The 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival’s inaugural Best New Director award goes to BOTH Axelle Ropert for Miss and the Doctors (France), as well as Mikhail Red for Rekorder (Philippines)! Congratulations to the winners as well as the nominees!
The Best New Director Award is a new prize awarded annually to a first or second-time international director for a creative and innovative film which has not yet won significant international recognition. This competition flows directly from our 20-year history of offering the “Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema.” Over the past two decades, a particularly distinguished group of films were brought to early international attention at VIFF and their visiting directors benefited significantly from their recognition in Vancouver. We’re pleased to continue to help launch the careers of some the world’s most deserving and promising you directors.
The winner this year will be announced at 6:15 pm on October 2nd before the Special Presentation of:
Welcome To Me (director Shira Piven, Writer Eliot Laurence, and Producer Aaron Gilbert will be in attendance). The 2014 nominees and their films are as follow:
Asteroid, Director Marcelo Tobar (Mexico):
Director (and Vancouver Film School alumini) Marcelo Tobar has crafted an intimate family tale haunted by ghosts. Those spirits, which we occasionally see as apparitions of the mind, are the parents of Cristina and Mauricio. The story begins with Cristina’s arrival at the family home after years abroad. She finds leaves in the swimming pool, mementos packed away in boxes and her brother, a recovering alcoholic and ex-con, living quietly. He’s learned to live with the shared tragedy in their past, but just barely, and Cristina seems determined to dig everything back up. TICKETS.
August Winds, Actress Dandara de Morais (Brazil):
Shirley, a gorgeous young woman, is in the countryside taking care of her aging grandmother when her diver boyfriend discovers a skull in the ocean. Then a corpse washes ashore… Youthful vitality and decay contrast throughout the film, evoking a sense of the confluence of time. Shot by the director Gabriel Mascaro himself, the stunning cinematography lends an optimistic beauty to the seemingly dark subject matter. TICKETS.
Ow, Director Suzuki Yohei (Japan):
Something very strange happens in the suburban home of the Suzuki family one morning. The jobless son Tetsuo is sleeping late, as usual, and his girlfriend Yuriko is trying to make him get up when Tetsuo’s father suddenly returns home… to confess that he was fired from his job a month ago. But while all this is going on, a mysterious sphere appears, hovering in the house’s upstairs room. It seems to stop time and scramble the brains of everyone who sees it. Could it be a cousin of 2001’s monolith? A clumsy attempt by the police to investigate leads to tragedy, and so it falls to the intrepid reporter Deguchi to find out what’s really going on. TICKETS.
Rekorder, Director Mikhail Red (Philippines):
Maven, once a professional cinematographer in the film industry, is now a scuzzy videographer who compulsively records everything from the birth of his daughter to crime on the streets. His main income comes from an obsolete camcorder which he uses to shoot new releases off the cinema screen, but pirate DVDs are a dying trade, too, now that everyone streams or downloads. One night he shoots a murder, and the ruinous consequences turn his life upside-down. TICKETS.
The Sun, the Moon and the Hurricane, Director Andri Cung (Indonesia):
When Rain looks back as a 32-year-old, he reflects that it all started the day the enigmatic Kris protected him from bullies in high school. Kris went on to demand Rain’s friendship, insisting on sleepovers and telling him to ditch his other friends, despite himself pursuing nights out with a succession of casual girlfriends. Rain, who’s coming to terms with being gay, can’t understand at all, and he’s devastated when Kris abruptly disappears from his life. But he gets over it, and has a formative sexual experience on a visit to Bangkok. Several years later he gets a surprising invitation to visit Kris, now married and living in Bali. But what does Kris really want? TICKETS.
Two Step, Director Alex Johnson (USA):
Having already lost his parents and been kicked to the curb by his college, James turns up on his beloved grandmother’s Austin doorstep only to watch her pass away. Almost unthinkably, his luck continues its tailspin when he gets mixed up with Webb, a malicious con artist who’s been preying on local seniors. James may’ve been taken under the wing of a benevolent, straight-shooting neighbour but not even a garrison of guardian angels could ward off the most memorable Texan villain since No Country for Old Men’s Anton Chigurh. Making the situation all the more perilous is the fact that Webb has a nemesis of his own: Duane , a crime lord who operates out of a corner store and has just delivered an ultimatum. TICKETS.
Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind, Director Richie Adams (USA):
After losing his mother to Alzheimer’s, a haunted neuroscientist comes across Una Vida, a jazz singer he discovers singing in the streets of the French Quarter. Quickly establishing that she too suffers from Alzheimer’s, he’s driven by personal and professional regrets to help. Piece by piece, Una Vida’s story is revealed. TICKETS.
The Womb, Director Daniel Rodriguez Risco (Peru):
The first time we see attractive Mercedes as she goes about her menial and challenging work, an older woman watches intently from an office window. This is Silvia, a wealthy middle-aged widow who’s looking for a housemaid. Or is she? At first, Silvia seems the ideal employer, taking Mercedes under her wing, providing her with a decent salary, clean lodgings and maternal kindness. Then, Mercedes meets Jaime, a handsome handyman; they fall in love and she’s soon pregnant. What could possibly go wrong? There are hints in Silvia’s insincere smile, secret stash of baby care products and unsettling habit of locking Mercedes in when she goes to town. TICKETS.
Exit, Director Chienn Hsiang (Taiwan):
In this subtly beautiful Taiwanese urban drama, a woman whose romantic imagination strains against the boundaries of a downwardly mobile working woman’s life. Lingzi, 45, a laid-off garment worker, encounters an injured, almost comatose man, Mr. Chang, lying next to her mother-in-law in hospital. She seizes the opportunity to transform her own life, one tender, anonymous touch at a time.
Miss and the Doctors, Director Axelle Ropert (France):
Brothers Dimitri, a recovering alcoholic, and Boris, strong-minded to a fault, have so devoted themselves to their medical practice that their personal lives are nonexistent. But when single mother Judith arrives on the scene, they both fall hard for her, resulting in a situation that cannot help but definitively complicate the lives of all involved…
Paris of the North, Director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sugurdsson (Iceland):
The action takes place over the summer in a tiny, rundown fishing village in the northwest of Iceland. Hugi is a primary-school teacher who has come from Reykjavik to this isolated place hoping to heal from the wounds of his broken marriage and to hide from the trials and tribulations of city life. Here he can pass his summer holidays jogging, attending AA meetings and taking Portuguese lessons online. But even though he doesn’t initially realize it, Hugi is carting around a lot of invisible baggage, including the torch he still carries for his ex-wife. TICKETS.