The air is crisp and the drizzle is falling. It is September in Vancouver and whereas many see this as a time to go back to school or return to work, many are excitedly awaiting the Vancouver International Film Festival. Two weeks of back-to-back films, talks, line-up’s, parties, spirited imbibing, retinal burn-out, and do not forget the ‘impossible to crash’ Opening and Closing Galas!
This year festival-goers can choose from more than 300 films from BC, Canada, and around the world. In addition to the collective experience of cinema, attendees will discover an immersive storytelling experience that goes beyond the screen in the festival’s new ‘Films+’ model. Along with industry panel sessions, parties, and workshops, VIFF is incorporating virtual reality, YouTube, and music events that reflect the dynamic nature of multi-platform storytelling.
Mina Shum‘s Meditation Park will be showcased as the Opening Night Gala Film. On the heels of her critically acclaimed 2015 documentary, Ninth Floor, Shum makes a triumphant return to narrative filmmaking with this bittersweet comedy about a devoted Chinese-Canadian wife and mother played by Cheng Pei Pei, who is shaken out of her isolation and stupor by suspicions that her husband (Tzi Ma) has been untrue. Shum makes fantastic use of East Vancouver and Chinatown locations and draws fantastic performances from an all-star cast that also includes Sandra Oh and Don McKellar.
Jacqueline Dupuis, Executive Director of VIFF says “…this Vancouver-based story by audacious filmmaker, Mina Shum, honours family, tradition, community and the unique culture of our city. It is certain to create a sense of pride for Vancouverites and touch the hearts and minds of all those who have an opportunity to experience it.”
VIFF’s Closing Night film is Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck on Friday, October 13. A marvelous time-traveling tale that follows the parallel fortunes of two deaf 12-year-olds (a lad from 1977 Michigan and a girl from 1927 New Jersey) – who, for seemingly different reasons, are drawn to a gloriously rendered New York City in search of their own burgeoning identities. Starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams.
The festival also announced that Shut Up and Say Something, Melanie Wood‘s entrancing documentary about internationally acclaimed spoken word artist Shane Koyczan, will screen at its BC Spotlight Awards Gala on Saturday, October 7.
In addition, VIFF unveiled its inspiring Creator Talks program which will present:
Emmy nominees and the winners of multiple awards for their work, director Jeremy Podeswa and cinematographer Greg Middleton are two of Canada’s most successful film and television artists. They most recently brought their skills to the HBO series Game of Thrones, directing and shooting the Season 7 premiere and finale.
Carlton Cuse, Writer/Executive Producer/Showrunner
Showrunner Carlton Cuse has mastered the art of primetime storytelling. One of television’s most successful scribes, he is currently writing, exec-producing and showrunning the upcoming series Jack Ryan for Amazon and Colony for USA. His TV credits include Bates Motel and the smash hit Lost. Carlton also wrote the hit film San Andreas and is the recipient of 10 Emmy Nominations.
David Slade, Director/Executive Producer
American Gods and Black Mirror
In what is sure to be a fascinating and informative session, David Slade shares some incredibly unique experiences from directing pilots and forming cinematic language for series. The Creator Talk will be preceded by a screening of the American Gods episode The Bone Orchard which will be hosted by Tim Goodman, Chief TV Critic at The Hollywood Reporter.
Ane Crabtree, Costume Designer
The Handmaid’s Tale
A celebrated costume designer for film and television, Ane Crabtree made a lasting impression by creating the look for the Justified, Rectify, Outcast and The Sopranos pilots, along with designing multiple episodes of those shows. Most recently, she has designed costumes for the critically acclaimed series The Handmaid’s Tale. Ane has received Costume Designers Guild Award nominations for Westworld, Masters of Sex and Pan Am.
For those who love the intensity of live music performances, check out VIFF LIVE creates exceptional immersive experiences that pair live bands with films. These one-time-only shows provide an opportunity for talented visual artists to collaborate with musicians and explore the interplay between visions and voices. Watch for a special presentation of The Green Fog – A San Francisco Fantasia accompanied by a live score from Kronos Quartet. VIFF LIVE will also feature live music performing series with some of British Columbia’s hottest rising talent: Little Destroyer, Sam the Astronaut, I M U R, Jon and Roy, LINKS, Brasstronaut, and so many more.
We are so pleased to be sharing the VIFF experience with our readers. Word to the wise – bookmark the VIFF website to stay up-to-date with announcements!