Reelworld Film Festival: Harnessing the Power of Film as a Force for Social Good


The annual Reelworld Film Festival is taking place at The Harbourfront Centre from Oct. 12–16th. They’ll be showing tons of films about compelling issues and each film will have an opportunity to connect with organizations who are working on issues on the ground. You can watch films about the Syrian refugee crisis and then connect with organizations like Lifeline Syria. You can check out a film about the ivory trade with WCS Canada. There is a film about eldercare with The International Federation on Aging. The film Almost Sunrise will also be there with Wounded Warriors Canada!

The list of films with a cause is extensive – check it out! Make sure you use The Fair Trade Show discount code FTS10 for 10% off of festival passes.

If you attended our previous Fair Trade Show in June then you probably noticed the virtual reality set-up at Reelworld’s booth. They were showing the very powerful short, Clouds Over Sidra, about a 12 year old Syrian girl living in a refugee camp in Jordan. Hopefully you got the chance to experience the film yourself and to understand how powerful these visual stories can be.



We asked Sarah Mortimer, Reelworld’s Communications Coordinator, to tell us a bit more about their motivations

Tell us a bit about Reelworld and what you are aiming to do.

Reelworld Film Festival is a social impact film festival based in Toronto, Ontario. Now in our 16th year, we’re dedicated to harnessing the power of film as a force for social good. Through our programming, we work to connect inspired people to inspired partners and films. We screen films about pressing social issues like immigration, conservation, the refugee crisis and more. Our main goal is help you bridge the gap between feeling inspired by what you see in a theatre and taking direct action. After our screenings, we help connect audiences with non-profit partners, activists, and people who are on the ground making change so that you can make a difference too!


What was the inspiration behind the Reelworld Film Festival?

The story that helped our Executive Director, Gave Lindo, really understand the potential social impact of film is a documentary called Almost Sunrise. Almost Sunrise follows two veterans suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression as they walk from Wisconsin to California. They meet lots of other vets and mental health care professionals along the way and meditate on this idea of moral injury. Moral injury is different from PTSD which is very fear-based – instead it’s the feeling of despair you get when you’ve done something that goes against your own moral code. Gave was at a pitch session in Chicago when he learned about the film and what really struck him was how many people – ordinary citizens – could relate to the film and were rallying behind it. Former soldiers, families and friends truly believed it was the film that could save lives. Almost Sunrise had a really successful impact campaign – through post-screening meditation sessions and outreach they really were helping to make a difference in communities. So that’s what Reelworld is working to help important films do. We want to use films to help ignite change.

At The Fair Trade Show, we use the power of storytelling to inspire and activate citizens. The media impacts the world every day but it’s up to us to choose what kind of media we want to consume. If you love eye-opening films and shorts, this is one festival you don’t want to miss!

The Young Social Entrepreneur Contest is Open for Video Submissions!

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We have officially launched our first Young Social Entrepreneur Contest! This is an exciting time for us at The Fair Trade Show, because by the end of the contest, one inspirational young individual and their social business will be joining us with a free booth at the May 2017 Fair Trade Show.

All of the contest details can be found on the main contest page. This post is just to share a bit of the history and purpose behind the YSE Contest.

History of YSE

At our previous show in June 2016, we invited the social entrepreneur, Toby Kriwiel, Founder of Matano, to join us at the show for no cost. Toby was launching a KickStarter campaign to get his Fairtrade sports apparel on to the market and was looking for platforms to share his brand with people. After our Founder Rafik Riad talked with Toby about his business, he knew he wanted to support him. One generous act sowed the seeds for what is now known as the Young Social Entrepreneur Contest.

Toby , Founder of Matano
Toby Kriwiel, YSE of 2016


That is where the idea for this contest was born. By giving an emerging, youth-led social business the opportunity to exhibit at a major consumer show, we aim to encourage more youth leaders to take action. The creativity, innovation and thoughtfulness of today’s youth is inspiring – and contagious!

Help us spread the social innovation bug and tell your network about this opportunity!

Engaging the Public

We are also excited for round two: the voting round. Once we have chosen our top social entrepreneurs, their videos will be shared with the public who will be asked to vote for their favourite. Voting opens in January, so stay tuned!

Interested? Create your video and fill out the application!

“Young people around the world were crucial in designing the Sustainable Development Goals, the targets for global development agreed by all countries last year. The goals focus on your priority issues: quality education; empowering women and girls; ensuring decent work for all.

All countries have pledged to bring this agenda to life. Young people must lead the way.”

– Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN speaking to youth in Jordan