About Reel to Real

Our mission

The Reel to Real: A Celebration of Moving Images for Youth Society is a non-profit registered charity dedicated to showing the best in culturally diverse, authentic programming for youth. Reel to Real presents an annual film festival, the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth, and media arts programming year-round.

Through public screenings, hands-on workshops, interactive panel discussions, and public forums, our mission is to involve youth in actively viewing and discussing professionally made films; expose youth to new ideas and cultural perspectives; offer high-quality cinematic entertainment outside the mainstream; explore issues that are important to youth; engage youth in discussions with filmmakers about their work; increase understanding of the art and craft of filmmaking; and promote the production and presentation of high quality independent films for youth.

Photo by: Tammy Bannister

Brief history

Founded in 1998, the Reel to Real: A Celebration of Moving Images for Youth Society has grown and expanded its presentation of Canadian, independent media artworks. The annual Reel 2 Real International Film Festival began as a four-day event in one venue, and has expanded to an eight-day event in two venues: the Roundhouse Community Centre and Vancity Theatre. Highlights have included the Vancouver premiere of several independent Canadian films: Kayla, directed by Nicholas Kendall; Summer of the Monkeys, directed by Michael Anderson; Eleanore Lindo’s widely acclaimed, award-winning Touching Wild Horses; emerging director Evan Adam’s first feature documentary, Kla Ah Men: As Far Back As the Story Goes about the Sliammon First Nation; Sandra Sawatzky’s innovative film without dialogue, The Girl Who Married a Ghost; and Claude Gagnon’s Kamataki.

In our effort to seek innovative ways to engage youth in discovering their community’s stories, Reel to Real offers a variety of year-round workshops and filmmaking courses. Our most successful programs include Animating History and BC Stories. Thanks to the support of many individuals and organizations, we are able to provide scholarships and free outreach programs for youth who face geographical or financial barriers.