The 17th Diaspora Film Festival (DFF) will run from November 2 to 5, 2017 in Toronto under the theme Music of Diaspora. The festival will showcase films where music makes a major element of the storytelling, including DJANGO, HARMONIA, and MORRIS FROM AMERICA.
THEY tells the story of young J who is exploring their gender identity. THEY was also nominated for Camera d’Or and Queer Palm at Cannes Film Festival 2017 and is also a Toronto premiere.
Along with THEY there are three other films that deal with coming of age challenges. MORRIS FROM AMERICA is a comedy about a young African-American boy trying to fit in with German kids. In BABAI (Father), a young Kosovo boy goes through a difficult journey to Germany to find his dad, while in SON OF SOFIA, a young Russian boy finds a new dad when he decides to move to Greece to live with his mom. All Toronto premieres.
HALAL FOR BEGINNERS is a fresh out of production Irish comedy about the first halal meet factory in Ireland, North American premiere.
Shahab Hosseini, the winner of Best Actor at Cannes Film Festival 2016, plays an Iranian immigrant in the UK trying to forget his past with no plan for the future in the Toronto premiere of GHOLAM. In a reverse migration, a young Surinamer-Dutch man goes back to his hometown in search of his roots.
DFF 17 closes with THE 90 MINUTES WAR, a palestinian-Israeli comedy where the politicians of both sides decide to resolve long-standing conflicts through a soccer match.
Ali Soozandeh, Germany/Austria, 2017, 96 min, in Farsi with English Subtitles
Nominated, Camera d’Or and Critics’ Week Grand Prize, Cannes FF 2017; winner, FIPRESCI, Jerusalem FF2017
The lives of three strong-willed women and a young musician cross paths in Tehran’s schizophrenic
society where sex, adultery, corruption, prostitution and drugs coexist with strict religious laws.
Etienne Comar, 2017, France, French, 117min
Nominated for Golden Bear, Berlin FF 2017
1943, occupied Paris. Django Reinhardt the brilliant and carefree jazz guitarist plays to standing-room-
only crowds. Meanwhile his gypsy brethren are being persecuted throughout Europe.
Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, US, 2017, 80 min
Nominated, Camera d’Or, Queer Palm, Cannes FF 2017
Fourteen-year- old J goes by the pronoun ‘They’ and lives with their parents in the suburbs of Chicago. J is exploring their gender identity and has to make a decision whether or not to transition.
Diaspora in Short
A compilation of award winning short films from around the globe.
Ori Sivan, Israel, 2016, 98 min, in Hebrew and Arabic with English Subtitles
Winner, Best Cinematography, Jerusalem FF 2016; Nominated for four Israeli Film Academy 2016
Harmonia is a modern adaptation of the mythological triangle between the childless Abraham and Sarah and young Hagar. When Hagar, a young horn player from East Jerusalem joins the West Side Orchestra, she bonds with Sarah and offers to have a baby for her from Abraham, her husband.
Halal for Beginners
Conor McDermottroe, Irland/Germany, 2017, 100 min, in English
Partly based on true events, this warm-hearted comedy about Ireland’s first Halal meat factory tells the story of young Muslim Raghdan Aziz trying to find his place in the world of small town Sligo.
Mitra Tabrizian, UK, 2017, 104 min, in Farsi and English with English Subtitles
With Shahab Hosseini, winner of Best Actor, Cannes Film Festival 2017
Gholam is an enigmatic quiet Iranian cab driver. Once a war hero, he has disappeared from the battlefield without a trace. He does not want to look back into his past and has no conviction for the future.
Visar Morina, Germany/Kosovo, 2015, 104min, In German, Albanian, Serbian, English, with English
Winner, Best Director, Label Europa Cinema, Karlovy Vary FF 2015; One Feature Prize, Young German Cinema Award, Munich FF 2015
Ten-year- old Nori and his father Gezim roam the streets of Kosovo selling cigarette. When Gezim is lured west to Germany, Nori embarks on a dangerous journey to in search of his father. His tenacity, resilience, and sheer grit must be enough to guide him.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
Marc Waltman, The Netherlands, 2017, 100 min, in Dutch with English Subtitles
Axel is a white Surinamer who has been living in The Netherlands for 20 years. When his mom calls the family back for Christmas Alex reluctantly returns back to Surinam with his wife. Over dinner, however, the situation explodes.
Morris from America
Chad Hartigan, Germany, 2016, 91 min, in German and English with English Subtitles
Winner, Special Jury Award, Sundance FF 2016; Named Top Ten Independent Film by National Board of Review USA, 2016
Morris, a 13-year- old African-American moves to Heidelberg with his dad, a professional soccer coaches.
After his attempts to fit in with German kids, he falls for a girl at a youth club. He finds his way to open
up with his rapping talent and a help with his new German girlfriend.
Athens, 2004 summer Olympic Games. 11-year- old Misha arrives from Russia to live with his mother,
Sofia. What he doesn’t know is
that there is a father waiting for him there. While Greece is living the Olympic dream, Misha will get violently catapulted into the adult world.
The 90 Minutes War
Eyal Halfon, Israel/Germany/Portugal, 2016, 90 min, in Hebrew, Arabic, English, Portuguese, with English
After years of bloodshed, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about to be resolved. A moment before another round of violence, the ideal solution has been reached: a soccer game. One game that will decide who gets to stay in the holy land, and who must leave.