Announcing the 11th Annual Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival November 14 to 18, 2007



    TORONTO, Oct. 24 /CNW/ - The 2007 Toronto Reel Asian International Film
Festival will celebrate its 11th year as Canada's longest-running showcase of
contemporary Asian cinema and work from the Asian diaspora. Works include
films and videos by Far East and Southeast Asian artists in Canada, the USA,
Asia and all over the world. From November 14 to 18, Reel Asian will present
77 films from 13 countries to enthusiastic Toronto audiences.
    Founded in 1997 by producer Anita Lee and journalist Andrew Sun, this
non-profit community-based festival has grown into an eagerly anticipated
annual event that attracts thousands of attendees to five frenetic days of
galas, screenings, industry panels and workshops.
    Fifty-six premieres (9 World Premieres, 13 International Premieres,
4 North American Premieres, 13 Canadian Premieres and 17 Toronto Premieres)
from 13 countries (Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan,
Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the United
States) underline the growing reputation of Reel Asian as a significant
festival where Asian filmmakers can screen their films to discriminating and
enthusiastic audiences.
    Reel Asian fosters the exchange of cultural and artistic ideals between
East and West, provides a public forum for homegrown Asian media artists and
their work, and fuels the growing appreciation for Asian cinema in Canada.
Reel Asian 2007 will screen features and shorts in the following programmes:

    Opening Night Gala: Find out who will fill the yellow tracksuit and
avenge the spirit of Bruce Lee in the Toronto Premiere of FINISHING THE GAME
(2007, USA). Director Justin Lin's Hollywood parody follows the producers of
GAME OF DEATH (1978, USA) as they move forward with the challenging task of
finishing the film and finding a worthy stand-in for the greatest martial arts
star of all-time. Attempting to fit the bill is a slew of wannabes and
has-beens including an insecure country bumpkin (Sung Kang), a TV flameout
(Dustin Nguyen), a very un-Chinese looking Eurasian (Mccaleb Burnett), a South
Asian stunt man/doctor (Mousa Kraish) and a knock-off named Breeze Loo (Roger
Fan). Director of BETTER LUCK TOMORROW (2002, USA) and THE FAST AND THE
FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006, USA), Lin's first feature SHOPPING FOR FANGS was
featured at Reel Asian in 1997. Lead actor Roger Fan and producer Julie Asato
will be in attendance.

    Closing Night Gala: Director Mika Ninagawa's debut feature SAKURAN (2007,
Japan, Toronto Premiere) is a sensually stunning film that brings to life the
courtesan world of the 1700s with a decidedly 21st century verve and attitude.
A classic story of a reluctant prostitute (played by Japanese idol actress
Anna Tsuchiya) forced to move up the ranks within the competitive world of
brothels, the film's director Ninagawa and her crew of women creators
purposefully ditch any adherence to period accuracy, instead favouring the
cheeky anachronisms by using vivid splashes of red and gold as visual
background and blaring Ringo Shiina's modern rock music soundtrack.

    Canadian Artist Spotlight: THE WORLD OF LESLEY LOKSI CHAN presents
hopelessly romantic and brilliantly clever films and videos infused with the
complexities of love, sex, and motherhood. Fictions based on the intimate
histories of the women in her family, her work borrows from classic cinema and
pop culture, while combining a unique feminist sensibility with youthful
humour and imagination. From this up-and-coming Canadian director, Reel Asian
will present the world premiere of three new titles, and has selected three
artists who have strongly influenced her practice to be shown with her work:
Helen Lee, Midi Onodera and Carolynne Hew.

    Centrepiece Presentation: Canadian Premiere of director Chen Shi-Zheng's
stark drama DARK MATTER (2007, USA) is a story inspired by a true tragedy from
1991, when a young Chinese student opened fire at an American University. Liu
Xing (Liu Ye, CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER), who is the professor's protégé, is
drawn to the unseen substance that shapes the universe. But when his theories
threaten his professor's model, his dissertation is rejected. Too proud to
accept help from a patron-friend (Meryl Streep), and unwilling to return home
to his parents, Liu Xing is pushed to the margins of American life and
ultimately beyond his darkest limits.

    Features: From contemporary Saigon OWL AND THE SPARROW (2007, USA,
Vietnam) is a heart-warming tale about discovering family even in the most
difficult of circumstances. DOCTOR (2006, USA, Taiwan) is a sensitive and
poetic film about Dr. Wen, who must deal with death as both a doctor and
parent. In GETTING HOME (2006, China, Hong Kong), one dedicated friend makes
an absurd journey to return his friend's body to its rightful burial place.
ANG PAMANA: THE INHERITANCE (2006, Canada, Philippines) is a fresh and
frightening thriller inspired by age-old Filipino folklore. On an
unconventional Japanese/Native Canadian cultural exchange, HOMESTAY (2007,
Canada) takes us on a bumpy road trip to the Great Canadian North. In AND
THEREAFTER II (2006, USA), Ajuma is a Korean military bride who provides a
shockingly frank inside look on her experiences as a sex worker. Breaking one
of the most sacred taboos in Korean society, indie film NO REGRET (2006, South
Korea) is a tragic romance about gay love between an art student and wealthy
young man separated by conservative class differences. New Currents Award
winner Tan Chui Mui's LOVE CONQUERS ALL (2007, Malaysia) follows a young woman
who, despite having a boyfriend back home, is charmed by a handsome but
cunning man.

    Youth Presentations: Two matinee presentations are geared towards
students: KORYO SARAM - THE UNRELIABLE PEOPLE (2007, USA) uncovers the
intriguing history of Korean internment camps of the former states of the
USSR. This programme will be preceded by two short videos about Japanese
internment in North America. OUT OF THE ORDINARY Shorts Presentation looks at
alternative perspectives and brings together new outlooks on youth subcultures
and individuals that exist on the fringes of our society.

    Shorts Presentations: The heart of Reel Asian is our annual selection of
cutting edge shorts from up-and-coming as well as established Asian filmmakers
from around the world. For the first time ever, Thai director Pen-ek
Ratanaruang's short films and commercials will be gathered in the TOTAL PEN-EK
presentation. Shifting our focus on to the cinematic art works of Chen
Chieh-jen, MAJESTIC TAIWAN is the first Canadian presentation of Chen's
spellbinding work about Taiwan's silenced economic and political history.
CINEMA/MOVEMENT: OE MASANORI (York University Conference and Screenings
organized by Sharon Hayashi) re-examines the inseparable link between artistic
experimentation and political movements in the postwar Japanese context. Head
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE for an unusual late night platter of frightening
irrationality. In AS LONG AS YOU STAND, online stardom, karaoke, and
rock'n'roll all come together - including SMILE, a new short by Genie
award-winning director Julia Kwan. POWER PLAY has the ultimate home team
advantage, as there's no contest when it comes to the Canadian highlights of
this season. Reel Asian is proud to present new works by: Howie Shia, Wayne
Yung, Naoko Kumagai, Khanhthuan Tran, Joyce Wong, Jane Kim, Gloria Kim and Tak
Koyama.

    Special events this year include some of the hottest musical acts to ever
perform at Reel Asian. RAMeN: REEL ASIAN MUSIC NIGHT and the LIGHTNING DOODLE
PROJECT (free Canadian Filmmakers Party at SPIN Gallery) featuring the
collaborative Japanese animation group.
    This is another great year of our ever-expanding INDUSTRY SERIES. New
initiatives such as the Salons, Mentor Office Hours, Reel Asian Rendezvous and
the Mediathèque, are designed to provide delegates with an opportunity to
engage in intimate, candid discussions and obtain training from experienced
insiders of the film industry on a wide range of topics for short, documentary
and feature films.
    This year, Reel Asian returns to Toronto's Annex neighbourhood. Films
will be shown at the Bloor Cinema, the Isabel Bader Theatre, Innis Town Hall
and the National Film Board (NFB) Cinema downtown.

    SCREENING & INDUSTRY VENUES:
    Bloor Cinema - 506 Bloor Street West (Bloor/Bathurst)
    Isabel Bader Theatre - 93 Charles Street West (Bloor/University)
    Innis Town Hall - 2 Sussex Avenue (Bloor/St. George)
    National Film Board (NFB) Cinema - 150 John Street (Queen/John)
    Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto
    1 Devonshire Place, North House Room 208N (Devonshire/Hoskin)

    SPECIAL EVENTS VENUES:
    Century Room - 580 King Street West (King/Brant)
    The Courthouse - 57 Adelaide Street East (Adelaide/Victoria)
    L'Espresso Bar Mercurio - 321 Bloor Street West (Bloor/St. George)
    PROOF Bar, InterContinental Hotel Toronto Yorkville - 220 Bloor Street
    West (Bloor/St. George)
    SPIN Gallery - 1100 Queen Street West, 2nd Floor (Queen/Dovercourt)

    
    TICKETS
    Regular Presentation                       $10
    Opening Night Gala (screening and party)   $20 ($15 discount price)
    Opening Night Party Only                   $10
    Closing Night Gala (screening and party)   $10
    Closing Night Party Only                   $5
    Youth Presentation                         $5
    Students/Seniors                           $7 (except Opening Night Gala)
    Screening 4-Pak (no Galas)                 $35 ($25 discount price)
    Screening Pass (no Galas)                  $95 ($65 discount price)
    Festival Pass                              $120 ($100 discount price)
    Industry Series Sessions                   $5
    Industry Pass                              $45

    Note: Discount price is available to students, seniors and groups of 10 or
more. Industry Pass or Festival Pass is required for some IS sessions. Tickets
for ALL screenings, including Opening Night Gala, can be purchased 60 minutes
before start time at venue box office. For tickets to Gala parties - pay at
the door.

    Advance Tickets (Until Monday, Nov. 12)
    In Person: 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 309 (SE corner at
                                                    Spadina Ave.)
    By Phone: 416-703-9333
    On Line: Please go to www.reelasian.com, then click on "Buy Tickets"
    

    Reel Asian would like to acknowledge the support of our festival
sponsors, Shaftesbury Films, the Asian Institute at the University of Toronto,
Untitled_Art Inc., and our festival partner, the National Film Board of
Canada; media sponsors, Global Television, Toronto Star, NOW Magazine,
Fairchild Television/Talentvision, and Fairchild Radio; Industry Series Lead
Sponsor Astral Media The Harold Greenberg Fund, and Industry Series sponsor
The Centre for Creative Communications, Centennial College. We also are
grateful to our public funders: Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Trillium
Foundation, Department of Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto
Arts Council, and Telefilm Canada.

    Digital film images are available at www.reelasian.com/pressPhotos.php





For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Virginia Kelly, V Kelly &
Associates, (416) 466-9799, info@vkpr.ca; Visit www.reelasian.com for further
information

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