This Stained Dawn, directed by Anam Abbas, topped the documentary winners at last night’s award ceremony at Reel Asian. The film won Reel Asian’s Truth to Power Award, which offers a $1,500 cash prize donated by Karla Bobadilla, Diang-Yee Iu, Immanuel Lanzaderas, Sonia Sakamoto-Jog, Victoria Shen and Jason Tam. This Stained Dawn is a Canadian-Pakistani co-production about the preparations for the Women’s March in Karachi as activists try to inspire change in a society that has long suppressed the rights of women.
“This vibrant and clamorous film shines its lens on contemporary Pakistan, and more importantly, its women, as they prepare for the multi-city Women’s March in 2019,” remarked the jury in a statement from Reel Asian. “From striking images of 10,000 protesters in the streets of Karachi, to intimate portraits of young women organizing in living rooms and on roof tops, This Stained Dawn is a reminder that the fight for gender equality is relentless, universal, and far from over.”
Other winners on the 25th anniversary of the Toronto festival included the drama Three Sisters, directed by Lee Seung-won, which won the Osler Best Feature Film Award. The award carries a $2,000 cash prize. The CineSend and Front Row Insurance Best First Feature Award went to Mei Makino’s In Between Girl. The award includes a cash prize of $1,500 and a complimentary Cinesend annual plan.
The Change Connect Under 30 Award – Feature, meanwhile, went to KEFF’s Taipei Suicide Story. The equivalent short prize was awarded to Emory Chao Johnson’s F1-100. Emerging artists were further recognized with the National Film Board of Canada Best Canadian Short Award, which went to Fiction by Alice Liu. She receives $5,000 worth of post-production services with the award.
Reel Asian also paid tribute to longtime NFB producer Michael Fukushima, who recently retired after over 20 years championing animation, by renaming the AnimAsian award in honour of his legacy. The newly-minted Michael Fukushima Award went to 4 North A by Jordan Canning and Howie Shia. The award brings a cash prize of $1200.
Reel Asian also announced a special free encore presentation of its acclaimed opening night film Islands. The film will screen again for free at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on Friday, November 19 at 4:00pm.