The 10th International Diaspora Film Festival
Opens with a Tribute to
The Green Movement of Iran
Back to the Roots is the theme of the 10th anniversary of the IDFF as we pay tribute to the Iranian roots of our festival. What began in 2001 as the Iranian Diaspora Film Festival quickly evolved into the International Diaspora Film Festival.
The IDFF once again uses the medium of cinema to look at the hopes of people seeking a better life in a new country, the challenges of various cross-cultural moments, and the nostalgia of going back to one’s roots.
The festival opens with The Twenty Days that Shook Tehran, an underground documentary with an original twist. The film looks at the final twenty days leading to the much-disputed presidential election through the eyes of an Iranian theatre group. The screening will be followed by a lively panel discussion on the Green Movement with well-known political analysts.
An Iranian theatre group also features in a fictional film by Iranian-Australian filmmaker Granaz Mousavi. My Tehran for Sale, made in the streets of Tehran under perilous circumstances, presents a daring view of urban subculture and the muted rebellion of youth.
From Iran, we move to neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq to present films dealing with social and political issues in these countries. These are movies with enduring themes of love and loss, laughter and redemption.
Applauded at the Critic’s Week of the Cannes Film Festival, Shahram Alidi’s Whisper with the Wind is described by Le Monde as “one of the most contemplative films to watch today, a visual poem crammed with unbelievable landscapes, elegiac sequences impressive in their sheer majesty”. Truly beautiful to watch, Whisper with the Wind, filmed on location in Iraqi Kurdistan, tells the story of an extraordinary messenger who records the voices of soldiers and refugees to deliver back to their families.
In Chicas, Yasmina Reza, the luminous French playwright/filmmaker of Iranian descent, tells another “back to the roots” story of the beautifully aging Spanish Pilar (Carmen Maura) and her three grown daughters, brought up in France. The daughters are alternately catty and supportive of each other, yet unanimous in their criticism of Pilar and her new boyfriend. We find a similar theme in the short film Annie de Francia, where a Spanish mother and her two daughters embark on a road trip from France to Spain to attend the wedding of a cousin they have never met.
Rising Canadian filmmaker Noah Pink from Halifax will present his Cannes 2010 hit ZedCrew. Shot on location in Zambia, Noah follows a rap group that resorts to desperate measures to get to New York. Zambian hip-hop artist Alvin Fungo delivers a breakout performance, backed by his own original music. The film is presented as a double bill with Only When I Dance, a documentary that similarly captures the dreams of two black youth from the favelas in Brazil. Despite poverty and prejudice, the two are determined to use dance as an escape from the harsh realities of daily life.
In the entertaining and thought-provoking film Ayla by SuTurhan, cultural and generational clashes within the Turkish community in Germany are explored alongside a traditional love story.
Tony Gatlif’s film Freedom (Korkoro) goes beyond the clash of cultures to unravel the oppression of Gypsies by the Vichy government of France during WWII. Winner of the Audience Award at the Montreal Film Festival, Tony Gatlif (Exiles, Crazy Stranger) mixes his filmmaking and musical talents to produce a bitter-sweet tale of compassion against a backdrop of power gone amok.
Multi-award winning Bandhobi is the tale of a rebellious Korean teenager and her Bangladeshi emigrant friend, while Bollywood Hero follows the theme of cultural differences. When a Dutch actor witnesses a horrific accident in Mumbai where a street girl is killed, he is compelled to try to change the order of things to appease his guilt.
Altiplano, the winner of Best Film and Best Environmental Awareness awards from Bangkok Film Festival, is a Dutch co-production. Shot in the high Andes of Peru and Belgium with multi-national actors, the film tells the story of a small mining village contaminated by mercury seeping from the ground. The politics of the region are artistically conveyed using the beauty of the Andes Mountains and magic realism.
Here and There (Winner, Best Film, Tribeca; Jury Award, Ft. Lauderdale; Best Director, Young Jury Award, FIPRESCI, Geneva) with acclaimed actress Mirjana Karanovic (Grbavica, Underground) is the story of a down and out New York musician (David Thornton) who accepts an offer he can’t refuse from his friend, Bianco. He agrees to travel to Serbia to bring Bianco’s girlfriend to the US but business gets confounded with pleasure. The result is a gentle comedy about cultural differences and mid-life romance.
Roots project is a compilation of works by young ethnic Canadian filmmakers using cameras to discuss their diverse backgrounds. The selection represents the best of more than one hundred films received by CBC’s Roots Challenge. These films will be screened during the Diaspora In a Short program, in collaboration with Radio Canada International. Screening is Free.
The closing film, Miscreants of Taliwood, was a hit at the Telluride Film Festival. This mockumentary transports the audience to the forbidden tribal belt of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier to reveal the underground film industry that persists under the nose of the Taliban. George Gittoes teams up with Pashto action and comedy stars to make an over-the-top action drama, played out in what must be one of film history’s most bizarre locations-a cave or two away from the reputed hiding spot of Osama Bin Laden.
Light of East: A Music Concert closes this edition of the festival. This instrumental band performs music from the Near and Middle East, including traditional, folk, classical, and modern urban music of the 20th century. The captivating rhythms and melodies will take the audience on a diverse musical journey. The Light of East Ensemble was nominated for the Jack Richardson Music Award and London Music Award in 2008, 2009, and 2010. http://www.lightofeastensemble.com/
The festival runs from 2 to 7 November 2010, at Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto M5S 1J5 (off St. George, one block south of Bloor, Subway St. George).
Admission is $10/$8 students and seniors. A festival pass ($80) includes the closing concert. To reserve tickets please email (recommended) firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416 571 2150.
For complete film descriptions and schedule please visit our website http://www.diasporafilmfest.com
For further information /interviews please contact:
Shahram Tabe 416 773 1780 email@example.com
Paul de Silva 416 571 4168 firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul de Silva
Communications and Culture Program