November 1, 2021 - Martin Edralin’s Islands opens this year’s Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (TRAIFF) for a special in-person screening on November 10, 7:30 pm at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in downtown Toronto. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Martin Edralin and several cast members.

Islands tells of a single, painfully shy, middle-aged Filipino immigrant Joshua who has lived with his parents his entire life and now beginning to feel alone as his parents’ health declines.  Joshua feels terrified of being alone when they eventually pass.

Islands received a special jury recognition for breakthrough performance by its lead actor Rogelio Balagtas earlier this year at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Canadian Filipino Net covered the story here: https://canadianfilipino.net/sections/arts/canadian-filipino-film-garners-special-award-at-sxsw-film-festival)

Several other Filipino short films will be featured online during the festival which runs from November 10 to 19.

Huwag Mataranta! (Don’t Be Rattled) was commissioned by the Polaris Music Prize to honour the 2020 shortlist nomination of Toronto ensemble Pantayo’s debut. The short film follows BB, who finds her power in a mystical night market run by figures of Filipino folklore. Huwag Mataranta! is directed by Tricia Hagoriles, a Toronto-based filmmaker who received the inaugural Inside Out + OUTtv Outspoken Documentary Financing Fund for her upcoming work, The Archivist.

Excuse me, Miss, Miss, Miss is set to an expressive soundtrack with main character Vangie, a lonely contractual sales lady who uncovers the ultimate secret to regularization in a desperate attempt to save her job. Filipino writer, director and producer Sonny Calvento finds humor in tragedies and is interested in tackling the sometimes-farcical life in the Philippines.

Hilum’s (Remedy) participation in this year’s TRAIFF is a Canadian premiere. The 27-minute film is set in a rural coastal village in the Philippines where Mona trains under her mother to start work as a professional mourner for hire. Director Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan is an independent filmmaker, musician, and poster designer of Ifugao and Visayan descent whose works explore themes of trauma, spirituality, and nature, told through the lens of post-colonial spaces and Indigenous identities.

In Nanay (Mother), two Canadian Filipinos reflect on how their separation from their respective mothers during the process of immigration has affected their mental health and family cohesion. The film is directed by Vancouver director and producer Thea Loo who is set to premiere a new documentary at the forthcoming Vancouver Asian Film Festival.

Independence Day presents an interesting take on what a picnic might look like within the Filipinx diasporic experience in North America. This is directed by the collective, Tier Zero.

Lolo’s (Grandfather) 76-year-old Arturo Madrid remembers the hardships and realities of migrating from the Philippines to the United States in this documentary. Directors Keone and Mari utilize human movement in visual and emotional ways through their inventive dance vocabulary.

A short Learning Tagalog with Kayla teaches conversational phrases, common expressions, and more in Tagalog. Texas-based Kayla Abuda Galang is a second-generation Filipino American making films rooted in nostalgia, everyday absurdity, and girlhood.

Semi-autobiographical short film watering’s filmmaker reflects on the passing of their childhood dog and how it continues to inform their navigation of daily life. James Legaspi is an emerging Filipino Canadian multimedia artist living and working in Brampton, Ontario.

Tickets for the festival’s opening night is available through the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema website tickets for online screenings are available through the Elevent website. Short films are grouped together in packages “Feel the Beat”, “Ecologies of Place” and “Family Core”.


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