Tag Archives: Social Commentary

From TIFF to OIAF to ImagineNATIVE w TheNFB’s The Hidden Island of Ethics

16 Sep

Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics (2021) - Official HD TrailerBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Official Selection at
Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 9-18)
Ottawa International Animation Festival (Sept 22-Oct 3)
imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (Oct 19-24)

Please check links for showtimes

Anyone who has followed the media reports about the discovery of a mass grave on the grounds of a residential school in Kamloops, BC, may find Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics disturbing. Children from local tribes were plucked away from their families because someone thought it was best to teach them a different way of life. These places were operated by the Catholic Church, and it didn’t change hands until much later. The Canadian Government never knew what went on, and was left holding the bag.

This stop motion animated work by Terril Calder is evocative, powerful and moving. The story she constructed is an eerie look at what may have happened back then. Thankfully, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in this tale.

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Landing at LAAPFF 2020 is Parachute!

6 Oct

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available to viewers in Southern California from Oct 1, 2020 at 12pm PT to Oct 31, 2020 at 11:59pm PT. Click here to watch the film on Eventive.

It’s uncertain how long rich Asian families (usually Chinese) have plopped their children in a foreign land and assume they will remain fine. The plan to get them to assimilate to local culture, and welcome them home later, can backfire, as Katherine Tolentino’s short film sadly shows. The term was once called satellite kids, but these days, the media identifies these youths as Parachute–also the title of this short film.

This filmmaker’s drama reveals how this idea to bridge cultures together can and cannot work. Part of the problem lays with how Asian parents exercise tiger parenting—a term coined by Chinese-American author Amy Chua in “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” Their desire also includes thinking removing them from a harsh education system of the East will do some good for the child.

Nicky Zou is excellent at playing a not so idealistic Wendy Zhang, a young woman who’s turned punk because she’s had a rough go at the transition. She’s not the only one in her class. Although we don’t get the other students’ stories (they too are transplants), she’s the one who has a lot of air to grieve. Her host family and school doesn’t try to help. Usually, in real life situations, the desire by the parents to extricate youth from one extreme educational system in hopes to amalgamate them to another is thought of as a good thing. But without guidance counsellors, life can be tough.

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