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VIFF line-up of canadian films

MEDIA RELEASE September 7, 2011
September 29 - October 14, 2011

VIFF line-up showcases
80+ Canadian films
Canadian Images Program includes 24BC productions

VIFF is one of the biggest annual showcases of Canadian film in the world, with a special emphasis on BC films. Close to one-quarter of the festival's more than 360 films this year are home-grown.

Canadian films are shown within several programming strands, most notably the Canadian Images section, but also in Galas, Special Presentations, Heaven and Earth, Reel Youthand Cinema of Our Time.

The Canadian Images line-up includes 17 dramatic and 12 nonfiction feature-length films, 36 shorts and1 mid-length film. It also includes 24 British Columbia productions, comprised of 11 features (5 documentaries and 6 dramatic features), 1 mid-length and 12 shorts. These films showcase new works from some of Canada's most popular and prolific filmmakers, along with a great crop of new talent.

"Once again, local productions are generating quite a bit of buzz," says Terry McEvoy, Canadian Images Programmer.
"Carl Bessai completes his caustic, comic, family trilogy with Sisters&Brothers. Comforting Skin, Derek Franson's debut, is a stirring fantasy of taunting whispers and frantic desires. Jim Cliffe's first feature film, Donovan's Echo, features Danny Glover as the deeply conflicted title character. Tracy D. Smith returns with the hilarious and heartbreaking Everything and Everyone. Aaron Houston's Sunflower Hour is a playful mockumentary about puppeteers who should never be left alone with children. Bruce Ramsay presents his 1940s take on Shakespeare's Hamlet, stripped for speed and steeped in claustrophobic angst.

"There is clearly something in the water as we are deluged this year with documentary films that approach the environment and our place in it from a variety of perspectives. Dianne Whelan's 40 Days at Base Camp reveals the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are receding, jeopardizing drinking water for millions of people. Pascal Sanchez's The Ailing Queen shows how honeybees are like canaries in our global coal-mine, warning us of potential disaster. Seeking the Current examines the drastic effects of Hydro-electric projects, particularly a series of dams proposed for the Romaine river in Quebec. Surviving Progress provides a subversive diagnosis of mankind's unique place on this planet. Steve Suderman takes a long look at the modern "back to the land" movement in To Make a Farm. David York brings us Wiebo's War, a surprising profile of Wiebo Ludwig, the charismatic and controversial environmental activist."

Prizes available to Canadian filmmakers include:

-- The biggest prize at VIFF, the $20,000 Shaw Award for Best Canadian Feature Film, which will be selected by jury from 7 first feature films in competition;

-- The Canadian Images jury also chooses the $2,000 Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film;

-- NFB Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award ($2500 in technical services);

-- All Canadian films are also eligible for the Most Popular Canadian Film Award, chosen by audience ballot, and the Rogers People's Choice Award for the most popular film in the festival.


40 Days at Base Camp (Dianne Whelan) BC
With only half the level of oxygen we have at sea level, to be at base camp on Mt. Everest is to be dying a little bit every day. Director Dianne Whelan brings a photographer's eye and a storyteller's ear to this inhuman environment. With only half the level of oxygen we have at sea level, to be at base camp on Mt. Everest is to be dying a little bit every day. Director Dianne Whelan brings a photographer's eye and a storyteller's ear to this inhuman environment.

The Ailing Queen (Pascal Sanchez) Quebec
Director Pascal Sanchez's examination of the worldwide efforts to battle bee-colony collapse concentrates on young, energetic beekeeper Anicet Desrochers. He is a pioneer of more ecological methods of managing bees- upon which the earth's entire agricultural production depends.

BumRush (Michel Jetté) Quebec
Director Michel Jetté delivers an action-packed, deliciously tense portrait of Montreal's criminal underbelly in this rip-roaring gangster film. A complex web of greed, ambition, and masculine codes of honour, with bursts of testosterone and loads of violence.

Cloudburst (Thom Fitzgerald) Nova Scotia
Colloquial humour colours Thom Fitzgerald's romantic comedy about a lesbian couple planning to wed in Canada after more than 30 years together. Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis shines in this beautiful love story as the defiant and hilariously profane Stella.

Comforting Skin (Derek Franson) BC
One night Koffie gets a tattoo¬--a last ditch attempt to imbue her life with excitement. But with the tattoo comes a mysterious connection that fills her life with taunting whispers and frantic desires. Director Derek Franson's debut is a dark, intriguing psychological drama.

Desert Riders (Vic Sarin) BC
Camel racing is one of the Middle East's most popular sports, but rarely revealed is the unspeakable horror thousands of boys face when sold into the world of jockeying. Director Vic Sarin gives a voice to these children in this bold and compelling doc.

Donovan's Echo (Jim Cliffe) BC
Thirty years after a tragic accident, Donovan returns to his family home. Convinced history is repeating itself, he risks everything to save an unsuspecting family from the same fate. Directed by Jim Cliffe, Danny Glover adeptly brings a deeply conflicted character to the screen.

Everything and Everyone (Tracy D. Smith) BC
Tracy D. Smith's latest feature is a beautifully told story of love, laughter, loss, and everything in between. A troubled group of family and friends deal with crises of age, love, death, parenthood and identity, taking us on a journey both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Family Portrait in Black and White (Julia Ivanova) BC
Director Julia Ivanova introduces strong-willed Olga, a single woman raising 16 black orphans in a small Ukrainian town. Growing up in a country of blue-eyed blondes, these children must always be on guard against the world around them. Winner, Best Canadian Feature, Hot Docs 2011.

Girl in the White Coat (Darrell Wasyk) Quebec
Élise is an outsider. She works at a factory where she is alienated by her colleagues who focus their bullying torment on her old-fashioned, threadbare, once-white coat. Filmmaker Darrell Wasyk re-imagines Gogol's The Overcoat in this transportive tale, set in wintry Montreal.

Guilt (Marc Bisaillon) Quebec
Director Marc Bisaillon explores themes of conscience in his latest drama, based on a true story. In St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, two teenagers find themselves responsible for an accidental homicide committed during a night of partying. The pair must find ways to shoulder the burden of guilt.

Hamlet (Bruce Ramsay) BC
Director and star Bruce Ramsay offers a noirish adaptation of Shakespeare's classic, stripped for speed and steeped in claustrophobic angst. A subtle palette and superb 40s set design serve as the perfect backdrop to this tale of angst and internal conflict.

i am a good person/i am a bad person (Ingrid Veninger) Ontario
Director Ingrid Veninger follows up the success of Modra (VIFF 10) with another beautifully crafted tale of Canadians abroad in Europe. As free-spirited filmmaker Ruby and her introspective daughter Sara split part way through their trip, each comes to terms with an inner conflict.

Inside Lara Roxx (Mia Donovan) Quebec
Lara Roxx was 21 and relatively inexperienced when she went to L.A. to make big money in porn. After only a few short weeks, she contracted HIV while working. Director Mia Donovan documents Lara's emotional journey, while exposing the failings of a billion-dollar industry.

Nuit #1 (Anne Emond) Quebec
Clara and Nikolai meet at rave: the scene is set for a typical one-night-stand. But as the night progresses, they divulge their innermost secrets to one another. Director Anne Émond probes the possibilities of a fleeting encounter in this bold exploration of sex, intimacy and love.

On the Line (Frank Wolf) BC
Director Frank Wolf's low-tech journey from the Alberta Tar Sands to the B.C. coast traces the planned route for the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, highlighting the soon to be affected locals and the as yet unspoiled wilderness over which this environmentally heedless project looms.

Passionflower (Shelagh Carter) Manitoba
Shelagh Carter's touching and provocative story focuses on Sarah, a young woman nearing adolescence in early 1960s suburban Winnipeg, as she struggles to reconcile her mother's licentious example of female sexuality with her own quest for validation and control.

Peace Out (Charles Wilkinson) BC
As Canada's energy consumption grows, scientists, industry and government are making hard choices about how to feed it. Charles Wilkinson's latest eye-opener is a concentrated look at the harrowing costs of our technological affluence.

Planet Yoga (Carlos Ferrand) Quebec
This doc is an excellent primer on yoga--philosophy, practice and history. Director Carlos Ferrand undertakes a personal journey to discover the origins, chief practitioners and practical applications of this healing art.

Seeking the Current (Nicolas Boisclair, Alexis de Gheldere) Quebec
Directors Nicolas Boisclair and Alexis de Gheldere, together with Quebecois film star Roy Dupuis, take a scrupulous look at Hydro Quebec's plan to construct dams along the Romaine River. This is a journey of dedication that goes beyond the critique to envision a better future for the land.

Sisters&Brothers (Carl Bessai) BC
Carl Bessai's raucous, poignant feature is the latest in his series of collaboratively written comedies on the theme of family. This comedic tale about the trials and tribulations of four sibling pairs is an example of ensemble filmmaking at its finest.

Starbuck (Ken Scott) Quebec
David's greatest financial success has been via his prolific donation of sperm--until a lab mix-up results in fatherhood on an epic scale. Ken Scott's comedy is of the warm and upbeat variety, presenting hard choices for its hero and plenty of obstacles--533, to be exact.

Sunflower Hour (Aaron Houston) BC
The buzz is very strong for Aaron Houston's playful mockumentary about four puppeteers vying for one position on a hit children's television show. Following these social outcasts, we discover that perhaps they've got no business being near children in the first place... Winner, Independent Camera Award, Karlovy Vary 2011.

Surviving Progress (Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks) Quebec/BC
Based on Ronald Wright's bestseller A Short History of Progress, this documentary provides a subversive diagnosis of mankind's unique abilities and the danger they've brought to the world. Directors Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks probe the fundamental nature and effects of the human condition with disturbing precision.

To Make a Farm (Steve Suderman) Saskatchewan
Director Steve Suderman's documentary profiles small-scale organic farmers who set out to establish their own local-supply food sources using sustainable means. Exceptionally hopeful, this doc shows that positivity and practicality are closely linked.

Trash (Benoit Pilon) Quebec
This gritty urban drama is director Benoît Pilon's latest compassionate portrait of the human condition. As his respectable neighborhood is infiltrated by gangs expanding their territory, family man Pierre becomes obsessed with helping a frail young junkie named Eve.

West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson (Michèle Hozer, Peter Raymont) Ontario
If there is one iconic image in Canadian art, it must be Tom Thomson, pipe in mouth, daubing paint on a board in the stern of a canoe. Directors Peter Raymont and Michèle Hozer have created a visually stunning and thoughtful reflection on the painter's life and work.

Wetlands (Guy Édoin) Quebec
This elemental drama, set on a small family farm in rural Quebec, introduces four characters struggling with their most basic, unchangeable desires. Director Guy Édoin lays out a seemingly insoluble conflict in this powerful film, consisting of beautiful but almost unbearable tension.

Wiebo's War (David York) Alberta
The story of Wiebo Ludwig is familiar to most Canadians. In the 90s, he came into conflict with an oil and gas company doing extractions near his property. From director David York emerges an honest, but ambiguous portrait of both the industry and Wiebo himself.
Take This Waltz (Sarah Polley) ON Canadian Images Opening Gala, September 30th
Set in the oppressive heat of a Toronto summer, director Sarah Polley's colourful second feature--starring a radiant Michelle Williams--explores the contrasting rhythms of new and mature relationships, and how they alter our images of ourselves.

Nash--The Documentary (Michael Hamilton, Corey Ogilvie) BC
Directors Michael Hamilton and Corey Ogilvie deliver a delightful profile of BC's most famous basketball player in this exceptional doc. We get to know Nash the player as well as his other personae: entrepreneur, philanthropist, filmmaker and family man.


People of a Feather (Joel Heath) BC
Employing astounding time-lapse photography captured over seven years, environmentalist Joel Heath illustrates how a remote Inuit community's traditional way of life is being ravaged by environmental change brought on by hydroelectric development. As an increasingly volatile ecosystem lays waste to flocks of eider ducks, the community seeks ways to adapt and address the problem.

Rainforest (Richard Boyce) BC
Inspired by his relationship with a Kwaxkwaka'wakw elder, Richard Boyce embarks upon an evocative cinematic journey contrasting the tree-farms that dominate the landscape surrounding his Vancouver Island home with an ancient--and threatened--rainforest.

Waking the Green Tiger (Gary Marcuse) BC
By declaring that nature must be conquered in the name of progress, Chairman Mao ushered in an era of environmental degradation for China. Now, passionate activists strive to preserve their natural wonders, educate their compatriots and encourage public debate. Gary Marcuse's stirring documentary celebrates the brave souls at the forefront of China's new revolution.


In Darkness (Agnieszka Holland) Poland/Canada
A Canadian-Polish co-production, Agnieszka Holland's (Europa, Europa) multi-strand WWII epic is set in the Lvov ghetto in 1943 and focuses on a Catholic sewer worker and petty thief who must make a decision when he discovers a group of Jews hiding in the sewers... Poland's submission for the Best Foreign Language film Oscar.

Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche (Johanna Demetrakas) USA/Canada
The controversial monk who brought his "crazy wisdom" form of Buddhism to the West in the 60s and 70s, Chogyam Trungpa was a larger-than-life character known almost as much for his drinking and womanizing as for his teachings. Johanna Demetrakas' profile features Pema Chodron, Ram Dass, Allen Ginsberg and Robert Thurman.

Inni: Sigur Rós (Vincent Morisset) Iceland/UK/Canada
Following on 2007's successful Heima, this is Sigur Rós second live film and it shows them again as mesmerizing performers at the peaks of their abilities. Director Vincent Morriset weaves ten years of archival material into his ethereal live footage. Inni, he says, "leaves room for all those beautiful images come to our minds when we listen to their music."


The premise that everything was formed from the four elements of antiquity--earth, water, air, and fire--dominated natural philosophy for two thousand years. Even today, earth, water, air, and fire are reasonable symbols for the four states of matter--solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.





The Vancouver International Film Festival acknowledges the generous support of Telefilm Canada and major corporate partners Rogers Communications and Visa Canada.

About VIFF
The Vancouver International Film Festival [VIFF] is among the largest film festivals in North America and is one of the largest cultural events in Canada. A fall fixture on the international film festival calendar, this festival is a microcosm of its home city: cosmopolitan, innovative, friendly, culturally complex and very accessible. The 30th VIFF takes place September 29 to October 14 and 150,000 people are expected to attend over 600 screenings of 375 films from 75 countries. Founded in 1982, the festival's mandate is to encourage the understanding of other nations through the art of cinema, to foster the art of cinema, to facilitate the meeting in British Columbia of cinema professionals from around the world, and to stimulate the motion picture industry in British Columbia and Canada.


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