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FILM PROGRAMS 15 FIRST | Indigenous films 25 REVEAL | A human take PROG R AM C O N T E N T S

67 FRONT BURNER | Spotlight Country 83 STOKE | Current Affairs - Documentary & Fiction 121 LIT | Mysteries and Thrillers 137 FOMO | Mainstream films 151 COAST | Pacific Rim centric 167 SOOP | A mash-up of the unusual Look for the 1

icon designating feature film debuts


11 193 195 197 199 205 207

AMPLIFY OPENING GALA IN CONVERSATION WITH BILL NIGHY SIZZLE: VALENTINE’S EROTICA VICSTORIES SIPS ‘N’ CINEMA VIFPA SPRINGBOARD: INDUSTRY EVENT

ALL AGES FILMCAN | 203 FAMILY - JAMMIES & TOONS | 201

THE DEETS

3-4 6, 8-9 7, 9-10 209 211 213 215 216

FESTIVAL TEAM PARTNERS & SPONSORS WELCOME MESSAGES DONOR MEMBERSHIP TICKETS, PASSES & MEMBERSHIPS FILM SCHEDULE FILMS BY COUNTRY FILM INDEX

PROG R AM C O N T E N T S

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FES T IVA L T E AM 3

F E S T I VA L T E A M

SEC T ION P ROGR A MMER S

Festival Director: Kathy Kay Head Programmer: Kinga Binkowska Operations Manager: Jenna Savage Development and Volunteer Coordinator: Lisa Limarzi Communications: Leyland Bradley Community Engagement: Raviraj Reetoo Graphic Designer: Chrystal Myers Industry Manager: Laura Babyn Vic Theatre: Jackson Melanchuk

KINGA BINKOWSKA (International) before joining

B OA RD OF DIREC T OR S President: Dan McDonagh Vice President: Pat Ferns Secretary: Marcus Handman Treasurer: Joel Cave Directors at Large: Barbara Todd Hager Rain Li Sheena Macdonald David Simmonds

where he graduated from UBC, is currently based in England where he is Senior Programmer of Sheffield Doc/ Fest. Cook is the Founding Curator of Future//Present, a programme at the Vancouver International Film Festival dedicated to showcasing work from Canadian independent filmmakers. Formerly, he has worked with the Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, and has curated for Doclisboa, TIFF Cinematheque, Northwest Film Forum and Vancity Theatre. Cook’s bylines include The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Film Comment, Sight & Sound, Cinema Scope, Filmmaker Magazine, Indiewire, and MUBI.

A DV IS ORY C OMMI T T EE

JO DUNCOMBE (UK) is a film programmer manager at the

RICHIE MEHTA is a Canadian film director. His first feature film, Amal, was released in 2008, and was nominated for Best Motion Picture and Best Director at the 29th Genie Awards. He is also known for Siddharth and I’ll Follow You Down (both 2013). His current project is India in a Day (2016). His work centres on culturally diverse story-driven films that come from a very personal place. LARRY WEINSTEIN is one of Canada’s most prolific and accomplished documentary filmmakers. His films have been broadcast in more than 40 countries, and honoured with retrospectives around the world. The majority of his 30 award-winning films centre on music and the creative process. His films consistently push the boundaries of conventional documentary storytelling by employing tools from fiction films, dramatic reconstructions, historical cinematic stylings, and impressionistic visuals. In 2007, Larry received the Cannes MipDoc International Trailblazer Award with the citation, “Weinstein is a deserving awardee for his creativity, originality and risk-taking, and for pushing the genre of documentary forward.”

the VFF, helped establish the Queen of the Square, an arthouse cinema in Stratford, Ontario, where she served as programming director. Binkowska has been part of the programming team at the Zurich Film Festival since 2012. She holds an MFA in Media and Film Production from École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris and an MFA in Media & American Studies from the University of Lodz.

ADAM COOK, (Canadian) originally from Vancouver

British Council, specializing in European film festivals and short films. She is also a curator for Birds Eye View Films, a national project which aims to grow audiences for films by women. Previously she was a film programmer at the Independent Cinema Office, where she worked strategically to develop the future of independent cinemas across the UK through innovative programming. Before joining the ICO, Duncombe was the program director of the London Short Film Festival.

BARBARA TODD HAGER (Indigenous) is a Métis/Cree writer, director and producer. In 1999 she launched Aarrow Productions, which has grown into one of Canada’s leading Indigenous-owned media companies. She has produced over 150 TV episodes and documentaries that have been broadcast on APTN, CBC, CTV and ZDF. Her eight-part docu-drama series, 1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus, covers 20,000 years of history told from the perspective of Indigenous people. 1491 won three 2018 Leo Awards for Best Documentary Series, Best Screenwriting and Best Music Composition. She’s directed three one-hour documentaries including Truth, Dance & Reconciliation, From Bella Coola to Berlin and Motown High.


ALEX ROGALSKI (Canadian) currently programs for Hot Docs, Calgary International Film Festival and the Victoria Film Festival.Past programming work includes the Toronto Film Festival, the Yorkton Film Festival and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Rogalski is the Executive Director of PAVED Arts and New Media in Saskatoon. LINCOLN Z. SHLENSKY, PHD (Middle East) is an associate

professor in the Department of English at the University of Victoria, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in American and postcolonial cinemas and literature. His research areas include film history as well as Jewish and postcolonial literary studies. Lincoln has served as the film programmer, since 2015, and the director, since 2017, of the annual Victoria International Jewish Film Festival. He has served as a film juror for a number of other festivals, including the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival and the Human Rights DocFest.

RAVI SRINIVASAN (Asian) is a film programmer based in Toronto. For the last five years, Ravi has served as programming associate for The Toronto International Film Festival, working with films from Canada, the Nordic regions and the Phillippines. Ravi also serves as international programming associate for HotDocs, lead programmer for National Canadian Film Day, and is the executive director of the South Western International Film Festival based in his hometown of Sarnia, Ontario.  When he’s not watching festival submissions, he’s strategizing his fantasy football teams and listening to Sharon Van Etten. CHRISTOPHE THOKE (German) is head of Mogador Film, film entrepreneur, financier, juror. He is a recognised authority on co-productions with global reach. With an extensive array of work produced, Christoph’s movies have been selected for almost 800 festival. He has racked up a whopping 170 awards in the process. Throughout his career he has worked with highly acclaimed directors  such as Bruno Dumont, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

RANDY WALDIE (International) has been movie crazed

since his first job as a doorman for Famous Players while in high school. He armed his passion with knowledge, acquiring a BFA and working in commercial film and television production. He sees between 90 and 110 films a year in theatres and remains enthralled by the boundless imagination of filmmakers. His curatorial style covers a wide range but remains constant in his search for a good story, well told, regardless of the genre.

DAN RUSSEK (Spanish Language) is an associate professor in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Victoria. He is the president of the Hispanic Film Society of Victoria and coordinates the Annual Latin American and Spanish Film Week at Cinecenta, now in its 10th year.

FRANCOIS LEMIEUX (Québec) has been Director of the Tour and Lab at Québec Cinéma for 8 years now. He is passionate about culture, a cultural smuggler and is called upon to work in strategy, development and project management for various cultural organizations in film and performing arts. He also had experiences as a producer, director and scriptwriter in documentary. He has more than 15 years in the field of communications, marketing and cinema. His connection to the Canadian Francophonie has been increasingly affirmed with his involvement and his commitment to the development of the Quebec Cinema Tour in the four corners of the country. François Lemieux est le directeur de la Tournée et du Lab chez Québec Cinéma depuis maintenant 8 ans. Passionné de culture, passeur culturel, il est appelé à travailler en stratégie, en développement et en gestion de projets pour différents organismes culturels en cinéma et en arts de la scène. Bachelier en communication profil cinéma de l’UQAM, il a aussi à son arc des expériences à titre de producteur, réalisateur et de scénariste en documentaire. Il cumule plus de 15 ans dans le domaine des communications, du marketing et du cinéma. Sa piqûre pour la francophonie canadienne s’est de plus en plus affirmé grâce à son implication et son engagement de chaque instant au sein du développement du projet de la Tournée Québec Cinéma aux quatre coin du pays.

FES T IVA L T E AM

JAKE HOWELL (USA) A member of the Toronto Film Critics Association, Jake Howell is a Toronto-based freelance writer, critic, and film programmer. His work has been published in Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, and other local outlets. In film programming, he has worked with the Toronto International Film Festival, South by Southwest, the Quebec City Film Festival, and the Victoria Film Festival, among other events.

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Victoria Film Festival’s

victo r i a’ s only li c e ns e d m ovie ho u se

GO LOCAL WE HAVE Great films with a side of BC wine, beer, soda, cheese & cookies.

g e t T icke t s at

T HE VI C . C A

808 DOUGLAS ST.


THANK YOU VFF DONORS! The Victoria Film Festival is celebrating its 26th year as a not-for-profit charitable arts organization! That’s 26 years of helping independent filmmakers find a venue for their diverse voices, and 26 years of bringing the world to Victoria’s doorstep. Our donors have directly contributed to bringing great independent film to Victoria and have helped 1,250 Greater Victoria youth with access to VFF’s comprehensive education program, CineKids, in school classrooms, youth groups, youth centres, and libraries. WANT TO BECOME A VFF DONOR? SEE PAGE 209 to see how you can enjoy exclusive benefits like access to parties, film guests, and sneak peeks into the best of Canadian and international cinema.

PRODUCERS CIRCLE SILVER REEL Rain Li & Troy Maguire Daniel R McDonagh Mary & Ted Mills June & Donnie Wing ALL-ACCESS George Galt & Alyse Frampton Bruce Gauld Anne Macnab Santa UNWIND

W. Paterson Ferns Kathy Kay Christina Drake Joel Cave Marcus Handman & Gwendolyn Maroon Vincent Burt Helen McDonald Peter Juk

David Zuzzman & Sheridan Scott Christina Drake

FIRST IN LINE

Livia Meret Ron Cox Cathy Wood Suzanne Christensen Patricia Page Pat Preston Allan Gallupe Cathy Leslie Norma Butterfield David Conway Celso Mendoza Terry Vatrt Helen Davies

MAGENTA Audrey McClellan Stuart Walker

V FF D ON OR S

PRODUCERS CIRCLE GOLD REEL Sheena Macdonald & Phil Schmitt Lyndsay Green

S UP P OR T ED BY: 6


WE L C OM E F R OM K AT H Y K AY

WELCOME Embarking on the next 25 years, VFF stepped back to look at our programming with fresh eyes. With a new Head Programmer in place VFF examined how we select films for our sections. As filmmaking crosses borders it has become common to have five or more countries listed as the producing country. The VFF is moving away from sectioning films by country and instead categorizing them by ideology or genre in order to better help you define the films you’d like to see. New sections such as STOKE – our take on current affairs whether documentary or fiction; SOOP, a mash-up of the unusual; FIRST, our Indigenous stream of four timely features and FRONT BURNER will highlight one country whose films are significant in a given year. With change comes renewed excitement, new partners and new programs. The University of Victoria and Makerspace are supporting playful interactive pop ups around town. VFF celebrates lovers in 2020 with our SIZZLE X Valentine’s Erotica, an evening that will rock more than your socks as it ‘jumps off the screen’. We also have several new programmers from around the world selecting the VFF’s films. My hope is that you will find their tastes in film compelling. As always, I would like to thank Gerald Hartwig (no, he doesn’t make me do this every year!) because he’s a core supporter whose interest in our community remains unabated. I look forward to seeing you at the VFF.

Kathy Kay Festival Director

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DIREC T OR S

GOV ERNMEN T

Supported by the Province of British Columbia

MEDI A

SPO NS OR S

V ENUE

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S UP P OR T ING

A MESSAGE FROM THE HONOURABLE / L’HONORABLE STEVEN GUILBEAULT

SPO NS OR S

It’s my great pleasure to welcome you to the 26th Victoria Film Festival.Our government knows the arts have the power to unite and build thriving communities. Film is a powerful medium in telling our stories and explainingthe world around us. They also delight us, give voice to new ideas and expand our horizons.Over the coming days, film fans will gather at cinemas on Vancouver Island to discover and enjoy the best films from this region and beyond. These special screenings and events offer audiences a unique experience where filmmakers can showcase their talent and creativity.As Minister of Canadian Heritage, I would like to thank the organizers and volunteers who help ensure the success of this wonderful celebration of the silver screen. Our government is proud to support excellence and creativity in the film industry. Now...Lights! Camera! Action!

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Action!J’ai l’immense plaisir de vous souhaiter la bienvenueau 26e Victoria Film Festival!Notre gouvernement sait à quel point les arts et la culture ont un pouvoir rassembleur et qu’ils sont importants pour façonner des communautés épanouies. Les films sont un puissant médium qui portent nos histoires et témoignent du monde qui nous entoure. Ils nous divertissent, en plus de nous présenter de nouvelles idées et d’élargir nos horizons.Au cours des prochains jours, des cinéphiles enthousiastes se masseront devant les grands écrans de l’île de Vancouver pour découvrir et célébrer le meilleur du cinéma d’ici et d’ailleurs à l’occasion du Victoria Film Festival. Grâce à ses projections et activités, ce rendez-vous offre aux auditoires des expériences sans pareilles, tout en donnant aux cinéastes la chance de faire valoir leur talent et leur créativité. À titre de ministre du Patrimoine canadien, je tiens à remercier les organisateurs et les bénévoles qui assurent la tenue de cette grande fête du septième art. Notre gouvernement est fier de vous appuyer dans votre mission qui consiste à promouvoir l’excellence et l’originalité au cinéma. Et maintenant : lumières, caméras, action! STEVEN GUILBEAULT - Minister of Canadian Heritage

HO SP I TA L I T Y


As Premier of the Province of British Columbia, I’m pleased to extend my warmest welcome to everyone attending the 26th edition of the Victoria Film Festival. The sheer number of films featured in this annual event is impressive, offering ample opportunities for visitors and community members to attend diverse shows over its ten-day run. The comprehensive lineup affords great variety, with attractions ranging from local, provincial and national premieres to acclaimed cinematic gems. Enriching guest appearances and works with limited availability outside the festival setting have helped make the VFF a unique cultural showcase. I would like to commend all those involved in the productions that will be shown this year. I have no doubt that the passion and talent that went into each presentation will ensure entertaining and moving experiences for this year’s audiences, and I thank the festival organizers for their thoughtful programming. Please accept my best wishes for another exciting and enlightening VFF season! JOHN HORGAN - Premier of British Columbia

A MESSAGE FROM CHRISTA DICKENSON Festivals play a vital role in ensuring that Canadian films from all corners of our country are discovered and enjoyed, and that Canadian talent is in the spotlight. The VICTORIA FILM FESTIVAL provides a unique opportunity to do just that! Canadian films are brought to the screen by vibrant teams that care deeply about creating the best possible product and reaching audiences at home and abroad.

support the shared goal of gender parity. We know that these voices will revitalize Canada’s rich cultural heritage and ensure its bright future. I would like to thank and congratulate all those who work to bring our diversity to the screen. And thank you, the audience, for supporting The VICTORIA FILM FESTIVAL which is central to the success of our Canadian films and talent. Continue watching Canadian films wherever they are available and tell others to do the same! CHRISTA DICKENSON - Executive Director, Telefilm Canada

On beh welcom ten day for film

MESSAGE FROM THE HONOURABLE LISA HELPS On behalf of the City of Victoria, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 26th annual Victoria Film Festival. This ten day festival features the latest in film and unique events for film makers and the public.

Events designe Cinem student for the

Events such as the Gala, Springboard – an industry event Over th designed to connect film and media players – Sips ‘n are someand of the best in Internationa Cinema and CineKids which will connect filmmakers premiere of Eddy’s Kingdom a comp students while building media literacy are unique events How lucky we are to have this festiva for the city.

Our growing Over the ten days some 120 films will be screened. There festival reflects the crea an arts culture capital. Congratu are some of the best in International, Canadian and and local who not onlya organize year-round scr film – including the world premiere of Eddy’s Kingdom compelling new documentary with a made in the BC second story. largest film festival in the How lucky we are to have this festival to introduce us to a Thank you for supporting the Victori diverse range of filmmaking. Sincerely,

Our growing festival reflects the creativity and innovation that characterizes Victoria as an arts and culture capital. Congratulations to the committed organizers and volunteers, who not only organize year-round screenings, events, and workshops, but also coordinate the second largest film festival in the province. Thank you for Helps supporting the Victoria Film Festival. Enjoy theLisa show!

Victoria Mayor

At Telefilm Canada, we are committed to seeing even bigger; and are supported in this endeavour by a growing number of public and private partners, both Canadian and foreign. We are also counting on your commitment so that our talent and their stories may take their rightful place. Our focus is on diversity, a great Canadian asset. We encourage the next generation to dare to make their first feature films. Indigenous filmmakers now enjoy more support, and we have seen our industry come together to

Greetings

LISA HELPS - Mayor of Victoria

WE L C OM E

A MESSAGE FROM THE HONOURABLE JOHN HORGAN

No.1 Centennial Square Vic Telephone (250) 361-0200 Fa

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VICTORIA FILM FESTIVAL

OPENING GALA FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7

6:30 PM Film: La Belle Époque 9:00 PM Party: 716 Burdette Ave Oh, you love it - confess! A sparkle here, a flash there. This is the night to let it shine baby. A slit so high someone might get a nosebleed. Or a back so low - well that’s the point. Sparkle up your diamonds, grab your tiara (I’m talking to you Bob), and let the glamour be your guide. And while you sparkle - we’ll deceive for a night full of doors to nowhere and doors to somewhere…

IT’S AN ALL-INCLUSIVE NIGHT OF FRIVOLITY

A MP L IF Y

FEB

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07 20

Mad décor Film Beer by Spinnakers Local Wine by Averill Creek Vineyard Church & State Roost Winery

S UP P OR T ED BY:

Dancing Cocktails by Sheringham Food from award-winning Toque Catering


GALA FILM

LA BELLE ÉPOQUE

Director: Nicolas Bedos France I 2019 I 115 min Director to Watch Palm Springs International Film Festival Fri February 7 | 6:30 PM | The Vic Thu February 13 | 6:00 PM | Dave Dunnet

French filmmakers can create such charming films. La Belle Époque follows Victor (Daniel Auteuil), a man stuck in the past, who squabbles incessantly with his unhappy wife Marianne (Fanny Ardant). Victor complains about technology, while Marianne happily consumes it all. Eventually Marianne, who begins to find Victor insufferably boring, embarks on an affair and throws him out on the street. Tired of the present, Victor takes his son up on the offer to try Time Travelers, a company that specializes in creating painstaking reenactments of whatever time in history a client wants to conjure.

Victor chooses the day in 1974 when he first met Marianne in a Lyon café. As Victor settles into the re-creation of his past, he’s flirtatious but soon falls deeply for the young woman playing Marianne, an actress dabbling in a relationship with the head of the company. Writer/director Bedos proves that nostalgia, the idealization of memory, can be seductive, but the film also speaks to the dangers of living in the past. The execution of La Belle Époque is magical and showcases two wonderful French actors. There is so much chemistry! And so much sparkling wit! - Kathy Kay

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Proud to Support VICTORIA FILM FESTIVAL

creativebc.com

creativebcs

Feast April 30, May 1 & 2

Delicious Films, Food & Drinks

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Come Nosh With Us, Tickets at FEASTFOODFILM.CA


FILM PROGRAMS FIRST | Indigenous films REVEAL | A human take FRONT BURNER | Spotlight Country STOKE | Current Affairs - Documentary & Fiction LIT | Mysteries and Thrillers FOMO | Mainstream films COAST | Pacific Rim centric SOOP | A mash-up of the unusual

Look for the

icon designating feature film debuts 14


19 | Red Snow

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FI N ID IRG E NSO UTS F I L M S

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Director expected to attend

THE INCREDIBLE 25TH YEAR OF MITZI BEARCLAW Director: Shelley Niro (Mohawk) Canada | 2019 | 96 min

Sun February 9 I 6:15 pm I SilverCity 3

When Mitzi Bearclaw gets an unexpected call from home on her 25th birthday, she’s faced with a life-changing decision. She can follow her dream to become a fashion designer in Toronto or return home to the Owl Island First Nation to help her father look after her ailing mother, who has never been the nurturing type. Being the ever-dutiful daughter, she leaves her boyfriend and fashion school behind, and travels home to face her family burden. Mitzi arrives in Owl Island where she encounters fascinating and offbeat characters from her childhood, none of whom she can relate to anymore. There is her three childhood friends, Faith, Hope and Charity, who give her a warm welcome but who still act like teenagers on spring break. And Honeyboy, a charming young man who enjoys the simple life on the rez and is amused by Mitzi’s big urban dreams.

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Mitzi does her best to adjust to a slower life on the rez, spending her days looking after her emotionally fragile father, her bitter mother, and her chronically sick adopted brother. As the seasons change, she longs for the day when she can escape the responsibility of caring for her family and return to Toronto and her former life. Looking for a creative outlet, Mitzi decides to put on a play in the community, with comical and tragic results. Acclaimed visual artist Shelley Niro has brilliantly captured the unexpected, amusing and poignant world of a young Indigenous woman struggling to choose between being a good daughter back home and pursuing her dream in the city. - Barbara Todd Hagar Screening with: The Love of Two | 14 min Directors: Tito Gomez (Cree), Pam Beebe (Kainai)


FROLICKING + HEARTWARMING + UNPREDICTABLE

FI RS T

Mitzi’s dream of becoming a fashion designer in the city is put on hold when her father summons her home to Owl Island First Nation to look after her mother.

P R E SEN T ED BY:

Social Sciences

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Director expected to attend

RED SNOW

Director: Marie Clements (Métis) Canada | 2019 | 100 min Jury Award Best Canadian Feature Dramatic 2019 Edmonton International Film Festival Movie Award | American Indian Film Festival Thu February 13 | 8:45 pm | Dave Dunnet

Marie Clement’s suspense-filled drama, Red Snow, won the Most Popular Canadian Feature at VIFF for good reason. The Northwest Territories and BC provide a stunning backdrop for two family stories - one in Canada’s Arctic and the other in Afghanistan. Red Snow explores the burden of love and loyalty in two families - one Gwich’in and the other Afghani. Dylan Nadazeau is forced from his community as a young teen after a tragedy rocks his family. Years later, he’s a soldier in the Canadian army stationed in Afghanistan when he’s ambushed by the Taliban. He’s horrified when he discovers that Aman, a translator for the Canadian army, has turned traitor and was involved in the deaths of his fellow soldiers. With no reason to trust his captor, Dylan soon realizes that he’s not the only one who has endured ruthless

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family treatment. He has to find a way to forgive and trust Aman in order to survive an almost certain death. Dylan, Aman and his two children set off across the Afghan desert in an effort to reach safety in Pakistan. Clement has brought together a brilliant ensemble cast of actors, including Asivak Koostachin as Dylan, Shafin Karim as Aman, Tantoo Cardinal, Michelle Thrush, Samuel Marty, Tarun Ke-ram, Kane Mahon, Mozhdah Jamalzadah and Ishaan Vasdev. Victoria-based costume designer Carmen Thompson’s (Nuu-chah-nulth) authentic costumes and production designer Michael Diner’s believable Arctic and Afghanistan sets, meet the highest Hollywood standards. The film includes dialogue in Gwich’in, Inuvialuktun, Pashto and English. - Barbara Todd Hagar Screening with: Zombies and Indians | 12 min Director: Keith Lawrence (Cree)


THRILLING + ASTONISHING + LUMINOUS

FI RS T

Dylan is a Gwich’in soldier who, while on a tour in Afghanistan, is ambushed by the Taliban.

P R E SEN T ED BY:

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MERATA: HOW MOM DECOLONIZED THE SCREEN Director: Hepi Mita (Maori) New Zealand | 2018 | 95 min

Wed February 12 | 6:15 pm I SilverCity 3

Merata Mita was a pioneering Maori filmmaker and a powerful voice for indigenous peoples around the world. Merata, who died in 2010 at the age of 68, was a deeply conflicted woman who was torn between her role as a wife and mother and that of an activist and filmmaker. Her solution was to take her children on assignments covering civil rights demonstrations that often turned violent. Merata’s willingness to reveal the dark side of New Zealand society often led to her and her children being harassed by the police. Documentary director Hepi Mita, son of Merata and New Zealand movie director Geoff Murphy, grew up on big budget movie sets and in mansions in L.A. His memories of his childhood do not line up with the stories told by his much older siblings of midnight police raids, moving from place to place and stretches of poverty.

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After his mother passed away, Hepi started watching her films and interviews and was stunned to learn of the personal sacrifices she made for her children and the Maori people. With the support of close friends of Merata, Hepi felt compelled to make a film about her life and the critical social issues she covered as a filmmaker. Drawing on media interviews, never-before-seen footage from her unfinished films and memories revealed by her adult children and fellow filmmakers, including Alanis Obomsawin, Merata: How Mum Decolonized the Screen is a poignant tribute to a brilliant, defiant and ambitious woman. - Barbara Todd Hagar

Screening with: Camp(us) | 10 min Director: Hayle Gallup (Tahltan)


VITAL + MEMORABLE + POWERFUL

FI RS T

Merata Mita was a ground-breaking filmmaker in New Zealand who transcended race, class, and gender to become the first Maori woman to write and direct a feature film.

P R E SEN T ED BY:

Social Sciences

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF NOAH PIUGATTUK Director: Zach Kunuk (Inuit) Canada | 2019 | 120 min Top 10 Films of 2019 | TIFF

Sat February 15 | 6:15 pm I SilverCity 3

Set in North Baffin Island in 1961, One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk follows an Inuk man and his family who are living off the land as their ancestors have done for thousands of years. While they’ve adapted to some settler imports - tea and sugar - their main diet is what they harvest from the sea. It’s a good life and the family is not willing to be part of the government-imposed change that is sweeping across the North. One day Noah and a few family members head out on their dog sleds, or qim-miq, to a nearby iceberg where they stop for tea and collect ice for cooking. A dog team approaches carrying a government agent. He arrives with an Inuk translator to inform Noah that they must give up their nomadic lifestyle and move to a

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settlement where his children can attend school. Noah is not about to be bribed with promises of heated houses, cash and sugar. In the tense discussion that ensues, often hilariously lost in translation from English to Inuktitut and back, neither man is willing to give in. Director Zach Kunuk (Atanarjuat - The Fast Runner) has a personal connection to the real life Noah Piugattuk. He was born in a sod house in Noah’s camp in 1951. In many ways, this film is the story of Zach’s own family and foreshadows the forced re-location of not only an Inuit family, but an entire culture and way of life. - Barbara Todd Hagar

Screening with: Proximity | 2.5 min Director: Emma Joye Frank (K’ómoks)


CAPTIVATING + MISCHIEVOUS + FATEFUL

F IR S T

Noah Piugattuk enjoys a traditional lifestyle. One day, a government agent tries to convince Noah to change with promises of a heated house and a paying job.

P R E SEN T ED BY:

Social Sciences

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33 | The Last Tree

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RA HEU MVA NET AAK E L

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LARA

Director: Jan-Ole Gerster Germany | 2019 | 98 min Special Jury Prize | Karlovy Vary Film Festival Fri February 7 | 6:15 pm I SilverCity 3 Fri February 14 | 2:45 pm | The Vic

It’s early morning, a woman gets up, opens a window, pushes a chair up and prepares to jump. Then the doorbell rings. And so begins this often humorous mystery. Director Jan-Ole Gerster (writer, Good Bye Lenin!; director Oh Boy) follows Lara (Corinna Harfouch) throughout the day to reveal the reasons she wants to commit such an act. As Lara takes hold of her day, we begin to identify with her; her acts of kindness and acts of meanness reveal her dysfunction. She has dedicated herself to shaping her son into a professional concert pianist. One can only imagine the devotion and rigor that went into his training and the conflicts that must have arisen.

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It happens that the very day that her son is making his debut, Lara is turning 60. Not invited to the concert, Lara decides to buy up all the remaining tickets and begins giving them away to strangers—along with an old piano teacher who holds the key to the psychological puzzle. Through his lead character, Gerster presents the notion that when taking artistic risks, one must ignore all criticism and offer up the soul in order to achieve great heights. Lara is a victim and a perpetrator, and the outstanding acting makes this a compelling film. – Kathy Kay


SOULFUL + FUNNY + PSYCHOLOGICAL

REV E AL

Lara is turning 60. Her son is making his debut. She is not invited.

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AND THE BIRDS RAINED DOWN Director: Louise Archambault Quebec | 2019 | 127 min Solidarity Award | San Sebastián International Film Festival Sat February 8 I 5:30 pm I Odeon 5

After their friend dies, Charlie and Tom are alone, isolated deep in an Abitibi forest. Living with only the bare necessities, they enjoy a quiet life together until one day they are joined by an old woman who refuses to go back to a nursing home and a young photographer leading an investigation . The arrival of the two strangers in the old friends’ hermetic world throws them off balance. Adapted from a popular novel by Jocelyne Saucier, this tender tale directed by Louise Archambault (Gabrielle) goes straight to the heart both with its themes, acceptance and solitude and its delicately composed images. Nuanced performances by Gilbert Sicotte, Rémy Girard and a heartbreaking Andrée Lachapelle give this intimate adventure an irresistible energy. The film’s success at the Quebec box office last fall is ample proof. – François Lemieux

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Director expected to attend

Après le décès de leur copain, Charlie et Tom sont restés seuls, coupés du monde dans une forêt d’Abitibi. Vivant avec le strict minimum de confort, ils écoulent des moments paisibles jusqu’au jour où débarquent, sans crier gare, une vieille femme refusant de rentrer à l’hospice et une jeune photographe qui mène une enquête. L’arrivée de ces deux étrangères dans le monde très fermé des deux amis bouleverse leur équilibre. Adaptée du populaire roman de Jocelyne Saucier, cette douce chronique réalisée par Louise Archambault (Gabrielle) touche droit au coeur, tant par ses thèmes d’acceptation de l’autre et de solitude, que par sa délicate composition d’images. Les compositions délicates de Gilbert Sicotte, Rémy Girard et de la bouleversante Andrée Lachapelle portent cette aventure intime avec brio. À preuve, le grand succès public rencontré lors de la sortie en salle au Québec à l’automne dernier.


BEAUTIFUL + POIGNANT + FRANK

REV E AL

Charlie and Tom enjoy a quiet life together until one day they are joined by an old woman who refuses to leave.

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MIDIAN FARM Director: Liz Marshall Canada | 2018 | 80 min Documentary

Tue February 11 | 5:30 pm | Parkside

The ideal utopia of communal living and connecting with nature has long been an inspirational dream for those looking for alternative lifestyles and non-conformists set on creating their own societies. Communes hold a special fascination in our public consciousness, as we are naturally drawn to ways of living that embrace equality, freedom and peace. For a group of urban baby boomers from Toronto, this inspiration took the form of Midian Farm. From 1971-1977, this particular back-to-the-land social experiment existed in rural Ontario, but like so many of these idealized communities that emerged from the counterculture movement, good intentions and hard realities collided. For a variety of reasons this ambitious undertaking dissolved, leaving everyone to find their own path and hold onto their memories (for better or worse).

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Director Liz Marshall unpacks a fascinating piece of Canadian history and her own personal ties to the story, encountering challenging questions about how difficult it is to achieve a radical change in our society. Integrating archival materials that document the development of the farm, of which her father was an integral figure, Marshall’s post-dissolution deep dive into the remnants and ramifications for those involved bring out heartfelt reflections on what might have been. Far from a sensationalized outsider look, she provides a unique personal perspective that rather than seeking to pass judgement on those who dared to be different, offers a hopeful approach that if we can learn from the past we might be able to envision a brighter future. - Alex Rogalski

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TRANSFORMATIVE + PERSONAL + ALTERNATIVE

REV E AL

In the 1970s, a group of urban baby boomers from Toronto attempted to build an ambitious commune in rural Ontario.

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THE LAST TREE

Director: Shola Amoo UK | 2019 | 98 min Best Supporting Actress Most Promising Newcomer | British Independent Film Awards Tue February 11 | 9:00 pm I SilverCity 3

The Last Tree opens in the beautiful, sun-soaked countryside of rural Lincolnshire. Femi, a young boy from Nigeria, is playing with his friends without a care in the world. We soon learn that Femi is living under the care of Mary - played with great maternal warmth by Denise Black (Queer As Folk) - his doting foster mother. Femi’s life is safe and comfortable, protected by Mary’s obvious privilege. But when Femi’s Nigerian birth mother is ready to take him to live with her in South London, his life is turned upside down.

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Amoo’s semi-autobiographical portrait of childhood upheaval tenderly depicts the harsh realities of being confronted by an unknown past that many foster children must face. The film traces Femi’s journey adjusting to urban life as he struggles through new cultural references and troublesome playground politics... conflicts that will eventually mature into gang culture as he reaches adolescence.

Though desperately seeking guidance, Femi’s relationship with his birth mother - depicted with abounding strength by newcomer Gbemisola Ikumelo - is understandably strained. In the The Last Tree, Amoo speaks of the time it takes to heal childhood wounds; to learn to trust; to let go. Stylish and beautifully realised with notes of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight and nods to influences from Truffaut to Spike Lee, this ambitious second feature marks director Shola Amoo as one of the bright shining lights of new British cinema. And newcomers Tai Golding and Sam Adewunmi who play young and teenage Femi respectively - are both firmly in the same field as Amoo. – Jo Duncombe


TENDER + COMPASSIONATE + LYRICAL

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An ambitious and tender portrait of a young Nigerian boy growing up between rural Lincolnshire and inner city London.

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OLYMPIC DREAMS Director: Jeremy Teicher USA | 2019 | 83 min

Sat February 8 | 3:15 pm I SilverCity 3 Sun February 9 | 12:30 pm I Odeon 5

Recalling the bittersweet romantic comedy of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, Jeremy Teicher’s Olympic Dreams is a unique — and poignant — behind-the-scenes look at life in the Olympic Village at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Athlete and actress Alexi Pappas plays Penelope, an Olympic hopeful cross-country skier who’s a long way from home. Prepping for her event, she meets Ezra (Nick Kroll), a volunteer dentist who is similarly feeling homesick. It doesn’t take long before mutual ennui and culture shock get the better of them, and soon Olympic Dreams realizes its winning — and wholly original — meet-cute premise.

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In 2010, you might have been lucky enough to catch an event or two at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Olympic Dreams provides a peek at what really goes on at the hopeful climax of an athlete’s career, which isn’t always golden glory. There are winners and there are losers, and the latter must cope with crushing defeat. Opening up to one another, Penelope and Ezra indeed have some charming conversations amidst their admittedly bizarre microcosmic circumstances. Just the same, they also aren’t afraid to ask each other some tough questions on their ultimate hopes and dreams — and what those even mean in the first place. – Jake Howell


BITTERSWEET + UNIQUE + INSIGHTFUL

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This bittersweet romantic comedy is a unique and poignant behind-the-scenes look at life in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Village.

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MURMUR Director: Heather Young Canada | 2019 | 84 min FRIPESCI Prize | Toronto Film Festival Thu February 13 | 4:00 pm I Capitol 6

After a Driving While Impaired charge, a lonely woman in her sixties named Donna (Shan MacDonald) fulfills a community service sentence at a local animal shelter. Estranged from a daughter who won’t return her messages, Donna finds a source of desperately needed companionship in an ailing dog named Charlie about to be euthanized whom she asks to take home. Soon, she violates regulations and fills her apartment with more and more pets as she tries in vain to fill a chasmic emotional void. A beautiful portrait of the comfort we can gain from our animal friends, Murmur refuses to go down a saccharine path, and instead examines, in a sober yet still deeply human way, the underlying psychology behind the bonds we are determined to forge.

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In her heartbreaking and pointedly unsentimental debut feature, award-winning filmmaker Heather Young looks squarely at her protagonist’s inner world with compassion, without shying away from the selfishness of projected love and care and its potential to become a blinding and consuming force. MacDonald, a non-professional actor in her first role, gives a tender and raw unscripted performance that injects authenticity into the film. Murmur is a story of how our seemingly pure gestures can be bound up with and clouded by need. – Adam Cook

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EMPATHETIC + DEFT + CONTEMPLATIVE

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A lonely woman in her sixties fulfills a community service sentence at a local animal shelter. Soon, she fills her apartment with more and more pets.

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CLOUD WHISPERS WER HAT EIGENTLICH DIE LIEBE ERFUNDEN

Director: Kerstin Polte Germany, Switzerland | 2018 | 93 min Audience Award Best Narrative Feature San Francisco Film Festival Wed February 12 | 2:45 pm | The Vic

What do you do when your married life turns sour? Charlotte’s life is a mess. After 37 years, 5 months and 21 days her marriage with Paul feels dull and uninspiring. Moreover, Charlotte‘s memory is weakening as she tends to forget what she experienced just moments before. However Charlotte wants to enjoy life again, to feel free. So while travelling with the family she abruptly leaves her husband at a motorway service station and continues her trip to the German coast, together with Jo, her fun-loving granddaughter. Paul and Jo’s erratic mother, Alex, stay behind. After numerous twists and turns, the whole family unites once more at the surreal Pension Horster, on a remote island, this time to figure out what has held them together.

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Will Charlotte and Paul be able to reinvent their love? Cloud Whispers is a warm-hearted, light comedy by first-time director Kerstin Polte. Kerstin is among the new breed of upcoming women directors in Germany who are convincing audiences locally and beyond of their filmmaking skills through virtuosity and strength of artistic vision. Cloud Whispers is shot on the north German coastline. The all German cast is top-notch, above all Corinna Harfouch as Charlotte and Karl Kranzkowski as Paul. Highly lauded especially the humour, the terrific cinematography work and the magic storytelling. The precise narrative style manages to fascinate and make cinema-goers laugh and cry in the same breath. - Christophe Thoke


POETIC + SURREAL + COMIC

REV E AL

While travelling with her family, Charlotte abruptly leaves her husband and continues her trip to the German coast with her fun-loving granddaughter.

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BC Premiere

KUESSIPAN

Director: Myriam Verreault Canada | 2019 | 117 min Grand Prix Award | Quebec City Film Festival Fri February 7 | 9:00 pm I Capitol 6

Mikuan and Shaniss live in an Innu community in Quebec’s Côte-Nord region. They have been inseparable since childhood, but as they approach adulthood their paths diverge. The first wants to leave their tiny community to build a future based on openness, literature and the big city. The second is facing obstacles that she will have to struggle to overcome. Ten years after the much-lauded À l’ouest de Pluton, Myriam Verreault returns with a second feature, a sensitive film co-written with Naomi Fontaine, author of the eponymous novel. It is a story of strong female friendship and a clear-eyed look at life in Indigenous communities, starring superb non-professional actresses. Kuessipan earned the Grand prix at the Quebec City Film Festival. - François Lemieux

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Mikuan et Shaniss vivent dans une communauté Innue de la Côte-Nord du Québec. Elles sont inséparables depuis leur enfance, mais alors que l’âge adulte approche, leurs chemins prennent des voies divergentes. Pour la première, désireuse de quitter cet endroit trop petit pour elle, l’avenir passe par l’ouverture, la littérature et la grande ville. Pour la seconde, la vie a placé sur son chemin des contraintes qu’elle devra apprendre à surmonter. Dix ans après le très remarqué À l’ouest de Pluton, Myriam Verreault réalise un deuxième long métrage d’une grande sensibilité, coécrit avec Naomi Fontaine, à partir de l’oeuvre éponyme de cette dernière. On y retrouve une histoire d’amitié féminine forte et une chronique lucide de la vie dans les communautés amérindiennes, portées par des comédiennes non professionnelles épatantes. Kuessipan a reçu le Grand prix au Festival de cinéma de la ville de Québec.


SOULFUL + UNFLINCHING + BONDS

REV E AL

Two inseparable friends find their paths diverge as adults in a story of strong female friendship.

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Canadian Premiere

ALICE

Director: Josephine Mackerras France | 2019 | 103 min Grand Jury Award I SXSW Best Film I Raindance Film Festival Sat February 8 I 9:00 pm I Capitol 6 Wed February 12 I 9:00 pm I SilverCity 3

We first meet Alice in her cozy domestic life with her husband Francois, an adoring father to their toddler Jules. Francois, a writer who quotes romantic poems on cue, appears to be very much in love with his wife. One morning however, he leaves the house looking stressed, and later that day Alice finds her credit cards don’t work. After a visit to her bank, the young woman learns the awful truth: her husband has not only burned through their finances because of a prostitution addiction, but he also stopped paying their mortgage more than a year earlier. The bank gives Alice an ultimatum: if she doesn’t come up with 8,000 euros in two weeks, and maintain a

payment plan for the foreseeable future, she and her son will be evicted. Desperate and trying to understand her husband’s choices, Alice goes undercover to visit the service he used — only to be offered a job. What sets Alice apart is that rather than becoming a tale of degradation, the film is a refreshing take on betrayal and desperation, bringing humour and distance to the most difficult of life’s scenarios. First-time feature filmmaker Josephine Mackerras’s direction and on-point acting delivered by Emilie Piponnier who plays Alice, make the film a pearl that’s difficult to forget. - Kinga Binkowska

P R E SEN T ED BY: CLICK HERE for French Translation

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POWERFUL + FRESH + UNEXPECTED

REV E AL

After discovering that her husband’s addiction to escorts has left their family penniless, Alice finds a means of caring for herself and her child.

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Western Canadian Premiere

BODY AND BONES Director: Melanie Oates Canada | 2019 | 97 min

Wed February 12 | 6:30 pm I Capitol 6

In a small town in Newfoundland, 18 year-old Tess (Kelly Van Der Burg) should be blossoming as a young woman but instead has become withdrawn and despondent since the loss of her mother. Disinterested in the seemingly dull insular community life that surrounds her, Tess appears to just be passing the time until something breaks through the monotony of her everyday life— until the reappearance of long-gone local legend, Danny Sharpe. Dark, mysterious, twice her age—and a musician, of course—he may not be quite the stereotypical bad boy, but his lifestyle presents an intriguing and rebellious alternative to the underwhelmed teenager. She’s quickly infatuated with him growing more

attached to Danny than he is to her, mis-identifying his fleeting drifter-like curiosity for intimacy. What emerges is a harshly realistic and thoughtful coming-of-age portrait about the different shapes that mourning and maturing can take and the bravery needed to accept one’s lot in life. As Tess manages her flurry of emotions, the unveiled illusion of her romantic relationship, and her first forays into independent adulthood, first time writer-director Melanie Oates vividly creates the impression of what it’s like to chisel away at one’s young self in order to form an individual identity, the pain of that process and its empowering beauty. – Adam Cook

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Director expected to attend


THOUGHTFUL + COMING-OF-AGE + REALISTIC

REV E AL

In a small town in Newfoundland, Tess finds comfort in listening to the music of Danny Sharpe. Then she wakes up one day to find him in her kitchen.

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Canadian Premiere

SENIOR LOVE TRIANGLE Director: Kelly Blatz USA | 2019 | 98 min Sat February 8 | 2:45 pm | The Vic Mon February 10 | 4:00 pm I Capitol 6

Some stories are timeless. Others are equally ageless. Encapsulating its core conflict in three simple words, Senior Love Triangle’s title is one of many perfectly balanced elements at play in Kelly Blatz’s beautiful debut feature. At its heart are Will, Adina, and Jeanie, three individuals living in retirement homes in East Hollywood. It’s soon revealed that they’ve got a passionate romantic dynamic — but things take a turn when Will, a World War II veteran, begins to suffer from serious delusions, sparking many of the film’s conversations about love, mental health, and the way they intersect with aging.

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Director expected to attend

If it all feels real, it’s because it is, more or less. Senior Love Triangle shares its name with a TIME magazine photo documentary by co-writer and producer Isadora Kosofsky, who captured the romantic lives of the actual Will, Adina, and Jeanie living in East Hollywood in 2012. As depicted respectfully and intimately in the film, there are many types of love. To that end, aesthetes and cinephiles alike are in for a treat: Senior Love Triangle’s gorgeous filmmaking shows us sumptuous images you’ll want to see on the biggest screen possible. As a director, Blatz revels in these pleasures, but they never feel indulgent; his central story remains one of grace, comedy, and genuine humanity. – Jake Howell


TIMELESS + GRACEFUL + GORGEOUS

REV E AL

Three individuals living in retirement homes in East Hollywood embark on a passionate, romantic dynamic journey.

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BC Premiere

THE CLIMB Director: Michael Angelo Covino USA | 2019 | 94 min Jury Prize | Deauville Film Festival Fri February 7 | 9:00 pm I SilverCity 3

Some friendships are an uphill battle. In The Climb, director Michael Angelo Covino and co-writer Kyle Marvin take their Sundancestunning short film of the same name and elevate it to new — and even funnier — heights. Beginning as a bachelor party trip of best friends Mike (Covino) and Kyle (Marvin), The tone of this transgressive comedy soon becomes clear when Mike reveals he’s been sleeping with Kyle’s fiancée. Soon, two things become abundantly clear: yes, Mike is the worst best friend in the world — but Kyle’s life is incomplete without him. That’s just Chapter One.

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As the film cycles through years of Mike’s and Kyle’s codependency, The Climb enters into situations that hilariously recall the obnoxious antics of some of Seinfeld’s characters — especially George and Kramer. Think they can be jerks? Wait ‘til you meet Mike. While you wouldn’t expect a debut feature filmmaker to commit to such painstaking choreography, Covino aspires to cinematic glory: The Climb’s artful direction results in calculated takes that often run for minutes at a time. Although these long sequences aren’t strictly necessary, they’re all part of Covino’s attempt to subvert everything you expect from a buddy comedy. He overwhelmingly succeeds. – Jake Howell


HILARIOUS + BITING + SEINFELDIAN

REV E AL

An utterly Seinfeldian buddy comedy, best friends Mike and Kyle cycle through a relationship that spans years. Mike might be the worst best friend in the world — but Kyle’s life is incomplete without him.

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VAGENDA STORIES DIE FRUCHTBAREN JAHRE SIND VORBEI Director: Natascha Beller Switzerland | 2019 | 90 min Tue February 11 | 8:30 pm I Odeon 5

Natascha Beller’s feature debut delivers a frisky and fresh contemporary comedy about the misfortunes of three thirtysomething girlfriends dealing with the social pressure that focuses on children, careers and relationships. Leila just turned 34 and has been with her boyfriend for a very long time. When she discovers at her sister’s Amanda wedding that the latter is pregnant, she promptly gives her boyfriend an ultimatum: she also wants to have a baby. Preferably, right at that moment. The boyfriend leaves faster than she can say “baby”. One year later, he is dating someone new, and Leila is about to turn 35, the infamous mark when fertility ‘drops off a cliff’.

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Laila’s sister Amanda, on the other hand, is about to give birth, but diapers and baby powder do not necessarily fit into the career plan of the ambitious architect. Sophie, the third and final in the “thirtysomething” gang, is a single parent struggling with an irresponsible ex-husband who has surprisingly decided to move to New York. To sum it all up: “it’s complicated”. Natascha Beller, hailed the Switzerland’s Tina Fey, delivers a fast-paced, mischievous and irresistibly modern comedy. Clear-eyed, fearless and ferociously funny, Vagenda Stories earns its laughs, to be sure. - Kinga Binkowska

P R E SEN T ED BY:


ZANY + MODERN + HONEST

REV E AL

A contemporary comedy about three thirtysomething girlfriends dealing with children, careers and relationships.

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Canadian Premiere

LIGHT FROM LIGHT Director: Paul Harrill USA | 2019 | 82 min Sun February 9 | 9:00 pm I SilverCity 3 Mon February 10 | 8:30 pm I Odeon 5

There’s a haunting theme of grief and acceptance in Paul Harrill’s Light From Light, a film that perfectly walks a fine line between eerie, unsettling and poignantly humane. Marin Ireland plays Shelia, a single mother who lives with her son Owen (Josh Wiggins) and works — outside her day job — as a part-time paranormal investigator. After Shelia participates in a radio interview about her investigative work, a field even she is skeptical of, she is hired by Richard (Jim Gaffigan) a recent widower, to look into the unusual — and possibly ghostly — events occurring at his house. Objects are pushed off shelves for no reason, lights are flickering and there’s an energy about his home that needs, in Richard’s view, a professional opinion. Is it his recently deceased wife floating about the house?

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Director expected to attend

Soon, Shelia undertakes her investigation, attempting to make contact with the spirit world. To her surprise, the unexplainable happens. … or does it? Harrill’s script is something special. For every moment that initially seems metaphysical, there’s a perfectly rational explanation behind it. In other words, it could be Richard’s wife playing tricks on him. Or does Occam’s razor apply? With its discussions on death — and in many ways, how lives have several endings — Light From Light has no easy answers. But in addition to its moving lead performances from Ireland and Gaffigan, Harrill’s film offers an affecting — and mature — meditation on how to cope. – Jake Howell


Recent widower Richard (Jim Gaffigan) hires Shelia (Marin Ireland), a paranormal investigator, to look into the ghostly events happening at his home.

REV E AL

HAUNTING + POIGNANT + EERIE

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Western Canada Premiere

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER Director: Beniamino Barrese Italy | 2019 | 94 min Premio Ucca Award | Biografilm Festival Documentary Mon February 10 | 3:15 pm I SilverCity 3 Wed February 12 | 4:00 pm I Capitol 6

Benedetta Barzini wants to disappear, “The work we’re doing is a work of separation,” she says to her son. An iconic fashion model and an extraordinarily interesting woman, she became a muse to Warhol, Dali, and Avedon in the 1960s. As a radical feminist in the 1970s, she fought for the rights and emancipation of women. But at the age of 75, she becomes fed up with all the roles that life has imposed upon her and decides to leave everything and everybody behind, to disappear to a place as far as possible from the world she knows. Hiding behind the camera, her son Beniamino witnesses her journey. Having

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filmed her since he was a child in spite of all her resistance, he now wants to make a film about her, to keep her close for as long as possible – or at least, as long as his camera keeps running. As she flows from tender to tempestuous, Beniamino is there to capture a remarkable life which makes for a deeply personal portrait. The making of the film turns into a battle between mother and son, a stubborn fight to capture the ultimate image of Benedetta – the image of her liberation. - Kathy Kay

P R E SEN T ED BY:


EXCITING + PASSIONATE + TOUCHING

REV E AL

The uplifting journey of one man and his desire to capture his favorite model – his mother, Benedetta Barzini.

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CASTLE IN THE GROUND Director: Joey Klein Canada | 2019 | 105 min Sun February 9 | 12:15 pm I SilverCity 3

Henry (Alex Wolff, Hereditary) lives at home with his sick mother (Neve Campbell) who depends on her son’s care and attention almost as much as on her prescription to oxycontin. An encounter with an attractive yet troubled new neighbour across the hall named Ana (Imogen Poots) diverts Henry’s attention. As the young man goes through traumatic circumstances at home, his priorities begin to shift, and the discovery of Ana’s recreational drug habit sends him down a rabbit hole with dire consequences. From there, Henry becomes caught up in an underworld he had previously never stepped into, tangled in a web of seedy and dangerous characters. Soon, he’s at the center of a plot involving drugs, money and life or death stakes he might not easily escape.

Set in Sudbury, Ontario in 2012 amidst the rise of the opioid epidemic, Castle in the Ground is a riveting drama grappling with one of the most daunting health crises in our country today. A meditation on loss tinged with elements of a crime thriller, sophomore writer-director Joey Klein (The Other Half) expertly crafts a work of suspense, sensitivity, and genuine emotion that always stays focused on the human experience at its core. Driven by brilliant performances from both its young and veteran cast, Castle in the Ground is one of the most poignant Canadian films of the year. – Adam Cook

P R E SEN T ED BY:

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MAGNETIC + ABSORBING + HUMAN

REV E AL

Henry (Alex Wolff) lives at home with his mother (Neve Campbell) who depends on her son’s care and attention almost as much as on her prescription to oxycontin.

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AMERICAN WOMAN Director: Semi Chellas Canada | 2019 | 85min

Fri February 7 I 6:00 pm I Odeon 5

Heiress Patty Hearst—the granddaughter of wealthy newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst—made international headlines when, following her kidnapping by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, she reportedly adopted the beliefs of her captors. Semi Chellas’ (Mad Men, The Romanoffs) directorial debut is told from the point of view of a former radical named Jenny (Hong Chau) who is recruited to look after a group of fugitives, with Hearst (Sarah Gadon) among them, in a nuanced dramatization of what happened behind closed doors. Two idealists who find themselves at divergent but mirroring crossroads, Jenny and Patty are inevitably drawn together as the stakes get higher and pressures mount among their accompanying radicals on the run.

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Director expected to attend

Part thriller and part character drama, American Woman is driven by its magnetic lead performances from Chau and Gadon, with an ace supporting turn from Ellen Burstyn as Miss Dolly, a wealthy old woman whose ignorance helps motivate Jenny into action. Chellas, in adapting Susan Choi’s fictionalized novel about Patty Hearst and Wendy Yoshimura, adeptly captures a precise political moment in the United States in the mid-70s, when revolutionary thought and plights took confused turns and warred with themselves, ultimately seeming to fizzle away altogether. At its core, American Woman is a film about two human beings adrift who find in one another however briefly, something to anchor them to a present moment. – Adam Cook

P R E SEN T ED BY:


ATMOSPHERIC + THRILING + ELEGANT

REV E A L

Inspired by the kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst in 1974, this atmospheric drama is from the perspective of Jenny, a political activist assigned to her.

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Canadian Premiere

ROMANTIC COMEDY Director: Elizabeth Sankey UK | 2019 | 78 min Documentary

Fri February 14 | 5:30 pm | The Vic

Romantic Comedy is a feature documentary by British writer, musician and actor Elizabeth Sankey that goes under the surface of our favourite movie genre: The Rom Com. This searching, nostalgic and warm-hearted essay film seeks to better understand the way we view our relationships, romance and love. From It Happened One Night to Runaway Bride, from Doris Day to Cameron Diaz, and from clumsy-meet-cute to rain-soaked declarations of love, Sankey explores how classic Rom-Com tropes have come to define our experiences of love and romance, influencing our hearts’ desires and informing how we make decisions in relationships. But are these films really the best available guides for navigating the profoundly personal experience of love?

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Rom-Com films are hugely successful at the box office and deeply loved by many. But while being frequently dismissed as guilty pleasures, they have, until now, largely avoided critical analysis. With the help of a chorus of writers, actors and filmmakers including actress Jessica Barden (The Lobster) and filmmaker Charlie Shackleton (AKA Charlie Lyne - Fear Itself, Fish Story, Lasting Marks), and with original songs by her band Summer Camp, Sankey embarks on a journey of investigation and self-discovery through a genre that continues to shape our view of the world, and finds that it is just as comforting as it is problematic. - Joanne Duncombe


NOSTALGIC + INSIGHTFUL + ROMANTIC

REV E A L

A documentary that goes under the surface of our favourite genre of movie, the Rom-Com.

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TWO OF US DEUX

Director: Filippo Meneghetti France, Luxembourg, Belgium | 2019 | 95 min Tue February 11 | 5:30 pm | The Vic

For all intents and purposes Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier) appear to be two friendly neighbours, but behind the friendly façade the women have hidden an intimate relationship for decades. Director Meneghetti exposes a tender, loving relationship in which Nina moves easily between her apartment and Madeleine’s, planning for the future while enjoying the everyday. The two women hope to sell the apartment and move to Rome where they can live together. Nina is independent and full of life and adores her lover while Madeleine is a widowed and doting grandmother who has never told her children about her relationship with Nina. Madeleine just can’t seem to shake her need for discretion even when Nina goads

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her by saying that no one could care less about “two old dykes”. Madeleine’s son and daughter suspect nothing but when Madeleine’s health takes a turn the children, especially her daughter Anne (Léa Drucker), start to wonder why this kind neighbor is always at the door. Meneghetti has crafted a remarkably warm and loving film for his first feature-length drama. Capturing the women’s intimacy in close ups it’s easy to understand how connected the pair are. The performances of Sukowa and Chevalier are so absorbing it’s hard to take one’s eyes off them. Two of Us is a deceptively complex film with a message that all you need is each other. - Kathy Kay

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BOLD + COMPELLING + SIGNIFICANT

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Nina and Madeleine appear to be two friendly neighbours but the women have hidden an intimate relationship for decades.

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NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN Director: Werner Herzog UK | 2019 | 85 min Documentary

Thu February 13 | 3:00 pm I Odeon 5 Sat February 15 | 9:00 pm I SilverCity 3

When legendary writer and adventurer Bruce Chatwin was dying of AIDS, he summoned his friend and collaborator Werner Herzog for a final visit. Thirty years later, Herzog goes on the road, repeating Chatwin’s most notable journeys. As usual Herzog does not follow a linear route. He travels to South America, where Chatwin wrote In Patagonia, the book that turned him into an author to be reckoned with – tales of dinosaurs and journeys to the ends of the earth. From there Herzog heads to Australia where he and Chatwin first met. Here Herzog explores the sacred power of the Aboriginal traditions that inspired Chatwin’s most famous book, The Songlines. And finally travelling to the

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UK for the beautiful landscape of Wales, he discovers the place Chatwin really called home. Told in Herzog’s incomparable style - lots of memorable characters and encounters - this is a portrait of one of the 20th century’s most charismatic writers; it won’t matter whether you are familiar with Chatwin, Herzog kindly provides the background. In the end, you will walk away likely confirmed in your mind that you’ve had an encounter with not one, but two, visionary people. I can’t help but ask, how many of your friends would make such a grand tribute to you 30 years after your passing? - Kathy Kay


POETIC + QUIXOTIC + PERSONAL

REV E AL

When legendary writer and adventurer Bruce Chatwin was dying of AIDS, he summoned Werner Herzog for a final visit. Thirty years later, Herzog repeats Chatwin’s most notable journeys.

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73 | Pity the Lovers

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FRONT B U R N E R SPOTLIGHT COUNTRY

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AND THEN WE DANCED Director: Levan Akin Sweden, Georgia, France | 2019 | 113 min Gold Q-Hugo Award Chicago International Film Festival Thu February 13 | 7:45 pm | The Vic Sun February 16 | 6:15 pm I SilverCity 3

A fascinating story of love and liberation in ultraconservative modern Georgia, a country at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani) has been training from a young age at the National Georgian Ensemble with his dance partner and girlfriend Mary (Ana Javakishvilli). His world turns upside down when the carefree and handsome Irakli (Bachi Valishvili) arrives and becomes both his strongest rival and desire. Merab lives with his mother and grandmother along with his brother, who though very talented, is actually a mess. When Merab and Irakli begin to feel an attraction they know the risks are high as another dancer was recently outed and ended up on the street.

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More than a coming of age love story, And Then We Danced might be compared to Call Me by Your Name but here the film carries an authenticity and rawness that Guadagnino’s film lacked. A multi-award winner And Then We Danced features professional dancer and acting newcomer Gelbakhiani. An absolute revelation, the actor conveys his doubts, honesty and primality effortlessly. Georgian dance is a rigorous masculine dance where every nuance must express the dominance of the male. The milieu of the dance world, a world that balances control and freedom, is a perfect backdrop for the story. - Kathy Kay


LUMINOUS + PERCEPTIVE + SENSUAL

FRO N T B U R NE R

Merab’s world turns upside down when the carefree and handsome Irakli arrives and becomes both his strongest rival and desire.

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A WHITE, WHITE DAY HVÍTUR, HVÍTUR DAGUR

Director: Hlynur Pálmason Iceland, Denmark, Sweden | 2019 | 109 min Rising Star Award | Cannes Film Festival Mon February 10 | 6:15 pm I SilverCity 3 Tue February 11 | 7:45 pm I The Vic

In a remote Icelandic town, an off-duty police chief, whose wife died in a tragic accident, begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with her. The rugged lead is as compelling as the landscape he fits so well within. In A White, White Day, director Pálmason examines the type of traditional male masculinity that tends to inhabit such remote environments by following Ingimundur (Ingvar Sigurðsson) as he investigates the life of a woman he thought he knew. Sigurðsson, one of Iceland’s greatest actors, plays the grieving widower with great subtlety as he shifts between stoicism and small glimpses of who he was before the accident, as reflected in his interactions with his granddaughter (Ída Mekkín Hlynsdóttir).

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Playing with metaphor – the landscape, the house that Ingimundur can’t finish – Pálmason pushes the story to unexpected lengths both dramatically and stylistically as he creates a powerful examination of a man in pain who has no culturally acceptable way to express himself. From the opening sequence, cinematographer Maria von Hausswolff puts on screen a remarkable sense of Iceland. It’s as if her camera along with Pálmason’s vision has captured the breath of the place. - Kathy Kay


SUBTLE + ENVELOPING + INSIGHTFUL

FRO N T B U R NE R

In a remote Icelandic town, a man, whose wife died in a tragic accident two years earlier, begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with her.

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PITY THE LOVERS VESALINGS ELSKENDUR

Director: Maximilian Hult Sweden, Iceland | 2019 | 105 min Fri February 14 | 3:15 pm I SilverCity 3

Canadian Premiere “Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.” Joan Crawford. When are we ready to take the plunge and commit to a long-term relationship? What is the nature of our hesitation? Two brothers in their mid-thirties, Oskar and Maggi, find themselves, through an unexpected turn of events, living together in their parents’ home in the suburbs of Reykjavik. They are both longing for love and are both single for different reasons. Oskar is shy and uses his pug Otto as an excuse to pursue his long-time crush, Anna, a veterinarian. Maggi is focused on conquest, never staying with anyone long enough to achieve a deeper connection. As their friends partner up and begin the next

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stages of their lives, the brothers are increasingly feeling left behind, both longing for a fulfilling relationship while neither has a clue how to achieve it. Skillfully directed by Swedish director Maximilian Hult, and propelled by an extremely talented Icelandic cast, the story is full of delightfully realized characters. The Goths, artists and eccentrics that surround the brothers all serve to celebrate the joy and struggle it is to be human. Frequently funny, yet never descending into slapstick or parody, it walks a comic fine line as it explores relationships and what it is to grow and love and deepen our connections. - Randy Waldie


LOVE + COMIC + ADULTING

FRO N T B U R NE R

Two brothers in their mid-thirties find themselves living together in their parents’ home in the suburbs of Reykjavik.

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THE MEN’S ROOM FOR VI ER GUTTA

Director: Petter Sommer, Jo Vemund Svendsen Norway | 2018 | 74 min Audience Award | Krakow Film Festival Documentary Fri February 7 | 6:30 pm I Capitol 6 Fri February 14 | 12:15 pm | The Vic

A group of 25 Norwegian men in their prime get together every Tuesday to sing dirty rock songs and drink beer in this very joyous documentary. The men have promised to sing at each other’s funerals but what they hadn’t anticipated is how soon that might happen. Their choir director has a cancer diagnosis yet these closely-knit men plunge on without a whiff of sentimentality. Meanwhile the choir is preparing for its biggest gig to date as the warm-up act for Black Sabbath before their concert in Norway 2016. The countdown has started, and our band of choirboys try to keep their spirits high with ribald songs about the trials of middle-age, while they also prepare to say farewell.

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Their irreverent banter is always respectfully playful and the singing provides the vehicle for sharing their thoughts and opening up, joking with each other as they do. Rarely has a film been so quietly amusing, and surprisingly moving. Directors Sommer and Svendsen film without artifice – no jiggly camera or extreme close-ups but rather it settles amongst the men and you feel like part of the choir. The Men’s Room is refreshingly clear and straight forward storytelling. - Randy Waldie


JOYOUS + HONEST + AMUSING

FRO N T B U R NE R

This charmer follows 25 Norwegian men who get together to sing dirty rock songs and drink beer, who are preparing to be the warm-up act for Black Sabbath.

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Western Canadian Premiere

THE SEER AND THE UNSEEN Director: Sara Dosa Iceland, USA | 2019 | 86 min Golden Gate Award | San Francisco Film Festival Documentary Tue February 11 | 4:00 pm I Capitol 6 Wed February 12 | 5:30 pm | The Vic

In her newest documentary Sara Dosa’s explores the world of invisible elves, financial collapse and the surprising power of belief. All told through the story of an Icelandic woman named Ragga - a real life seer who speaks on behalf of nature under threat. Allegedly, over half of Icelandic population (members of the Icelandic parliament included) still believes in huldufólk - the hidden folk. Elves, dwarves and trolls are an integral part of Icelandic myth and history but also they are an important part of the future and a flagship of the fight for environmental justice and conservation. When the largest bulldozer in the country threatens to demolish a vital and an unspoilt volcanic rock believed

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to be home to huldufólk, Ragga and a team of activists step in to resist. By framing her concern for the elves as a potentially symbolic dimension of more tangible environmental activism and conservation, we get to see the importance of connecting with nature and saving those whose voices we may not hear. The Seer and the Unseen provides a lens for even the most skeptical viewers to identify real-world weight in the whimsy. The documentary smoothly integrates personal and political stakes with a light touch, exploring the surprising power of belief and the invisible forces - be they elves or the market - that shape our visible worlds and transform our natural landscapes. And it’s magical. – Kinga Binkowska

P R E SEN T ED BY:


WHIMSY + ENVIRONMENTAL + SPELL-BINDING

FRO N T B U R NE R

A documentary about invisible elves, financial collapse and the surprising power of belief.

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MARIA’S PARADISE MARIAN PARATIISI

Director: Zaida Bergroth Finland | 2019 | 110 min Mon February 10 | 9:00 pm I SilverCity 3

Based on the real-life exploits of a Finnish cult in the 1920s, Maria’s Paradise is a riveting and atmospheric analysis of the nature of devotion and the intense narcissism that drives cult-like leaders. Salome (Satu Tuuli Karhu) was orphaned at a very young age and taken in by Maria Åkerblom (Pihla Viitala), a mysterious and charismatic sect leader who resides with a group of devoted followers in an enormous country estate just outside of Helsinki. Maria, claiming that God has been visiting her in her dreams, has the power to convince her coterie to do practically anything. All Salome has ever known is life in the sect under Maria’s power. One day that changes, as she, for the first time, accompanies Maria on a trip to town. While Maria is busy shopping for a new hat, Salome meets Malin (Saga Sarkola),

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a young woman making her living on the streets. A short while later, in Maria’s absence Salome invites Malin to live in the cult’s mansion after one of her clients abuses her. Upon Marias return, Malin starts to see through the leader’s ruses quickly and inspires Salome to question her leader’s teachings for the very first time. Maria’s Paradise is an effective thriller-drama, that in a powerful and sophisticated way explores the charisma and power some people have over another. It skillfully holds up a mirror to our own times, pointing out how the demagoguery and manipulation is still very much present. - Kinga Binkowska


ATMOSPHERIC + THRILLING + ELEGANT

FRO N T B U R NE R

A teenage girl begins to question the teachings of the religious sect in which she has been raised.

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QUEEN OF HEARTS DRONNINGEN

Director: May el-Toukhy Denmark | 2019 | 127 min Audience Award I Sundance Film Festival Best Narrative Feature I Philadelphia Film Festival Wed February 12 | 8:45 pm | Dave Dunnet

A recent Festival favourite and Denmark’s foreign language Oscar submission, May el-Toukhy’s Queen of Hearts is a powerful and emotionally charged moral tale with a calmly dramatic, uncanny Nordic flair. Anna is a dedicated and successful lawyer working with abuse victims and adolescents in trouble. She lives in a modern, elegant property on the edge of a Danish forest with her husband Peter, and twin daughters. Her harmonious life takes an undisturbed course when troubled Gustav, Peter’s adolescent son from a previous marriage, suddenly moves in with the family and ruins their established bliss. After a rough beginning, Anne warms up to Gustav and they develop a bond. As the connection grows, a veil of uncertainty slowly begins to fall over Anne’s life and

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the mysterious boy becomes an immoral temptation. Suddenly her strong sense of right and wrong disintegrates and she crosses a border with fatal consequences. An intricate character study of an unexpected abuser and the havoc her actions cause, Queen of Hearts is one of the most emotionally charged films seen this year. Empowered by a brilliant and powerful performance by Trine Dyrholm, who won multiple Best Actress Awards at Festivals around the world, the film creates a complex story that is not easily shaken. – Kinga Binkowska


INTENSE + UNCANNY + ENGROSSING

FRO N T B U R NE R

A woman jeopardizes both her career and her family when she seduces her teenage stepson.

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101 | Hi, A.I.

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SC UTR R OE N TKA FEF A I R S -

DOCUMENTARY & FICTION

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HOPE FROZEN Director: Pailin Wedel Thailand | 2019 | 75 min Best International Feature Documentary | Hotdocs Documentary Tue February 11 | 3:15 pm I SilverCity 3

How far would you go to give a child a second chance at life? In 2015, a Thai Buddhist and PhD in laser science lost his two-year-old daughter, Einz, to cancer. Unable to cope with her death, he and his wife made the difficult and almost unfathomable decision to make Einz the youngest person in the world to be cryopreserved, in the hope that she will one day be reborn in a new body. Winner of Best International Documentary at Hot Docs, Hope Frozen chronicles the controversial story of a Thai family that puts love on the line and faith in science. As the doc unfolds with remarkable access, intimacy, and objectivity, it lets the family tell of the death of their two-year-old daughter whose life was tragically short-lived due to an aggressive form of brain cancer. With Einz’s brain stored inside a cryonic tank

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in Arizona, the parents now face negative media attention and criticism from religious and spiritual groups, while their 15-year-old whiz-kid son embarks on a mission to revive Einz in the future. In a story about a technology that is rife with “what-if” scenarios, director Pailin Wedel compassionately and judiciously focuses Hope Frozen on the indisputable love the parents have for their daughter. Fusing delicate and deeply personal interviews with a fascinating exploration of the new technology that’s attempting to preserve the human mind, Hope Frozen is the unimaginable journey of a grieving family holding out hope for what’s to come. – Ravi Srinivasan


EFFECTING + UNTHINKABLE + SPIRITUAL

STO K E

Hope Frozen documents a family’s controversial decision to cryogenically preserve their young daughter in hopes that she will one day live again.

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Western Canada Premiere

SOVEREIGN SOIL Director: David Curtis Canada | 2019 | 91 min Documentary Thu February 13 | 5:30 pm | The Vic Sat February 15 | 12:15 pm I SilverCity 3

Over a century ago, the Klondike gold rush led prospectors to dig deep beneath the Yukon’s permafrost to mine their wealth. Today, in the land of the midnight sun, a new generation of adventurous souls are attempting to disrupt things as little as possible in order to live sustainably in this sub-arctic region. As one of the locals puts it, “Knowing where your food comes from and knowing where your shit goes. If you do those two things, you’ll probably be able to arrange your life properly for the planet.” Living in harmony with the land isn’t a new idea in the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, but currently ninety percent of Dawson City’s food is imported into their isolated community. Following the seasons over the course of a year, Dawson City filmmaker David Curtis

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tracks a group of dedicated individuals’ pursuit of local sustenance. From a mid-December Brussel Sprout harvest in snowy fields to an apple orchard established in 1988, assumptions about where our food comes from and how we consume it are challenged in the face of a climate crisis. The Yukon’s rugged wilderness and pristine beauty is not immune to global forces. Freezing patterns have become erratic, forcing farmers to adapt or succumb to forces of nature beyond their control. Their noble goals are inspiring, but it’s immediately apparent patience and perseverance are essential to produce a viable crop. Highlighting modern agricultural techniques alongside revitalized traditional practices, Sovereign Soil offers concrete solutions to some of our most pressing problems. – Alex Rogalski

P R E SEN T ED BY:


FOOD + ENVIRONMENT + FORTHRIGHT

STO K E

Adventurous souls use modern agricultural techniques alongside revitalized traditional practices to live sustainably in this subarctic region.

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TALKING ABOUT TREES Director: Suhaib Gasmelbari France, Sudan, Chad, Germany, Qatar 2019 | 93 min Best Documentary + Audience Choice Best Doc Awards | Berlin Film Festival Documentary Sat February 8 | 6:30 pm I Capitol 6 Mon February 10 | 3:00 pm I Odeon 5

International award-winning filmmakers, Ibrahim, Suleiman, Manar and Altayeb have not lost any of their passion for film. Since 1989, the regime lead by al-Bashir has forced film culture in Sudan underground and it has often sent young filmmakers into exile or prison. Treading carefully, these passionate men drive an old bus to villages to create pop-up screenings at night where Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times draws a crowd full of laughing children. The four old friends have one dream – to restore a large dilapidated outdoor cinema and bring it back into use. The nightmare would be to draw the ire of the corrupt regime and so they set about their task asking permission every step of the way.

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Beginning with Revolution Cinema, the venue they hope to co-opt provides the first hurdle. The men must allay the

fears of the current owner who too fears the government. Once given permission the men begin the renewal themselves and begin scraping and repainting, taking a survey of what film to screen, and getting a modern projector. This remarkable film illustrates life under a repressive dictator without showing a single frame of the crimes committed against the population. Instead it’s the repercussions that evoke such an unexpected power. The patience of the men as they get sent from a Ministry to National Security to even the Vice Squad before being sent back to National Security drives home their commitment to the essential nature of cinema. – Kathy Kay


SISYPHEAN + GENTLE + AUTHENTIC

STO K E

Four old friends set out to open an outdoor cinema in repressive Sudan, and so begins a delicate dance with the government.

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IT MUST BE HEAVEN Director: Elia Suleiman Palestine, France | 2019 | 101 min FIPRESCI Prize I Cannes Film Festival Sat February 8 | 3:00 pm I Odeon 5 Mon February 10 | 2:45 pm | The Vic

Elia Suleiman, the Palestinian director whose deadpan comedy is often likened to that of the French humorist Jacques Tati, equally deserves comparison to scandalous surrealists such as Luis Buñuel and to a cinematic satirist like Miloš Forman. Suleiman achieved international renown with his feature films Chronicle of a Disappearance (1996; winner of the Best First Film Prize at the Venice Film Festival) and Divine Intervention (2002; winner of the jury prize at Cannes and the International Critics Prize), both set in Israel and the Palestinian territories. These films offer mordant reflections on Israel’s repression of Palestinians, whom Suleiman depicts with unavoidable historical irony, as a wandering people exiled, like the Jews, from their homeland even when they manage to live in it. Suleiman’s latest feature, It Must Be Heaven, a Palme d’Or selection at Cannes and Palestine’s Oscar entry, is no less biting in its satirical

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depiction of Palestinian existence, but this film differs notably from his earlier productions. Although partly set in Suleiman’s native Nazareth, most of the film takes place in Paris and New York, where the character Elia Suleiman, played by the director, unsuccessfully solicits funding for a film and, just as futilely, seeks moral solidarity with the international academic and art worlds. Wherever the director goes, he encounters a seductive blankness or incomprehension— the world, it seems, has become culturally Balkanized and the people in it morally dispossessed, much like the Palestinians themselves. The irony, as he reveals with masterly black humour, lies in the rest of the world’s refusal to recognize its Palestinification. - Lincoln Z. Shlensky


INTERNATIONAL + HUMOROUS + KEATONESQUE

STO K E

An internationally shot, darkly comic investigation of the absurdities of nationalism, normality and identity.

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MY DADS, MY MOMS AND ME Director: Julia Ivanova Canada | 2019 | 85 min Documentary

Wed February 12 | 3:00 pm I Odeon 5 Thu February 13 | 9:00 pm I SilverCity 3

Canada’s legalization of same-sex marriage in 2005 broke through another barrier by ensuring greater equality of rights for all people. Two years after that landmark decision, director Julia Ivanova followed four gay fathers and their newborn children in her documentary Fatherhood Dreams, bringing a focus to the challenges they overcame as living proof of the equality they deserved. Scott connected with a surrogate to have twins Ella and Mac, baby Jack was adopted by Randy and Drew, and Steve fathered and brought up Zea and Jazz in a co-parenting relationship with lesbian mothers Wendy and Cory. A decade later, reminiscent of Michael Apted’s acclaimed 7 Up series, Ivanova returns to the children who are now approaching their adolescent years, giving them and their parents an opportunity to reflect on how they’ve

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grown. Every family she features has unique circumstances and common struggles, but regardless of their composition they all become immediately relatable. Ivanova’s award-winning films often focus on issues of adoption, race and socio-economics that feature a wide range of families, but they always highlight the special bond between parents and their children. Moving between what these queer parents imagined parenthood to be and the current challenges of raising their preteen kids, her most recent film continues to prove that the differences between us are far outweighed by what we have in common. Her talent to draw out honest responses to uncomfortable conversations provides a timely perspective that respectfully captures the highs and lows of family dynamics. – Alex Rogalski

P R E SEN T ED BY:


BONDS + FAMILY + LGBTQ2S+

STO K E

Four gay men who each made the decision to become parents. 10 years later, director Julia Ivanova returns for a follow up.

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Canadian Premiere

THE STREET Director: Zed Nelson UK | 2019 | 94 min Documentary

Wed February 12 | 12:15 pm | The Vic Thu February 13 | 6:30 pm I Capitol 6

As the glinting steel and mirror-glass skyscrapers of London’s financial hub edge ever closer, the area surrounding Hoxton Street, London has been transformed by luxury developments and sky-high property prices. This traditional East London street, less than a mile from the City of London, has become the last bastion of the area’s disadvantaged – a concentration of the aged, poor and dispossessed. Hoxton Street’s close-knit working-class community has absorbed waves of immigrants since the 1950s. But as traditional industry has withered, the latest influx of young urban hipsters followed closely by expensive

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restaurants, digital media start-ups and corporate property developers has brought with it a deepening social and financial divide. Sensing they have been left behind, the street’s ageing white residents lament the loss of their jobs and former ways of life, echoing the 52% who voted to leave the European Union. Set against rapid gentrification, years of austerity and the eruption of Brexit, Zed Nelson’s feature-length debut is a comic, tragic and deeply moving portrait of not just a street, but a nation on the cusp of enormous change. - Jo Duncombe


DETACHED + PERCEPTIVE + COMMUNITY

STO K E

Zed Nelson’s comic, tragic and deeply moving portrait of not just a street in East London, but a nation on the cusp of enormous change.

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A SON

BIK ENEICH: UN FILS Director: Mehdi Barsaoui Tunisia | 2019 | 96 min Best Actor | Venice Film Festival Best Feature Film | Hamburg Film Festival Sat February 8 | 1:00 pm I Capitol 6 Thu February 13 | 6:15 pm I SilverCity 3

The 2011 Tunisian Revolution— the incendiary spark that ignited the pan-Arab popular rebellions known collectively as the “Arab Spring”—culminated in Tunisia in mass protests that led to the ouster of the kleptocratic and authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In his powerful début feature, A Son, director Mehdi Barsaoui implies that the revolution was only a necessary first step in the transformation of Tunisia. The film suggests that the turbulent process of change continues in the present, and that the nation’s transformation is beset by political and social difficulties. Barsaoui’s film is far too nimble however, to become a political tract. Instead, A Son offers viewers a taut, intimate and gorgeously shot drama based on real events whose implication is that in the deep-rooted cultures of North Africa,

the past refuses to simply recede. During a celebratory excursion into the austere Tunisian desert, Meriem (newcomer actress Najla Ben Abdallah), Fares (Sami Bouajila, who received the best actor award in the Horizons section of the Venice Film Festival), and their ten-year-old son Aziz (Youssef Khemiri), are caught in the crossfire of a surprise militant attack. Aziz is seriously wounded and, as his still blood-spattered parents soon learn, requires an urgent liver transplant. This crisis sets in motion a meticulously structured plot in which emotional betrayal and sexual double standards serve as the intimate counterparts to post-revolutionary political inequity and religious tensions in the new Tunisia. Winner of multiple international festival awards, A Son reveals that political change inevitably plays out most profoundly in intimate contexts. - Lincoln Z. Shlensky

P R E SEN T ED BY:

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CLICK HERE for French Translation


INTENSE + COMPLEX + INTIMATE

STO K E

A family weekend in southern Tunisia turns into a nightmare when the son is shot and a tightly held secret reveals itself.

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HAVANA, FROM ON HIGH Director: Pedro Ruiz Cuba, Canada | 2018 | 80 min Documentary

Thu February 13 | 12:15 pm | The Vic Sun February 16 | 3:15 pm I SilverCity 3

Cuba’s capital is one of the world’s most captivating cities. It is a place of extreme contrasts that provides visitors an exciting opportunity to explore its rich cultural, political and architectural history. Yet even though much can be experienced by adventurous travelers, much of Havana remains off limits and behind closed doors. In the 60 years that have passed since the revolution, much of its decaying infrastructure remains frozen in time and affordable housing is at a premium. However with renewed relations with the United States on the horizon and the immense changes that will inevitably follow, this is a critical time for reflection. In Pedro Ruiz’s visually stunning documentary, a few residents who have made their homes in a hidden community high above the streets, observe the life and shoreline

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several stories below and share a unique perspective on the place they call home. Representing a wide range of ages and experiences, these urban dwellers have made their homes out of view in makeshift rooftop terraces and vacant elevator shafts. The freedom that this bird’s eye view of the city gives them lends a philosophical slant to their reflections, but they still can’t escape the gravity of the realities they face in a city where chronic poverty remains a challenge. The golden hues and symphonic soundscape that saturate the film tie together the compelling portraits of some of Havana’s most isolated and resilient inhabitants, resulting in a vivid portrait of a city that remains mysterious and alluring. - Alex Rogalski

P R E SEN T ED BY:


CONTRASTING + SYMPHONIC + AESTHETIC

STO K E

The residents that observe the lively streets of Cuba’s capital several storeys below them share a unique perspective on the place they call home.

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Western Canadian Premiere

HI, A.I.

Director: Isa Willinger Germany | 2019 | 90 min 2019 Winner Best Documentary Fimfestival Max Ophüls Documentary Sun February 9 | 1:00 pm I Capitol 6 Wed February 12 | 3:15 pm I SilverCity 3

Since winning the best docu award at German Filmfestival Max Ophüls, Hi, A.I. has been making waves. All relevant docufestivals have been chasing the movie to share it with their audiences and to initiate debates about its underlying ethical and philosophical question: How are we related as human beings to technology? What if robots become our everyday companions – maybe even love interests?

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German director Isa Willinger is helping us answer those questions. Humanoid robots are the new guys in town as they start to interact with humans they work with at receptions, in shopping malls and as cooks. “Keep your sentences short“ robot designer Matt advises his client, Chuck, when picking up his new robot partner Harmony from the factory.

Or in Japan, when grandma Sakurai gets a nice, little present − Robot Pepper, a cute machine to help her pass the time. Except Pepper seems to have its own agenda. He turns out to be a scallywag and starts to flirt with granny’s daugher-in-law. Here, the questions emerge: What do we want from our future? How can we live together with artificial intelligence? What is it that we are gaining and what will we be losing? Hi, A.I is a highly entertaining and relevant movie about ourselves and modern life. About a future that may look bright and wonderful for some and slightly disturbing for others. – Christophe Thoke


FASCINATING + THOUGHT-PROVOKING + SOCIETY

STO K E

Hi, A.I., a documentary by German Isa Willinger introduces humans and humanoid robots living together.

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BACURAU Directors: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho Brazil | 2019 | 131 min Jury Prize | Cannes Film Festival Wed February 12 | 8:30 pm I Odeon 5

Take the Western and give it a coating of Brazilian eccentricity, topped with a layer of political commentary, and you have an exciting and fresh take on a genre. At first, the film feels a bit like an anthropological study, beginning with a scene in which Teresa (Barbara Colen) is driving into town and comes across empty coffins that have spilled from a truck. In Bacurau for her grandmother’s funeral, it is quickly established that Teresa has come home to a tightly-knit community. As unusual occurrences begin to pop up (a drone shaped like a UFO, the town vanishing from maps), you might be led to think, ah, this is where the film is going, only to have something completely different revealed. Directors Filho and Dornelles lay out the crumbs – though not in a straight line – for us to

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follow, and masterfully create an unusual tension that builds from the very first scene. It soon becomes obvious that the offbeat people of Bacurau will have to stand up to big business, as the film evolves into a political statement about colonialism and foreign influence. The outsiders who threaten the village (led by the expressive Udo Kier) have setbacks that can be described only as just and humorous. Bacurau takes on a metaphorical glow with its ability to turn what seems to be a modern Western into a shot at the practices of global Goliaths who walk into small communities only to leave them devastated. The bodies pile up; perhaps this time it’s for the right reasons. – Kathy Kay


TIMELY + CLEVER + FRESH

STO K E

Take the Western and give it a coating of Brazilian eccentricity, topped with a layer of political commentary, and you have an exciting and fresh take on a genre.

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DESERT ONE Director: Barbara Kopple USA | 2019 | 107 min Documentary

Sun February 9 | 12:15 pm | The Vic

Western Canadian Premiere Two-time Academy Award-winning documentarian Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA and American Dream) is back with Desert One, an eye-opening look at Operation Eagle Claw, the failed rescue mission launched by U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1980 to bring home hostages held captive at the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran. This riveting true story is brought to life by many of the people directly involved in the crisis, but one of the most incredible “gets” for Kopple — a filmmaker known for going deep on her subjects — is an insightful interview with President Carter himself: the past is put immediately into perspective.

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As a result, reflections on this difficult history — including personal stories from those on the other side of it — comprise much of the film’s interest, but archival documentation and striking animation recreating the action provide a sense of how confusing and risky all of this was. A lesser filmmaker would get bogged down by the scenario’s myriad details and moving parts, but Kopple is no novice. With Desert One, she does an outstanding job making sense of the inherently chaotic mission, granting audiences unprecedented insight and access to information that, until now, has not been revealed to the public. - Jake Howell


RIVETING + EYE-OPENING + HISTORICAL

STO K E

Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple’s riveting study of the failed rescue mission to bring home hostages held at the American Embassy in Tehran.

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Western Canadian Premiere

MR. TOILET: THE WORLD’S #2 MAN Director: Lily Zepeda USA | 2019 | 87 min Student Choice Award | Hot Docs Documentary Sat February 8 | 8:30 pm I Odeon 5 Tue February 11 | 6:15 pm I SilverCity 3

You know what’s crappy? How a lack of sanitation and access to toilets affects billions of people around the world. Open defecation isn’t just gross and undignified — it’s a legitimate public health crisis. Plunge into the life of Jack Sim, the self-proclaimed Mr. Toilet. Sim is, by all accounts, an unusual person. His demeanor is playful and his antics are zany, which is probably a healthy attitude when you consider his life’s work: Ensuring people around the world have a place to poo in peace. In this hilariously cheeky documentary, director Lily Zepeda follows Sim on his work at the World Toilet Organization, which he founded, and Sim’s efforts to take

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on the global issue of open defecation. Ever hear of the United Nations’ World Toilet Day? Sim started it! It’s hard to believe, we know, but a movie about a real-life “su-poo-hero” isn’t all sunshine and roses. The issues (tissues?) surrounding global sanitation has Sim working harder than ever, and as his obsession intensifies, headstrong ambition has Sim’s family life in flux. Flush with insight on a timely and relevant issue, Mr. Toilet is equal parts gut-busting non-fiction and a call to action for leaders everywhere to, well, give a shit. Just the same, you’ll assuredly think twice about your toilet — a household staple many of us in the Global North take for granted. – Jake Howell


CHEEKY + INSIGHTFUL + RELEVANT

STO K E

A lack of sanitation and access to toilets affects billions of people around the world. Enter Jack Sim, dedicated to ensuring every human has a place to poo in peace.

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THE BOOKSELLERS Director: D.W. Young USA | 2019 | 99 min Documentary

Sat February 8 | 12:15 pm | The Vic Thu February 13 | 5:30 pm | Parkside

Some of the most fascinating documentaries study subcultures within subcultures. Delving into the quirky community of rare and antiquarian booksellers in New York City — there are literally dozens of them! — D.W. Young’s refreshingly funny documentary provides a lighthearted (and often thoughtful) portrayal of the eccentric personalities who keep the scene alive. Did we say eccentric? It might be a prerequisite for anyone interested in getting into the business, which, like many industries, has undergone a tremendous shift in the age of digital transformation (in other words, buying books off Amazon). For instance: where’s the thrill of the hunt — the joy of a precious find — when someone can order a first edition with a couple of clicks on the internet?

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As much as it looks forward to the future of the business — and the up-and-coming players who will drive it — the documentary doesn’t deny us the pleasures of the past, including some of the trade’s most prized collections. Books bound in human skin? Why not? Sure, it might be concerned with the dustiest and the mustiest of tomes, but The Booksellers is brought to life by humourous interviews (including one with Fran Lebowitz) and an array of genuine oddities that make for engrossing — perhaps even “page-turning” — non-fiction. - Jake Howell


FASCINATING + PAGE-TURNING + ECCENTRIC

STO KE

Delving into the quirky community of rare and antiquarian booksellers in New York City and the eccentric personalities that keep the scene alive.

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British Columbia Premiere

DENMARK

Director: Adrian Shergold UK (Wales) | 2019 | 101 min Wed February 12 | 7:45 pm | The Vic Sat February 15 | 5:30 pm | The Vic

Herb can fix almost anything: broken toasters, mangled clocks and leaky dishwashers. You name it, he’s mended it. Living in Wales, in a rainy town stripped of hope by austerity and poverty, Herb is trapped in an endless cycle of broken things. But unlike his neighbours’ dodgy appliances, Herb can’t fix his own life. He has lost his welfare, he can barely afford to send his son a birthday card and a gang of local youths has just stolen his only pair of shoes. It’s no way to live and Herb knows it. Based on an original screenplay by Jeff Murphy (Hinterland), the film is directed by Adrian Shergold (Funny Cow) and stars Rafe Spall (The Big Short) as the film’s unlikely hero. Spall imbues Herb with great empathy and charm in this timeless portrait of a struggling everyman who just wants to get things right.

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When Herb learns from a TV news report that Danish prisoners have it way better than he does - a job, healthcare, the quiet of the countryside, even an HD-TV - he has an unconventional idea. Fueled on by the return of an old school friend who can’t believe he has never left Wales, Herb decides to take his chances armed with only a pair of his dead father’s shoes... and a BB gun. Bidding farewell to his dingy flat, Herb smuggles himself to Denmark. Landing in a sleepy port, his dramatic plans come unstuck when he meets a friendly local barmaid and a stray dog that won’t leave his side. Surrounded by characters who inexplicably care for his well-being, Herb discovers that there might, in fact, be more to life than the Danish prison system…! Denmark is a heart-warming comedy about a down-on-his-luck guy, who finds hope taking a chance somewhere new. - Jo Duncombe


BITTERSWEET + CHARMING + INNOVATIVE

STO KE

Herb lands in Denmark with an unconventional plan to live a more comfortable life – in prison!

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British Columbia Premiere

KIFARU

Director: David Hambridge USA | 2019 | 81 min Grand Jury Prize + Feature Documentary Slamdance Film Festival Documentary Sat February 8 | 5:30 pm | The Vic Sun February 9 | 3:15 pm I SilverCity 3

Hearts were heavy on March 19th, 2018, when Sudan, the last known male northern white rhinoceros, was euthanized at the age of 45. Sudan’s health complications — and general weakness — made it too difficult for him to carry on, and rangers at Central Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where this urgent documentary was filmed, were faced with no other choice. Sadly, it’s no mystery why there are but two (known) northern white rhinoceroses left in the world: their horns, valued at exorbitant prices on black and legal markets, have been highly sought after by poachers, making protection of these gentle giants a 24/7 job. As one Ol Pejeta ranger says in the film, “extinction is the definition of human extremes of greed.”

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Ol Pejeta’s caretakers, who filmmaker David Hambridge followed alongside for several years, are anything but greedy. Indeed, their selfless dedication to their work is a reminder that humans are inherently good, and have the capacity to accomplish incredible feats. Feats like the successful production of a viable rhino embryo, providing scientists with a glimmer of hope for the future of the species. Though Sudan is gone, Kifaru’s gorgeous cinematography captures a stunning, stirring look at the end of his life, immortalizing him — and stories like his — forever. While heartbreaking to watch, it’s vital that we do. - Jake Howell


HEARTBREAKING + VITAL + URGENT

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Sudan, the last male northern white rhino in existence explored through the eyes of Sudan’s three primary caregivers.

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Canadian Premiere

#FEMALE PLEASURE Director: Barbara Miller Switzerland | 2018 | 101 min Directing Award Locarno International Film Festival Documentary Fri February 14 | 6:15 pm I SilverCity 3

In this timely and powerful documentary, Swiss writer/ director Barbara Miller introduces us to five of the most passionate and eloquent women from around the world you’ll ever meet. They are fighting to liberate female sexuality from extreme religious and cultural constraints and are doing the tough work of changing culturally entrenched, deadly attitudes and beliefs about women and girls. We meet a Japanese manga artist persecuted for her vagina imagery, a Hasidic woman hounded for breaking with the faith, a Somali émigré fighting against female genital mutilation, a German nun struggling to get the attention of Pope Francis with her story of rape by a priest within Vatican city and an Indian sex education publisher defying daily street harassment and “honour killing” by championing female sexual pleasure online.

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#FemalePleasure shows the universal mechanisms at work that determine the position of women up to today, spanning cultures, religions and continents. Hasidic Jew, Muslim, Shinto Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu: the women come from different religious backgrounds but their individual stories resonate in every corner of society. Outrageous and courageous, #FemalePleasure will get under your skin with the strength and positive energy brought by the extraordinary protagonists. It brings a universal and oh so important message. Don’t worry, you won’t necessarily need a vagina to enjoy it. -Kinga Binkowska


UNIVERSAL + LIBERATING + COURAGEOUS

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Five cultures, five women, one story, on a journey to discover the remaining obstacles that stand in the way of female sexuality in the 21st century.

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GOLDA

Director: Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir, Shani Rozanes Israel, Germany | 2019 | 88 min Documentary Sat February 15 | 3:15 pm I SilverCity 3

Shortly before her passing, Golda Meir was interviewed for Israeli television. After shooting ended, the cameras kept rolling, recording an intimate talk with the first and only woman to ever rule Israel. As she lit one cigarette after the other, Golda spoke freely, pleading her case for her term as Prime Minister – five turbulent years that secured her place in history, albeit at a high personal cost. While fondly regarded in America, her legacy in Israel carries much more baggage: the settler movement and the Yom Yippur War were during Meir’s time as PM and she has become symbolic of the difficulties Israel faces today. By building new Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Meir was one of the politicians who made it practically impossible for a two-state solution to be found and she refused peace talks with Egypt’s Anwar Sadat in 1971. The directors, Bornstein, Nir

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and Rozanes leave the viewer to make their own judgement by presenting two opposing views of Golda’s time in office. Zivi Zamir, ex-head of Mossad, represents the pro Meir side while peace activist Uri Avneri takes on the very negative side of the debate. Based on these never-before seen materials, testimonies of supporters and opponents and rare archival footage, Golda tells the story of Meir’s dramatic premiership – from her surprising rise to power and iconic international stature as “queen of the Jewish people”, to her tragic and lonely demise. Golda Meir was a strong woman in a man’s world dominating all with a long-time strategy which seemed to rely on continuous war.  - Kathy Kay


PERTINENT + REVEALING + FRANK

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Golda Meir was interviewed for Israeli television. After shooting ended, the cameras kept rolling, recording an intimate talk.

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THIS IS NOT A MOVIE Director: Yung Chang Canada | 2019 | 106 min Documentary

Sun | February 9 | 3:00 pm I Odeon 5

For more than 40 years, British journalist Robert Fisk has reported on some of the most violent conflicts in the world. Director Yung Chang (Up the Yangtze) captures Fisk on his travels through landscapes devastated by war. The process of translating raw experience into incisive and passionate dispatches requires the determination to see things first-hand and the tenacity to say what others won’t. Along the way in his relentless pursuit of the facts, Fisk has attracted his share of controversy. But in spite of the danger, he continues to cover stories as they unfold, talking directly to the people involved. This is Not a Movie also deals with Fisk’s reaction to The Independent stopping its print edition and going digital in 2016. Despite a fondness for seeing the

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printed word, for Fisk it’s more important that when he fires off reports that his articles are published – they’re read online by millions around the world within hours. He is in a privileged position, as the digital move hasn’t affected his work life. In an era of fake news, when journalists are dubbed “the enemies of the people,” Fisk’s resolve to document reality has become an obsessive battle to speak the truth. He has come to understand that neutrality is in the eye of the beholder. - Kathy Kay

P R E SEN T ED BY:


FACTUAL + CHALLENGING + ENERGETIC

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The ground-breaking and influential reporting of legendary foreign correspondent and author Robert Fisk.          

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129 | The Wild Goose Lake

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LM YIS TT E R I E S A N D T H R I L L E R S

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Western Canadian Premiere

CORPUS CHRISTI Director: Jan Komasa Poland, France | 2019 | 116 min Best Film Award | Venice Film Festival Oscar® Nominee - Best International Feature Film Sat February 8 | 12:15 pm I SilverCity 3 Mon February 10 | 9:00 pm I Capitol 6

Twenty-something Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia) has more past than he does future. He lives in a juvenile detention centre, under constant pressure and weighed down by the threat of his crimes returning to confront him. His only real friend is a fierce and open-minded priest whose footsteps he would follow in – if he could. When Daniel is sent to work in a carpenter shop in a small town he instead runs away. Finding a priest’s robes, who no longer has need of them, he dons the garb and sets up in the church. Daniel becomes a quick study, looking up online the rituals of the mass. But this is no ordinary place where Daniel has landed. The town has been wounded deeply by a tragic

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car crash that killed many of the town’s children. As Daniel takes over the church with impassioned, though unusual sermons, he becomes an important member of the community and integral to the town’s healing. Corpus Christi is a study of faith, vocation and redemption. As the world is consumed by the subject of privilege (whether aristocratic or meritocratic) it’s clear that some have an advantaged start in life. Corpus Christi asks, “can someone escape their beginnings if given the right opportunities?”


DISQUIETING + PROVOCATIVE + INTELLIGENT

LI T

Twenty-something Daniel has more past than future. He lives in a juvenile detention centre, under constant pressure. His only real friend is a fierce and openminded priest whose footsteps he would follow in – if he could.

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SHELLA RECORD – A REGGAE MYSTERY Director: Chris Flanagan Canada | 2019 | 87 min Documentary Mon February 10 | 5:30 pm | The Vic

Western Canadian to find those who can recall any Premiere details that might lead him to his

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For the past decade, music enthusiast and visual artist Chris Flanagan has been obsessed with a 10-cent record he purchased in a thrift store. As Flanagan puts it, “Imagine finding a Nina Simone, Billie Holiday or Amy Winehouse but you’re the only one who’s ever heard her”. He is consumed by a desire to understand how such a talent could remain virtually anonymous. With dogged determination and nothing more than a vintage vinyl record and reluctant leads, the reggae single Jamaican Fruit of African Roots sends him on a fascinating journey from a hairdressing salon in Toronto to legendary recording studios in Kingston, Jamaica and across America searching for the elusive singer with an unforgettable voice. The recording’s rarity and four decades since it was pressed puts him in a race against time

next clue. With help from private investigators, psychics and a ghost hunter, the mystery continues to unfold along with Jamaica’s musical legacy. The eclectic road trip is enhanced by integrating his own artistic practice of creating miniature sets and sculptures that transform into vivid reenactments of his exploits. Reminiscent of the Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugarman, Shella Record is a deep dive into music history and the creative process, featuring some of reggae’s greatest hitmakers, including Earl “Chinna” Smith and Bunny “Striker” Lee. Flanagan’s playful approach to DIY filmmaking and a fantastic soundtrack makes his enthusiasm for his subject matter infectious. – Alex Rogalski

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PLAYFUL + OBSESSION + POP CULTURE

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A reggae single sends visual artist Chris Flanagan on a fascinating journey in search of an unforgettable voice.

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THE VAST OF NIGHT Director: Andrew Patterson USA | 2019 | 89 min

Sat February 8 I 10:30 pm I Odeon 5

Western Canadian Premiere You are entering a realm between clandestine and forgotten. A slipstream caught between channels. The secret museum of mankind. The private library of shadows. All taking place on a stage forged from mystery and found only on a frequency caught between logic and myth. You are entering Paradox Theatre. Tonight’s episode: “The Vast of Night.” Calling all fans of the Twilight Zone: This one’s for you. Rod Serling himself would be proud of Andrew Patterson’s eerie science fiction mystery, which follows radio host Everett (Jake Horowitz) and trusty switchboard operator Fay (Sierra McCormick) during the course of one

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night in 1950s New Mexico. When the pair come across a bizarre, unknown frequency, they won’t sleep until they find its source. Period-perfect production design elevates this independent debut feature that made waves at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival, adding to The Vast of Night’s incredible achievements: how can something shot on a shoestring microbudget be so confident, so cinematically exciting, so risky in its narrative? Like our intrepid protagonists, perhaps you’ll just have to see for yourself.- Jake Howell


MYSTERIOUS + EERIE + ENGROSSING

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A radio host and switchboard operator come across a bizarre, unknown frequency.

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THE WILD GOOSE LAKE NAN FANG CHE ZHAN DE JU HUI Director: Diao Yi’nan China | 2019 | 113 min Wed February 12 | 9:00 pm I Capitol 6 Thu February 13 | 8:00 pm | Parkside

World Premiering in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, Chinese director Diao Yi’nan returns, following his 2014 breakthrough neo-noir, Black Coal Thin Ice (which won the coveted Golden Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival) with a highly stylized, rain-drenched and neon-tinged gangster thriller, The Wild Goose Lake. Set in the seedy underbelly of densely populated Wuhan, Yi’nan’s latest crime noir follows the desperate lives of small-time mob boss Zhou Zenong and Liu Aiai, a mysterious prostitute hiding out in this sordid resort town overrun by criminals and corrupt cops. Following a messy and very violent showdown with rival gangsters, Zhou struggles to preserve his life after he mistakenly kills a cop and a dead-or-alive reward is put on his head.

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Yi’nan’s latest is mysterious, moody and ambitious in its brillant examination of China’s glaring economic disparities which undoubtedly breed corruption and desperation within its confines. Well-crafted and sometimes cloudy like the waters crashing up against the shores of its grimy setting, Diao Yi’nan’s fugitive thriller is a formalist’s dream featuring a series of elegant yet gritty set pieces and violent shocks—including a remarkable chase sequence on a stolen motorbike—while simultaneously establishing a compelling romance between Zhou and a mysterious young woman who’s out to either help or betray him. The Wild Goose Lake is a film that doesn’t hit you like a tidal wave as much as it steadily washes over you, leaving in its wake a series of memorable images and a dark web of violence and fatality. - Ravi Srinivasan


RAVISHING + GRITTY + INVENTIVE

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Diao Yi’nan’s latest ‘crime noir’ is a highly stylized, rain-drenched, neon-tinged gangster thriller.

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JALLIKATTU Director: Lijo Jose Pellissery India | 2019 | 95 min Mon February 10 | 8:00 pm | Parkside Sat February 14 | 9:00 pm I SilverCity 3

Hailed “the JAWS of India” and coming off sold-out screenings at The Toronto and London International Film Festivals, Lijo Jose Pelissery’s Jallikattu is a thrilling, rollercoaster ride with a distinct examination of the darkness within the human heart while being a coming-out party for a bold new voice in Malayalam cinema. Set in the remote village of Pellissery’s home state of Kerala, India where its inhabitants find themselves increasingly addicted to red meat, a butcher’s buffalo breaks free from a bootleg slaughterhouse, thwarting its potential executioners and terrorizing a neighbourhood as it seeks freedom. A group of angry men assemble in teams based on allegiances, lust, greed and grudges in an attempt to hunt and kill the animal but it proves to be resilient and elusive.

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Based on a story by S. Hareesh, Jallikattu is an adrenaline-inducing, menacing ride that blurs the boundaries between thriller and horror as well as man and beast. The work of Cinematographer Girish Gangadharan stands out with his use of salacious imagery and artful tableau that creeps through the torch-lit darkness illuminating this haunting Indian jungle while flames give light to the evil portrayed within this timely parable. Its title references a traditional event in which individuals and community members attempt to wrangle a bull and thus the film examines a community in the chaos that breeds anarchy. Expertly shot and moving at a frantic pace, Jallikattu is an exhilarating, brutal yet compelling action/thriller that is like no other you’ve ever experienced. - Ravi Srinivasan


SPECTACULAR + THRILLING + WILD

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Lijo Jose Pelissery’s Jallikattu is a thrilling rollercoaster ride and a coming-out party for a bold new voice in Malayalam cinema.

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World Premiere

WHEELER’S EVEREST Director: Martin de Valk Canada | 2019 | 79 min Documentary Tue February 11 | 6:00 pm I Odeon 5

Mount Everest remains a revered mountain peak for hundreds of climbers looking to reach its summit. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s historic climb in 1953 is well documented but their pioneering predecessors who mapped the Himalayan pass deserve much credit for later accomplishments. Mountaineer George Mallory’s British expedition in the early 1920s included a very influential (but little known) Canadian. Oliver Wheeler, a surveyor from British Columbia whose father was a founder of the Alpine Club of Canada, was a WW1 veteran who accepted the expedition’s challenge and became a critical member of Mallory’s team. His knowledge of a photo-surveying technique that was developed in Canada was a key skill that allowed him to see a possible path to Everest’s peak.

Now drawing inspiration from his book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest, Canadian anthropologist and National Geographic explorer in-residence Wade Davis passionately retraces Wheeler’s steps through Europe’s historic battlefields, across India to the mountains of Nepal. Joined by Wheeler’s granddaughter and great grandson, the trio embark upon a fascinating journey nearly a century after Wheeler’s first trek to gain a better understanding of those early expeditions and what drove these war veterans to venture into the unknown. Along the way they gain insight into the local culture, geography and history that made an indelible impact on their ancestor. Filled with awe-inspiring vistas, and dramatic reenactments inspired by archival letters and journals, Wheeler’s Everest pays tribute to a visionary Canadian’s legacy that was almost lost to time. – Alex Rogalski

P R E SEN T ED BY:

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Director expected to attend


STUNNING + PASSIONATE + DRAMATIC

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Canadian anthropologist Wade Davis retraces the steps of Oliver Wheeler, a Canadian who played a pivotal role in George Mallory’s British Expeditions to Mount Everest in 1921.

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WHILE AT WAR Director: Alejandro Amenábar Spain, Argentina | 2019 | 107 min Sun February 9 | 9:00 pm I Capitol 6

The acclaimed writer-director Alejandro Amenábar (The Others) brings to screen a riveting drama tracking the first months of the Spanish Civil War and the country’s slide into nearly four decades of fascism under dictator Francisco Franco. Salamanca, July 1936. Revered author Miguel de Unamuno decides to support the military rebellion hoping it will resolve the prevailing chaos in Spain. That results in the Government of the Second Spanish Republic immediately removing him from the position of rector at the University of Salamanca. Meanwhile, Nationalists succeed in taking control of Salamanca and General Francisco Franco adds his troops to the uprising, secretly aspiring to take command of the war. As the conflict turns out to be bloody and Unamuno’s colleagues are

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incarcerated, the author starts to question his initial stance. When Franco transfers his headquarters to Salamanca, Unamuno visits him, determined to request clemency. Alejandro Amenábar is back to directing in Spanish for the first time since his beloved Oscarwinning The Sea Inside. With While at War he takes an in-depth look at the complex historical events that are typically glossed over. As a result the celebrated director delivers a fascinating depiction of General Francisco Franco (Santi Prego) as a man whose leadership was far from predestined. While at War is a story about the past which urgently questions our present day and which is destined to be one of the key films of this year. - Dan Russek

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AMBITIOUS + ENTHRALLING + WELL-CRAFTED

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A riveting chamber epic set in the first months of the Spanish Civil War questions celebrated Spanish Writer Miguel da Unamuno’s complacency and how easily it turned to complicity.

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149 | Sorry We Missed You

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FM AOI N SMT R EOA M F I L M S

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THE TRAITOR Director: Marco Bellocchio Italy | 2019 | 145 min Best Director + Best Original Score Golden Globes, Italy Thu February 13 | 8:30 pm I Odeon 5

The Traitor profiles real-life mafia boss turned stool pigeon Tommaso Buscetta whose exposé of his colleagues changed the course of the mafia. In the early 1980s, an all-out war rages between Sicilian mafia bosses. Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino), a made-man, flees to hide out in Brazil. Back home in Italy, scores are being settled, and Buscetta’s allies are killed off one after another. Arrested and then extradited by the Brazilian police back to Italy, Buscetta makes a decision that will change the entire story of the Mafia: He decides to meet with Judge Falcone and betray the eternal vow he made to the Cosa Nostra. The films of Italian director Marco Bellocchio have explored the social and political contradictions of his country.

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His prolific 50-year career has been closely focused on the complexities of Italian history. In The Traitor he chooses not to glorify the ‘men of honor’ and instead mixes brutal violence with vibrant locations and dark humour to provide a visual masterpiece with an appreciable sense of the era. The Traitor blends archival footage (of Falcone’s tragic death) alongside entertaining court scenes that revel in the thrust and parry of the debate and the arrogance of the gangsters when it seemed impossible to bring them to justice. In the end there is a message of hope “the mafia is not invincible; it had a beginning and will have an end. - Randy Waldie

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HISTORICAL + VIOLENT + DARK HUMOUR

FO MO

Palme d’Or nominee A Traitor profiles real-life mafia boss turned stool pigeon Tommaso Buscetta.

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PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE PORTRAIT DE LA JEUNE FILLE EN FEU

Director: Céline Sciamma France | 2019 | 120 min Best Screenplay + Queer Palm | Cannes Film Festival Wed February 12 | 6:00 pm | Dave Dunnet Sun February 16 | 12:15 pm I SilverCity 3

With Portrait of a Lady on Fire the acclaimed French director Céline Sciamma takes cinematic magnetism to new heights, specifically to a cliffside manor on the coast of Brittany, France in 1760. Marianne, a painter, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young lady who has just left the convent. Héloïse is not thrilled with the idea of an arranged marriage, hence Marianne is asked to paint her without her knowing. Using the pretense of keeping the beautiful bride-to-be company, the artist observes her by day and secretly paints her at night. Intimacy and attraction sizzle between the two women as they share Héloïse’s last moments of freedom,

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all whilst Marianne paints the portrait that will end it all. Winning Best Feature award at over a dozen film Festivals, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a love story of burning intensity that brilliantly captures the collaboration of creator and muse through its gaze and feelings born out of the act of looking that goes beyond painterly beauty. There is no bigger cliché to say but this film IS a must see. - Kinga Binkowska

P R E SEN T ED BY:


MYSTERIOUS + ALLURING + SUBLIME

FO MO

On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman.

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LA BELLE ÉPOQUE Director: Nicolas Bedas France | 2019 | 115 min Director to Watch | Palm Springs International Film Festival Thu February 13 | 6:00 pm | Dave Dunnet

French filmmakers can create such charming films. La Belle Époque follows Victor (Daniel Auteuil), a man stuck in the past, who squabbles incessantly with his unhappy wife Marianne (Fanny Ardant). Victor complains about technology, while Marianne happily consumes it all. Eventually Marianne, who begins to find Victor insufferably boring, embarks on an affair and throws him out on the street. Tired of the present, Victor takes his son up on the offer to try Time Travelers, a company that specializes in creating painstaking reenactments of whatever time in history a client wants to conjure.

Victor chooses the day in 1974 when he first met Marianne in a Lyon café. As Victor settles into the re-creation of his past, he begins to flirt but soon falls deeply for the young woman playing Marianne, an actress dabbling in a relationship with the head of the company. Writer/director Bedos proves that nostalgia, the idealization of memory, can be seductive, but the film also speaks to the dangers of living in the past. The execution of La Belle Époque is magical and showcases two wonderful French actors. There is so much chemistry! And so much sparkling wit! - Kathy Kay

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CLICK HERE for French Translation


NOSTALGIC + ROMANTIC + DELIGHTFUL

FO MO

After his wife throws him out, a cartoonist takes his son up on the offer to try Time Travelers, a company specializing in reenactments of any time in history.

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Western Canadian Premiere

HEROIC LOSERS LA ODISEA DE LOS GILES

Director: Sebastian Borensztein Argentina | 2019 | 117 min Sun February 9 | 8:30 pm I Odeon 5 Sun February 16 | 2:45 pm | The Vic

It is the winter of 2001. Fermin Pergassi (the always reliable Ricardo Darín), owner of a gas station in a small town in the Argentine pampa, comes up with the idea of buying an abandoned granary in the outskirts of town and establish an agricultural cooperative. Along with his friend Antonio, he convinces a motley crew of local friends and neighbours—from two slightly hapless mechanics, to the down-and-out farmer, to the big local entrepreneur, owner of a small transportation company—to invest in the venture. They manage to raise the 150,000 dollars ((in cash) out of their life savings, and, at the suggestion of the bank manager, Fermin opens an account. Just a few days later, the worst economic crisis in Argentina’s history happens. The government goes broke and freezes all bank accounts, to the shock of Fermin and his partners. By sheer accident, he learns that their hard-earned cash didn’t

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just disappear in the bureaucratic maze and the fog of economic ruin: it was withdrawn by Manzi, the well-connected lawyer and power broker, in cahoots with the bank manager. Heroic Losers is a social dramedy that tells the story of how the swindled community members, the giles (Argentine slang for “fools”) will plot to get their money back. Sebastian Borensztein, director of the acclaimed Chinese Take-Away (Un cuento chino, 2011), delivers another entertaining, endearing, slighlty silly, film for our times. Heroic Losers—a tale of loss, recovery and justice—is the right movie for an age of job insecurity, financial scandals and the erosion of community ties. Its giles are not so foolish after all. – Dan Russek

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FUNNY + SHREWD + NIMBLE

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Heroic Losers is a heist drama-comedy that plays on the most basic human instinct: getting back what’s yours.

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BC Premiere

MATTHIAS & MAXIME MATTHIAS ET MAXIME Director: Xavier Dolan Canda | 2019 | 119 min Sun February 9 | 7:45 pm | The Vic

Long-time friends get together for a cottage weekend with friends – it’s a going-away party for one of them, who’s headed to Australia. There’s laughter, drinking, fun. Until the sister of one of the men, a budding filmmaker, convinces two young men to kiss for the camera. The simple kiss will have unexpected consequences for Matthias, a young lawyer, and his childhood friend Maxime, a waiter in a downtown bar. An official selection at Cannes that was also screened at several international festivals, the latest film by Xavier Dolan (Mommy) ponders masculinity and the maternal relationship while giving several of the actors/friends in the cast some particularly juicy parts. Gabriel d’Almeida Freitas, Pier-Luc Funk, Catherine Brunet and, of course, Anne Dorval, bring each moment of this contemporary, touching, stylized drama vividly to life.- François Lemieux

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Des amis de longue date se retrouvent lors d’un séjour au chalet entre amis pour marquer le départ de l’un d’eux pour L’Australie. On rit, on boit, on s’amuse. Jusqu’à ce que la sœur de l’un d’entre eux, apprentie réalisatrice, convainc deux de s’embrasser devant la caméra. Un baiser anodin qui aura pourtant des conséquences inattendues pour Matthias, un jeune avocat, et son ami d’enfance Maxime, serveur dans un bar du centre-ville. Présenté en sélection officielle à Cannes et dans plusieurs festivals internationaux, le plus récent film de Xavier Dolan (Mommy) réfléchit à la masculinité et au rapport à la mère en offrant à nombre de ses amis acteurs des rôles à leur (dé)mesure. Gabriel d’Almeida Freitas, Pier-Luc Funk, Catherine Brunet et, bien sûr, Anne Dorval, habitent chaque instant de ce drame contemporain, émouvant et stylisé.


TENDER + IDENTITY + MAGNETIC

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Long-time friends get together for a going-away party. There’s laughter and fun until a budding filmmaker, convinces two men to kiss for the camera.

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SORRY WE MISSED YOU Director: Ken Loach UK | 2019 | 101 min Audience Award Winner San Sebastian Film Festival

Sat February 8 | 9:00 pm I SilverCity 3 Sun February 9 | 6:00 pm I Odeon 5

Ken Loach’s latest offering since the Palme D’Or winning I, Daniel Blake (2016), Sorry We Missed You is another rally-cry of film about the every-day lives of working people, suffering at the hands of the global gig-economy. Though the film – typical of Loach - depicts a working class family from England, the themes of workers’ rights and the inhumane demands of global corporations are, of course, strikingly universal. The film’s title, Sorry We Missed You, refers to the friendly note often left by drivers who had no luck personally delivering your parcel for that vital next day delivery. What Loach reveals is the excruciating pressure that drivers face to deliver hundreds of parcels on a daily basis on an impossible schedule. When father-of-two Ricky decides to take a loan to rent a van and become a delivery driver for PDF (Parcels Delivered

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Fast) - a company that works entirely with independent contractors - merciless CEO Maloney (Ross Brewster) convinces Ricky that he can finally be his own boss. The reality - a relentless schedule dictated and monitored by ‘efficiency boosting’ GPS technology - renders Ricky exhausted. His wife, Abby (Debbie Honeywood), a homecare nurse who sold her car to support Ricky’s van purchase, is no better off. She now has to travel to all her appointments by bus, meaning her time with the children is ruthlessly cut short. Together, the family struggles to hold each other afloat. Loach’s characters, written by long-time collaborator Paul Laverty, are depicted with heart-wrenching realness by a dynamic ensemble cast, but newcomer Katie Proctor, who portrays Ricky’s 11-year-old daughter Liza Jane, really stands out as a new talent to watch. – Jo Duncombe


INSIGHTFUL + SOCIAL REALISM + HEARTFELT

F OM O

Depicts a young family struggle to hold it all together as father-of-two Ricky battles to keep up with the excruciating demands of his new courier job.

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165 | Open For Submissions

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CP A OC I FAI C SR I MTC E N T R I C

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TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa Japan, Uzbekistan, Qatar | 2019 | 120 min Tue February 11 | 9:00 pm I Capitol 6

To the Ends of the Earth is the return of Japanese master of suspense Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Using a brilliant shift in tone from his usual fare he chronicles the misadventures of a Japanese TV host compiling travelogue video journals on assignment in Uzbekistan. With a stunning and assured performance by pop-star, Atsuko Maeda, To the Ends of the Earth offers a stirring and darkly humorous examination of culture class in a classic fish-out-of-water tale with a modern twist. Yoko, a cautious, introverted, and determined host of a popular TV travel show is full of charisma and game-for-anything attitude. Gallivanting through the gorgeous and unknown areas of the fabled Silk Road she’s often forgotten or ignored by the small crew she’s on the road with. Soon everything goes wrong. As the programme runs dry on ideas, she tries

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to forge her own connections to Uzbekistan and soon her cultural assumptions knock her off course. Frustrated by the failed filming, she decides to set aside her host duties and take a stroll on her own. Lost in the streets of a foreign city, she finds herself adrift and alone, confronting her fears and hidden aspirations. Although it’s a departure from his earlier work, To the Ends of the Earth is a journey into the unknown with the promise of self-discovery. At times laugh-out-loud hilarious when calling attention to cultural insecurities and miscues, Kurosawa proves with charm and ingenuity that he’s one of the most observant and forward-thinking filmmakers working today. - Ravi Srinivasan

P R E SEN T ED BY:


JOURNEY + CLASH + DISCOVERY

COA ST

A hidden gem at festivals around the world in 2019, To the Ends of the Earth follows a Japanese TV host on her journey to Uzbekistan in this humorous exploration.

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Western Canadian Premiere

HEARTS AND BONES Director: Ben Lawrence Australia | 2019 | 111 min

Mon February 10 | 7:45 pm | The Vic Tue February 11 | 6:30 pm I Capitol 6

Australian filmmaker Ben Lawrence’s fiction feature debut brings a poignant and morally complex story that tackles an expansive and urgent subject - the treatment of refugees around the globe, and the way the world processes the traumas that lead to such urgent, widespread immigration. War photographer Daniel Fisher (Hugo Weaving) has returned home from his latest overseas assignment to the news of his wife’s pregnancy. Determined not to let fatherhood alter his way of life, he begins preparations for an upcoming exhibition and his next job. However, as the birth of his child draws near he struggles to keep his rising anxiety hidden. Meanwhile, South Sudanese refugee Sebastian Aman (Andrew Luri) has created a safe life in Australia with his wife and child. His peaceful life is disturbed when Daniel’s exhibition

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threatens to display photographs of a massacre that occurred in Sebastian’s home village 15 years earlier. When Sebastian approaches Daniel with an appeal to not display any images of the massacre, an unlikely friendship develops between the two men that challenges Daniel’s creative control and unearths disturbing details surrounding Sebastian’s past. Hearts and Bones, elevated by an achingly vulnerable performance of Australian’s national treasure, Hugo Weaving, and a stirring debut of Sudanese-Australian truck driver-turned-actor Andrew Luri, is so much more than an affecting drama. It is ultimately a beautiful story about reconciliation, that also delivers a vision of fraternity that’s altogether optimistic. It is poetic and powerful experience. - Kinga Binkowska

P R E SEN T ED BY:


PROMPT + HOPEFUL + POWERFUL

COA ST

A war photographer (Hugo Weaving) and a refugee (Andrew Luri) discover a photograph that threatens to destroy them both.

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World Premiere

EDDY’S KINGDOM Director: Greg Compton Canada | 2019 | 90 min Documentary Tue February 11 | 2:45 pm | The Vic Thu February 13 | 6:00 pm I Odeon 5

region and Haymour’s proposal encountered stiff resistance. Eddy Haymour has been called a dreamer, a business mogul, and a madman. As an immigrant to Canada from Lebanon in 1955, he started with very little except an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to work hard. After selling his share in a successful chain of barbershops in Edmonton, his big ideas led to him buying Rattlesnake Island in 1971, a significant landmark in Lake Okanagan close to Peachland. If Eddy’s plans had come to fruition, the island would have been transformed into a middle-eastern themed amusement park complete with submarines, an 18-hole miniature golf course and a massive ice cream stand in the shape of a camel. What was a potential fantasyland to some was an outright ecological disaster to others. Peachland residents held strong opinions about development in their

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Director expected to attend

What followed was a nightmare of legal obstacles, political interference and frustration that has lasted for more than 40 years of his life. Well into his eighties, Eddy clings to his hope of reclaiming his island and completing his exotic vision, but time is quickly running out. In this compelling biography that follows the highs and lows of a visionary man who has challenged authority by any means necessary, director Greg Crompton crafts a captivating story that shows that truth can be stranger than fiction. Expertly blending archival material with riveting reenactments, it is the moment when Eddy returns to the island with his daughter that really shows the divide between his dreams and reality. – Alex Rogalski

P R E SEN T ED BY:


BIOGRAPHY + POLITICS + VISION

COA ST

Eddy Haymour’s attempt to develop a Lake Okanagan island into a Middle-Eastern themed amusement park led to financial ruin and a dangerous battle with the government.

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Closing Film

HAIDA MODERN

Director: Charles Wilkinson Canada | 2019 | 85 min Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award | Vancouver Film Festival Documentary Sun February 16 | 7:45 pm | The Vic

There is more Haida art in New York City than exists in British Columbia. Its worldwide popularity speaks to a deep connection that exists with a 14,000 year old culture and yet for decades it was suppressed to the brink of extinction due to colonial policies. Robert Davidson, known by his Haida name guud sans glans (Eagle of the Dawn), is regarded as one of the world’s foremost modern artists. Moving fluidly between carving, sculpture, painting, printmaking and jewelry, his work has been collected by the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of History. More importantly, his earliest commission was a totem pole erected in Haida Gwaii in 1969 in living memory of Haida Elders. Early in his career he apprenticed with legendary artist Bill Reid, and

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drawing from that experience he continued to expand and refine his craft, subsequently reviving Haida culture for future generations. Davidson remains a humble and quiet figure who still views himself as a student, yet his wisdom and perspective on what has motivated him throughout his illustrious career makes it abundantly clear why he has become an iconic figure for both his art and activism. Award-winning director Charles Wilkinson brings Davidson’s life to the screen with his remarkable ability to weave biography with our current climate crisis and efforts towards truth and reconciliation. The result is a much bigger story that offers audiences a chance to more deeply engage in understanding the power of art to heal and unite people from all backgrounds. – Alex Rogalski

P R E SEN T ED BY:


UNASSUMING + REVEALING + INDIGENOUS

COA ST

Robert Davidson, known by his Haida name guud sans glans (Eagle of the Dawn), is regarded as one of the world’s foremost modern artists.

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Canadian Premiere

SHUSENJO: THE MAIN BATTLEGROUND OF THE COMFORT WOMEN ISSUE Director: Miki Dezaki Japan, USA, South Korea | 2019 | 120 min Sat February 15 | 7:45 pm | The Vic

What historians call the Imperial Army’s sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of Korean women and others in military brothels during World War II is perhaps Japan’s most heated present-day diplomatic dilemma. Director Mike Dezaki explores the issue dividing the country across clear ideological lines.

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Many activists and contemporary historians view staunch conservatives who unequivocally deny the claim as “revisionist,” and use terms like “racism” and “sexism” to characterize some of those claims. Dezaki, a second-generation Japanese-American who grew up in Florida and learned little about the comfort women from his Japanese immigrant parents, questions whether historical accounts in the Western news media had gotten it wrong somehow. With great detail and precision, Dezaki interviews historians, advocates and lawyers who describe their evidence with documents that prove the Japanese military’s direct

role in managing the brothels, and hundreds of women have described harrowing conditions in so-called comfort stations. What’s at stake is shaping the next generation of Japanese society with a clear-eyed view of their own history. Were comfort women prostitutes or sex slaves? Were they coercively recruited? And, does Japan have a legal responsibility to apologize to the former comfort women? This film responsibly takes a deep dive into the most impassioned debates and reveals the hidden intentions of the supporters and detractors of comfort women. Most importantly it reveals answers to some of the biggest questions moving forward for both the Japanese and Korean communities. - Ravi Srinivasan

P R E SEN T ED BY:


ACTIVISM + JUSTICE + TRUTH

COA ST

Director Mike Dezaki explores the Japanese Imperial Army’s sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of Korean women in military brothels during World War II.

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BELLBIRD

Director: Hamish Bennett New Zealand | 2019 | 96 min Tue February 11 | 3:00 pm I Odeon 5 Sun February 16 | 5:30 pm | The Vic

Rural Kiwi characters rarely seen on-screen take centre stage in this tender and amusing reflection on life and loss on a small New Zealand dairy farm. Third-generation dairy farmers Ross and his wife Beth live in the rolling hills of northern New Zealand. Beth is warm, outgoing and creative, while Ross is a quiet bloke who sticks to what he knows—farming. Their son Bruce has recently moved back to the area, and the elephant in the living room is his lack of interest in or affinity for farming. After Beth suddenly passes away, the father and son are left to deal with their loss and the future of the farm—or rather in their case, to avoid the subject and tend to cows instead of people.

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Bellbird, directed by Northland primary school teacher Hamish Bennett, is a well-crafted story with lots of heart, that is low-key but never dull. It is funny when it needs to be but never backs away from tragedy and loss. The sprawling rural landscapes and poignant pauses help bring its protagonists comfort, connection and community. As they learn that some bonds can’t be broken, viewers discover the gentle joys of an understated drama with an open heart and a lithe sense of humour. Bellbird is a joy to watch. – Kinga Binkowska


TENDER + HEARTFELT + HUMOROUS

COA ST

The story of a dairy farmer struggling to cope with the sudden death of his beloved wife, and the gradual bond he builds with his gentle only son.

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OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS Director: Bryan Skinner Canada | 2019 | 90 min Mon February 10 | 6:00 pm I Odeon 5

It is meta, it is ludicrous and it is studded with local talent! In his feature debut, Bryan Skinner delivers an improvised feature mockumentary about a small film festival with big problems. After the sudden death of their Executive Director, the embattled film festival team is forced to pick up the pieces and to get the Victoria Festival of Cinematic Arts ready for another year. Does this seem straightforward? Well, it is definitely not. Desmond Baggs, the former operations manager is selected over the festival programmer as the new film director. In his new role he needs to overcome sabotage and betrayal and make sure the festival will actually happen.

Competing visions, unorganized staff, difficult filmmakers and even the Canadian Arts Council certainly won’t make this task easier. Inspired by personal experiences as a festival organizer and a filmmaker Bryan Skinner delivers a heartfelt film festival life satire. Even our beloved Vic Theatre makes a charming cameo appearance. Come out if you enjoy watching people in distress on the screen or even better if you like to support local talent in real life. - Kinga Binkowska

P R E SEN T ED BY:

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SINCERE + FUNNY + INTRIGUE

COA ST

Local filmmaker Bryan Skinner delivers a very meta feature mockumentary about a film festival with big problems.

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177 | The Twentieth Century

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SA MOA SOH UPP O F T H E U N U S U A L

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WE ARE LITTLE ZOMBIES

Director: Makoto Nagahisa Japan | 2019 | 120 min Special Jury Award for Most Original Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Mention Berlin International Film Festival Thu February 13 | 9:00 pm I Capitol 6

World premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and taking home a special Jury Prize for most original film, We Are Little Zombies is a truly innovative, roller coaster ride of a film. Their parents are dead. They should be sad, but they can’t cry. So, they form a kick-ass band. This is the story of four 13-year-olds in search of their emotions. After their radical DIY music video announcing their manifesto goes viral, it captures the hearts of the entire nation; the group is faced with record deals, photo-ops, and idol status and

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the Little Zombies must now grapple with their newfound responsibility of being cynical role models to an admiring sea of impressionable teens. Taking notes from the quirky worlds of Wes Anderson and Hitchcockian visual references, We Are Little Zombies is an intense trip of visual stimulation and remarkable storytelling. A completely fresh and individualistic take on the coming-of-age drama for the truly modern world. - Ravi Srinivasan


INGENIOUS + EXPLOSIVE + ROCKING

SOO P

Their parents are dead. They should be sad, but they can’t cry. So they form a kick-ass band.

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Western Canadian Premiere

BAIT

Director: Mark Jenkin UK | 2019 | 89 min Best Director Award | Stockholm Film Festival Sat February 8 | 12:30 pm I Odeon 5 Thu February 13 | 2:45 pm | The Vic

Described by The Guardian as “one of the defining British films of the decade”, Mark Jenkin’s Bait is a dreamlike portrait of the battle between locals and tourists in a once-thriving Cornish fishing village. Shot on 16mm print, and processed with (rumour has it) instant coffee grains, Bait appears on screen like a rare black and white relic from another era. At once nostalgic and groundbreaking, Jenkins’ techniques, rather than being gimmicky, mirror the textures of the Cornish coast—as though the film has been brought into existence by the very coastline it depicts. Comedian Edward Rowe stars as Martin, a gruff fisherman selling mackerel in the local pub. As the holiday season rolls in, Martin becomes increasingly disgruntled by the arrival

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of visiting tourists from London and the home-counties—posh sophisticates who drink prosecco and turn their noses up at his appearance. Their flagrant displays of wealth and privilege seem at odds with the local, disillusioned youth and Martin’s dream to eventually squirrel away enough ten pound notes to buy his own fishing boat. In Bait, Jenkins has created a stylized and complex visual language to tell an age-old tale of a community fighting to stay alive. While concentrating on the local, Bait is, nonetheless, a “state of the nation” film. The tensions of the Brexit crisis rumble just beneath the surface of this narrative about a struggling regional village and the relentless erosion of its local traditions. – Jo Duncombe


GROUNDBREAKING + FRESH + EXPRESSIONIST

SO OP

Bait is a portrait of the battle between locals and tourists in a once-thriving Cornish fishing village.

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WHITE LIE

Director: Yonah Lewis, Calvin Thomas Canada | 2019 | 96 min Sat February 8 | 6:15 pm I SilverCity 3 Mon February 10 | 6:30 pm I Capitol 6

One of the great virtues of the internet age is the ability to help mobilize support for worthy causes. Dance major Katie (Kacey Rohl) has become something of a celebrity hero on her campus as she raises awareness and a considerable sum of money for her courageous fight against cancer. There is only one problem: Katie isn’t actually sick. Deceptively distinguished by her clean-shaven head, she is as healthy as a young woman can be, at least physically. Her friends, professors, and loyal girlfriend Jennifer (Amber Anderson), a heartbreakingly stalwart source of support, have all fallen for Katie’s cruel theatrics. With an elaborate web of lies already spun, how much further is she willing to go to maintain this fragile facade, as her charity campaign ramps up and so does her ruthless pursuit of a lucrative grant.

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A darkly sharp psychological drama marked by a wealth of tension kept at a masterful boiling point throughout, acclaimed writer-director duo Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas (Amy George, Spice it Up) have crafted a superb film that interrogates the very nature of dishonesty and the extreme emotional needs that people will stop at nothing to satisfy. At the center of White Lie is one of the year’s most astonishing lead performances in which Kacey Rohl dazzles with her ability to create a complex, unlikable and wholly compelling protagonist you can’t look away from. – Adam Cook

P R E SEN T ED BY:


EMOTIONAL + SHARP + COMPLEX

SO OP

Having become a campus celebrity after a (fictional) cancer diagnosis, a young woman struggles to maintain her fabrication.

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ARCHITECHTURE OF INFINITY

ARCHITEKTUR DER UNENDLICHKEIT Director: Christoph Schaub Switzerland | 2018 | 90 min Wed February 12 | 6:00 pm I Odeon 5

Sacred buildings and places are all around us. We pass them every day without giving much thought of their purpose or meanings. Christoph Schaub in his newest documentary embarks on a personal journey through time and space in his childhood, when his fascination with sacred buildings began. How can this be imagined? What goes beyond it? Who owns spirituality?

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The magic of sacred spaces, defined here as far more than church buildings, creates a cinematic experience that is a surprising and spiritual experience in itself. Schaub expands his field beyond the seeing and explaining of buildings and guides the viewer through created spaces of art, music and nature where transcendence can be felt and experienced. In his explorations, the documentarian plays off of six brilliant minds: the famous Swiss architect Peter Zümthor, his colleagues Peter Märkli and

Álvaro Siza Vieira, the musician Jojo Mayer and the artists James Turrell and Cristina Iglesias. These are people who’ve designed temples, churches and other buildings with an eye toward the otherworldly. As they hold forth about their beliefs, we gaze at their creations - many of them austere and superficially simple, but all of them ingenious. Art approaches the sacred in Christoph Schaub’s breathtaking documentary. Past and present, primeval times and light years, it’s all there. The film is an invitation to look upwards: through windows, spires, toward light and sky. That’s the meeting point Schaub and his guests are looking for somewhere between the sensory and the celestial. -Kinga Binkowska

P R E SEN T ED BY:


POETIC + AMBITIOUS + SPIRITUAL

SO OP

Art and architecture approach the sacred in Christoph Schaub’s breathtaking exploration of spiritual places and their meaning. A true cinematic experience.

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THE TWENTIETH CENTURY Director: Matthew Rankin Canada | 2019 | 90 min Best Canadian First Feature Film Toronto Film Festival

Fri February 7 | 8:30 pm I Odeon 5 Sun February 9 | 5:30 pm | The Vic

The Twentieth Century is one of the quintessential movie-going experiences of the…century — and it is also your patriotic duty to attend (not actually true, unlike every detail in this feature-length Heritage Moment…from hell). An incendiary send-up of Canadian identity, history and politics, Winnipeg-born Matthew Rankin’s insanely brilliant feature debut (read: masterpiece) is a hilariously irreverent, visually stunning retelling of how William Lyon Mackenzie King became Prime Minister and all the seals he had to club along the way. That’s what happened, right?

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King seems destined to earn Canada’s crown, but just how much debasement and degradation must an ambitious young politician endure in such a noble pursuit? Quite a lot, it seems. Particularly when the affection of an unattainable woman becomes his priority. Along his epic journey, King will encounter devastating heartbreak,

fascistic corruption, hilarious diversions to the outsider cities of Vancouver and Winnipeg, and… kinky boot sniffing. Visually dazzling, Rankin’s artificial sets and 16mm aesthetic give the film an artisanal look and feel that place the film out of both contemporary and historical time. Pointedly set at the young country’s entry into the oh-so-civil 1900s, the film calls into question Canada’s conspicuously precious self-image. In its own mischievous myth-making, The Twentieth Century skewers the formation and perpetuation of national narratives. You’ll be at the edge of your seat, hanging onto your hats—and citizenship—as you experience one of the wildest films of the year. – Adam Cook

P R E SEN T ED BY:


RAMBUNCTIOUS + BEGUILING + INVENTIVE

SO OP

This insanely brilliant feature debut is a hilariously irreverent retelling of how William Lyon Mackenzie King became Prime Minister.

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WILCOX

Director: Denis Côté Canada | 2019 | 66 min Mon February 10 | 5:30 pm | Parkside

A man in Canadian military fatigues walks a Quebec backroad alone, without a clear destination. Along the way, he meets a few of society’s outcasts and visits abandoned and derelict places. In this 12th feature, the filmmaker Denis Côté continues his experimental work, as he did with Bestiaire (2012), Que ta joie demeure (2014) and Ta peau si lisse (2017). Made on a shoestring budget, the film’s meditation on solitude and life on the margins aligns perfectly with its open form and wordless story. François Messier-Rheault’s meticulous cinematography, a captivating soundtrack and an engaging performance by Guillaume Tremblay are some of this unusual film’s great assets. A thoughtful and captivating work. - François Lemieux

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Sur les routes des campagnes québécoises, un homme seul accoutré en militaire de l’armée canadienne erre, sans but précis. En chemin, il croise plusieurs personnes vivant en marge de la société et investit des lieux inusités et désertés. Avec ce douzième long métrage en carrière, le cinéaste Denis Côté poursuit dans la veine du cinéma expérimental, comme il l’avait fait avec Bestiaire (2012), Que ta joie demeure (2014) ou Ta peau si lisse (2017). Tournée avec très peu de moyens, cette méditation contemplative de la solitude et de la vie en marge de la société s’accorde en tout point avec la forme libre de ce nouvel opus sans paroles. La photographie travaillée de François Messier-Rheault, la trame sonore envoûtante et la performance attachante de Guillaume Tremblay sont à ranger au rang des atouts de ce film atypique, aussi captivant que réflectif.


LIFE + THOUGHTFUL+ STIRRING

SO OP

A man without a clear destination meets a few of society’s outcasts along the way to putting down roots.

P R E SEN T ED BY:

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ANNE AT 13,000 FT. Director: Kazik Radwanski Canada | 2019 | 75 min Platform Prize Honorable Mention Toronto Film Festival Sat February 8 | 4:00 pm | Capitol 6

A young daycare worker named Anne (Deragh Campbell struggles to move through daily life as her playful behaviour continually veers from endearing to disconcerting in this compelling drama by writer-director Kazik Radwanski (How Heavy This Hammer). From her interactions with the children to a drunken Maid of Honour speech, it’s abundantly clear that Anne is a warm and caring person but her failure to identify boundaries discomforts her colleagues, friends and family, putting her job and relationships at risk. When she meets a romantic interest (Matt Johnson) at her friend’s wedding, Anne’s grip on her responsibilities only seems to loosen further. Her lightness of being and inability to fit into the world around her calls into question our society’s notions of appropriateness and support.

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Stylistically shaped around the protagonist, Radwanski keeps us in close proximity to Anne without explicitly revealing her psychology, avoiding the pitfalls and clichés of a character study and refusing to define her uneasy state of mind. We usually take the intimacy that movies grant us to their characters for granted, but here the lack of distance is almost claustrophobic, making for an intensely palpable viewing experience. Perennial star of Canada’s best independent cinema, Deragh Campbell (MS Slavic 7) gives one of the year’s most breathtaking performances, crafting a fully realized character at once unknowable to the viewer yet deeply and completely felt. – Adam Cook

P R E SEN T ED BY:


EMOTIONAL + PLAYFUL + EXHILARATING

SO OP

A young daycare worker named Anne (Deragh Campbell) careens through daily life veering from endearing to disconcerting.

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MS SLAVIC 7

Directors: Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell Canada | 2019 | 64 min Sun February 9 | 4:00 pm I Capitol 6 Wed February 12 | 5:30 pm | Parkside

After being appointed literary executor, a young woman named Audrey uncovers a series of letters that her great-grandmother had written to a fellow poet. Both displaced from Poland, Zofia Bohdanowiczowa and Nobel Prize nominee Jozef Wittlin corresponded from 1957-1964 between Toronto, Wales and New York City. Over the course of three days, Audrey embarks on a journey to Houghton Library at Harvard University to translate and make sense of Zofia’s words. Coming up against her aunt’s disapproval as well as complications of access to the material, Audrey struggles to dig into an intimate past while facing her own existentially troubled present. Between silent segments of handling the letters at the archive and discursive monologues that articulate her findings, the film traces the emotional movement through the research process.

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Co-directors Sofia Bohdanowicz and Deragh Campbell, two of Canada’s most acclaimed rising talents in front of and behind the camera, return to the character of Audrey Benac they created in Never Eat Alone (2016) and continued to explore in Veslemøy’s Song (2018), again poignantly blending together family history and fiction. Complicating notions of temporality and distance, the film sensitively reveals the intangible qualities behind objects and the impressions they leave. At once deconstructing and participating in a search for meaning, MS Slavic 7 interrogates the tragic beauty and transcendent potential of human connection. - Adam Cook

P R E SEN T ED BY:


TAUT + METHODICAL + RHYTHMIC

SO OP

After being appointed literary executor, a young woman named Audrey uncovers a series of letters that her great-grandmother had written to a fellow poet.

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OLD AGE AND HOPE LE VIEIL ÂGE ET L’ESPÉRANCE Director: Fernand Dansereau Canada | 2019 | 87 min Sun February 9 | 2:45 pm | The Vic

Western Canadian Premiere

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All too often, aging means coping with decrepitude. Whether physical or mental, our degeneration comes with a host of behaviours and responses. Is it possible to keep a hopeful outlook on life and its mysteries? That’s the question this optimistic documentary asks as it talks not only to specialists – geriatricians, gerontologists, psychologists, philosophers – but most importantly to elderly people who share their life experiences. Veteran director Fernand Dansereau has already proved that neither humour nor joy (Le vieil âge et le rire, 2012), nor sexuality (L’érotisme et le vieil âge, 2017) disappear with time. But what about hope? When the passage of time leads to failing physical and mental faculties, how can a person anticipate, desire and appreciate everything that life still has to offer? - François Lemieux

Vieillir, c’est bien souvent faire face à la déchéance. Qu’elle soit physique ou mentale, notre dégénérescence apporte avec elle son lot de comportements et de réactions. Y a-t-il moyen de conserver une attitude espérante face à la vie et ses mystères? C’est la question que veut confronter ce documentaire optimiste en interpellant non seulement les spécialistes tels les gériatres, gérontologues, psychologues et philosophes, mais d’abord et avant tout l’expérience vécue des personnes âgées elles-mêmes. Le vétéran Fernand Dansereau a déjà prouvé que ni l’humour, ni la joie (Le vieil âge et le rire, 2012), ni la sexualité (L’érotisme et le vieil âge, 2017) ne disparaît avec le temps. Et qu’en est-il de l’espoir? Lorsque le passage des années entraîne la perte de facultés physiques et mentales, comment anticiper, désirer et apprécier tout ce que l’existence a encore à offrir?


HOPEFUL + PROBING + INSPIRING

SO OP

Old Age and Hope asks the question, is it possible to keep a hopeful outlook on life and its mysteries as you age?

P R E SEN T ED BY:

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TE XUC I RT I NNG STH O R TUS TPO R I E S CONNEC TED

A collection of emotive shorts that explore what it means to be connected to other humans.

KIDS

Director: Michael Frei | Switzerland I 9 min

An animated short exploring group dynamics. How do we define ourselves when we are all equal? Who is steering the crowd? What if it is heading in the wrong direction? Where does the individual end and the group begin? What is done by choice, and what under duress?

PORTRAITIST

Director: Cyrus Neshvad | Luxembourg I 16 min

A grandfather at the edge of despair is called to care for his dying granddaughter. Through art, he kindles a relationship with her that brings beauty to the darkness in their lives.

CONNECTED

Director: Aleksandra Maciejczyk | Poland I 18 min

TU RN T U P

In this documentary about love, Krzysztof, who is blind, goes skiing with Wiola, his wife and guide.

I CAME HERE ALONE

Director expected to attend

Director: Connor Gaston I Victoria I 13 min

Lonely Margaret is delivered a mysterious life-sized Teddy Bear, and when the stuffed animal reveals a secret, Margaret must decide whether or not she’s truly ready to let anyone else into her life.

THE PHYSICS OF SORROW

Director: Theodore Ushev I Canada I 26 min

The Physics of Sorrow tracks an unknown man’s life as he sifts through memories of his youth in Bulgaria through to his increasingly rootless and melancholic adulthood in Canada.

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SECRE T LIVES OF ANIMAL S

Films that explore the whimsical secret lives of animals and the unique bond they have with humans.

NOT YOUR PANDA

Director: Tigris Alt Sakda | China, Canada I 12.5 min

From one of the Anthropocene’s most charismatic megafauna - Ailuropoda melanoleuca : “... and if I hear anyone else say ‘isn’t he cute’...”

THE BEAR & THE BEEKEEPER

Director: Kristina Mileska | Canada I 13.5 min

An aging beekeeper tries to keep a pesky predator away from his beehives in order to keep the memory of his loved one alive.

THE SOUND OF A WILD SNAIL EATING Director: Elisabeth Tova Bailey | USA I 15 min

When a woman is bedridden by a mysterious pathogen, a forest snail unexpectedly takes up residence on her nightstand. Together, the woman and snail share an intimate journey of survival and resilience. Their captivating and graceful explorations expand the boundaries of the bedroom. An intimate and surprising live action true story. Adapted from the award-winning nonfiction memoir of the same title.

ATHLETICUS: SYNCHRONISED TRAMPOLINE Director: Nicolas Deveaux | France I 2.5 min

THE SEAHORSE TRAINER

Director: Ricardo Bonisoli | Canada I 13 min

Enter the surreal and nautical world of Seamour. A lonely old man with a passion for training seahorses. Desperate to have his most prized seahorse perform the highly ambitious “Triple Back Flip”, the final day of training has come and it’s up to his knowledge, preparation and the seahorse’s determination to see the trick come to life. But when the hourglass turns, Seamour realizes it is even harder than he thought and he must overcome his troubled past before the magic fades or the trick will never be achieved.

HUMAN NATURE

TU R N T U P

In this episode: hippos watch the perfect performance of two seals. Will they measure up?

Director: Sverre Fredriksen | Netherlands I 2 min

This is what the world would look like if humans and animals swapped places: naked ladies are lying in a meadow; an old grandpa is snoozing on a heater, while a fat man rolls up on a beach and throws up plastic. Animals affectionately take their pet humans to the human vet and try to save people who have washed ashore. But in other instances they treat people just as disrespectfully and mercilessly as vice versa. This animated short holds up a mirror to the viewer, showing the love people feel for animals, as well as the suffering they cause them, consciously or unconsciously.

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DRE AMS, DRE AMS, DRE AMS

A collection of experimental films that will take you on a hypnotic journey to the fantastic world of dreams.

THERE WERE FOUR OF US

Director: Cassie Shao I China, USA I 7 min In a room, there are four people.

RE-EDUCATION OF THE SENSES

Director: Erinn E. Hagerty, Adam Savje I USA I 12 min

“There’s nothing to see here; now, look directly at the screen.” An experimental vision of Bauhausian hypnotherapy orchestrated by sentient technology.

TERMINAL CLOUDS

Director: David Trotter | Canada I 3 min

Worker by day, dreamer by night. A melancholy student finds his schedule unexpectedly distracted by a small blue box.

HIS EYES BEHIND MINE

Director: Ziwei Qin I USA I 6 min

TU RN T U P

Based on a personal story. An emotional journey through love, sex, obsession, and violence.

3 DREAMS OF HORSES

Director: Mike Hoolboom I Ontario I 5.5 min

“A triptych in which the figure of the horse becomes a medium for meditation on its various incarnations as symbol, domesticated animal for human domination, and its abstract power as spirit.”

THE MARVELOUS MISADVENTURES OF THE STONE LADY

Director: Gabriel Abrantes I France, Portugal I 20 min

Tired of being a banal architectural ornament, a sculpture runs away from the Louvre to confront real life on the streets of Paris.

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Proud to support the Victoria Film Festival!

Weeknights at 5 and 6

Stacy Ross

Joe Perkins


194 | Hope Gap

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A VMF F SPP ELC I AIL FE VYE N T S IT’S NOT ALL SITTING IN A DARKENED THEATRE AND WATCHING FILMS. OKAY, WELL MOSTLY IT IS. HERE ARE SOME AWESOME AND SOMETIMES TITILLATINGLY EXCITING HAPPENINGS DURING THE FESTIVAL.

Get regaled by Bill Nighy as he shares the behind the scene stories with Pop Life’s Richard Crouse. Sizzle with the best of them at our first over the top erotic event. Hosted by Missie Peters. Play with VicStories Interactive Fiction on the streets of Victoria. For those who like a drink and a snack with their movie talk then have a taste of Sips ’n’ Cinema. Young at heart-ers (that means all ages) get a reboot of Jammies & Toons with Japanese anime Okko’s Inn. Yes there is cereal! Bad, bad cereals. Recent works by our local Producer’s Association take over the screen at the Capitol 6 when VIFPA gets to shine. And for those who want to go beyond sitting in the darkened theatre check into SpringBoard and our roster of Industry Players who are on hand to advise about making films.

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IN CONVERSATION WITH BILL NIGH Y F EBRUA RY 8 | 7:4 5P M | V IC T ORI A C ONF ERENCE CEN T RE

Join us for an intimate evening and lively conversation with one of the greatest British actors working today. From Love Actually to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to Harry Potter and many, many other notable works, this multi award-winning actor is sure to entertain with his hilarious dry wit and incredible experiences both on and off set. Following the conversation at the Victoria Conference Centre, there will be a special screening of Nighy’s 2019 UK indie hit Hope Gap at The Vic. Hope Gap is the heartbreaking and heartwarming tale about the intricacies of the dissolution of a marriage between Edward (Bill Nighy) and Grace (Annette Bening) - and the ensuing emotional fallout their divorce has on their only grown son, Jamie (Josh O’Connor).

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BILL NIGHY began his career on the stage and has since earned acclaim for his work in numerous plays, including David Hare’s Pravda (1985), Skylight (1995) and A Map of the World(1983). He received an Olivier Award nomination in 2001 for Best Actor for his performance in Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange. In 2012, Bill earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for his performance in the BBC television movie Page Eight, directed by David Hare. He reunited with Hare in 2014 for the second and third instalments of The Worricker Trilogy. On the small screen, HBO’s The Girl in the Café (2005) brought Bill a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries.  Later in 2005, he won a Golden Globe in the same category for his performance in the 2005 telefilm Gideon’s Daughter.

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HO S T OF IN C ON V ER S AT ION RICHARD CROUSE is the host of the CTV talk show Pop Life, and the regular film critic for the 24 hour news source CTV’s News Channel and CP24. He is also the author of nine books on pop culture history including Who Wrote the Book of Love, the best-selling The 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, and its sequel.

HOPEFUL + TENDER + BRILLIANT


Western Canadian Premiere

HOPE GAP Director: William Nicholson UK I 2019 I 100 min Sat February 8 | 9:00 pm | The Vic Sun February 16 | 9:00 pm | SilverCity 3

After 33 years together, Grace and Edward’s marriage is on the rocks. Their blissful, bohemian lifestyle on the Southern English coastline, has reached a cliff edge. When Edward urges their son Jamie (God’s Own Country’s Josh O’Connor) to return for the weekend only to reveal to all that he’s had enough and his bags are packed, it’s clear that an almighty storm is about to descend. Hope Gap’s, Oscar-nominated screenwriter William Nicholson’s second film as director, tracks the unravelling of three lives through stages of shock, disbelief and anger, to a resolution of sorts. Though Jamie attempts to act as a mediator between his parents, his own relationship struggles are a reminder of how silence breeds silence down through the generations, how gaps echo from parents to their children.

Annette Bening gives a barn-storming performance as the acidic and often unreasonable Grace, firing out snappy one-liners whilst undergoing an emotional apocalypse, and Bill Nighy is superb as a quiet, though unacceptably cowardly man, who just wants to update Wikipedia in peace… Shot with a ravishing sense of design and colour, making the most of the lush English coastline, this is an emotionally astute portrait of a marriage at the end of its life; of regrets uncovered, decisions made too late and the precariousness of hope. But in the end, it is also a story of survival. A story of hope. - Jo Duncombe

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F EBRUA RY 14 | 7:4 5P M | T HE V IC T HE AT RE

Erotica

How can we possibly rock your socks, you ask? Well… Cozy up in a furry photo booth WITH cocktails. Hah, you say?

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How about a smidge of burlesque? BEFORE the oysters.

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or a scavenger hunt for erotic toys? no? Dirty dance like you mean it?

Or enjoy, or not, tips for S&M Become master of your domain and learn to make a cocktail Oh yes, and then there’s the shorts – sensual, seductive, ‘altering your state’ kinda shorts. Might be worth checking out. If you like a fricking fantastic experience.

MISTRESS OF CEREMONIES MISSIE PETERS is a local performer and writer. She is a founding member of Paper Street Theatre and performs in the monthly Adaptation Show. As a host she’s been a part of TEDxVictoria, the Victoria Slam and Pecha Kucha. She has also been know to feature in internet geek comedy sketches.

S UP P OR T ED BY:


SHOR T S THE PORNOGRAPHER

Director: Gabrielle Demers | Quebec I 11 min

Fall of 1970, an all-female film crew is about to shoot a soft-porn. Jane, the director, starts having a crush on a new girl. An eroticized power game unfolds between the filmmaker and her actress.

LE ROSE ET LE VERT (THE MISSING PIECE) Director: Julien Chavaillaz | Switzerland I 15 min

Baptiste, a lonely outsider, is in love with Mina, the girl from the sex hotline. One day, Baptiste gathers his courage and succeeds in convincing the young woman to accept a rendez-vous at a café in town...

THE LAST ROMANTICS

Director: João Cândido Zacharias | Brazil I 12 min

Two young men share different points of view of the same sexual encounter in a public space.

DARLING

As a new show is introduced at an erotic dance theatre in Lahore, a sacrificial goat goes missing, a dreamy trans girl desperately tries to become a star and a naive young boy falls in love.

VIENS! THE FORBIDDEN TOUCH IN SLOW MOTION Director: Michel Reilhac | 4K VR/360° FICTION | France I 12 min

Three women and four men, all naked, appear out of nowhere in the white, sunny space of a bright room outside of time. They meet, touch, share their energy, and are transformed spiritually; they let themselves become one with the world.

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Director: Saim Sadiq | Pakistan I 16 min

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s e i r o t S Vic Won

VFF has a history of interest in the synergy of all the arts. Often exploring how media, visual and the literary arts overlap as we combine, stretch and play with the mediums. In 2020 we are introducing technology to that mix. For VicStories we’ve found several arty tech types to expand or riff on the stories presented in the films that will screen at the Victoria Film Festival. It’s like they’ve created their own adventures and want to share them with you.

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CRE AT ED BY: Aldyn Chwelos, Andy Wynden, Derek Jacoby, Donovan Aikman Glen McManus, Ifetayo Alabi, Jae Levy, Matt Richardson, Nicole Lonescu

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V F F WA R MLY ACK NOW L EDGE S T HE SUP P OR T OF: Larch Fundjoan C. Mccarter Foundation

Laurence & Hazel Burt Memorial Fund Peter Burchett Endowment Trush Fund

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SIP S ‘N’ CINEMA

F EBRUA RY 15 | 2:4 5P M | T HE V IC T HE AT RE Catch Two of Us and then enjoy an opportunity for discussion with Festival Screener Tony Ruffolo at The Mint. This is a social event for those who would like to take a deeper dive into the film they just saw and share their thoughts. There will be complimentary drinks and light food to heighten the experience.

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ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY. Ticket price includes film, food, drink and facilitated discussion. Must be 19 years or older to participate.

S UP P OR T ED BY: 199


TWO OF US DEUX

Director: Filippo Meneghetti France, Luxembourg, Belgium | 2019 | 95 min Sat February 15 | 2:30 pm | The Vic

For all intents and purposes Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier) appear to be two friendly neighbours. But behind the friendly façade the women have hidden an intimate relationship for decades. Director Meneghetti exposes a tender, loving relationship in which Nina moves easily between her apartment and Madeleine’s, planning for the future while enjoying the everyday. The two women hope to sell the apartment and move to Rome where they can live together. Nina is independent and full of life and adores her lover while Madeleine is a widowed and doting grandmother who has never told her children about her relationship with Nina. Madeleine just can’t seem to shake her need for

discretion even when Nina goads her by saying that no one could care less about “two old dykes”. Madeleine’s son and daughter suspect nothing but when Madeleine’s health takes a turn the children, especially her daughter Anne (Léa Drucker), start to wonder why this kind neighbor is always at the door. Meneghetti has crafted a remarkably warm and loving film for his first feature-length drama. Capturing the women’s intimacy in close ups it’s easy to understand how connected the pair are. The performances of Sukowa and Chevalier are so absorbing it’s hard to take one’s eyes off them. Two of Us is a deceptively complex film with a message that all you need is each other. - Kathy Kay

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JAMMIES & T OONS

C OF F EE P ROV IDED BY:

F EBRUA RY 16 | 11:30P M | T HE V IC T HE AT RE The ritual of Sunday morning animations and unhealthy cereal returns to The Vic. Come on Mom, just this once! Come in your pajamas (no holes please) and for the parents there is delicious Fernwood coffee to get your day off to a great start.

ADORABLE + AFFECTING + ACCEPTANCE

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After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko goes to live with her grandmother, who runs a traditional Japanese inn. Okko soon discovers there are spirits that only she can see.

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P RE SEN T ED BY:


OKKO’S INN Director: Kitarô Kôsaka Japan I 2018 I 94 min

Sun February 16 | 11:30 am | The Vic

After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko starts living with her grandmother who runs a traditional Japanese inn built on top of an ancient spring in the countryside. While she completes her chores and prepares to become the inn’s next caretaker, Okko discovers there are welcoming spirits who live there that only she can see. Kitaro Kosaka’s touching anime Okko’s Inn offers a unique ghost story for all ages that stays true to Japanese traditions while also paying homage to them. Based on a popular series of children’s books, Okko centers around the encounters and relationships she builds while becoming the young innkeeper of Harunoya. She meets the ghost of Uribo, a rambunctious boy who loved her grandmother when they were children. Just as she’s starting to accept Uribo’s presence, Miyo, the spirit of the older sister of Okko’s snooty classmate Matsuki, shows up.

The latest feature from famed anime studio Madhouse and director Kitaro Kosaka, who was a key animator on numerous classic films at the venerable Studio Ghibli, seamlessly combines mesmerizing, idyllic landscapes with the storybook charm of Okko’s beloved ghosts. The inn’s motto is that it accepts all and will reject none, and this is soon put to the test as a string of new guests challenge Okko’s ability to be a gracious host. Okko’s Inn offers a delightful yet meaningful meditation on the current political climate regarding the acceptance of immigrants and refugees that all ages and cultures can find depth and meaning in. - Ravi Srinivasan Two FilmCan winning short films will be screened before Okko’s Inn.

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FIL MCAN ENTRIES ARE OPEN EVERY OCTOBER – MID-DECEMBER

W H AT IS F IL MC A N ?

An online Video Competition for Students. Youth interested in content creation make short films and upload them to the VFF Vimeo channel.

W H AT H A P P ENS T O T HE F IL MS ?

The winning films based on a combination of likes and juror input will screen at the 26th Annual Victoria Film Festival in front of the feature film Okko’s Inn on February 16 at 11:30 am. Please visit the VFF website for the names of the filmmakers and films.

F IL MC A N P RIZE S:

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SENIOR CATEGORY (GRADE 9-12): • GoPro HERO7 Waterproof 4K Sports/Helmet Camera – courtesy of Prince of Whales Whale Watching • Adobe Creative Cloud (one year subscription) – provided by Adobe • Spotlight Academy Spring Break Film Camp for Teens • Their film screens with Okko’s Inn at the Victoria Film Festival • Tickets to attend their screening at the Victoria Film Festival

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JUNIOR CATEGORY (GRADE 8 AND UNDER): • Their film screens with Okko’s Inn at the Victoria Film Festival • Tickets to attend their screening at the Victoria Film Festival • Spotlight Academy Spring Break Film Camp for Kids

S UP P OR T ED BY:


The Victoria Film Festival offers a comprehensive education program for classroom and community outreach to youth groups, youth centres, libraries, and schools. In 2018, 964 youth were informed by Victoria Film Festival programming.

SN A P SHO T S: 1 HOUR - F IL MM A K ING WORKSHOP S

Snapshots is an interactive hands-on introductory filmmaking workshop led by experienced, award-winning local filmmakers and artists who teach youth the fundamentals of writing, lighting, editing, and camerawork through the use of smart phones and other do-it-yourself solutions.

S UP P OR T ED BY:

Guests of the Victoria Film Festival, including writers, directors, composers, producers and musicians who attend the festival visit local classrooms to talk about their art, offering advice about careers in the film industry and inspiring a new generation of filmmakers.

S CHOOL S CREENING S

ANNIVERSARY INSTALLATION

YOUNG F IL MM A K ER S

F IL MM A K ER S IN T O S CHOOL S

Year-round at The Vic Theatre, and during the Victoria Film Festival, the VFF offers special screenings of great independent films and documentaries for local schools, inviting filmmakers and actors involved in these films for interactive Q&As.

L E T ’S M A K E A MOV IE

This March during Spring Break, the Victoria Film Festival will introduce youth to a lively full day hands-on class. Participants will create a story and storyboard and then film and edit the work all in one day. That evening the film will screen at The Vic Theatre for our filmmakers and their friends and family. Session held at the Downtown Central Library and the Saanich Centennial Library.

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CINEKIDS V F F WORK ING W I T H YOU T H

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VV I CIT OFR I PA FAI L MP RPERSOEDNUTCSE R S N I G H T F EBRUA RY 9 | 6:30 P M | C A P I T OL 6 VIFPA FEATURETTE I approx 12-15 min The Victoria Independent Film Professional Association (VIFPA) is a non-profit association of independent film professionals based on Vancouver Island. Actively involved in the development of award-winning film and television productions, VIFPA members are creators of documentaries, television series, dramatic films, music videos, educational programming, animation, and more. This short featurette showcases the breadth of filmmaking talent that calls Vancouver Island home.

THE STILL LIFE OF ANNIKA MYERS

A M P LI F Y

Director: Darlene Tait | 16 min

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During the Dutch Hunger winter of 1945, Annika Myers traded her family’s treasured painting of a feast for rations. Now, at 84, she has found it, and she wants Evan O’neill, the diligent retired manager of a grocery store, to help her steal it back. But is it truly the painting she hungers for? Evan, who has something of his own to reclaim, is faced with a difficult but life-affirming choice.


AGELESS GARDENS - 201 SHARED GARDENS

Directors: Mark Bradley and Ian Toews | 24 min Volunteers maintain 36 acres of gardens at the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of BC. Home gardeners exchange seeds that will grow successfully in their unique rainforest climate. An amateur beekeeper shares honey with his neighbours. A community garden grows produce for the local food bank on remediated land.

BLACK ROCK

Directors: Peiter Romer and Gordie Trifa | 27 min Black Rock follows the intertwining stories of a community divided, those who are determined to protect the land and those who are working for a pay cheque at the uranium mines to survive.

Director: Lukas Hanulak | 3 min

Island-based singer/songwriter Matthew Stern, in collaboration with director Lukas Hanulak and cinematographer Daniel Zemancik, present Full Moon. All who enter this mystic pathway will suddenly find themselves in a chaotic realm of unexpected happenstance. Surrounded by names unspoken and symbols unseen, the voices of the forest can be heard speaking in riddles. Reason evades reality as the senses are overtaken by a spiritual journey you can only see to believe.

A M P LI F Y

FULL MOON - MATTHEW STERN MUSIC VIDEO

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SPRINGBOARD 2020 RY 8-9 F EBRUA 735 BROUGH T ON S T. MEE T ING SPACE

SPRINGBOARD PASS INCLUDES ALL LISTED EVENTS:

DAY 1 MODERATED BY PAT FERNS

TOM ALEXANDER PAT FERNS

THE COMMISSIONERS | 10 – 11 AM Commissioning Editors from both the private and public sectors will discuss current projects and what they look for in new acquisitions. Panelists: Michelle McMahon (Bell Media), Kathleen Meek (Corus Entertainment), Ira Levy (Breakthrough Entertainment), Erika Kumar (Creative BC), Patrice Ramsay (Knowledge Network), Tom Alexander (Mongrel Media), Teri Snelgrove (NFB), Michelle Daly (CBC), Jackie Pardy (Super Channel), Lauren Davis (Telefilm)

PATRICK DOYLE

C OL L A B OR AT ION Collaboration is the key to getting your project done. This two-part discussion presents working cooperatively on the business side of the project while the second panel will examine the co-operation needed for the creative side.

MICHELLE DALY

COLLABORATIONS I - THE FINANCES | 11:30 – 1:00 PM Featured speakers cover distribution, production and banking. Panelists: Ira Levy (Breakthrough Entertainment), Patrick Doyle (National Bank), Tom Alexander (Mongrel), Leslie Dixon (Producer), Lauren Davis (Telefilm) BREAK | 1:00 – 2:00 PM

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COLLABORATION II - THE CREATIVES | 2:00 – 3:30 PM Featured speakers include directors, actors, cinematographers and writers. Panelists: Screen Writer Leslie Dixon (Limitless, Mrs. Doubtfire), Writer/Director Semi Chellas (American Woman, Mad Men). VR, AR, AI, BLOCKCHAIN | 3:45 – 5:00 PM Want to push the boundaries of film? Cutting edge tech companies provide insights into incorporating new technologies into the audiovisual sphere. Panelists: Dogu Taskiran (Stambol), Sam Mod (FreshWorks), David Elton (DreamCraft Attractions) NETWORKING RECEPTION | 5:00 – 6:30 PM Content makers mix and mingle with our industry guests.

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LAUREN DAVIS

LESLIE DIXON


DAY 2

DAVE ELTON

JACKIE PARDY

ERIKA KUMAR

PATRICE RAMSAY

IRA LEVY

TERI SNELGROVE

MICHELLE MCMAHON

DOGU TASKIRAN

KATHLEEN MEEK

SEMI CHELLAS

PITCHING THE BUYERS | 1:15 PM – 4:45 PM Producers and directors of upcoming Canadian films in development can pitch their projects to invited national and international broadcasters, funders and commissioning editors from various areas of the film industry. Michelle McMahon (Bell Media) Kathleen Meek (Corus Entertainment) Ira Levy (Breakthrough Entertainment) Erika Kumar (Creative BC) Patrice Ramsay (Knowledge Network) Tom Alexander (Mongrel Studios) Teri Snelgrove (NFB) Michelle Daly (CBC) Lauren Davis (Telefilm) Jackie Pardy (Super Channel) SCHEDULE ONE-ON-ONE TIME TO PITCH YOUR PROJECT. Booking pitches for SpringBoard is on a first come, first served basis. Three meetings are guaranteed. If there are extra spaces after everyone is booked we can offer more meeting opportunities on a last-minute basis.

Once you purchase a pass you will receive an email directing you where to send up to 5 names of people you would like to pitch – in order of preference.

S UP P OR T ED BY: Supported by the Province of British Columbia

SAM MOD

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Passes must be purchased by February 4, 2020.

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MAGENTA | $50 · A charitable tax receipt for $50 · Recognition on VFF Website & VFF Program Guide · One-year subscription to the VFF Donors Only! Newsletter · Early access to the VFF Program Guide FIRST IN LINE | $100 · Enjoy all the benefits of a Magenta Donation, plus enjoy: · A charitable tax receipt for $100 · Presale Privilege! Buy tickets before they go one sale for the public · Invitation to the exclusive VFF PreFest Event

D ONO R ME MB E R S H IP

UNWIND | $250 · Enjoy all the benefits of a First In Line Donation, plus enjoy: · A charitable tax receipt for $132 · 10 Film Festival Tickets ALL-ACCESS | $500 · Enjoy all the benefits of a First In Line Donation, plus enjoy: · A charitable tax receipt for $210 · 2 All-Access Passes to the VFF VIP Lounge · Invitation to the exclusive Patron’s Reception · 15 Festival Film Tickets PRODUCERS CIRCLE SILVER FILM REEL | $1,000 · Enjoy all the benefits of a First In Line , plus enjoy: · A charitable tax receipt for $560 · Invitation to the exclusive Patron’s Reception · 3-Month Unlimited Vic Theatre Pass for regular screenings · 2 All-Access Passes to the VFF VIP Lounge · 20 Festival Film Tickets

T HIS IS YOUR F IL M F E S T I VA L ! If you have feedback on our Donation levels, drop us a line at development@victoriafilmfestival.com or call 250.389.0444 Visit us at 1215 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC. V8W 3J4

PRODUCERS CIRCLE GOLD FILM REEL | $2,500 · Enjoy all the benefits of a First In Line Donation, plus enjoy: · A charitable tax receipt for $1,355 · Invitation to the exclusive Patron’s Reception · 1-Year Unlimited Vic Theatre Pass for regular screenings · 2 All-Access Passes to the VFF VIP Lounge · 2 Gold Passes - (includes Opening Gala)

Tax receipting policy: tax-deductible receipts will be made out for the maximum allowable amount. If you would like to receive a tax-deductible receipt for the full amount donated you can waive the benefits associated with your giving level.

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Y E S! I WA N T T O BE A S UP P OR T ING DONOR: VICTORIA FILM FESTIVAL (VFF) DEFINITIONS OF DONOR BENEFITS

Donors Only! Sneak peeks of upcoming films, spotlights on Newsletter the festival’s best programming, insider behind-the-scenes info, and invitations to exclusive donors-only events. Presale Exclusive ability to purchase tickets to films Privilege before they go on sale for the general public. See exactly the films you want to see! PreFest Cocktails and canapés, bestowal of the FilmCAN Event Awards, public announcement of program guide to media, and screening of a hot upcoming festival film! VIP Lounge Sample complimentary handcrafted canapés before a film, and drop by after to recount your favourite cinematic moments over cocktails! Film Tickets Ticket vouchers for any festival screening! You choose what you want to view and when! Unlimited Vic All the film you love, all the time - all year-round! Theatre Pass Free entry to all year-round regular film screenings at the Vic Theatre, Victoria’s only fully-licensed cinema! Patron’s Kickstart your festival with an exclusive party Reception at the DoubleTree Penthouse Suite before the Opening Gala.

DONOR INFORMATION Name: Address: City: Province: Postal Code: Phone: Email: I give VFF permission to contact me by email

DONATION LEVEL

Tax Receipt Amount

Magenta

$50

$50

First In Line

$100

$100

Unwind

$250

$76

All-Access

$500

$140

Film Reel

$1,500

$423

Gold Reel

$2,500

$1,508

Producers Circle:

I would like to receive the benefits and a tax receipt for the maximum allowable amount I would like no benefits and a full tax receipt

PAYMENT INFO I would like to donate by: Cheque Telephone

OPENING Begin with an exclusive festival screening, GALA followed by live musical entertainment, gourmet food, and refreshing beverages to celebrate the start of the festival season!

Name on Card

Gold Pass Get front-of-the line access and be assured of a seat at all festival screenings! Also, enjoy the Opening Gala, just because you’re golden!

See also victoriafilmfestival.com/donate

Credit Card # Expiry

/

CCV

D ONO R ME MB E R S H IP

Program Featuring all of this year’s unparalleled films, Guide events, and programming. Here’s how to find the ones that best suit your interests!

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Compact foldable Program Guide available at Fernwood Coffee, Monk Office, Serious Coffee, The Vic Theatre, Silver City, Odeon and many coffee shops around town. BOX OFFICE Tickets subject to GST. Online advance tickets can be purchased until three (3) hours before the show. At the VFF office, advance tickets can be purchased until February 15. Remaining tickets will be on sale at the door (cash only) 30 minutes before the show begins, based on availability.

TIC K E T S , PA S S E S & M E M B E R S HIPS

No exchanges. No refunds. Tickets are transferable. Program subject to change. GST #883954026RT0001

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THREE EASY WAYS TO BUY *please note we are unable to do phone orders

1. Advance, Online Jan 10 – Feb 15 at www.victoriafilmfestival.com Visa, MasterCard accepted 2. Advance, In Person at 1215 Blanshard Street Jan 13 – Feb 15 Monday - Friday, 10am - 4pm Opening weekend Feb 8 & 9 10am - 4pm Debit, Visa, MasterCard, Cash, & Film Vouchers 3. At the door. Same day. Cash Only FILM VFF/The Vic: Film Festival Membership: Single Feature Film or Short Film Programs: Student Rush Tickets:

$2 $13.33 $6

On sale 10 minutes before film start time, subject to availability. For students between the ages of 19 & 27 with valid student card.

Like to save a little money? Buy 5, 10 or 15 tickets at one time and pay: 5 Feature Film Tickets: $62 10 Feature Film Tickets: $125 15 Feature Film Tickets: $182 SPECIAL EVENTS VIFPA Film Night $13.33 Family Film: Jammies & Toons $9 Opening Gala (All Inclusive) $89 In Conversation With Bill Nighy $39 Sips ‘n’ Cinema (advance only) $30 SIZZLE (advance only) $40 Media Art: VicStories Free

PASSES Gold Pass: $375 Front of the Line Access at regular film screenings; Opening Gala; two single night admissions for VIP lounge; and pass with lanyard. Guarantees seating up to 15 minutes before film’s posted start time. Note this excludes the Parkside Theatre venue.

SpringBoard 2-Day Pass: $149 Admits holder to Feb 8 & 9 SpringBoard Program Panels, Pitching Opportunities and Networking Reception. FILM FESTIVAL MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION In British Columbia the government requires that you be a member of a Society showing unclassified films and you must be over the age of 18 – that’s the law, even if the film has been given a G rating in other provinces. The Victoria Film Festival screens unclassified films. That’s why you have to have a membership – which costs just $2. Once you’re a member of the Festival Society you qualify to see any of the 2020 VFF films, and films playing at The Vic Theatre at 808 Douglas St. until August 1, 2020. www.thevic.ca FESTIVAL AWARDS Several of the films that are juried and accepted into the Festival are selected to receive an award. Watch for the announcement at the end of the Festival. THE CATEGORIES PLEASE... Best Feature Film Best Canadian Feature Best Canadian First Feature $1,000 cash prize Cultural Currents Award $1,000 cash prize Best Documentary Best Short Animation Audience Favourite Best Short $500 cash prize Cineplex Entertainment Audience Favourite Feature


SEE BIGGER

CANADIAN TALENT SHINES BRIGHT ON THE WORLD STAGE. TELEFILM CANADA IS PROUD TO SUPPORT AND PROMOTE HOMEGROWN SUCCESS.

© Shayne Laverdière


FRIDAY, FEB 7

SATURDAY, FEB 8 12:15 | THE BOOKSELLERS

THE VIC

2:45 | SENIOR LOVE TRIANGLE 5:30 | KIFARU 7:45 | IN CONVERSATION

CAPITOL 6

6:30PM | LA BELLE ÉPOQUE

9:00 | HOPE GAP

ODEON 5

2:45 | OLD AGE AND HOPE

2:45 | IT MUST BE HEAVEN

2:45 | EDDY’S KINGDOM

5:30 | THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

5:30 | SHELLA RECORD – A REGGAE MYSTERY

5:30 | TWO OF US

7:45 | MATTHIAS & MAXIME

7:45 | HEARTS AND BONES

7:45 | A WHITE, WHITE DAY

4:00 | THE SEER AND THE UNSEEN

4:00 | MS SLAVIC 7 6:30 | VIFPA

6:30 | THE MEN’S ROOM

6:30 | TALKING ABOUT TREES

4:00 | SENIOR LOVE TRIANGLE

9:00 | WHILE AT WAR

6:30 | WHITE LIE

6:30 | HEARTS AND BONE

9:00 | KUESSIPAN

9:00 | ALICE

9:00 | CORPUS CHRISTI

9:00 | TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH

3:00 | TALKING ABOUT TREES

3:00 | BELLBIRD

6:00 | OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS

8:30 | VAGENDA STORIES

6:00 | AMERICAN WOMAN 8:30 | THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

6:15 | LARA

12:30 | OLYMPIC DREAMS

3:00 | IT MUST BE HEAVEN

3:00 | THIS IS NOT A MOVIE

5:30 | AND THE BIRDS RAINED DOWN

6:00 | SORRY WE MISSED YOU

8:30 | MR. TOILET: THE WORLD’S #2 MAN

8:30 | HEROIC LOSERS

6:00 | WHEELER’S EVEREST

8:30 | LIGHT FROM LIGHT

10:30 | THE VAST OF NIGHT 12:15 | CASTLE IN THE GROUND

6:15 | WHITE LIE

3:15 | KIFARU

9:00 | SORRY WE MISSED YOU

6:15 | THE INCREDIBLE 25TH YEAR OF MITZI BEARCLAW

9:00 | THE CLIMB

PARKSIDE

SILVERCITY

12:15 | DESERT ONE

1:00 | HI A.I.

3:15 | OLYMPIC DREAMS

DAVE DUNNET

TUESDAY, FEB 11

4:00 | ANNE AT 13,000 FT.

12:15 | CORPUS CHRISTI

FI LM S C H E D U L E

MONDAY, FEB 10

1:00 | A SON

12:30 | BAIT

213

SUNDAY, FEB 9

La Belle Époque

3:15 | THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER

3:15 | HOPE FROZEN

6:15 | A WHITE, WHITE DAY

6:15 | MR. TOILET: THE WORLD’S #2 MAN

9:00 | MARIA’S PARADISE

9:00 | THE LAST TREE

5:30 | WILCOX

5:30 | MIDIAN FARM

8:00 | JALLIKATTU

8:00 | SHORTS: CONNECTIONS

9:00 | LIGHT FROM LIGHT


T

12:15 | THE STREET 2:45 | CLOUD WHISPERS

THURSDAY, FEB 13 12:15 | HAVANA, FROM ON HIGH

FRIDAY, FEB 14 12:15 | THE MEN’S ROOM

SATURDAY, FEB 15 12:15 | SHORTS: ANIMALS

2:45 | LARA

2:45 | TWO OF US

SUNDAY, FEB 16 11:30 | JAMMIES & TOONS: OKKO’S INN

5:30 | THE SEER AND THE UNSEEN

2:45 | BAIT

5:30 | ROMANTIC COMEDY

5:30 | DENMARK

2:45 | HEROIC LOSERS

5:30 | SOVEREIGN SOIL 7:45 | AND THEN WE DANCED

7:45 | SHUSENJO: THE MAIN BATTLE GROUND OF THE COMFORT WOMEN ISSUE

5:30 | BELLBIRD

7:45 | DENMARK

7:45 | SIZZLE: VALENTINE’S DAY EROTICA

4:00 | THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER

4:00 | MURMUR

6:30 | BODY AND BONES

9:00 | WE ARE LITTLE ZOMBIES

9:00 | THE WILD GOOSE LAKE

3:00 | MY DADS, MY MOMS AND ME 6:00 | ARCHITECTURE OF INFINITY 8:30 | BACURAU

6:30 | THE STREET

3:00 | NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN 6:00 | EDDY’S KINGDOM 8:30 | THE TRAITOR

Okko’s Inn 12:15 | SOVEREIGN SOIL

3:15 | HI A.I. 6:15 | MERATA: HOW MOM DECOLONIZED THE SCREEN

7:45 | CLOSING FILM: HAIDA MODERN

3:15 | PITY THE LOVERS

3:15 | GOLDA

6:15 | A SON

6:15 | #FEMALEPLEASURE

9:00 | MY DADS, MY MOMS AND ME

9:00 | JALLIKATTU

6:15 | ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF NOAH PIUGATTUK

9:00 | ALICE

9:00 | NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN

5:30 | MS SLAVIC 7

5:30 | BOOKSELLERS

8:00 | SHORTS: DREAMS

8:00 | THE WILD GOOSE LAKE

6:00 | PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE

6:00 | LA BELLE ÉPOQUE

12:15 | PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE 3:15 | HAVANA, FROM ON HIGH 6:15 | AND THEN WE DANCED

FI LM S C H E D U L E

ES

WEDNESDAY, FEB 12

8:45 | RED SNOW

8:45 | QUEEN OF HEARTS

Haida Modern

214


FI LM S B Y C O UN T RY 215

ARGENTINA Heroic Losers AUSTRALIA Hearts and Bones BRAZIL Bacurau The Last Romantics CANADA 3 Dreams of Horses American Woman And the Birds Rained Down Anne at 13,000 ft. Body and Bones Castle in the Ground Eddy’s Kingdom Haida Modern I Came Here Alone Kuessipan Matthias & Maxime Midian Farm MS Slavic 7 Murmur My Dads, My Moms and Me Old Age and Hope One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk Open for Submissions Red Snow Shella Record – A Reggae Mystery Sovereign Soil Terminal Clouds The Bear & The Beekeeper The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw The Pornographer The Seahorse Trainer The Twentieth Century Wheeler’s Everest White Lie Wilcox CANADA,GERMANY This is Not a Movie CHINA The Wild Goose Lake CHINA,CANADA Not Your Panda CHINA,USA There Were Four of Us

CUBA,CANADA Havana from on the High DENMARK Queen of Hearts FINLAND,ESTONIA Maria’s Paradise FRANCE Alice ATHLETICUS: Synchronised Trampoline La Belle Époque Portrait of a Lady on Fire Two of Us FRANCE, PORTUGAL The Marvelous Misadventures of the Stone Lady FRANCE,SUDAN Talking About Trees GERMANY Cloud Whispers Hi A.I. Lara ICELAND A White, White Day Pitty The Lovers ICELAND/USA The Seer and the Unseen INDIA Jallikattu ISRAEL/GERMANY Golda ITALY The Disappearance of My Mother The Traitor JAPAN Okko’s Inn To The Ends Of Earth We Are Little Zombies JAPAN,USA,SOUTH KOREA Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue LUXEMBOURG Portraitist NETHERLANDS Human Nature NEW ZEALAND Bellbird Merata: How Mom Decolonized the Screen

NORWAY The Men’s Room PAKISTAN Darling PALESTINE It Must Be Heaven POLAND Corpus Christi Connected SPAIN, ARGENTINA While At War SWEDEN And Then We Danced Pity The Lovers SWITZERLAND #FemalePleasure Architecture of Infinity Hope Frozen Kids Le Rose et le Vert (The Missing Piece) Vagenda Stories THAILAND A Son TUNISIA The Last Tree UK Bait Denmark Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin Romantic Comedy Sorry We Missed You The Street Hope Gap USA Desert One His Eyes Behind Mine Kifaru Light From Light Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man Olympic Dreams Re-Education of the Senses Senior Love Triangle The Booksellers The Climb The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating The Vast of Night


F E AT URE F IL MS

31

#femalepleasure A Son A White, White Day Alice American Woman And the Birds Rained Down And Then We Danced Anne at 13,000 ft. Architechture of Infinity Bacurau Bait Bellbird Body and Bones Castle in the Ground Cloud Whispers Corpus Christi Denmark Desert One Eddy’s Kingdom Golda Haida Modern Havana, from on High Hearts and Bones Heroic Losers Hi A.I. Hope Frozen Hope Gap It Must Be Heaven Jallikattu Kifaru Kuessipan La belle Époque Lara Light From Light Maria’s Paradise Matthias & Maxime Merata: How Mom Decolonized the Screen Midian Farm

107 183 37 93 65 202 185 35 23 165 73 141 81 19 61 47 125 161 149 87 89 109 49 55 17 33 75 77 95 139 177 127 129 119

Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man MS Slavic 7 Murmur My Dads, My Moms and Me Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin Okko’s Inn Old Age and Hope Olympic Dreams One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk Open for Submissions Pity The Lovers Portrait of a Lady on Fire Queen of Hearts Red Snow Romantic Comedy Senior Love Triangle Shella Record – A Reggae Mystery Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue Sorry We Missed You Sovereign Soil Talking About Trees The Booksellers The Climb The Disappearance of My Mother The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw The Last Tree The Men’s Room The Seer and the Unseen The Street The Traitor The Twentieth Century The Vast of Night The Wild Goose Lake This is Not a Movie

153 63 51 169 133 173 135 179

To The Ends of the Earth Two of Us Vagenda Stories We Are Little Zombies Wheeler’s Everest White Lie While at War Wilcox

SHOR T S 187 187 187 187 187 188 188 188 188 188 188 189 189 189 189 189 189 196 196 196 196 196

Kids Portraitist Connected I Came Here Alone Physics of Sorrow Not Your Panda The Bear & The Beekeeper The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating ATHLETICUS: Synchronised Trampoline The Seahorse Trainer Human Nature There Were Four of Us Re-Education of the Senses Terminal Clouds His Eyes Behind Mine 3 Dreams of Horses The Marvelous Misadventures of the Stone Lady The Pornographer Le Rose et le Vert (The Missing Piece) The Last Romantics Darling Viens! The Forbidden Touch in Slow Motion (4K VR/360 fiction)

FI LM IN DE X

115 97 71 43 59 29 69 181 175 103 171 163 45 57 39 123 111 105 157 117 159 99 155 145 101 85 194 91 131 113 41 143 27 53 79 147 21

216


VICTORIA FILM FESTIVAL FEBRUARY 7•16•2020

Not quite what you expected

217

Profile for Victoria Film Festival

Victoria Film Festival 2020  

This is it -- the official program guide for the 26th Annual Victoria Film Festival.

Victoria Film Festival 2020  

This is it -- the official program guide for the 26th Annual Victoria Film Festival.

Profile for vff_comm