Inaugural Pegasus film fest aims to inspire

The Pegasus Community Project is debuting six short films at the Pegasus Inspirational Film Festival this month. SCREENSHOT: Pegasus Community Project

The Pegasus Community Project is ready for its close up.

The program, which supports adults with developmental disabilities, hosts its inaugural Pegasus Inspirational Film Festival (also known as PIFF) on Oct. 26.

The event, a year in the making, showcases six short films created by Pegasus adult day program participants in partnership with film students from Ryerson and York University. The red carpet gala, held at the Imagine Cinemas Market Square on Front Street East at Jarvis Avenue, features a silent auction and opportunity to mingle with the stars and filmmakers.

“We wanted to show off Pegasus to the larger community,” said Andre Gordon, Pegasus’s manager of administration. While Pegasus has hosted creative fundraisers before, this is the first time the community has focused on film.

“Everyone was really into it,” said Gordon. “A lot of love was brought into this.”

Thematically, the films are wide-ranging, with some featuring animation and visual effects.

“We just wanted to let our stars express themselves on camera,” said filmmaker Rangga Luksatrio of the film he worked on. “Animation, requested by the stars, was added to enhance their expressions.”

One film is a mini documentary that follows Pegasus making a donation to Jessie’s: The June Callwood Centre for Young Women.

“This film focuses on family and companionship between the people working together for a greater cause,” explained Jennifer Yang, the filmmaker who worked on the documentary about Jessie’s. “It’s rewarding on its own to witness the kinship between those at Pegasus throughout the journey they take to deliver these blankets.”

Yang said she joined the project “to tell a story about compassion through the lens of a group of people that have enough of it to give away… Not only did I get to create a concrete piece of art, but I also got to meet new people, and produce something that will benefit two organizations.”

Filmmaker Wais Popalzai echoes Yang’s praise for the project: “Working with the Pegasus community was really something. Every individual in the project was nice, caring, and excited to put in that effort needed to get the job done.”

And the effort continues. Gordon said participants are already thinking of film ideas for next year.

On Oct. 26, the group is hoping to fill the whole theatre, which has a capacity of about 170 seats and is wheelchair accessible. Tickets can be purchased in advance through Pegasus, with a limited number available at the door. The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Email piff@pegasustoronto.ca for details or visit the 931 Kingston Rd. office.

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