A city can only be as compelling as the stories it has to tell. Even civilizations that have long diminished still live on in our collective conscience by way of lore and legends. In a way, it is the storytellers that feed and nurture the conscience of our city.
There is a kind of exhilaration to discovering a great storyteller. Or, more specifically, in my case, getting to view films or series that almost no one has watched before. As a programmer at the Reelworld Film Festival, I watch hundreds of films a year searching for the stories that elicit a reaction and work their way into my own mind.
But, there is more to Reelworld than that. For the last twenty years, the Reelworld mission has been resolute in showcasing racialized filmmakers in the hopes that their voice will be contributing in an impactful way to the collective conscience, not just of our city but the entire nation.
The founder of the Reelworld Festival, Tonya Williams, describes it like this: “Talent is like an ocean; it is everywhere but no one can see it unless there is a space to show it. Our programmers have done an outstanding job seeking out new and exciting Canadian talent from the Black, Indigenous, People of Colour that most Canadians have never heard of. But they will. A film festival is a starting place for the journey of success that many of these filmmakers are embarking on.”
This year the Reelworld Film Festival is streaming online Oct. 14–19 and is featuring a 100 per cent Canadian lineup. Out of the hundreds of projects, I and my fellow programmers (Aisha Evelyna, Reza Sameni, Suri Parmar and Ella Cooper) viewed, we chose 36 projects—features, docs, and web series by 38 Black, Indigenous, Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern and Latinx Canadians to present to you.