Regent Park Film Festival

5 films to watch at the 2013 Regent Park Film Festival

The 2013 Regent Park Film Festival, Toronto's only free international film fest, kicks off at Daniels Spectrum next Wednesday, November 13th. Programming ranges from animated shorts to children's films to documentaries and feature length films, united by a dedication to "showcasing independent works relevant to residents of the largest and oldest public housing in Canada." There's some very strong work screening this year (and all for free, no less) but here are five stand out picks from the schedule.

This hip hop documentary traces Toronto from Regent Park, Don Mills, and Jane and Finch, and features Toronto rappers and producers Alkatraz, Trench, Alias, Knia and Keon, all trying to break away from troubled entanglements of gangsterism and drugs through music. If you missed ALIAS at HotDocs, now is your chance to see Michelle Latimer's film that "digs deeper than the usual portrait of the rap world as glamour, guns and swagger." Closing night (Saturday, Nov 16) programming starts 6:30pm (screens with Kathleen Smith's Roses).

Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes
This feature length is for any animal fans out there. The award winning stop motion TV series Wapos Bay features characters living on a reservation in Northern Saskatchewan, and this film will take their adventures one step further, as Talon and Raven confront the news that their dad has accepted a job in a big city. Watch the trailer if you're not familiar with the series — director Dennis Jackson's animations look like nothing you've ever seen before. Saturday, Nov 16, 9:30am.

Mumbai Cha Raja
The trailer for Mumbai Cha Raja alone broke my heart, so I imagine this is one film that might brutalize. It also looks incredible. Set during a colourful festival devoted to Lord Ganesha in the slums of Northern Mumbai, Manjeet Singh's film follows Rahul, a young boy living in an abusive household, and his best friend Arbaaz the balloon seller. Friday Nov 15, 4:30pm.

Blood Relative
Every year 10,000 children are born in India with the genetic disease Thalassemia, which among other effects slows growth rate and interferes with puberty. This tender and eye opening documentary directed by Nimisha Mukerji follows Vinay Shetty, an activist in India working to save victims of the disease. Children and young adults suffering from Thalassemia include a girl receiving treatment via a spiritual healer, and a young man obsessed with Eminem. Thursday Nov 14, 6:30 pm.

Short: The Comic King of Guatamala
George Clipp's short documentary, screening during the opening night of the fest, is a little on the quirky side. The owner of Guatemala's first comic book store ÂĄAy Robot! is shown in various costumes, explaining the troubles he's experienced opening a comic book shop in a country with high rates of illiteracy and poverty. "When we first started thinking about the comic shop, that seemed like a terrible idea.... Distributors in America don't believe we exist, because we're a comic book shop in Guatamala." While possibly problematic, there's also an undeniable appeal to this peek inside the world of this one weird guy and his dream. Tons of other fascinating look shorts are screening too. Opening night (Wednesday Nov 13) programming starts at 6:30 pm

The 2013 Regent Park Film Fest takes place at Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East) from Wednesday, November 13 - Saturday, November 16. View the full schedule here. All screenings are free.

Still from Mumbai Cha Raja

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