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VIFF2012: A Canadian Day at the Film Festival

Alan Franey, Festival Director, Vancouver International Film Festival

VIFF Festival Director (and good man), Alan Franey. Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

In the early morning of Wednesday, October 10th, seeing a hundred or so VIFF patrons lined up outside the Empire Granville 7 waiting to gain entrance to Rafaël Ouellet's very fine Camion, Vancouver International Film Festival Director Alan Franey approached those standing in line and commenced an open dialogue with the dedicated ticket and pass holders.

The first question, the primary interest of those in line referenced, "next year" for the Festival: "Where will the Festival be located in 2012 following the closure of the Empire Granville 7?" Alan had some heartening news.

"In the past couple of days, VIFF has received a number of calls from members of the community, offering exhibition space for next year's Festival. SFU has indicated that they could make cinema screens at Woodward's and Harbour Centre available to the Festival. CBC also called. Apparently, the CBC complex on Hamilton has a state-of-the-art cinema within, which could be made available to VIFF. Should the Festival secure the use of Cineplex-Odeon's International Village (formerly Tinseltown) 12-theatre complex, in 2013 VIFF would become a Festival situated in an area that has long been designated as the future cultural hub of the City, Downtown Northeast."

Of course, the Vancouver International Film Festival would continue to employ the Vancity theatre at VIFF's Film Centre on Seymour, as well as the Pacific Cinémathèque on Howe Street, as venues for the Festival. There's been preliminary discussion / suggestion that should the Festival secure a sponsor and subsidy, and work out the attendant logistics so as to ensure patron convenience and safety, that a shuttle bus service, at little or no cost, may be a transport option for Festival patrons that would ensure transport between Festival venues in 2013. Or, patrons could simply take advantage of an already vibrant downtown Vancouver transit system.

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For Canadian cinema, 2012 has proved to be a particularly strong year. VanRamblings has already written that we believe Manon Briand, who brought her Liverpool to VIFF2012, to be an accomplished filmmaker, and an important new voice in cinema. We were certainly swept away by Sarah Polley's investigative, melancholy yet full of life documentary, Stories We Tell. On Wednesday morning, we found ourself moved by Rafaël Oulett's:

Camion (Grade: B+): Winner of both the Ecumenical Jury and the Best Director awards (for Québec-based writer-director Rafaël Oulette) at this year's Czech Republic's Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, throughout the screening of Camion we wondered to ourselves, why is it that we in western Canada cannot seem to produce well-made, international quality, slice-of-life character dramas that provide insight into the human condition, that move, inform, create a sense of mood and place, and are infused with the melancholy of life yet manage to offer hope, films that create a sense of connection for the characters on screen, and for those of us in the audience? Rafaël Ouellet has created all of that and more in one of the true highlights of the 31st annual Vancouver International Film Festival.

Stories We Tell (Grade: A): Sarah Polley's new documentary memoir resonated with us like mad. Engaging, fluid, melancholy, hearfelt, and skilful storytelling of the first order, a film that unfolds with intrigue, heartrending candor and narrative resonance that somehow manages to universalize a very personal story, at the end of the day what Sarah Polley has captured on screen is bold, ground-breaking, reverential truth-telling, a story of a life unraveled and somehow pulled back into cohesion, where tough, tough questions are confronted and answered. No one has ever created as original a work of art — as is the case with Stories We Tell — that explores the dynamics of family, memory, truth and the ragged poetry of life. This is exceptional filmmaking, pertinent, shocking, and lovely beyond words.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 11, 2012 11:32 AM in VIFF 2012


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