I tend to save Freedom Friday for the day I post about stuff that goes on in my life, observations, food, you know, stuff. Today’s no different. Let me tell you what my wife and I had the privilege of attending last Sunday. Thrilling doesn’t even cover it.
In April, Evert Houston, an Executive Producer at Blue Flame Collective, a Toronto-based film production community he co-founded along with Executive Producer Oliver Ward, approached me about one of my photos I had taken a few years back of the Monument to Multiculturalism in Toronto. He was thinking of using the shot for their Village Global short film festival advertisements, itinerary and such.
Of course you know what pops into my head first. How much? But as he went on to describe the film festival and how it represented the unique multicultural diversity Toronto has to offer, I thought to myself, there’s no way I’d pass up a chance to be part of this growing community of artists with the common goal of celebrating the city’s rich ethnicity.
I stopped him mid-sentence and said, “I’ll give you the answer you’re looking for. Yes.”
From there, my wife and I received a personal invitation to attend the exclusive premier of twelve short films presented by Blue Flame Collective in the heart of Toronto on June 2nd.
The festival was by invitation only. We had no problem getting in since our name was on the list. Associate Producer and actress Farah Merani greeted us with an incredibly warm smile, then introduced us to actress Janice Giles who gave us a quick orientation of the area. It was so much fun meeting them knowing we’d see them shortly on the big screen.
My wife managed to grab a seat close to where the hustle and bustle took place. I found it exciting to hear the conversations around me about projects, future projects, and plain ol’ banter going on. Seated next us was Justin Sanchez, Writer / Producer / Director and star of the short film The Lingering. Later in the intermission, I expressed to him my deepest admiration of his work.
I won’t get into all the films we saw because there were a dozen in all, but I will say this: all of them were unique in their own way. The ones that stood out the most to me were We Each Have Our Armies by Bobby Del Rio, about the trials of an interracial relationship, and Just a Prayer by Farah Merani, about a woman’s personal struggle with the choices she makes in life. Each had controversial themes. Each presented a surprising resolution to their conflicts.
As mentioned, the event had a dozen films in all. Six presented, then after a short intermission, the final six closed the festival. We stayed for the whole thing, enjoying the talent Toronto had to offer.
You know, it’s wonderful to live near an area rich in culture and diversity. It’s even more wonderful when that culture and diversity reflects in the art of film.
I would like to thank Evert Houston for his invitation and for the opportunity to meet face to face. My wife and I definitely had a lot of fun.
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Have you ever been to a film festival in Toronto? What was it like?