The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) announced the highly anticipated lineup for its Ignite programming stream with new Premier Partner, TELUS. As a corporate leader in community investment and a key supporter of creative industries in Western Canada, TELUS joins forces with VIFF to showcase standout BC-made films in the BC Spotlight film series, offer essential professional development sessions for emerging filmmakers, and present a new award to celebrate female creators.
The Ignite programming stream is a showcase of the inspired works emerging from the creative nexus that is British Columbia. The 2016 BC Spotlight film lineup features 10 titles that will leave audiences thrilled by the talent being developed right here in British Columbia. Since its inception in 2013, the BC Spotlight film series has earned the highest attendance ratings in VIFF’s history.
On the heels of winning Best Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs, Nettie Wild‘s celebrated documentary KONELĪNE: our land beautiful will have its Vancouver bow at the 35th annual VIFF, which runs September 29-October 14, 2016. It’s joined by Ann Marie Fleming‘s Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming), Geoff Redknap‘s The Unseen and Pete McCormack‘s Spirit Unforgettable as films that have already premiered on the festival circuit to critical acclaim. Hello Destroyer, the debut feature from Kevan Funk (who’s had six accomplished shorts play VIFF) will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival prior to being unveiled for local audiences.
VIFF World Premieres will include Peter Benson‘s Marrying the Family, Vic Sarin‘s Keepers of the Magic, Linda Ohama‘s A New Moon Over Tohoku, Jeff Chiba Stearns‘ Mixed Match and Alex Lasheras‘ Cadence.
All films in the BC Spotlight will compete in the #mustseeBC competition. Launching on September 12, the campaign invites film fans to preview these titles, promote BC filmmakers across social networks and vote online to determine this year’s most anticipated local films. By successfully engaging thousands of fans through social media, the winning film receives a special red carpet screening following the festival. All details will be hosted at mustseebc.viff.org.
New this year is the Ignite Award, presented by TELUS. The significant $20,000 prize will recognize the outstanding work of one female key creative on a BC-produced feature or short. The awarded prize money can be used for a future production or towards customized training that will further advance the creator’s career.
The Ignite stream will feature two other noteworthy awards. One narrative feature will be named Best BC Film and receive a $10,000 development bursary provided by the Harold Greenberg Fund and $15,000 post-production services credit supplied by Encore (Deluxe Ent Services Group). The BC Emerging Filmmaker award will include a $7,500 cash prize sponsored by the Union of BC Performers and ACTRA Fraternal Benefits Society and $10,000 equipment credit supplied by William F. White. This award is open to narrative features that are signatory to a UBCP/ACTRA agreement. Winners will be determined by the members of the Ignite jury and announced at an awards ceremony on Saturday, October 8, 2016.
A selection of films in the BC Spotlight film series includes:
Window Horses (dir. Ann Marie Fleming)
Ann Marie Fleming‘s Window Horses, a beautifully narrated and colourfully animated story of a young girl’s journey, employs poetry, music and illustration to celebrate the value of self-discovery. After being invited to a poetry festival in Shiraz, Iran, by a mysterious figure, Rosie Ming faces challenges that ultimately lead to her self-realization. The film’s superb voice cast includes festival veterans Sandra Oh, Don McKellar and Ellen Page.
Cadence (dir. Alex Lasheras)
Alex Lasheras‘ debut feature is a unique psychological thriller dealing with notions of self-identity. When the eponymous Cadence (Maxine Chadburn, excellent in a demanding role) begins to experience hallucinations during a romantic getaway with her pop-star boyfriend (Charlie Kerr), fear and confusion test her ability to distinguish reality from the nightmare unfolding before her. Cadence is a thoroughly entertaining rumination on memory, trauma, and the psyche’s efforts to protect itself.
Keepers of the Magic (dir. Vic Sarin)
Vic Sarin‘s ground-breaking documentary explores our fascination with moving images and provides insight into how cinema’s most iconic moments came to be. Most of all, it honours the great masters of cinematography, unsung heroes whose vision and talent was always right before our eyes. The all-star interviewees include Vittorio Storaro, Bruno Delbonnel, Roger Deakins, John Seale and the late Gordon Willis.
KONELĪNE: our land beautiful (dir. Nettie Wild)
In Nettie Wild‘s stunning magnum opus, a mining company helicopter hovers above the pristine land of the Tahltan First Nation in northern BC, carrying a huge electric transmission tower, casting patterned shadows. This conflict between man-made geometries and nature’s vortices is at the film’s heart. Marking a tonal departure from her earlier documentaries, Wild creates a balanced profile that’s free of polemics and a feast for the eyes. Winner, Best Canadian Feature Documentary Hot Docs 16
Mixed Match (dir. Jeff Chiba Stearns)
This film could save your life. Jeff Chiba Stearns unveils the desperation of people waiting for a suitable match for a bone marrow donor. Unlike blood donations, which are generally suitable for anyone of the same blood type, bone marrow donation requires an extremely close genetic match, leaving multiracial blood cancer patients to draw from a small pool of donors. Incorporating animation to great effect, Chiba Stearns lets us know what we can do to address this critical situation in cancer treatment.
Spirit Unforgettable (dir. Pete McCormack)
Director Pete McCormack (Facing Ali, VIFF 09) brings us the story of John Mann, lead singer of the iconic Vancouver band Spirit of the West, and his struggle with early onset Alzheimer‘s. McCormack has built a compelling and emotionally powerful narrative around archival clips and intimate interviews that reveal Mann, his wife Jill and his bandmates to be endlessly engaging and surprisingly candid. This affecting documentary builds to the sort of riveting performance that’s made the band local legends.
The Unseen (dir. Geoff Redknap)
Drawing inspiration from both H.G. Wells and macabre headlines, Geoff Redknap‘s audacious debut is a narratively rich and psychologically complex thriller. When a reclusive man with an uncanny affliction (Rectify’s Aden Young) emerges from self-imposed exile to make amends with his teenage daughter (Julia Sarah Stone), he’s drawn into a dark underworld involving drug dealing, animal poaching and organ trading.
Rounding out an impressive lineup of films and awards is the tent pole industry event in the Ignite stream: Totally Indie Day, presented by STORYHIVE. Totally Indie Day supports emerging content creators through targeted business, creative and personal development opportunities. Rising feature film directors, creators of a successful Canadian web series and others will be on hand to share their industry learnings. Attendees also have the chance to meet with Canadian and US distributors, and network with industry professionals.
Passes for Totally Indie Day are available for morning and afternoon sessions. Full day passes are also available and include entrance to the after party. More information will be available at viff.org on September 8.
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