The beauty of film is that it can relay powerful stories and messages which can resonate with the viewer and change perspectives. When those films are coming straight out of your own neighbourhood and represent your voice, that’s power.
The Regent Park Film Festival does exactly that and we were lucky enough to check out the 2014 festival at Daniels Spectrum. Festival Manager, Amanda Pileggi, told us that the festival is not only accessible and open to all, it offers free admission and free child care! She says RPFF is a place where “everyone can connect to storytelling and film” and fosters a deep sense of community and connectivity.
We caught the screening for “Black Men Loving” directed by Ella Cooper, Intersections directed by Snap! A youth filmmaking workshop, and Hope Heights directed by Marc Magnusson in partnership with Manifesto.
Black Men Loving did a phenomenal job demolishing the stereotype of Black fathers by profiling some in Regent Park and across Toronto. Jason Creed, father of four, was one of the fathers profiled and recounted some moving truths of parenting young girls. We also got a real look at a homosexual relationship which, regardless of the endless stereotypes, provides a loving home to their son.
Intersections is project by the RPFF, funded by the Ontario Arts Council. “Professional artists Sheena D. Robertson and Richard Fung worked with youth from the Regent Park and Lawrence Heights communities, who wrote, produced, acted, and filmed all aspects of the production.” It takes the audience on the journey of one kid and shows us how we all connect, or intersect, without even noticing it. It sheds light on stereotypes the kids of Regent Park and Lawrence Heights face and the reality they have to survive in a very clever way.
Hope Heights is about a section of Toronto known as Lawrence Heights. Although the community has seen violence and tragedy, the point of the film explains that the media makes it worse than it actually is. We all rely on the news to tell us what’s happening in the world but sensationalism is compromising the facts. The community doesn’t deny terrible things have happened there but the good outweighs the bad; the people are respectable and the potential is infinite. The lesson we come away with is to seek out truth for yourself; if you didn’t see it with your own eyes, or hear it with your own ears, you don’t truly know.
For more info: regentparkfilmfestival.com
Posted by Samira Zia Rehman
Follow @1LOVETO #RPFF14