Insider’s Blog: Salutation
By Adam Cook
I’m currently the Membership Giving Coordinator for VIFF (which means I’m in charge of this), but my relationship with the festival stretches back eight years when my cinephilia first blossomed in the historic and dearly missed Granville 7 theatre (R.I.P.). After years of typical teenage movie love directed towards the usual suspects (Tarantino, Kubrick, Scorsese), the Vancouver International Film Festival all of a sudden introduced me to an array of films that spanned the globe. My world opened up, and hasn’t been the same since. Whether it was encountering entirely new approaches to cinematic language, or discovering cultures and perspectives that were theretofore unbeknownst to me, the festival became a gateway to a better understanding of life, to my vocation (I soon after began working professionally as a film critic, and later as a programmer), and, ultimately to my adulthood. So, my link to VIFF is deeply personal, and it is with great pleasure that I embark on a series of entries for the festival’s official blog.
It was a serendipitous encounter that lead to a more interactive relationship with VIFF. In 2009, after a screening of Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet in which one of the film’s actors was in attendance, my friends and I approached him on Granville while he smoked a cigarette. Little did I know that Program Manager PoChu AuYeung was within earshot, and after overhearing our cinephilic pow-wow, invited me and another friend to join the International Screening Committee to review film submissions on a volunteer basis—which I would go on to do for three years before being enlisted to write program notes, and, eventually to serve on the Dragons & Tigers jury in 2013 for the now discontinued Award for Young Cinema.
Now I’m on board in a new capacity, and VIFF represents something different for me. It used to be where I got my annual fix of contemporary world cinema, but now I have the privilege of seeing many of the films we bring to Vancouver beforehand, through my independent ventures at other festivals I attend as a critic, such as the Berlinale and the Cannes Film Festival. This puts me in a position where I have the scoop on much of the exciting titles at this year’s festival (and frees up my schedule to enjoy some of the more obscure—and rewarding—films in the margins of the program!). I’ll be using this series of blog posts to highlight some of the films I’ve been lucky enough to see and fall in love with throughout the year, as well as to share my own excitement for what VIFF has in store for us this fall.
In the meantime, I’ll see you at the movies,
Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamCook