The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival® is a unique showcase of contemporary Asian cinema and work from the Asian diaspora. Works include films and videos by East, South and Southeast Asian artists in Canada, the U.S., Asia and all over the world. As Canada’s largest Asian film festival, Reel Asian® provides a public forum for Asian media artists and their work, and fuels the growing appreciation for Asian cinema in Canada.
We are excited to be a presenting sponsor for these excellent films:
| Isabel Bader Theatre
Dear Ex follows three people who are linked by fate because of love and family. Adolescent Song Chengxi (Joseph Huang) loses his father Song Zhengyuan (Spark Chen) to cancer, but instead of having time to mourn, Chengxi finds himself caught in a feud between his widowed mother Liu Sanlian (Hsieh Ying-xuan) and his father’s gay lover Jay (Roy Chiu). As Liu fights Jay for Song’s insurance money, Chengxi gradually learns that what holds both Liu and Jay back is not the money, but the weight of the loving memories they each have with his father.
As conservative groups continue to voice opposition in advance of same-sex marriage becoming legal in Taiwan in May of 2019, Dear Ex is a timely reminder of the social and human impact that results from the lack of acceptance for LGBTQ+ rights. The film, however, does not sensationalize or victimize queer love. With its heartfelt sincerity, it leaves us with the hope for a more inclusive society.
This is a pivotal film for co-director Mag Hsu and lead actor Roy Chiu, who were previously known for their work in TV. With compelling storytelling, nuanced performances and a beautiful score, Dear Ex is one of the finest films to emerge from Taiwan this year.
Saturday November 10, 2018 @ 5:00 pm | TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 3
“A legend for the ages, a brotherhood with a new sound was born…”
House of the Rising Sons is an adrenaline-fueled musical joyride that chronicles the chart-topping success of 1970s Hong Kong pop sensations, The Wynners.
Despite opposition from their parents, five young men form a neighbourhood band called The Loosers to play music and rebel against the staid conformity of their traditional upbringing. As they began to pursue their dreams, they find that the journey to stardom is never easy. Armed with grit, perseverance and raw talent, the band weathers the strain brought on by creative conflicts, personnel shake-ups and their rapidly growing popularity to become The Wynners and establish themselves as true musical legends.
Co-written and directed by the band’s drummer Anthony Chan, the nostalgic House of the Rising Sons deftly balances drama and comedy to tell the heartwarming tale of the origins of one of Hong Kong’s most popular bands. The film’s young actors bring the familiar personalities of the band to life, supported by cameo performances by some of the best-known names in Hong Kong. The result is a vibrant, feel-good story that will win over fans — new and old.
Sunday November 11, 2018 @ 2:30 pm | Tiff Bell Lightbox, Cinema 3
As thousands of dead pigs mysteriously float down the Yangtze River, five people cross paths as they search for their place in a rapidly transforming modern China.
Candy Wang is a feisty salon owner protecting her turquoise-painted home from being sold to land developers. Her brother, a pig farmer whose pigs have befallen the same fate as the others down the river, has debts with the local gangsters that compel him to convince his sister to change her mind. And there’s his son, who pretends to be a success in the city when in actuality waits tables in a suckling pig restaurant. Can they beat the march of progress, or — with one final battle cry, while singing Teresa Teng’s 1986 hit “I Only Care About You” — will they give in?
Based on true events, Cathy Yan’s directorial debut is a dark comedy about the conflicting social norms shaping contemporary China.