:
Programmer Mariam Zaidi said: “There is, in a really beautiful way, a great representation of Pakistani Muslim films this year that I am really proud of.” Zaidi works primarily with South Asian and West Asian films.
CBC News previews films screening at this year’s Reel Asian Film Festival in Toronto. The full schedule is available here.
The taste of mango
A documentary in which British Sri Lankan filmmaker Chloe Abrahams turns the camera on herself, exploring family identity through her relationship with her mother and grandmother.
Okiku and the world
A period drama set in Japan’s Edo period, the film follows a young woman living in an apartment building as she develops a fascination with a “dung man” who collects excrement to sell to farmers.
A struggling actor who spends his free time making fishing videos to post on his popular YouTube channel gets the chance to meet a successful actress and director in this humorous South Korean drama.
In this Pakistani-Canadian supernatural horror film that Pakistan submitted as an Oscar entry, a widow and her medical student daughter are haunted by insidious spirits from their traumatic past.
A Japanese time-loop comedy in which the staff and guests of a charming riverside inn near Kyoto begin to relive the same two-minute cycle over and over again.
We will be brave
A documentary film that follows Toronto social collective The Good Guise, a group of racialized male artists, as they explore a complex relationship with masculinity.
Lebanese-American filmmaker Jude Chehab explores family secrets in this documentary about a secret matriarchal religious order to which the women in his family have pledged allegiance for generations.
With Jerry as himself
A character study that blurs the lines between documentary, mystery and thriller, the film follows Taiwanese immigrant and Florida resident Jerry Hsu, a family man who works to clear his name after a serious accusation by Chinese police.
This Malaysian horror film follows an 11-year-old girl whose first period coincides with a village-wide panic over the presence of a demonic spirit.
A collection of nine vignettes depicts the daily lives of the Iranian people and their interactions with authority figures within a strict social regime.
A Japanese Canadian woman’s relationship with her husband begins to crumble during a family retreat taken shortly after the loss of her mother in that region. beginning by Vancouver filmmaker Meredith Hama-Brown.
This quietly intelligent comedy follows a young Pakistani Muslim boy who grew up in ’90s Silicon Valley and hates a prepubescent mustache that he can’t shave.
Relics of Love and War
Chinese-Canadian documentarian Keith Lock tells the story of his parents’ wedding in Australia while his father prepared for a top-secret suicide mission.
A report on a Singaporean drag queen named Opera Tang, with a particular focus on her 90-year-old grandmother, who makes her costumes.
Several short films will be screened during the festival on Saturday and Sunday, including titles Lets be friends, Unsung voices, Emergence, Under the influence, Here we are, The strange, the strange and the familiar.
The Reel Asian International Film Festival takes place from November 8 to 19 in Toronto.