08/15/2013 05:28 EDT | Updated 10/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Toronto's Other Film Festival

The world knows Hollywood, Bollywood, and Nollywood -- but is Toronto playing a role in developing the globe's newest film market?

As Toronto and the film industry gear up for another go-round at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) next month, another cinematic showcase is prepping for its opening in the city.

The CaribbeanTales Toronto Film Showcase gets underway on August 17th and continues into September, ending one day shy of its Goliath partner on September 14th.

CaribbeanTales(launched by filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon) consists of a distribution company, a non-profit education program, a film festival, and the soon-to-be-launched CaribbeanTales TV -- a video-on-demand internet hub similar to Netflix. All arms of the entity seek to educate and empower Caribbean and diasporic filmmakers, and also to highlight the Caribbean as the world's hottest film destination.

In its eighth year, the CaribbeanTales Toronto Film Showcase has grown to encompass a variety of events to highlight Caribbean film artistry:

  • The Gems of the Caribbean Screening Series on August 17th, 18th, and 30th at the CNE: Featuring shorts and full-length films from Caribbean/diasporic filmmakers, in partnership with the CNE and Islands of the Caribbean (a grouping of various Caribbean tourism boards).
  • The CaribbeanTales Incubator from September 4th to 8th: an innovative workshop that instructs Caribbean/diasporic filmmakers on the ins and outs of film creation, marketing, distribution, and pitching. The Incubator is done in partnership with TIFF, allowing up-and-coming Caribbean filmmakers to take advantage of knowledge from some of the world's best.
  • The CaribbeanTales Film Festival from September 4th-14th at the Harbourfront Centre: World premieres and features of films from new and established Caribbean/diasporic filmmakers, panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and much more. Selections from the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and the Caribbean LGBTQ communities make this a well-rounded and diverse film festival.
  • The launch of CaribbeanTales TV on September 12th: CaribbeanTales will launch their online video-on-demand site, stocked with Caribbean films on September 12th. CTTV will create an additional platform for the expansion of Caribbean cinema, and will provide viewers with diverse film selections online.
  • Community screenings will also take place in early September in some of Toronto's priority neighbourhoods, offering free screenings of selected films.

With incentives luring filmmakers to the Caribbean, the region is poised to become the next major market in the film industry, and who can be surprised? There is no shortage of stories to be told, especially in an area of the world where storytelling is an intrinsic part of life. Possessing a wealth of talent (Jamaican filmmaker Storm Saulter is taking the industry by...well, storm), budding Caribbean filmmakers are now arming themselves with the education and business savvy to make waves. With its world-renowned beaches and vibrant personalities, the Caribbean serves as a destination to escape from the everyday -- however, it's imperative to remember that real people and real lives are rooted there. The diasporic spread across the world only adds more layers and flavours to the Caribbean story, and there are many to be told.

The 2013 CaribbeanTales Toronto Film Showcase aims to be the vehicle to not only spread these stories globally, but to amplify the Caribbean as a thriving film industy. Stay updated by checking out the CaribbeanTales Toronto Film Showcase website, and following CaribbeanTales on Twitter and Facebook.

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