Jack Blum, Vinay Virmani, Veronica Tennant, Joanne Vannicola, Michael McGowan
The spillover from Hurricane Sandy had touched down in Toronto but that did not keep 900 Adult ESL learners from attending our annual event at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on October 29th.
It was an exciting day for REEL CANADA as we screened ONE WEEK, BREAKAWAY and IRON ROAD, followed by Q&A’s with guests from each film.
For ONE WEEK, REEL CANADA veteran facilitator Marvin Karon led a fantastic discussion with the writer/director of the film Michael McGowan. McGowan has been a major supporter of the REEL CANADA program for several years and has always provided our audiences with thoughtful insight into Canadian filmmaking and his process as a storyteller. Michael discussed the difficulties and joys that come with the territory of shooting a film in the Canadian outdoors in several different locations across the country. The adult ESL crowd was very gracious and happy to have Michael speak with them about his film. We at REEL CANADA are excited for Michael’s latest film STILL, which is set to hit theatres before the year's end.
While one group was discussing life, and the journey to find oneself, another group of ESL learners were discussing hockey and the difficulties of trying to live up to the expectations of the generation before you. The film was BREAKAWAY and the writer/star of the film Vinay Virmani joined a very enthusiastic audience to discuss his heartwarming film. The crowd was eager to hear Vinay’s inspiration for the film. Vinay intimately revealed that he too had experienced a similar kind of pressure to follow in his parents' footsteps but had other life goals and desires he needed to pursue first. Vinay continues to place himself in the ranks as REEL CANADA’s most beloved guests and his gracious and humble ability to engage his audience is a pleasure to watch.
Fern & Doug Hum
Our biggest crowd of the day was for the epic period piece IRON ROAD. The audience, which included a large contingent of recent arrivals from China, was very interested to discuss the film with local Chinese-Canadian Doug Hum, an expert on the building of the railroad who was able to provide fascinating historical context for the events in the film. The audience also had the pleasure of a double bill as one of the producers of the film, Anne Tait, stopped by to entertain the crowd with stories and anecdotes from working on the film with Chinese born director David Wu.
It was another successful day at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for REEL CANADA and we are anticipating an even bigger event when we return to the Lightbox on November 20th!