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Press release oct 2018

For Immediate Release


Reelworld Film Festival wraps up its 18th year, showcasing untold stories from racially diverse artists, and sparking conversations

2018 award recipients include filmmakers Frances-Anne Solomon, Hee-jun Lee, Carol Nguyen, Kim O'Bomsawin, Shazia Javed


TORONTO (Wednesday, October 24, 2018) –  Reelworld hosted six days of films and events in Toronto from Oct. 9-14, which closed with an award ceremony. Themes highlighted during the festival included Climate Change, Human Rights, Transgender issues, Women's Rights, Globalization, Racism and Indigenous Rights. The festival drew members of the public eager to indulge their love for film and passion for social change.

“Congratulations to all our filmmakers and award recipients,” said Tonya Williams, Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of Reelworld. “It was wonderful to see how the audience responded to these films and the impact they made here at this festival and will continue to make around the world.”

The opening ceremony, held on Tuesday, October 9, was hosted by CBC, one of Reelworld’s proud sponsors, at Glenn Gould Studio. The remainder of the festival took place at Famous Players Canada Square, with Cineplex, another platinum sponsor, hosting the screenings.

Highlights of the festival included the screening of ‘Seriously’: a three-minute short film created by youth ages 12-18 yrs old in the TD Bank-sponsored Reelyouth Workshop for young racially diverse filmmakers. TD Bank also sponsored the 18th Annual Reelworld Opening Night film ‘Roobha’ at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio. Reelworld was honoured to have Mehernaz Lentin, Senior Director of CBC Films, Valérie Picher, Associate Vice-President of Community Relations for TD Bank Canada, and Christa Dickenson, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada speak to the value and importance of diverse Canadian film.

Reelworld's E20 (Emerging 20) program continues to be the highlight of the festival each year - with 20 outstanding emerging talents who are mentored through the Reelworld incubator program.  These filmmakers got an opportunity to pitch to the likes of CBC, Global, Citytv, and TVO - in total 20 mentors from Broadcasting, Distribution and Production companies.

Reelworld's popular industry panels returned to the Toronto Reference Library. A sold-out audience engaged in an interactive and spirited discussion regarding directing, showrunning, producing, and funding in the film industry. Speakers included Charles Officer, Cory Bowles, Joyce Wong, and Sherren Lee, Dan Lyon, Lenin Sivam ('Roobha' writer/director), Warren Sinnathamby ('Roobha' producer) and Raji Nair ('Roobha' producer).

Reelworld Film Festival wrapped up its 18th year with Awards presentations and a closing night screening! 

Award Winners included:

Reelworld Outstanding Feature Award

The Reelworld award for Most Outstanding Feature goes to Kim O’Bomsawin for  ‘Ce Silence Qui Tue/Quiet Killing’. This film about Canada’s Missing Indigenous women asks the question, “Why is an Indigenous woman at higher risk than any other Canadian citizen?”

Reelworld Outstanding Canadian Short Award

The Reelworld award for Outstanding Canadian Short was presented to Carol Nguyen for ‘Every Grain of Rice’. Nguyen’s touching short film explores the emotional weight and intersection of cultural identity, food and family.

Reelworld Outstanding International Short Award

Hee-jun Lee for ‘Mad Rush’, a film which explores the world of a young man diagnosed with OCD.


Reelworld Audience Award

Shazia Javed for her film, ‘3 Seconds Divorce’, which exposes the perils Muslim women who experience instant oral divorce face internationally and at home.

Reelworld Visionary Award

Frances-Anne Solomon for her tremendous achievements in carving out a space for underrepresented voices and important conversations.

Reelworld Trailblazer Awards

The Trailblazer Awards recognize outstanding achievements by racially diverse professionals in the Canadian entertainment industry. These were presented to Samantha Wan from the comedy series 'Second Jen', 'Global’s Private Eyes' writer Marsha Greene, Lyriq Bent from the 'Saw 'series and 'The Book of Negroes', award-winning Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer, Huse Madhavji of HBO Canada’s 'Call Me Fitz' and CTV’s 'Saving Hope', and Simu Liu from 'Kim’s Convenience'.

MAG-Z, a revolutionary studio and production service in Toronto, video production company Trinity Square Video and Pierre Laurent also presented gifts to some of the award winners.

About Reelworld

Founded in 2001 by actress and advocate, Tonya Williams, Reelworld Film Festival is a non-profit organization. Reelworld's mission is to increase access, opportunities and professional development for primarily Canadian Indigenous and racially diverse filmmakers who focus on stories with social impact. Reelworld empowers artists of all levels with Industry Panels, Professional Development opportunities, and Incubator Initiatives.


Festival pictures are available at our online gallery at For additional information contact

Reelworld is a registered Canadian charity: Charitable #873045611RR0001


Address: 20 Richmond St. E., Suite #600, Toronto, Ontario, M5C 2R9

Tel:  416-598-7933​.

Email:  you!


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