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Under The Stars At Dentonia Park With Regent Park Film Festival

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A large inflatable screen at Dentonia Park. A crowd of people, mostly children, gather near the screen waiting for “English Vinglish” to begin.

On July 22nd, 2023 Regent Park Film Festival (RPFF) brought their summertime film series, Under the Stars, to Dentonia Park. RPFF is Toronto’s longest-running, free community film festival, and is the sole community film festival in Canada’s largest and oldest public housing neighbourhood. RPFF has been active in Regent Park since 2003, and this was their first outdoor screening in Scarborough!

A chalkboard sign with Regent Park Film Festival’s logo in red, and the words “Under the Stars, Free. Tonight’s Film: English Vinglish. Pre-Show at 7:30PM, Film at Sundown”

Dentonia Park is a large urban greenspace tucked away off a busy stretch of the Danforth. Making use of Dentonia’s sprawling fields, Regent Park Film Festival set up a large inflatable screen for a free showing of the 2012 film “English Vinglish.” Over two hundred local residents and film enjoyers from across the city were in attendance for this outdoor screening! Before the movie, RPFF held pre-show activities at booths set up by local community groups. One group in attendance was Feed Scarborough, who brought along their raccoon mascot. The mascot even filled out one of our Arts in the Parks surveys (see photo below). Kids could play games to win prizes and learn more about the organizations in attendance.

An Arts in the Parks Volunteer sits at a table while Feed Scarborough’s mascot, a raccoon, fills out an Arts in the Parks survey.

After their event, the Arts in the Parks team had the opportunity to chat with Alice Wang, Manager of Programming, about the significance of bringing Under the Stars further east, from their home in Regent Park to Scarborough. 

Why did you choose “English Vinglish” for Under the Stars at Dentonia Park?

Alice: For our Under the Stars event, we program films that will be fun and engaging for families and friends to watch on a warm summer evening. “English Vinglish” was chosen for this specific event because it was a nostalgic fan favourite film and a story that resonates specifically with the South Asian community residing in Dentonia.

AITP: What is your approach to programming for RPFF? 

Our programming is centered on our mission and the key communities we serve: Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities, people with low-income, people who live in public housing, and Regent Park residents. We prioritize stories that will resonate with our audiences and reflect the multitude of their experiences, as well as bringing exciting and new mainstream and indie films to our communities for free! For our annual film festival, we also focus on uplifting emerging and local filmmakers and platforming their stories and voices. 

Regent Park Film Festival’s information booth. RPFF Volunteers are wearing red t-shirts, and the staff are wearing grey t-shirts. The two staff members in grey on the right side of the table are, from L to R, Haris Javid and Alice Wang.

Thank you to RPFF, Feed Scarborough, and everyone who attended “Under the Stars” on July 22nd. The 21st annual Regent Park Film Festival will be taking place this November! For more information about the Regent Park Film Festival, you can visit their website or follow them on social media @regentparkfilm.

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