Culture

5 Canadian Virtual Events We’re Looking Forward to Over the Next Month

Photo by Dave Simpson/WireImage

Including The 519’s first-ever virtual gala (featuring Elton John) and the 20th edition of the BIPOC-focused Reelworld Film Festival.

From a Canada-wide online art festival by Art Toronto to a virtual gala hosted by The 519 in support of Toronto’s LGBTQ community, here are all the digital events to mark on your calendar this month and beyond.

The 519 Gala

Each year, The 519—Canada’s largest LGBTQ2S community centre—throws a gala to raise funds in support of its programs and initiatives. This year, the Toronto-based organization is hosting a virtual gala featuring musical performances and special appearances by the likes of Elton John, Margaret Atwood, Buffy Sainte-Marie, The Barenaked Ladies and more. “Over the years, many of the performers who’ve participated in the Annual Gala became friends of The 519 and they have graciously offered to come back this year for this one-of-a-kind celebration,” The 519’s Honorary Patron Salah J. Bachir said in a statement. The 519 virtual gala will be livestreamed on Sunday, October 25 at 7.30pm EST. Find more details here.

ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival

As the world’s largest Indigenous film and media arts festival, ImagineNATIVE focuses on the film, video, radio and new media work of Indigenous, Aboriginal and First Peoples from around the world. The Toronto-based festival is, understandably, going virtual this year, with a 2020 festival slate featuring the work of 153 Indigenous artists in 23 languages from 13 countries and 97 Indigenous nations. Some of the titles at this year’s festival include Inconvenient Indian, a documentary directed by Métis/Algonquin filmmaker Michelle Latimer; Monkey Beach, directed by Cree/Métis filmmaker Loretta Todd; and The Legend of Baron To’a, directed by Māori/Pasifika filmmaker Kiel McNaughton. The festival runs from October 20 to 25. Get more details here.

Reelword Film Festival

Reelworld is the largest national platform dedicated to the inclusion of more Canadians identifying as Black, Indigenous, Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern and Latinx in the country’s screen-based industries, and the 20th edition of its annual film festival runs this year from October 14 to 19. The 2020 festival features their largest lineup of films to date, with titles like KENBE LA, Until We Win, a documentary about Haitian artist/activist Alain Philoctète; horror film The Curse of Willow Song; and Nolan: Here Nor There, about a young man on a reserve in Saskatchewan struggling to come to terms with the unexpected death of his brother. Get more details here.

Art Toronto

For the first time in 21 years, Canada’s biggest contemporary art fair, Art Toronto, will take place in a hybrid format featuring both a virtual showcase and in-person installations across the country. In a North American first, the fair has commissioned an Augmented Reality artwork by Guelph-based artist Jenn E Norton, which is available for download to the public through Instagram and Facebook as of today. Get details about the art fair, which runs from October 28 to November 8, here.

Reel Asian Festival

The 2020 edition of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival will be fully virtual and available Canada-wide for the first time. This year’s lineup features 58 films from countries like Canada, Korea, Japan, China, India, the US and the UK, with 59% directed by women and non-binary filmmakers. The festival will open with Down a Dark Stairwell, a documentary about the events surrounding the shooting of a black man in Brooklyn by a Chinese-American police officer. Access to the opening night event will be free with the support of the CBC. The week-long festival, which runs from November 12 to 19, will close with a live script reading of Scarborough, the forthcoming screenplay adaptation of Canadian writer Catherine Hernandez’ critically acclaimed novel of the same name. Get details about the festival here.

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