FESTIVAL SCHEDULE: April 13

A Silent Voice

In Japanese with English subtitles 

Shoko Nishimiya is a new transfer student, and the first deaf person Shoya Ishida has ever met. He immediately labels Shoko as a burden because of her disability. After being physically harmed by Shoya’s taunts, Shoko is moved to another school. Five years later, now a senior in high school, Shoya has lost whatever ‘popularity’ he may have gained from being a bully in elementary. As the only child to a single mother, Shoya now lives in severe shame of his past, caused by years of ostracization by his peers. Finding very little will to live, Shoya resolves to reconcile his missteps by attempting to reconnect with Shoko, believing he might one day be worthy of redemption in her eyes.

Flash Flood

A mix of rotoscope animation and documentary techniques invite the viewer into the inner life and struggle of three young gender non-conforming people. With rational and composed simplicity they discuss their experience within a social binary that excludes them. Alli MacKay is an alumni filmmaker and Best Picture winner of R2R’s Youth Filmmaker Showcase for their student project, Air Pressure. MacKay graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and Flash Flood is their grad project; it premiered at Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Quebec, and showed at the Whistler Film Festival recently. 

Note: Director Alli MacKay will be in attendance for a Q&A

Themes: youth empowerment, queer (trans/non-binary), identity, community connection, isolation

Hedgehog's Home

This brilliant Canadian animation premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. Set in a lush and lively forest there lives a hedgehog, and although he's respected by the other animals, his devotion to his humble home annoys the other beasts. Eventually Hedgehog must take a stand against the intimidation, and he uses his words wisely. Poetic dialogue flows freely and the seamless stop-motion animation is as majestic as the source material.

Themes: animation, animals, survival, bullying

In a Heartbeat

No dialogue.

Running the risk of being outed by his own heart, a young boy frantically chases his physical heart when it spontaneously pops out of his chest toward the boy of his dreams. A truly original rendering of the classic love at first sight narrative. In a Heartbeat is shortlisted for an Academy Award. 

Themes: queer youth (gay), first crush, shame and acceptance, love

Princess Cyd

CANADIAN THEATRICAL PREMIERE

Critics have noted that writer/director Stephen Cone has crafted the most underrated film of the year, and R2R concurs! The Chicago-based director has also garnered comparisons to the late Jonathan Deme.

Sixteen-year-old Cyd’s estranged aunt Miranda agrees to host her in Chicago over the summer. Miranda lives the low key life of an accomplished author, and is tethered to the home she grew up in with her sister, Cyd's departed mother. Decidedly not a reader, Cyd is completely oblivious to her aunt’s success. Instead, she is tethered to her phone and interested in soccer. Despite not knowing much about one another, a comforting familial intimacy soon develops.

Speak Up

In French with English subtitles

CANADIAN PREMIERE

It is purely the luck of the draw to be born with the gifts of a natural orator. Or is it? Though not everyone possesses the talents to express themselves with eloquence, such abilities can be taught. And with those abilities comes the kind of influence and power that a writer could only dream of. Yet there is no value in the art of persuasion if one does not understand what one is saying. Each year, over the course of six dedicated weeks, students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines prepare for a showdown in the suburbs of Paris, ramping up to a rousing denouement: the prestigious Eloquentia tournament. The winner will hold the title of ‘Best Public Speaker’.

The Catch

Morgan loves fly fishing in the river near her house. She also likes a boy, but believes that boys don’t like girls who fish. Compounded by the problem of smelling like a fish, Morgan is mocked for smelling like something else that supposedly smells like fish--though she doesn't quite know what it refers to yet. With dignity, swimming against the current, Morgan embodies an inspiring strength of character in the face of immature schoolyard bullies.

Themes: bullying, coming of age, outsider experience, shame/acceptance, youth empowerment, rumors

Advisory: The terms "pussy" and “lesbian” are used as pejoratives. A young girl pierces her own ear and it bleeds on screen.

 

The Talk

Using a mix of hand drawn images, photographs, computer generated images as well as stop frame animated toys and props, the teenage memories of several individuals have been caringly recreated in order to best present the awkwardness of one of life’s strangest occurrences. The Talk has won numerous awards internationally, including; Hot Docs, AFI Docs, and Tribeca Film Festival.

Themes: sex, gender, memory, youth culture and experience

Advisory: frank discussions about sex, gender and sexuality

TRiGGA

On the way to school, during school, and after school, Mae is taunted and chased by a few classmates. At home she faces scrutiny for not fitting in at school. As an attempt to indulge her imagination and maintain her sanity, shy Mae made a felt horse mask as a protective totem. TRiGGA reminds us of the importance of imagination as resistance against cruelty. 

Themes: bullying, coming of age, outsider experience, art, self-resilience, fantasy

Advisory: instances of physical threats

Village Rockstars

In Assamese with English Subtitles 

WEST COAST PREMIERE

Living in Chayagaon village in India’s northeast state of Assam, Dhunu is an observant and precocious young girl with ambitious dreams. She longs to play a real guitar and is mindful that she deserves the same privilege as the boys in her village. The kids host pretend concerts with their homemade styrofoam guitars, commanding the spotlight on their makeshift stage.

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