A couple weeks ago on November 6, I was lucky enough to attend the opening ceremony for the 2nd annual Canada International Film and Television Festival, held November 6 to November 8, 2015. This was a kickoff for a couple days of deliberation, which culminated in the final awards ceremony.
Canadian Senator Yonah Martin attended, and presented one of the prizes. You can see more on her website. The winners are listed here. You can see the truly international aspect of the festival from winners such as the actor Mr. Debebe Retta, whom I believe to be Ethiopian.
This posh event, held at the Marriott hotel in Richmond, was a pleasant and elegant reprieve on that very wet, dark night. After the opening remarks (mostly in English, but also in Mandarin) from several distinguished participants, including the mayor of Richmond and several internationally known members of the film industry, we partook of the delicious and well-presented hors d’oeuvres (not to mention wine).
Actor Jill Jaress was one of the speakers, and she talked about how she had maintained a career for herself as she became older and was called less often. She took on directing, producing, and scriptwriting. Her largest production is 1 Nighter, a romantic comedy for which she directed, produced, wrote, and acted (co-starring with her real-life boyfriend and Golden Globe nominee Timothy Bottoms).
(Jill Jaress speaking at CIFTA. Photo credit Raymond Chou)
I cannot find a press release for the 2015 version of this event, but this one for the 2014 event is accurate in its description. “One of the main goals of this Festival is to establish an interactive platform for film enthusiasts from both Eastern and Western cultures, and to promote the advantages of the Vancouver film industry.”
Let’s step back a bit and think about films (and television shows too, but I did feel there was an emphasis on films at this presentation). In Vancouver, and in most vibrant, multicultural cities, hearing a mix of languages in a typical day is unremarkable. If you are not multilingual (I struggle to be bilingual myself), just ask someone you know from Malaysia, India, or the Netherlands how many languages he or she speaks–I’ll bet a minimum of four. But even given the reality of a mixed linguistic landscape, many times films try to be all one language or culture (which admittedly is appropriate in some cases, but definitely not all). The mandate of this festival, which looks at films from all around the world, is to encourage multiculturalism in film. Multicultural does not have to mean multilingual, but in many cases it will. Indeed, I have seen that a number of films at the Vancouver International Film Festival do use several languages, as that is what makes sense when the story moves through different locations and cultures.
I’m looking forward to Year 3! Here are a couple more pictures (photo credit Raymond Chou).