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ReelWorld: Day 2 - Seminars


Day 2 at the ReelWorld Film Festival was spent mostly attending a jam packed schedule of Industry Series seminars. The focus, of course, diversity and the changing landscape of Canada. Is the media reflecting that change or is it staying the same?

Thankfully the soapbox wasn't opened too many times.

The first seminar of the day was discussing how to properly critique World Cinema. Can someone of a different culture properly critique a film from a culture they aren't familiar with? Should they? And how much weight does a critic have expressing their subjective opinion?

Film Critics from 680 NEWS, FairChild Radio, CBC Metro Morning were all in attendance. Curiously, all 4 film critics, including moderator Jian Ghomeshi were all visible minorities and not one Caucasian critic was in attendance.

In the end, however, there was a concensus that anyone and everyone has a right to critique and review any film of their choosing. The acknowledgment should be that if a film is rooted in a specific culture, then perhaps a certain amount of research is necessary. After all, reviewers are somewhat journalists.

The following seminar had better luck in discussing the misrepresentation/ representation period of the Asian male. To off-set the testosterone fulled panel was casting director Millie Tom (The New Degrassi) who was a welcome dose of reality to the mostly artistic panel of writers, directors and actors. To his credit, an executive from dramatic programming from the CBC was in attendance to announce that they were developing a mini-series with an all Asian-Canadian cast. I knew about this project previously as I was consulted on it. Unfortunately, a good and I believe sincere announcement in goodwill felt more like being thrown scraps from a table.

Thankfully, there was a small leap in the right direction to open doors for colour-blind casting to networks.

Numerous card exchanges and handshakes followed after the seminars ended. Connections were made and hopefully for the better. If executives from Toronto 1 and CBC were in attendance, I think they have their eyes and ears open to change.


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