Yes, it’s that time when I volunteer for the Vancouver International Film Festival and see movies for free. At least when I have that lucky chance during my usher duties.
The festival opens Thursday September 24th and runs until Friday October 9th. This year’s festival looks full of energy. If you remember last year, it set a per-screen attendance record. Hopefully they can break it again or even break the total attendance record this year too. This is especially relieving since the future of the VIFF was questioned when the Granville 7 theatre closed. The last two VIFFs have been able to run very successfully under the new format and set-up. Having many theatres within various areas of the downtown and even including the Rio has not hurt attendance.
There aren’t that many changes in terms of screening of films. One minor change for the Rio is that they will be showing films on five nights at 11pm instead of 11:30. Another difference is that there’s an increase in the number of days films at the three screens of the International Village will be shown. It used to end on the last Sunday of the fest. Instead it will end the day before the fest closes: four more days. That will allow for more showings.
As for this year’s lineup, there will be 375 films shown over nine screens and sixteen days. Films with big buzz include:
Brooklyn – John Crowley directs this drama/comedy starring Saoirse Ronan that is loaded with buzz. Opening Gala film.
I Saw The Light – Tom Hiddleston takes a break from playing Loki and plays Hank Williams in this biopic. Closing Gala film.
Arabian Nights – Portuguese director Miguel Gomes directs a trilogy of films inspired by, but not adapted from, the novel.
Beeba Boys – Deepa Mehta directs a crime drama. Definitely one to raise eyebrows, especially among Indo-Canadian communities.
Dheepan – This year’s Palme d’Or winner from Cannes. Spotlights Sri Lankan refugees trying to make a living in Paris.
High-Rise – Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel that seems like a 70’s version of 50 Shades Of Grey.
Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words – Ingrid Bergman like you’ve never seen her before in rare film footage and an intimate look at the legend.
Louder Than Bombs – A family melodrama starring Jesse Eisenberg and Amy Ryan that can get overheated but touches on human emotions.
Room – Stars Brie Larson and William H. Macy. This Irish-Canadian drama may seem like a focus on one family until you learn its ugly truth.
A Tale Of Three Cities – A Chinese romance/drama directed by Mabel Cheung that is based on the real life story of Jackie Chan’s parents.
This Changes Everything – a documentary where Naomi Klein puts the right-wing pundit and other global warming critics in their place.
Youth – Remember how I did The Great Beauty? Director Paolo Sorrentino makes his English-language debut of a retiring director reflecting on his past. Stars Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Jane Fonda and Paul Dano.
As for volunteering this year, we’re now back to doing a single venue. However there are exceptions such as advertised jobs at certain venues such as in the case of disassembling and various other duties. Or my case where I work the International Village but want to volunteer on the two days it’s not operating such as yesterday. Fortunately I was given the bonus option of volunteering for Cinematheque. It was a good first night where I ushered and I was able to see a film. Review coming soon.
Anyways the VIFF has begun again. Be prepared for more films, fun and excitement.