A & E






Newspapers & Magazines




Web / Tech

Vancouver International Film Festival projectors are set to roll


The Vancouver International Film Festival will celebrate its 29th birthday September 30th thru October 15th, all across Vancouver.

For the first time, VIFF will offer screenings at the Park Theatre on Cambie Street, which replaces longtime Festival venue The Ridge. Otherwise, venues operating throughout the entire fest are the same as last year: the Empire Granville 7 (again, 'home' to VIFF), Pacific Cinémathèque on Howe Street, and the VIFF's own Vancity Theatre on Seymour.

On those screens, VIFF will unspool 600 screenings of 230 feature-length films and 150 shorts, from 80 countries. And, as always, 80% of the films screening at VIFF will never screen in Vancouver again (so see them now).

As Canada's largest Festival venue for Canadian film, in 2010 VIFF will present 87 Canadian films, including 20 dramatic features, 16 nonfiction features, one mid-length film, and 50 'shorts'. Selected from 700 submissions, VIFF will also present 115 non-fiction films, of which 98 are feature-length. The Non-Fiction Features series represents Canada's second-largest "documentary festival," with an estimated 63,000 of VIFF's total 150,000 admissions last year attending this portion of the fest.

As in past years, in 2010 overall VIFF will present 85 premières: 12 world, 23 international, and 50 North American.

This year's Festival officially kicks off this evening with Barney's Version, Mordecai Richler's acclaimed 1997 satire, which tracks the life of Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti), a Montreal Jewish mensch, marital philanderer, foul-mouthed social liability, hard drinker, self-hater, low-grade TV producer and possible murderer, through four decades of his messily authentic life. Directed by Richard J. Lewis, Barney's Version arrives in Vancouver after débuting at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month.

VIFF will close two weeks later with a gala screening of master animator Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist (Gala, Fri, Oct 15 7 pm, Empire Granville Th7; & Fri, Oct 15 9:45 pm @ Empire Granville Th7), a follow-up to his award-winning 2003 tour-de-force, The Triplets of Belleville. Bathed in self-aware melancholy and lightened by slow-burn humour and a sensibility rooted in silent-era filmmaking, The Illusionist offers plenty to look at, all of it magnificently rendered, as it deploys superb hand-drawn imagery to bring to life an unproduced screenplay the late Jacques Tati finished in 1959.

In between — during the 17 days of the Festival — are numerous special events and multiple daily screenings, as many or more screenings, says VIFF artistic director Alan Franey, than in previous years.

In 2010, VIFF places a focus on a Best of Cannes 2010 film series, including Palme d'Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Recalls His Past Lives, which screens next Wednesday, October 6 at 9 p.m. (Granville 7, Theatre 3) and Tuesday, October 12th at 4:15 p.m. (VanCity Theatre).

Léa Seydoux in Dear Prudence

Léa Seydoux in Dear Prudence, at the Vancouver International Film Festival

In addition, VIFF will present multiple screenings of Cannes' Grand Prix winner, Of Gods and Men; Critics' Week winner Armadillo; Jury Prize winner A Screaming Man; and Quebec filmmaker Xavier Dolan's Heartbeats (winner of the Prix de la Jeunesse). The remaining Cannes' winners include Certified Copy (Frances / Belgium / Italy, Cannes' Best Actress winner), Biutiful (Spain / Mexico, Best Actor co-winner, Javier Bardem), Our Life (Italy, co-winner Best Actor), October (Peru, Un Certain Regard Jury Prize), Hahaha (South Korea, Prix d'Un Certain Regard), Dear Prudence (France, Critics Week Discovery), You Are All Captains (Spain / France FIPRESCI prize), and Poetry (South Korea, Best Screenplay).

Highlights of the remaining films which screened at Cannes this year:

  • British director Mike Leigh's Another Year, a North London-set drama about an interconnected set of family and friends;

  • Aurora, Cristi Puiu's first film since The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, the story of a professional gamer who falls in love with a beautiful Taiwanese girl;

  • Argentinian director Pablo Trapero's stellar, intimate and moving character drama, Corancho;

  • Carlos, Olivier Assayas's five-hour-plus globetrotting biopic of the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal;

  • Russian director Sergei Loznitsa's devastating critique of Russian society, My Joy;

  • Charles Ferguson's acclaimed documentary Inside Job, a searing examination of the financial crisis of 2007-10 and its catastrophic ramifications;

  • Aktan Arym Kubat's The Light Thief, a warm, gentle comedy about an electrician in the remote Kyrgyz mountains;

  • Bertrand Tavernier's The Princess of Montpensier, a vivid depiction of love and war in 16th century France;

  • Stephen Frears' Tamara Drewe, starring British sensation, Gemma Arterton; and

  • Julie Bertucelli's Australia / France co-production The Tree, which stars last year's Cannes' Best Actress winner, Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Many of the Festival's trademark programmes will return, including VIFF's signature series, Dragons and Tigers: The Cinema of East Asia, with 43 features and 21 shorts, many of them premières. Highlights of this series:

  • Japanese director Sono Shion's thriller Cold Fish, based on the Saitama murders from the eighties committed by a dog kennel owner;

  • Chinese director Feng Xiaogang's disaster drama, Aftershock, based on the 1976 Tangshan earthquake which claimed the lives of 240,000 people;

  • Japanese director Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins, a classic samurai tale which culminates in a magnificent 45-minute battle sequence; and

  • Taiwanese director Ho Wi Ding's winning comedy / drama, Pinoy Sunday, which treats a serious subject played with the lightest of touches, in this story of a two Filipino immigrant workers who work in a bicycle factory on the outskirts of Taipei.

In the remaining Festival series, Spotlight on France will showcase 32 films, many of them Cannes' award winners; Arts and Letters sets about to convey the power of the other arts - architecture, dance, painting and music, especially music - through cinema; Africa Today presents nine films which explore a spectrum of subjects and styles across a rapidly changing and dynamic Africa from Chad, Congo, Kenya and Ethiopia to Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa and Zanzibar; and Ecologies of Mind, VIFF's annual environmental series will showcase 14 films which seek to bust through preconceptions of ruin and passivity, and move us to action.

Individual tickets ($12 evenings, $10 matinées) may be purchased online at, by phone at 604.685.8297, in person at the Festival box office (1181 Seymour St., or at the Empire Granville 7, 855 Granville, noon to 7 p.m. daily), or at any Festival venue. Various Festival passes and packages are available, including the Full Series pass (all regular screenings, $400 / $375 VISA premium pass), the Weekday Matinée pass, $175; Student and Senior passes, $325; and the Cinematic 30-Pack, $270.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at September 30, 2010 12:17 AM in VIFF 2010


back to top