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Toronto Indie Filmmakers Festival exists as a result of the minds of a group of filmmakers, producers, and crew members; those who are always looking for new experiences in storytelling and finding answers to the all-important questions of our existence. We have tried to find filmmakers who are always in search of something new. Filmmakers who find new topics to explore and new paths to walk on. Looking at the history of cinema, one can see that this art has been built upon new experiences and if we can be a small candle in this path and help the voices of more independent filmmakers to be heard, then it means that we have succeeded in our job.
Toronto Indie Filmmakers Festival is a place for independent, experimental, innovative, and progressive filmmakers to be seen and to be heard.
Please note that we are an online festival for the time being.
In The Dark - Directed by Sarah Malito
A Cambodian Winter - Directed by Forest Wise
Directed by Jean-François Amiguet
Following the funeral of their friend Dédé, two seventy-year-olds, Mister Paul and Bobby, find themselves in a neighborhood bistro where they remember the blessed era of their footballistic glory and their romantic adventures, especially with Lola, the owner of the establishment. Around them, a young waitress, Bibi, who looks furiously like this Lola, apparently absent: is the young woman the daughter of their ex-mistress and if so, could one of them not be her father ? All this under the amused gaze of the deceased who comments on their improbable encounter, first from his coffin, then from Heaven !
We The People?
Directed by Sai Man (Simon) Zhao
This film is the first screenplay I have ever written. I have written a lot more now, but it still has a special place in my heart. Of course, everyone is passionate about remembering the old stuff in life. I don’t remember how exactly I got the idea for this script, but it was certainly not a dramatic afternoon when lightning struck my head to inspire me with a lightbulb popping out of my brain. It was an idea brewing in my mind for a while. I got bored sometimes, so I turned to writing for some relief or at least not wasting precious time. I thought about this world and our relations with each other. I thought about how we function and how we could collaborate with one another. I thought about all the lies and truths that were mixed all together. There are always so many things to discuss, and there is never an end. Even though I shifted my style to subtle implications of reality right now, at that time, I still insisted on being straightforward and headstrong regarding the messages or “implications” in my script and film.
That was a naive time when I knew nothing of the film besides rumors I had heard on the Internet about the industry. I had no idea how the film world functioned and no way of building a sustainable production system for myself to follow. Everything was experimental, and I had to try everything before choosing the best. There was no strategy but trying out everything for the first time. I was the explorer in my own film world, the first and only human ever. The production period was odd and chaotic, and new challenges emerged daily. It was the first time I was “on-set,” although I managed only a few actors from the school drama team. The camera was new, which I borrowed from my school’s teacher, operating slowly with its old fashion.
There were not many choices for the location either, only some classrooms that almost everybody had forgotten. I had no experience at all with managing all the steps of filmmaking, but somehow I pulled it through. Then came the editing process, which I decided to do independently. There isn’t any classmate I can find to share this passion for filmmaking, so technically and sadly, I am the sole traveler on this unforeseeable path. I am proud of the process, even though I remain doubtful about the quality of the final product, which is the “We The People?” film most of you have seen. It was a new world I was entering. I was amazed.
I guess there is nothing really important to talk about; everything is just words of ignorant self-importance. Filmmaking is an never-ending process, a journey where I am always evolving. I hope you will continue pay attention to my next project and the ones that are yet to come. Who knows what the future holds, perhaps a disappointment, or perhaps a chance that everyone seeks.
The Wild Goose
Directed by John Flood
“The Wild Goose” tells the story of a surveyor in the woods north of Lake Superior trapped between his love of the north and his desire to start a family. The animation by Allison Wolvers tracks the woodsman's moodiness with winter coming on and the geese preparing to migrate. The story culminates in both a lyrical and a visual transformation contrasting the forces of home and wilderness. “The Wild Goose” is John Flood's third animation based on songs by renowned folksinger Wade Hemsworth, whose iconic “Blackfly Song” and “Log Driver’s Waltz” are an integral part of the Canadian music repertoire and psyche. Previous Hemsworth animations by Flood & Wolvers include the award-winning “The Story of the I’m Alone” and “Remember Moose Mountain.”
Voices from Within
Directed by Varoujan Froundjian
As a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder and childhood experiences of constant fear, neglect, lack of confidence, and inner shame, I should admit that I have been extremely lucky that I did not end up like the personalities voicing their desperation and anguish, I portrayed in my latest experimental film, Voices From Within.
And this is the perfect time to be honest and instead of hiding behind my film, tell the whole world that yes, my film is about me. It is about my anxieties and my inner hullabaloo of unexplainable thoughts and disgruntlement. This is how I view life, it is about how I connect and disconnect with reality and it is about the alienation I feel about my own reality and the people around me.
But interestingly enough it took a whole lifetime for me to finally be able to find the right moment, the right tools, the right medium, and the right state of mind and my determination to finally be able to tell the truth about my own state of mind and the state of mind millions of people around the world who are struggling with the anxieties of mental disorder who at times are even unable to explain their own thoughts and feelings with the proper words and sentences and in any form of coherence.
And since, I absolutely do not have any of the expertise, credentials and academic preparation of a mental health expert or a psychologist thus, to portray and analyze the inner workings of the mind and soul of an individual who is struggling to even express a particular thought, I had to rely merely on my own, personal feelings, imagination and simply on my artistic outburst or as it is expressed by so many literary and artistic critics, through stream of consciousness.
And this is when the experimental and abstract genre of filmmaking becomes an excellent instrument to expose the individual’s pain, frustration, and trauma not in a realistic sense of projection and scientific or theoretical perspective but simply in an aesthetic and poetic form. Unlike a well-researched and methodically recorded documentary film on mental illness, my film relies on random and abstract and at times surrealistic images, theatrics and dramatizations to portray the inner pain and struggle of an individual struggling with forming a sentence.
Although my film is not at all the product of hours of academic studies or scientific research in libraries, it was the fruit of my utmost fascination and self-taught knowledge of the Freudian concept of psychoanalysis, Carl Jung’s very perceptive observation of our inner shadows. Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization, and finally Christiaan Wouter Kusters’ A Philosophy Of Madness. All these played an instrumental role in shaping my views on the history and social status of mental illness. Aesthetically, I am very much indebted to all the experimental and abstract creators of the genre of moving images from the early days of the invention of the movie camera. I have been inspired by all those adventurous and imaginative filmmakers who went beyond the aspect of storytelling with over-dramatization and a linear approach. These filmmakers like Jean Cocteau, Marcel Duchamp, Stan Brakhage and Ken Jacob’s taught me that a film can offer a much deeper understanding of the human soul through abstract and at times surrealistic colors and images than with attention grabbing formulas of creating suspense.
I hope that my film, Voices From Within, will become an instrument of awareness and create a sense of compassion in the hearts of the viewers so they will become more involved and understand the pain and the stigma people who are affected by various types of mental illness endure throughout their lives. Unlike physical illnesses which through ages have earned attention and through scientific, medical and pharmaceutical treatments have accomplished astounding results, mental illness with all its complexities and at times unpredictable behaviors of the individual still is a field which necessitates ongoing research and explorations.
Finally, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Toronto Indie Film Festival for recognizing the validity and factuality of multitudes of individuals who experience the pain and discomfort of mental illness in their everyday lives. And this priceless gesture by the Toronto Indie Film Festival will energize and inspire me to continue to study and explore the world of the mentally ill and project their pain through my experimental films.
Directed by Sash Nakamoto
A film of the "Worst Humanitarian Crisis" in East Asia, the "Rohingya incident".
From Aug 25, 2017, almost 1 million Rohingya people were forced away from their homeland Myanmar and formed the "world largest refugee camp" next to the border in Bangladesh. Tens of thousands of children and women who failed to escape were killed, abused and raped.
Although such ultra-violent act --- described as Genocide: "Ethnic Cleansing" by the UN, was executed, the official records deny such facts and what actually happened was veiled in mystery. Such occurred, because of media manipulation, cover-ups, and most significantly the particular way how "Race" matters for the Myanmar people.
Succeeded to film and collect scenes from the restricted homelands and refugee camps, the documentary shows what actually did happen, is happening, and worsening, inside the darkest shadows of Asia.
Tom and Luce
A couple in crisis is about to renovate an apartment. The state of the walls is like the state of their relationship.
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