Big crty concerns hitsilver screewm

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Big crty concerns hitsilver screewm
SATUR'AY,NO\,TMBERB,2OOB* TORONTOSTAR * A17
I
MO\TES{ GREATER
TORONTO
Bigcrtyconcerns
hitsilverscreewm
RegentParkfestival
showsfilmsthat
address
homelessness,
immigration
andrace
IAIN MARTOW
5TAFF REPORTER
The Regent Park Film Festival s
not Carmes or TIFF and it doesnit
'want to be there are no celebrities
or red crrpets, no champagne and
no flowing dresses; the filmma}ers
ue local or independent, ttre foodis
from a local Jamaican chef, the
screenings are free md there is free
child care.
'W'e replaced the popcom with
jerk chicken People love it,, says
Krir Haze, the festival's director.
The event which openedWednesday and closes tonight, screens
fiIms that taclde local issues: race,
dislocation, imigration,
homelessne+, poverty md hope for a
better future.
'W'e're serving the commmity of
Regent Pulq which is predominartly new Canadim, new immigrmts who en't afford md en't go
to fiIm," Hz6 adds.
In an aea where ]oel residents
ae raely reflected in art or media
- scept ttds put sunmer, when
m activist-atist psted two-storey
portraits of locals onto buildhgs
scheduled for demolition - tlls
festiva.Is films are ttrgeted toward
the communjt/s concerns.
Nelson Mandela park public
School in the neighbourhood at 4O
Shuter SL, is hosting the screerrngs.
The festival started in 2OOg r /it}r
no budget md has grom gradually.
doublirg its audience by iu6,s esf,lmate.
When it started to win $atts and
funding - now totaljinq about
$8Op0O a yeu - the fou-d-ayfestival wm turned into a yer-roud
community organization that
holds moniily film clubs and has
scheduled soeenings in womerls
COURTESY OF REGENT PARK FILM FTSTIVAI
Stil[s from Abso/utelyAfro, left, a Dutch short about a girl trying to fit in, and rom Boy.a canadian
animation that addressesgender stereotypes,
STUDENTS
SHARETHEIRTHOUGHTSON FILMSTHEY'CRruRCIRTETO'
As part of the RegentParkFilm
Festival's
schoolprogram,Nelson
MandelaParkPublicSchoolstudents,many of whom are new immigrants,viewedseveralshort
films.
AbsolutelyAfro is aDutch short
about a 12-yearoldadoptedgirl
trying to fit into the blondeNetherlands- wiih a hugeafro;TomBoy
is a Canadiananim ationabouta
younggirl strugglingwith gender
stereotypes;and / Wontto be a Pilot
portraysan EastAfricanboy who
dreamsof captainingthe planes
floatinglazilyover his slum so he
shelters and community health
centres.
Some of the flIms ae from aound
the world others ue from uound
the block Several were directed
md produced tluough local orgmizations.
One fi.lm, in a hemendous bout of
self-reflection, follows a kid detechve trying to locate a mysteriously
missingbuilding in m obvious nod
canfly awayfrom his problems.
Thefollowingare reflectionscollectedby one of their teachers:
Chyann,13:"Absolute/yAfro
is one
o{ the bestfilms I watchedtoday
becauseI can relateto that film.
My hair is 10 times biggerthan that
and sometimesI don't knowwhat
to do with it. Peoplecall me names.
I thinkthat the story isn'tjust
abouthair but about how people
lookdifferent.In the film she realizedit's okayto look differentthan
everyoneelse."
Lucy,13:"l enjoyedthe film lom
8oy.lt talkedaboutthe right every-
to the widespread demolition md
redevelopment of Regent Prk
The orgmizers have also expmded the project into 11local schools.
Between Wednesday md yesterday, roughiy 1,200 middle school
students watched fiIms theyotherwise would never have seen Dutch and trtench cinema- Canadian md Argentinian mimations,
Kenym docmentries.
one hasto do anythingthat they
want to do. While watchingthis
film I relatedto Alex'ssituation.l'm
alsoa girl who doesn'treallylike
girl stuff.My f riendsalwayscomplainto me that they'veneverseen
me in a dressor a shirt that is
pink,"
Adilson,13:"Iom Boy.isa great
film. I reallyIikedthe film becauseI
can relateto it. Likethe girl in the
fi l m I hav ebeendi s c r i m i nated
(against)becauseI write poetry.
Many say that's a girl thing but I ignorethem. I feel angryand sadthat
peopleget teasedfor beingthem-
selves.Iom Boyhelpedme to reali z ethat I s houl ddo m e and n o t
worry aboutwhat other people
say.
Sierra, 13: "/ Wcnt to be a Pilot was
a sadfilm. lt brokemy heartto see
the kind of livingconditionsthat
the 12-year-oldboy livedthrough.
Everyword the boy said,I felt the
pai nthat c am ef r om w i thi nh i m, l n
his eyesyou couldseehim hurting.
It hurts me to know aboutthese
things.I knowfor a fact that if I
wereto livethe same life,the same
routineas that bo, I wouldn'ibe
ableto survive.I feel his pain,"
The organizers hope, with addi"
tional frmding, to start screenings
at schools acrossToronto.
Oire film is about a newly mived
West Indian immigrmt child's
friendship with a young Cmadirgirl. said Elizabeth Schaeffer, who
helps co-ordinate events for students atNelson Mmdela
For Regent Puk kids, "Ifs a really,
realy importmt opportunity for
them to see fiIms with issues 1ou
wouldn'l flpically sce in Holllwood fllms," Schaeffer said.
Biki Kmgwma. a film director
md trustee of Kenva's slum-tv,
which had frlms showirg at the fcstival, told orgmizers he wmts to
talre the locally made shorl frlms
backhome - because,he told them,
[he issues ia Regent Park were the
sme m in Nairobi,