VIFF: Nonfiction Features

Nonfiction Features:

As we mark the centenary of In the Land of the Head Hunters, the seminal British Columbia nonfiction film, VIFF unveils another series of acclaimed documentary and essay films that expand the form’s possibilities and invite us to view the world in different lights.

The following is a small selection of featured Nonfiction Features. To get the full list, please view your VIFF guide book. To purchase tickets please click here:

Becoming Bulletproof: (Guest: Director will be in attendance)


Zeno Mountain Farm is an organisation that brings together severely disabled men, women and children to make films. Barnett’s documentary is disarming and devoid of sentimentality, and brings us face to face with disability, with our prejudices, misunderstandings and incomprehension. We meet the people who support the actors doing the summer camp in Venice, California. They are selfless, devoted and their role is wholly understated.

A Dangerous Game: (Guest: Director will be in attendance)


Few films at VIFF 2011 got the blood boiling quite as quickly as Anthony Baxter’s You’ve Been Trumped. A real life David vs. Goliath story, the documentary invited us to watch with mouths agape as Donald Trump plowed ahead with plans to develop a luxurious golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, regardless of the environmental damage exacted or ancestral homes that might have to be bulldozed. In this equally ire-inducing follow up, the intrepid, globetrotting Baxter visits other ecologically fragile sites that are being razed by tycoons to make way for perfectly manicured playgrounds. The tactics of intimidation and coercion being employed are nothing short of deplorable, leaving one nostalgic for the days when golf’s worst transgression was ruining a perfectly good walk. When Baxter is finally granted an audience with The Donald, it results in a smug sermon from Trump Tower that has to be seen to be believed.

Concerning Violence: (Featuring Lauryn Hill from the Fugees)


Full of remarkably powerful footage, Concerning Violence is a challenging but ultimately illuminating look at the struggle against colonial rule in Africa. Committing a political act of unburying and appropriation, acclaimed director Göran Hugo Olsson (The Black Power Mixtape 1969-1975) assembles striking archival material of various liberation efforts from the 60s and 70s and sets it to passages from Frantz Fanon’s vital treatise on racism and colonialism, The Wretched of the Earth.

Food Chain: (Canadian Premiere, Guest: Director will be in attendance)


The boldest documentaries speak truth to power. Sanjay Rawal’s film follows in this tradition, exposing a grave injustice at the core of American commerce. In an age of corporate consolidation, major food retailers are able to control produce prices, exploiting farmers and—at the lowest end of the chain—pickers. In Florida, desperate and downtrodden tomato pickers endure harsh temperatures for an obscene wage of one cent per pound. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers advocates for them, calling for safer work conditions and an extra penny per pound. To our ears, these requests don’t seem unreasonable. But to a corporation…

How I came to Hate Maths: (Canadian Premiere)


A broad ranging and hard-hitting discussion of the importance (and regular misuse) of mathematics in our lives, How I Came to Hate Maths is also very much about why we should love math and care that its power is used well. This captivating documentary builds its several arguments on significant recent data, as well as the inspired testimonials of gifted teachers, mathematicians and kvetching children. Director Olivier Peyon moves tactfully from lively discussions about how teaching “new math” created bewilderment instead of creativity right along to the present-day high anxiety underpinning mathematics-fuelled exchange-traded derivatives, risk (mis)management and financial collapse.

Marmato: (Canadian Premiere, Guest: Director will be in attendance)


If Colombia is the new El Dorado of the global gold rush then the small mountain town of Marmato, riddled with primitive gold mines, is the new frontier. For 500 years, the community has sustained its economy by mining, drilling and dynamiting the mountain’s rich veins, barely denting the reserves, worth an estimated $20 billion. Over the past several years, a Canadian corporation bought out nearly all of the local mining interests at a fraction of their worth and promoted a plan to level the mountain—and town of Marmato—with an enormous open-pit mine. Filming with unusual care and access for nearly six years, director Mark Grieco delivers a powerful elegy for a traditional community besieged by forces that spin inexorably beyond its control.

This was just a small selection of featured Nonfiction Features. To get the full list, please view your VIFF guide book. To purchase tickets please click here:

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