Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Highlights of 2011

Gathered below are some key moments and accomplishments that helped make 2011 such a memorable year for me:

-Getting to visit my aunt, uncles and grandmum at the start of the year in Victoria, British Columbia.

-Continuing to do my bit (and love every minute of it) for the J-Film Pow-Wow alongside Chris MaGee, Bob Turnbull, Matthew Hardstaff, Eric Evans, Chikako Hirao Evans and Nicholas Vroman. Let’s keep on rockin’ the Japanese film blogging scene through 2012!

-Continuing to count myself among some pretty cool folks at good ol’ Chapters Oakville. Cultured, clever, funny – you all rock!

-Traveling back to Frankfurt for the 11th Nippon Connection film festival (the second time I’ve attended the annual celebration of Japanese cinema), where I saw lots of great films and met up with friends old and new. Between the beautiful spring weather, keeping busy with my coverage of the fest and getting a few precious chances to explore the city, it truly was a week to remember.

-Talking some Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-hsien with Coffin Jon, Josh and Rufus on the VCinema Show. I look forward to returning to wrap up the arc on Taiwanese cinema with our discussion of Tsai Ming-liang.

-Attending and covering the 3rd Shinsedai Cinema Festival in Toronto in July, where I hung out with some cool folks, made some (more!) great cinematic discoveries and got a chance to interview Japanese actress and producer Kiki Sugino for VCinema.

-Getting the awesome opportunity to preview the Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for a special piece and review series for Toronto Film Scene. Very special thanks to Trista DeVries and the press relations folks at the Lightbox.

-Keeping up a spirited correspondence with extremely talented artist and like-minded film buff Edmund Yeo, whose latest work, Last Fragments of Winter, I recently glowed about in a piece for VCinema. Here’s hoping the coming year is kind to you and your creative endeavors – and that it brings about a chance for us to actually meet!

-Staying in the loop with the Toronto film critic/blogger/lover scene, specifically through Adam Nayman’s brilliant film seminars at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre and all those monthly film blogger pub nights at the Duke of York.

-Sinking my teeth into many assignments for Intellect Books – namely the pieces I contributed to the books World Film Locations: Tokyo, Directory of World Cinema: Japan 2 and Directory of World Cinema: France (of which the latter two will be released in February and May of 2012, respectively). I’m very proud of the final results, and hope that people find them helpful and at least somewhat enlightening!

-Getting published in the Toronto-based film journal CineAction with an essay on one of my favorite filmmakers of all time – the aforementioned Tsai Ming-liang. Writing the essay was a lot of fun and certainly one of the most personally rewarding experiences of my year. Thank you to editor Susan Morrison!

-Maintaining strong ties with my family, which includes my supportive parents and two younger sisters, Natalie and Christina, through quite a variety of experiences - some pleasant and exciting, some trying. Wherever we all end up next year, we’ll still be connected to one another.

-Getting a healthy start in learning Japanese through the lessons and material provided by the good folks at I’m so excited to learn more about this beautiful and fascinating language.

-Deciding on a bold and exciting new course in my life that will (hopefully) see me moving to Japan as a certified English teacher early in the new year. I haven’t even left the country yet and already I’ve met many great people (through the TESL/TESOL certification course I took in Toronto throughout this past December). Here’s hoping for more fantastic new encounters and experiences – not to mention a successful transition to the Land of the Rising Sun!

-And last but not least, being able to bookend the year by chilling with the most excellent Brad Weston and Bree-An Lucas.

Many thanks to everyone who helped make this a truly special and memorable year for me. As always, I look forward to what the next year will bring – fresh adventures, new encounters, opportunities to test myself and grow, brand new routes and avenues to tread along. As I chart my own course, I sincerely hope everyone else has a happy and productive 2012!

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