It’s finally here! The Annual Regent Park Film Festival is back for it’s 14th year. Check out the highlights from last night’s opening ceremony.
By: Sanjana Simon
The excitement commences. People were eagerly waiting to register, after which they could grab some popcorn and provided by the festival’s premiere sponsor RBC and head on down to our very own “red carpet”
There’s no party without some refreshments! Our reception wouldn’t have been complete without the delicious food from Cinq food and Longslice beer to accompany it!
Emerging Directors’ Spotlight and Pitch Contest!
Hosted by the incredibly talent and hilarious Wilbur Sargunaraj, the Opening Night featured shorts films by eight directors under 26. These shorts featured story lines covered an array of topics including a coming-of-age story with strong female characters, a very sensitive insight into the stigmatization of mental health challenges, an experimental take on how we experience life in its most abstract moments, a poetic documentary that portrays the creative work of a Scarborough musician, and a beautifully crafted piece on being impacted too closely by violence, these are films of great quality that exemplify the diversity of voices in the audiovisual creative landscape of the country.
To end the night, 3 of the emerging directors pitched their ideas to our panellists of celebrity judges – Ali Momen, Melinda Shankar and Lea Marin – for the chance to win the RBC cash prize of a $1,000!
Alicia Harris pitched her next project Pick, a short, fictional drama about a 11-year-old black girl named Aliya, who decides to wear her afro to school for the first time, on picture day.
Luke Galati and Jacob Thompson pitched their next documentary that will tell the story of Kempton Howard, 24, a youth leader in the Blake Street community in the East end of Toronto who was shot and killed instantly outside of his ninth-floor apartment building beside the community centre. The documentary Kempton, aims to paint a picture of who Kempton was and the life he lived while showing the effect that he made on the community and the impact that losing Kempton had on his family, friends and community.
Sampreeth Rao pitch for his next project The Immigrants Guide to Camping – First-time camping as an immigrant feels like you’re entering a proving ground. You either leave with a Canadian identity, or you’re forever bound by your foreign culture. On a lighter note, it also turns out that camping as an immigrant is just plain funny.
After all three pitches the judges went to deliberate.
And the winner is…
The prize was awarded to Sampreeth Rao with The Immigrants Guide to Camping, a comedy about three immigrants in Canada trying to camp for the first time and the experiences and obstacles they face during their time on the camp site!
It was a wonderful night filled with talented people, excellent showcase of the arts and a passionate audience filled with enthusiasm and vigour. Thank you to everyone that came out last night.
Check out the full panel below courtesy of Social Image.
We have three more days of screenings, workshops, and networking! Don’t miss out!
Photo credits: Social Image and Jen Hill Photography
PANEL from jeff young on Vimeo.