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VIFF 2013: As Our Little Festival By the Sea Wends to a Close

Vancouver International Film Festival

That's it this year for the Vancouver International Film Festival site at Cineplex International Village — no more comfy and inviting Cinemas 8, 9 and 10, no more transcendently lovely Iulia Manolescu and Jelena Popowich (wondrous women of much wit, warmth and intelligence) at Tinseltown.

The film festival continues on through Friday. There are miles to go and films to see, tears to shed and friends to make before the 32nd annual Vancouver International Film Festival draws to a close on October 11th.

Felix Now An All-Ages Screening at VIFF 2013

The first week of the Festival, several parents of school-age children approached VanRamblings to express a concern that all three screenings of the feel-good film of the Festival, the G-rated and most transcendently wonderful family film on screen at this year's Fest, had been booked into the age-restricted Rio Theatre for all three screenings. Continuing in our unofficial ombudsperson's role with VIFF, on Friday we approached Festival Director Alan Franey, who told us ...

VIFF understood when negotiating for The Rio to become a Festival site this year that the venue possessed an age-restricted license — due to the fact that their license allows them to serve alcohol - might prove problematical for screenings of family-oriented film fare like Felix, which, as you're aware, is very much the feel good film at this year's Festival.

With that thought in mind, early on in the process to bring The Rio into the VIFF fold, we sought to have the age restriction for entrance into The Rio lifted for the duration of the Festival, and I believe we achieved that goal. The Rio will not be an age-restricted venue for VIFF in 2013.

All of us within VIFF administration and on the Board are fully cognizant that an important part of our mission in presenting a film festival of world cinema is to continue to grow the audience for our Festival. Providing parents with the opportunity to attend VIFF screenings with their children fits very much within the realization of that mission goal.

Earlier in the day, we had left a message for VIFF administrator Mickey Brazeau — one of the strongest, most welcoming, truth-telling, feminist, tough-minded VIFF staff we've encountered (VanRamblings loves straight-talking feminist women) — who, after we'd spoken with Alan — indicated that she felt, in practice, The Rio might not fully adhere to the "contractual arrangement" that VIFF had sought to establish. Mickey did say that she understood that the 6:30pm Saturday screening of Felix would allow children accompanied by parents entrance into The Rio, but to the balcony area only, in order that The Rio might continue to sell alcohol — within the terms of their hard-fought-for venue liquor license — on the main floor.

On Saturday night, VanRamblings made a point of speaking with VIFF Rio Theatre manager, Nancy Kurek (one of our favourite venue managers, and an incredibly wonderful human being) who told us the 6:30pm screening of Felix had sold out, and as Mickey had earlier informed us, had allowed children accompanied by parents entrance to The Rio's balcony. Nancy further confirmed — this after VanRamblings had gone on and on and on about the emotionally wrenching day we were having, the topic the very same as the previous year at VIFF, almost a carbon copy of our VIFF 2012 conversation with Nancy — that at Tuesday's 1:30pm screening of Felix there will be no age restriction in place at The Rio, children and parents may sit anywhere in the theatre they choose. On Sunday, in conversation with Mickey Brazeau, she confirmed the information presented by Nancy Kurek.

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Miss Violence, one of VIFF 2013's very best feature films

Miss Violence, re-inventing Greek "weird wave", a journey deep into the heart of darkness

To some degree this year, VanRamblings has failed our readers. For the most part, we've sought to publish 1500 - 2000 words a day (save Saturday, when a post we'd worked on for 6 hours simply disappeared into the ether, gone forever, when we attempted to publish it), and have sought each day to point readers / VIFF patrons in the direction of the very finest films that the film festival has on offer this year.

What VanRamblings has not done this year, as we have done in years previous, is write five 150-to-200-word capsule reviews each day of VIFF fare that has moved us. We had sought in our Saturday post to address this oversight, and had in fact written Part 2 of what would be a 4000+ word piece on the best films on offer in the final week. But as we say, that VanRamblings post — with all of its complex html coding, and much uploading of photos to accompany the post — simply disappeared.

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[Note: titles of films below that are linkable to the VIFF website are screening this week, and well worth taking in the final week of VIFF. Simply click on the link for showtime information, and ticket purchase]

There Will Come a Day

Although we've written about our very favourite films at VIFF this year, in the end, in practice or from a reader's perspective, we've not written one-fifth enough reviews of our very favourite films. We will say that Miss Violence will find a place in our top five feature favourites at VIFF 2013, after The Great Passage and The Patience Stone (which we'll screen for a second time at The Playhouse, at 4pm on Tuesday), and I Belong.

That Harmony Lessons will make our Top 20 (out of the 80 that we've seen), as will the two stunningly well-realized Latin American films, La jaula de oro, and Field of Amapolas; and that, most probably, Matterhorn, Bends, Our Sunhi, Felix, Like Father, Like Son, Blue is the Warmest Colour, and Grand Central will make our list, as will Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, The Strange Little Cat (VanRamblings would award the film an "A" grade, but consensus on this film was far from in accord with that of VanRamblings, although there were many who loved the film as much as we did), There Will Come a Day (a meditation on the existential personal crisis of a woman who has lost her child, the film screening for a final time today, 6:15pm at The Centrenot-to-be-missed), The Invisible Woman, and A Bag of Flour. We'd also suggest you take in a screening of Wadjda.

The Italian Character: The Story of a Great Italian Orchestra

For the most part, readers will have to wait til next week for a post on our favourite docs at VIFF 2013, which for now looks something like this ...

At some point next week, we'll publish our favourite VIFF features column, offering explicative insight into our very favourite feature film fare at the 32nd annual Vancouver International Film Festival.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 7, 2013 4:25 AM in VIFF 2013


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