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Tonya Lee Williams


Despite a name that gives no clue to its contents, the ReelWorld film festival has steadily grown in both size and importance.

Under the subtitle, Our Stories. Our Talent. Our Films, the seventh annual festival boasts 100 screenings in five days.

From today through Sunday, shorts, documentaries, features and kids movies screen in the Rainbow Cinemas. Sprinkled throughout the schedule are panel discussions, parties and an awards ceremony.

Founder and executive director Tonya Lee Williams calls it a “film event dedicated to creating opportunities for Canadian artists.” But not only works by Canadians of diverse backgrounds are included in the fest. Films and videos are coming in from the United States and the United Kingdom, South Africa, Hong Kong, Mexico, India, France, Japan and Austria.

A Winter Tale, the opening-night film at the Scotiabank Theatre, is as rooted in Toronto as any film could be. Directed by Frances-Anne Solomon, A Winter Tale is an all-too-common story about a drug-related fatal shooting. A nine-year-old boy is killed, leaving the Caribbean community in Parkdale in crisis. A social worker, Gene (Peter Williams), gets the men in the neighbourhood to form a discussion group. At times riveting and at times a little slack, it offers heartfelt performances.