Roda Siad's documentary, In Between Stories, will open the Regent Park Film Festival on Nov. 7. Ian Vandaelle / The Eyeopener

Rye grad’s documentary to open film festival

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By Marie Alcober

Ryerson grad Roda Siad’s documentary In Between Stories will open this year’s three-day Regent Park Film Festival, which will kick off on Nov. 7.

In Between Stories follows four young African-Canadian artists, one of whom resides in the Regent Park community, and shows how they explore and push media representations of Africa using their art.

“I wanted to look at how growing up in this country and sharing multiple cultures and if they [are] affected by how the news media represent African countries,” Siad said. “I wanted to look at how they use their art to tell their stories.”

The short documentary, which was originally Siad’s thesis film for her master’s program, is part of a list of more than 50 films showcasing the diversity of inner-city experiences that will be screened for free at the festival.

Siad, a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Media Production, said the film is a reflection of her background as a Somali-Canadian who was affected by the way the media negatively portrays Africa.

“It’s a short film but it raises a lot of questions, and those are the questions I have,” she said.

In its tenth year, the film festival continues to show Regent Park residents locally and internationally acclaimed films that reflect stories of the diverse people who live in marginalized neighbourhoods.

Executive director Ananya Ohri said the film has an important story to tell.

“It questions representations of the media and breaks it down,” she said.

It includes marginalized voices in the conversation, which is precisely what the film festival wants to achieve in terms of integrating the Regent Park community with the rest of Toronto.

Siad said she wants more people to see her film but doubts that it is going to be a catalyst for change.

“I don’t think one film is going to change [the perception of Africa in the media],” she said. “But a whole bunch of films? A whole bunch of projects? For sure.”

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