Filmmaker brings city to life in award-winning short

News Sep 24, 2009 by Danielle Milley East York Mirror

Motivated to help make Toronto as cultural recognizable as other cosmopolitan cities, Joyce Wong ended up making a short film that just might help make her name more recognizable in the industry.

"I just want people to talk about Toronto the same way they do about New York and Paris," she said.

That remains to be seen, but the film, EmBodying Toronto, did win first place at the Toronto Urban Film Festival. As well, the East York filmmaker and her partner on the piece, Sonia Hong, won the Women in Film and Television Toronto Award for most ambitious film by a female filmmaker.

"We were completely overwhelmed. First we found out we'd won the WIFT award," she said, and then they received their first-place award from "huge important Canadian filmmaker" Don McKellar.

The awards were presented Sunday, Sept. 20, at the closing ceremony for the Toronto Urban Film Festival.

TUFF is a project of Art for Commuters and the ONESTOP Media Group where entries, one-minute silent films, play on the network of more than 270 subway platform screens across the city. Wong, a York University graduate, had been toying with the idea of doing a film about her city, and the film festival gave her the chance.

"It was a good excuse to make something short with a good narrative of Toronto," she said. "I'd been wanting to do a film about Toronto for awhile."

The piece is a work of animation, a bit of a departure for the filmmaker who usually does live action. It took three days working 18 to 20 hours a day to complete it with the planning work done beforehand.

"I wanted to make a film that showed Toronto as something that was living," Wong said. "We decided to do that literally by putting it on the body of the person."

The piece follows roadways painted on a woman's limbs along the Gardiner Expressway and through some of Toronto's more well-know neighbourhoods such as Chinatown and Yorkville.

"We started thinking about it and it just got quirkier and quirkier," she said.

The win comes with an all-inclusive trip for two to the Dominican Republic; Wong and Hong also receive complimentary memberships to WIFT-Toronto, a $1,200 WIFT-T programming pass, and a $1,500 equipment rental credit.

It is all icing on the cake.

"We were just happy to be in the festival itself," Wong said. "It was fun to have a film with a super public viewership."

To have someone like McKellar jury her work and to be recognized by WIFT is really special.

"Artistically it's affirming that someone beyond our school recognized and identified with our work," she said.

This isn't the first award for Wong. Her film Souvenirs from Asia won the Outstanding Canadian Short Award at the Reelworld film festival and her previous short, Banana Bruises, won the Best Fiction Short Award at Cinesiege showcase and was programmed in the closing night gala at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.

EmBodying Toronto can be viewed online on YouTube. Attention parents: the video may not be suitable for young viewers.

Filmmaker brings city to life in award-winning short

'EmBodying Toronto' takes first-place prize at TUFF

News Sep 24, 2009 by Danielle Milley East York Mirror

Motivated to help make Toronto as cultural recognizable as other cosmopolitan cities, Joyce Wong ended up making a short film that just might help make her name more recognizable in the industry.

"I just want people to talk about Toronto the same way they do about New York and Paris," she said.

That remains to be seen, but the film, EmBodying Toronto, did win first place at the Toronto Urban Film Festival. As well, the East York filmmaker and her partner on the piece, Sonia Hong, won the Women in Film and Television Toronto Award for most ambitious film by a female filmmaker.

"We were completely overwhelmed. First we found out we'd won the WIFT award," she said, and then they received their first-place award from "huge important Canadian filmmaker" Don McKellar.

The awards were presented Sunday, Sept. 20, at the closing ceremony for the Toronto Urban Film Festival.

TUFF is a project of Art for Commuters and the ONESTOP Media Group where entries, one-minute silent films, play on the network of more than 270 subway platform screens across the city. Wong, a York University graduate, had been toying with the idea of doing a film about her city, and the film festival gave her the chance.

"It was a good excuse to make something short with a good narrative of Toronto," she said. "I'd been wanting to do a film about Toronto for awhile."

The piece is a work of animation, a bit of a departure for the filmmaker who usually does live action. It took three days working 18 to 20 hours a day to complete it with the planning work done beforehand.

"I wanted to make a film that showed Toronto as something that was living," Wong said. "We decided to do that literally by putting it on the body of the person."

The piece follows roadways painted on a woman's limbs along the Gardiner Expressway and through some of Toronto's more well-know neighbourhoods such as Chinatown and Yorkville.

"We started thinking about it and it just got quirkier and quirkier," she said.

The win comes with an all-inclusive trip for two to the Dominican Republic; Wong and Hong also receive complimentary memberships to WIFT-Toronto, a $1,200 WIFT-T programming pass, and a $1,500 equipment rental credit.

It is all icing on the cake.

"We were just happy to be in the festival itself," Wong said. "It was fun to have a film with a super public viewership."

To have someone like McKellar jury her work and to be recognized by WIFT is really special.

"Artistically it's affirming that someone beyond our school recognized and identified with our work," she said.

This isn't the first award for Wong. Her film Souvenirs from Asia won the Outstanding Canadian Short Award at the Reelworld film festival and her previous short, Banana Bruises, won the Best Fiction Short Award at Cinesiege showcase and was programmed in the closing night gala at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.

EmBodying Toronto can be viewed online on YouTube. Attention parents: the video may not be suitable for young viewers.

Filmmaker brings city to life in award-winning short

'EmBodying Toronto' takes first-place prize at TUFF

News Sep 24, 2009 by Danielle Milley East York Mirror

Motivated to help make Toronto as cultural recognizable as other cosmopolitan cities, Joyce Wong ended up making a short film that just might help make her name more recognizable in the industry.

"I just want people to talk about Toronto the same way they do about New York and Paris," she said.

That remains to be seen, but the film, EmBodying Toronto, did win first place at the Toronto Urban Film Festival. As well, the East York filmmaker and her partner on the piece, Sonia Hong, won the Women in Film and Television Toronto Award for most ambitious film by a female filmmaker.

"We were completely overwhelmed. First we found out we'd won the WIFT award," she said, and then they received their first-place award from "huge important Canadian filmmaker" Don McKellar.

The awards were presented Sunday, Sept. 20, at the closing ceremony for the Toronto Urban Film Festival.

TUFF is a project of Art for Commuters and the ONESTOP Media Group where entries, one-minute silent films, play on the network of more than 270 subway platform screens across the city. Wong, a York University graduate, had been toying with the idea of doing a film about her city, and the film festival gave her the chance.

"It was a good excuse to make something short with a good narrative of Toronto," she said. "I'd been wanting to do a film about Toronto for awhile."

The piece is a work of animation, a bit of a departure for the filmmaker who usually does live action. It took three days working 18 to 20 hours a day to complete it with the planning work done beforehand.

"I wanted to make a film that showed Toronto as something that was living," Wong said. "We decided to do that literally by putting it on the body of the person."

The piece follows roadways painted on a woman's limbs along the Gardiner Expressway and through some of Toronto's more well-know neighbourhoods such as Chinatown and Yorkville.

"We started thinking about it and it just got quirkier and quirkier," she said.

The win comes with an all-inclusive trip for two to the Dominican Republic; Wong and Hong also receive complimentary memberships to WIFT-Toronto, a $1,200 WIFT-T programming pass, and a $1,500 equipment rental credit.

It is all icing on the cake.

"We were just happy to be in the festival itself," Wong said. "It was fun to have a film with a super public viewership."

To have someone like McKellar jury her work and to be recognized by WIFT is really special.

"Artistically it's affirming that someone beyond our school recognized and identified with our work," she said.

This isn't the first award for Wong. Her film Souvenirs from Asia won the Outstanding Canadian Short Award at the Reelworld film festival and her previous short, Banana Bruises, won the Best Fiction Short Award at Cinesiege showcase and was programmed in the closing night gala at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.

EmBodying Toronto can be viewed online on YouTube. Attention parents: the video may not be suitable for young viewers.