This Weekend in Toronto: The Canadian Sport Film Festival!

The 8th annual Canadian Sport Film Festival (CSFF) is back from May 20 – 22 with an exciting line-up of feature and short films. All screenings are being hosted at TIFF Bell Lightbox and tickets are still available for all screenings. For those of you unfamiliar with CSFF, the festival “brings together the theatre of sport and the medium of film to tell unique, provocative and passionate human stories from around the world. CSFF filmgoers are exposed to the stories beyond the scoreboard, behind the camera and told with a critical lens” (CSFF About Page).

What I love about film festivals, especially those that are local, is that they feature independent and/or grassroots filmmakers who pour their time, energy and love into the work. The results are often spectacular with film subjects being given room to reveal themselves as complex, and their circumstances as nuanced. Put simply, mainstream media just doesn’t give you the same substance and content that film festivals do.

While every film at CSFF looks amazing, a few standouts (summaries courtesy of CSFF):

EASTERN – Canada, 2016, 43 min, dir: Luke Galati
Students at a storied Toronto high school with a great basketball pedigree, four young men representing Eastern Commerce find themselves competing for the school’s last chance at championship glory. They are trying to write a memorable end to one of Canada’s most historic high school basketball programs.

IN THE TURN – US/Canada, 2015, 93 min, dir: Erica Tremblay
Crystal, a 10-year-old transgender girl growing up in northern Ontario, discovers acceptance and confidence in the world of roller derby. Her story reflects the influence of the Vagine Regime in providing a space of acceptance and empowerment for other transgender, lesbian, and queer roller derby skaters from LA and San Francisco to Austin, Brooklyn and Minneapolis.

ZANZIBAR SOCCER DREAMS – Tanzania/UK, 2016, 63 min, dir: Florence Ayisi & Catalin Brylla
Eight years after the inaugural Canadian Sport Film Festival hosted the Canadian premiere of  Zanzibar Soccer Queens, CSFF is proud to present the world premiere of its sequel. The new film highlights the progress achieved by women determined to play soccer on the island and their transition from social outcasts to ambassadors for Zanzibar. Yet, even as the school system is allowing girls to play soccer, religious, gender, and cultural challenges remain.

BOXING FOR FREEDOM – Spain, 2015, 53 min, dir: Juan Antonio Moreno & Silvia Venegas
Sadaf Rahimi and her sister, Shabnam, are the best female boxers in Afghanistan, aiming to compete in the London 2012 Olympics. But the challenges of being physically active women in their country persist.