My anticipation for this past weekend did not go to waste as predicted (see last post)! This past Friday and Saturday were two amazing days filled with education, entertainment, and new friendships!
The first day of the Toronto Tibet Film Festival, organized by SFT Canada and CTC Toronto went off smoothly and had a great turnout. Screened Friday were Leaving Fear Behind, A Song For Tibet, and Unmistaken Child, with special guest speaker Dicki Chhoyang, who is featured in A Song for Tibet. Dicki la provided great insight into the issues highlighted in the film. Cheri Di Novo, MPP for Parkdale-High Park, where the majority of Tibetans in Toronto reside, spoke after the screening of Leaving Fear Behind and introduced guest speaker Jamyang Norbu. Tibetan political activist and writer Jamyang Norbu then spoke and answered questions for the festival attendees.
Saturday started off at the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre with a free public talk organized by SFT Canada featuring Jamyang Norbu. There were about 100-200 community members who came out to hear Jamyang Norbu la’s presentation entitled Independent Tibet! The Facts.
Right after the talk , we rushed back to the Bloor Cinema for Day 2 of the Toronto Tibet Film Festival where we presented Women of Tibet, and Fire Under the Snow. While the whole festival had quite a large attendance, the last film of the festival, The Sun Behind the Clouds definitely packed the house! This brand new film seemed to touch and move everyone in the theatre. During the film, it felt like an Indian movie theatre, with people cheering and clapping whenever The Dalai Lama, Lhadon Tethong (SFT’s former Executive Director), or anyone else in the film made a strong and Chinese government-crushing point! Following the film, Jamyang Norbu la captivated the audience with an intriguing talk and answered questions from the audience.
To finish off the night, SFT and CTC hosted a Toronto Tibet Film Festival Wrap party at Om Restaurant on Queen Street West where Tibetans and supporters came out to celebrate the end of a great festival and mix and mingle with festival participants. There was food, dancing, deep discussions (in particular, two groups of eager ears surrounding Jamyang Norbu la and Dicki Chhoyang la!), and overall, old friends were reunited, and new friends were made, all in the spirit of Tibet!
I’d like to thank everyone involved in this year’s festival! The organizing committee made up of members of Students for a Free Tibet Canada and the Canada Tibet Committee Toronto who worked countless hours making this event a success, the volunteers who helped out before and during the festival (in particular the members of the Parkdale Collegiate Institute Tibet Club, led by Karma la), the staff at Bloor Cinema who went out of their way to help us out whenever possible, all the sponsors and donors of the festival, and finally, and especially, everyone who came out to watch the films; the reason we put on this festival is for you, so you can hopefully walk away changed or informed and let the rest of the world know that Tibet needs to be free!
Thanks again to everyone! Can’t wait to see you all next year!