Screenshots: Canadian Film Fest includes Edmonton-born talents

Plus, academic screening with Swiss-German activist director, doc on winning streak of Ooks’ head and new Telus World of Science films

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Edmonton-born and raised filmmaker Christopher Yip’s series Streams Flow from a River is having its world premiere Tuesday as part of the Canadian Film Festival. It is the first time a series has been featured in the festival.

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The drama series follows a Chinese Canadian family in the small Alberta town of Frank. Each episode focuses on a different character in the series as they navigate life and the challenges of being immigrants and immigrant children.

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“I wanted to talk about the history of Asian folks in Canada,” says Yip. “I haven’t seen anything with this kind of narrative before. Sometimes our stories get lost in history. I wanted to honour the people who came before us.”

Edmonton-born director Christopher Yip created the digital series Streams Flow From A River having its world premiere March 28.
Edmonton-born director Christopher Yip created the digital series Streams Flow From A River having its world premiere March 28. Photo by Heidi Cho /Supplied

As someone with parents from Hong Kong, Yip saw their struggles as a combination of their own cultural restrictions and trying to build a life in a new country.

“Our parents try to protect us from so much. We’re their kids but children know their parents so well, better than their parents think they do. They try to carry so much on their own but we carry it with them,” he explains. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity to tell this story. I hope it opens up conversations.”

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Yip sees stories shown through an Asian immigrant lens as especially important following the anti-Asian racism that emerged during Covid, a time of unique challenges when he also lost his grandfather to the virus.

“It’s not a response to anti-Asian racism but it definitely affected the story we told,” he says. “My grandpa passed away in November of 2020. Then there was a big spike in anti-Asian violence. Then in January 2021, I had my first encounter with anti-Asian racism.”

The director wants the series to feature different Asian cultures with every new season.

“Maybe season two is about a Tibetan (family). Maybe season three is a Pakistani-Canadian family,” he says. “The thing about these families is that we all share similar experiences as immigrant families but there are very culturally-specific parts of our stories that are unique to us. And giving them the power to tell their story from their own perspective.”

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Yip has written for shows on CBC, Family Channel and Hulu but this series was the filmmaker’s first opportunity to write, direct and produce. The filmmaker also just had his short film Fish Boy premiere in London at the British Film Institute’s Flare film festival. The film stars Ian Chen from ABC’s Fresh off the Boat.

The film “talks about homophobia and young people not being able to talk about their sexuality,” says Yip. “I like to tell people it’s a mashup of Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight and David Cronenberg’s The Fly.”

Also premiering at Canadian Film Festival is the short film No Bedroom by Edmonton-based filmmaker Ryan Leedu. Leedu previously worked on a pandemic concert short commissioned by Metro Cinema called Keep Smiling.

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No Bedroom centres around a young woman who lives alone and regularly shows her home to potential renters. However, the intention of the showings may be more to satisfy her own loneliness than to find a suitable occupant.

As part of the 2023 festival’s hybrid delivery, the film runs as part of the Homegrown Shorts screenings on April 1 at 4:30pm on Superchannel Fuse.

Milo Rau at Metro

Metro Cinema is hosting a two-day film event on Swiss-German theatre and film director Milo Rau. Rau is known for his activism and the creation of multimedia productions of historical and political events such as The Congo Tribunal, which explores the role mining companies had in causing the unrest in Congo resulting in the deaths of more than six million people.

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The Edmonton screenings and discussions are curated by Dr. Piet Defraeye of the University of Alberta and Dr. Lily Climenhaga, a post-doctoral fellow at Ghent University. Rau will also be making a video appearance from Europe.

The event runs Friday and Saturday and more details can be found at

Doc on Ooks coach

A sports documentary is premiering April 1 at Metro Cinema. Coaching While Black follows the story of Don “Tex” Phillips and his run as head coach of the NAIT Ooks.

Edmonton-based filmmaker Alex Eskandarkhah is behind the project, which shows the team’s 2008-2011 championship runs and how Phillips “changed the game of basketball.”

Don “Tex” Phillips was the Ooks basketball head coach at NAIT from 2008 to 2011.
Don “Tex” Phillips was the Ooks basketball head coach at NAIT from 2008 to 2011. Photo by Omar Mahamud /Supplied

“When I looked into this story, I saw how one man’s trailblazing impact on the game set a trend to be followed since,” says Eskandarkhah. “It’s a story about triumph, innovation and adversity.”

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Eskandarkhah is an Afro-Iranian writer making his directorial debut with this film. He will be available for a Q-and-A after the screening.

You can get more details and tickets at

New IMAX and dome film

BBC Earth’s award-winning film, Antarctica, will be showing in IMAX at the Telus World of Science starting Saturday.

The film, which is narrated by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, features rare footage of the remote region and its unique array of wildlife. Aside from large groups of penguins and whales, underwater footage reveals jellyfish and an ocean floor of purple starfish.

A cameraman swims in -2C water while working on the IMAX film Antarctica, opening Saturday at the Telus World of Science.
A cameraman swims in -2C water while working on the IMAX film Antarctica, opening Saturday at the Telus World of Science. Photo by Michael Becker /Supplied

Find showtimes and tickets at

Over in the Zeidler Dome theatre at the Telus World of Science is a collection of short films called One Sky. The collaborative film project brings together a team of academics and scientists to help tell the story of the sky from various perspectives.

Admission to TWOSE includes entry to the Zeidler theatre and the schedule for screenings at telusworldofscienceedmonton.

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