Reel Asian International Film Festival 2013

This is my third year covering the Reel Asian International Film Festival. If you haven’t heard of it yet you will definitely want to turn your attention to this incredible festival happening in Toronto and Richmond Hill this coming November. This is the 17th year running and at the official media launch we were given a sneak peek at some of this year’s offerings by Asian film makers from around the world.

This year’s festival will showcase 60 films from 14 countries with directors, producer and actors in attendance. Opening Night Gala will feature Cannes film BOMBAY TALKIES. But what is also impressive is that 30 of the 60 titles will feature Canadian talent! Amazing!

TALES FROM THE DARK PART 1 features the diretorial debut of Hong Kong actor Simon Yam who will be in attendance at the screening. Closing the festival will be the much talked about LINSANITY, a documentary about the famous NBA star originally from Taiwan. Yes, he was forced to play the piano at an early age, too!

Other films that are on our list of MUST SEES…

Don't Stop Believing Photo courtesy: Reel Asian Film Festival (2013)

Don’t Stop Believing
Photo courtesy: Reel Asian Film Festival (2013)

Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey

Ramona S. Diaz | USA 2012 | Canadian Premiere. When American band Journey went in search of a new lead singer, they happened upon YouTube clips of a Filipino singer with a voice of gold, belting out cover tunes in an obscure Manila bar. A modern day rags-to- riches tale.

Farah Goes Bang

Meera Menon | USA 2013 | International Premiere. Farah is a 20-year-old, fun-loving, Bush-hating, Iranian-American virgin. With her two besties, she sets off to campaign for US presidential candidate John Kerry and get laid in this fresh take on young American feminism. Winner of the inaugural Nora Ephron Prize for Best Female Film at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo

Hideaki Anno | Japan 2013 | Canadian Premiere .The long-anticipated third instalment of Hideaki Anno’s epic anime saga begins with Shinji returning to Earth after 14 years of hibernation, only to discover a new world order and a home he barely knows. Earth lies in ruins and those he once fought valiantly to protect have cruelly turned against him. Based on the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion that has generated over $2 billion dollars in revenue, the series has risen to god-like cult status in the anime community.

Ripples of Desire Photo courtesy: Reel Asian Film Festival (2013)

Ripples of Desire
Photo courtesy: Reel Asian Film Festival (2013)

Ripples of Desire

Zero Chou (in attendance) | Taiwan 2012| Canadian Premiere. Zero Chou’s big-budget period drama features Taiwanese pop idols Ivy Chen and Michelle Chen as talented courtesans caught in a web of love and betrayal. Ripples of Desire is the most ambitious (?) period drama to emerge from Taiwan in more than 15 years, and features an all-star cast (Jerry Yan, Simon Yam, Sandra Ng). For her most ambitious film to date, Chou maintains a special sympathy for those who exist on society’s margins, while working her distinctive allusive style that shifts seamlessly between realism and fantasy. Chou started her career as a journalist and has won numerous awards for her films chronicling the Taiwan LGBT community. Her recent works include Drifting Flowers, Splendid Float (winner of three Golden Horse Awards, including Best Taiwanese Film 2004), and Spider Lilies (winner of the Teddy Award at Berlin International Film Festival 2007).

How To Use Guys With Secret Tips

Lee Won-Suk | South Korea 2013 | Toronto Premiere. Choi Bo-na (Lee Si-young) spends her days on movie sets in a baggy hoody, hiding in the shadow of her sexist boss . When she stumbles upon a secret instructional video, she suddenly gets more romantic attention than she bargained for. A battle-of-the-sexes comedy that doesn’t stoop to clichés, the film is a fun ride, with plenty of visual flair and an awesome soundtrack. Winner of audience awards at the 2013 Udine Far East Film Festival, 2013 New York Asian Film Festival and 2013 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.

The Great Passage  Photo courtesy of Reel Asian Film Festival (2013)

The Great Passage
Photo courtesy of Reel Asian Film Festival (2013)

The Great Passage

Yuya Ishii | Japan 2013 | Toronto Premiere. Japan’s 2013 Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film is a gentle love story about awkward linguist Majime (Ryuhei Matsuda) and his landlady’s daughter (Miyazaki Aoi), as Majime takes on the momentous task of editing a new dictionary and defining the word “love”. Based on Shion Miura’s best-selling novel, this gently absorbing drama–with its all-star cast and healthy undercurrent of quirky humour–celebrates ordinary people locked in a glorious endeavour. Yuya Ishii (Sawako Decides 2010) is one of Japan’s most renowned young directors. This is the newest work from Ishii, known for his honest depiction of the peculiarities and passion of his very human characters.

ZONE PRO SITE: The Moveable Feast

Chen Yu-Hsun | Taiwan 2013 | Canadian Premiere. This Taiwanese box-office comedy hit serves up gut-busting laughs as Wan (played by Kimi Hsia), daughter of banquet caterer Master Fly Spirit, teams up with her mother to bring catering honour back to their family name. The resourceful cooking team discovers a wide selection of magnificent mouth-watering dishes, and more importantly, personal satisfaction when their food is truly enjoyed. Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast is the highly anticipated feature from master of comedy Chen Yu-Hsun, and one of the biggest box-office hits in Taiwan this season.

There are so many great films, galas, premieres and events that celebrate the strong film entertainment industry during the Reel Asian International Film Festival. The Festival runs November 5-15, 2013. Check out complete listings, dates, times, locations AND to purchase tickets visit

Here is a great overview of what to expect!


Sonya is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of She is also a well-established contributing lifestyle writer to other sites and magazines sharing her passion for arts & culture, fashion, beauty, travel and food. Sonya is based in Toronto, Canada. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theculturepearl

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