Archive for March, 2007

Reel World Festival kicks off April 11

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

(Canscene) — Tonya Lee Williams the Canadian woman who won fame, fortune and a pair of Emmys starring in the U.S. soap opera The Young and the Restless has during the past seven years put her Canadianism on the line by creating the unique Reel World Film Festival.

Tonya Lee’s objective has been to present films and events highlighting the creative achievement of men and women of Third World origins and the festival’s growth and prestige have become of major importance among Canadian artistic festivals.

The 7th festival runs this year from April 11 to 15 at the Rainbow Cinemas in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market district.

The international festival offers this year more than 100 features, documentaries, animations, shorts, panel discussions and forums and will this year feature Jamaica Spotlight, showcasing seven films and a forum

Jamaica’s Frances-Anne Solomon has two entries: A Winter Tale, a feature set in Toronto’s Parkdale district starring Jamaica’s “first lady” of film and theatre, Leonie Forbes and a documentary on the life of the late ”Miss Lou,” author, poet and comedienne Louise Bennett. ”

A Winter Tale receives a gala premiere on the festival’s opening night.

Bolly Double offers a Bollywwod-style romantic comedy tale in a Toronto setting and
features stars of the Indian screen.

Among the Canadian documentaries is Lalita Krishna’s Shooting for Change. Some time ago I told you about Regent Park Focus, a successful youth program at the Toronto housing project that’s too often labelled as a drug-based haunt of gangsters, ignoring the thousands of hardworking, decent people who live there.

Canadian filmmaker Krishna, an international award winner who excels in documentaries featuring young Canadians has filmed the story of how Regent Park Focus helps counter negative labelling by inspiring youngsters to take part in the annual Regent Park Film Festival.

Funded by the OMNI Independent Producers Initiative, Shooting for Change premieres at noon on Saturday, April 14 at Rainbow Cinema

For ticket information to all events phone (416) 598-7933

Reel World’s website is at

20th anniversary of an avant-garde festival

Monday, March 19th, 2007

(Canscene ) –An arts event that during the last generation has helped placed Toronto in the forefront of alternative festivals will this year celebrate its 20th anniversary.

From April 5 – 14 Images 20 will showcase over 130 artworks in film, video, gallery installation, live performance and new media as well as artist talks, parties and walking tours. Located in more than 25 venues across the city, this vastly diverse festival represents media ranging from hand-operated 16mm viewing apparatuses to downloadable video works. It includes local, national and international artists, from student undergrads to high-profile luminaries including Guy Maddin, Lonnie van Brummelen, Babette Mangolte, Michael Snow, Jayce Salloum, Janet Cardiff, Bill Morrison and Carolee Schneeman

Introducing Momentum

The organizers are especially enthusiastic about Momentum, a 10-day symposium featuring dialogues, performances, panels and screenings from artists, theorists and activists at the forefront of media arts culture,” says Scott Miller Berry, executive Director.

Momentum is a cross-disciplinary symposium that features ten speaking engagements and events, one for each day of the festival, pairing a prominent Canadian media artist, cultural worker and theorist alongside an international counterpart. The project is an experiment in polymorphous dissemination aimed at infiltrating the mobile YOUniverse with a unique collection of ten Canadian video art works – on the download for any and every possible screen.

Personal attendance at the Momentum events is set at an average of $15.00 per day with lower prices for students and seniors. Other events will feature Pay What You Can (PWYC) pricing structures program.


On Screen – The Festival unspools 84 new films and videos by artists from Canada and 13 countries around the world, including the North American premiere of Babette Mangolte’s Seven Easy Pieces by Marina Abramovic.

New works by Toronto artists Christina Battle, Andrea Cooper, Jesika Joy and many others.

Guest-curated programs of new video work from Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

Off Screen – The fastest growing section of the festival which this year seesover 40 works by Canadian and International installation artists in 19 venues throughout Toronto:

Live Images – One of the most popular series at the Festival, featuring film, video and audio artists, musicians and other performers live and in person with spectacular media art performances.
For more information, ticket pricing and on-line purchase please visit or call 416-977-5111

Is ghost of Joe McCarthy stirring here?

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

(Canscene) — Those old enough to remember the infamous Army – McCarthy hearings will find a striking resemblance to them in statements by two Conservative Party MPs last month. They said there are terrorist supporters (unnamed) among Liberal Party MPs.

Joe McCarthy

In 1954, the hearings laboured on as Wisconsin junior Senator Joe McCarthy repetitiously attempted to prove that the U.S. Army was crawling with Communist party members.

It took the combined guts of CBS producer Fred Friendly, CBS news man-interviewer Edward R. Morrow, CBS president Bill Paley and Army counsel Joseph Welch to bring McCarthy’s campaign down to the dust is deserved.

Fortunately in the 2000s we can rent the video of the 2005 movie Good Night and Good Luck, an extraordinary and historically accurate recounting of those days. I’m no spoiler when I tell you it has a happy ending as McCarthy begins his decline into oblivion. It’s history, the kind of which we should be reminded at times like these.

It should be recommended viewing for all loose cannons in Ottawa.

Luminato: a new word coined to celebrate Toronto

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

(Canscene) — For Torontonians, a long-awaited festival celebrating a diversity of arts disciplines ranging from opera to cabaret, from theatre to carnival is taking shape and comes to us next June 1 – 10. It promises to be a multilayered, multicultural event featuring a variety of exhibits and performances, many of which are free to the public.

This spectacular installation by Xavier Veilhan will be one of the many outstanding features of Luminato.

As it deserves, it carries is own title — Luminato, (more…)

Precisely what is “socialism”

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

(Canscene) — According to the leaked letter that surfaced recently, in 2002, citizen Stephen Harper condemned the Kyoto accord as “a socialist scheme to suck money out of rich countries.”

Today Prime Minister Harper seems to be dedicating himself to the wearing of the green, even if he’s still opposed to Kyoto.

One wonders at Harper’s understanding of the word “socialist.”

According to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary (COD), socialism is “ a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production, distribution and exchange.”

The company Kyoto keeps

Signatories to the Kyoto accord include the United Kingdom, Belgium, Brazil: Costa Rica, Denmark, Iceland, Germany hardly the poor socialist countries implied by the Harper letter. (more…)

Buxton bell tolled freedom for escaped slaves

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

(Canscene) — Fittingly this year, the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire occurs follows Black History Month. Britain’s anti-slavery act became law on March 25, 1807.

It would be another 60 years before slavery would be totally abolished in the United States and memories of the Underground Railroad that helped so many Black men, women and children to freedom are still strong in southwestern Ontario communities, particularly Buxton where a bell was rung each time a freed slave arrived.

Buxto Bell
Launching of the Buxton Bell replica at Queen’s Park Minister Colle with sculptor Brett Davis, Buxton Museum Curator Shannon Prince, Vice President of Buxton Historical Society Bryan Prince, and President of Buxton Historical Society Keenan Thomas.


By any other name?

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

(Canscene) — Seems like the diehards and closet bigots who have been working in the shadows to bring down he official policy of Canadian multicuturalism have been bypassed by the growing acceptance of the word “diversity.”

We know that diversity and the ‘M’ word don’t exactly mean the same thing. The first is a fact. The second is a philosophy for co-existence that’s been with us since even before 1971, as proposed by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. (more…)

Kuerti receives important German music award

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

Anton Kuerti – by Tony Hauser
(Canscene) — Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti has been selected as one of two recipients of Germany’s 2007 Schumann Prize. The prize is given every two years by the Robert-Schumann-Gesellschaft in association with the city of Zwickau, birthplace of composer Robert Schumann. Kuerti shares this year’s prize with another Canadian, Vancouver musicologist Margit McCorkle.

Other recent winners include pianists Daniel Barenboim and Alfred Brendel, and conductors John Eliot Gardiner and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Since its launch in 1964, this is the first time that the award is going to Canadians. The 5,000 Euro ($Can 7,650) prize will be awarded in Zwickau on August 25. Kuerti will perform an all-Schumann concert as part of the ceremony. (more…)

For newspeople writing, broadcasting on Aboriginal affairs

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

(Canscene) — Recently the Radio and Television News Directors’ Association of Canada (RTNDA) introduced a “toolkit” for newsrooms across the nation.

Titled Everyone’s Story– Reflecting Canada’s Diversity, the kit consists of an illustrated brochure and a DVD. It points out that by 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation, people born in a different country will make up a larger percentage of the population than at any time since the great wave of immigration at the turn of the century. And 20 percent will be members of visible minority groups. (more…)

Toronto Star group expands ethnic media stable

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

(Canscene) — The Toronto Star has moved deeper into publishing for diversity with the acquisition of the Vancouver monthly Canadian Im migrant

Current circulation of The Canadian Immigrant – which covers careers, education, lifestyles, culture and financial matters, along with profiles of prominent British Columbia immigrants – is 30,000. (more…)