VIFF turns 30

Brendan Tyndall

After the brain-draining slew of endless remakes, adaptations, and sequels thrust upon movie-goers in the summer season, the Vancouver International Film Festival is a welcome change.

As the weather turns sour and we are forced to deal with months of  soul-sucking grey skies and showers, VIFF provides a the perfect excuse to get inside and watch a few movies.

The festival, which takes place from Sept. 29 until Oct. 14, with films screening at five different theatres around Vancouver, is host to hundreds of international and independent films from around the globe.

Festivals like VIFF offer an alternative to the typical Hollywood movies that hold a monopoly on Vancouver and Surrey theatres. The majority of films do not contain big-name Hollywood actors and don’t get massive exposure to audiences via television trailers, so a big part of the fun is going to the festival’s website, choosing a film at random and going to check it out – free of any expectations or prejudices.

There are literally hundreds of films to choose from, but below are a few notable highlights for VIFF:

Australian director  Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty is a film about a woman who volunteers herself to be drugged by olden men and taken advantage of while she’s under (whatever works for you I guess).

Miss Bala by Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo finds a teenage beauty queen caught up in a gang-led drug war along the U.S./Mexico border.

Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In stars Antonio Banderas as a plastic surgeon who uses a woman he keeps captive in his home to test out experimental skin treatments.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan is an account of Turkish police as they search the Turkish countryside for the grave of a dead man.

On the less disturbing end of the spectrum, The Girls in the Band by American director Judy Chaikin shines a light on the history of women in jazz and bop music.

As for Canadian content, Aaron Houston’s Sunflower Hour is a mockumentary about four puppeteers who are competing for a spot of a children’s TV show.

Films will be screening at Empire 7, Pacific Cinemateque, Park Theatre, Vancity Theatre and Visa Screening Room, a newly newly renovated Vogue Theater. For a complete list of films, check out the festivals website,


facebook comments:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.