The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, Canada’s biggest Asian film festival, went nationwide this year from November 12–19 with a virtual format. The line-up was more modest compared to years prior, but continued to deliver on the festival’s reputation for showcasing eclectic work and diverse voices from contemporary Asian cinema and the Asian diaspora.
The focus for this year’s line-up is best described by the festival’s Executive Director, Deanna Wong: “Stories by and about our community need to be told, not only to celebrate the nuances of our individuality but also to take a look at our collective history as an Asian community so that we can learn from the past and the actions of others to create a better now, made in solidarity and allyship.”
Due to the virtual format, I was able to watch way more films than I normally would during a festival run and I really valued that experience. Attending festivals, while amazing, can be stressful and leave you haggard by the end. And while I do wish I saw these films on a larger screen, ultimately I’m happy to have seen them at all.
In total, I watched 10 features and 32 short films. You can find my rankings for all the films (that are available on Letterboxd) by clicking this link. The following are my reviews on the festival’s stand-outs.