Get ready for 9 days of great Canadian film during Canadian Film Week at VIFF Vancity Theatre! 19 films and short programmes, with eight of the programmes directed by women, three films from Quebec (though only one is in French), and five programmes by Indigenous filmmakers. Our spotlight this year is homegrown: Carolyn Combs’ Bella Ciao! which had its Vancouver Red Carpet Premiere this past Wednesday. Our centrepiece is, as always, National Canadian Film Day, April 17, which features free screenings and a tribute to one of Canadian Cinema’s true treasures, the incomparable Alanis Obomsawin, 86 years young, celebrating more than 50 years making committed, consciousness-raising cinema, and here in person to share half a dozen of her films with audiences young and old. “Obomsawin” means “Pathfinder,” and we hope to follow Alanis’s shining example.
Here are the rest of our special guests who will be joining us for various screenings throughout the week.
Canadian Film Week takes place at our Vancity Theatre at April 14th to 23rd and includes amazing guests.
Carolyn Combs, Director, Bella Ciao!
Vancouver’s most cosmopolitan street – Commercial Drive – is the nexus for Carolyn Combs’ compassionate and heartfelt ensemble drama, a film about home, displacement, community and solidarity. Unfolding over a single day, the film hinges on Constanza (Carmen Aguirre), a Chilean refugee, and her relationship with her daughter. But this is just one thread amidst an Altmanesque carnival of artists, activists, hustlers, and coffee house consiglieri, all converging on the Drive. Viva East Van!
Employing a bombastic approach to distorting traditional proportions and conceptions of beauty, the work of Colombia’s Fernando Botero is infused with irreverent humour and enticing mischief. These qualities also suffuse Don Millar’s portrait of this enchanting artist. Showcasing instantly recognizable masterpieces, it also shares rare glimpses of recently unearthed early work and offers uncommonly intimate access to one of our greatest living artists as he retraces the trajectory of his singular career.
Alanis Obomsawin, Director, Canadian Film Day program
Celebrate National Canadian Film Day in the company of Alanis Obomsawin, matriarch of indigenous filmmaking. Through her long and distinguished career Obomsawin has always championed the rights of First Nations and greater cultural understanding. “My main interest all my life has been education,” says Obomsawin, “because that’s where you develop yourself, where you learn to hate, or to love.”
Meghan Heffern, Actress, Red Rover
Bullied at work and humiliated at home, Damon (Kristian Bruun) feels like the butt of a cosmic joke. What better solution then than to leave this world behind and apply for a one-way televised mission to Mars? Of course, complications arise when Phoebe (Cara Gee), the free-spirited musician who lured him like a siren into this cockamamie scheme, gives him cause to stick around Earth. Shane Belcourt’s high-concept romantic comedy soars thanks to the considerable charms of these complementary misfits. Q&A
David Roche, Actor, Happy Face
Incapable of coping with his mother’s cancer and its devastating toll on her body, Stan (Robin L’Houmeau) instead infiltrates a therapy group for the facially different and emboldens them to go on the offensive in seeking acceptance from an increasingly image-obsessed society. Occasionally evoking Diane Arbus’ photography, Alexandre Franchi’s provocative feature proves itself deeply compassionate and engagingly complex as it examines the corrosive nature of guilt while delivering revolutionary cinema.
Bojan Bodružić, Director, Museum of Forgotten Triumphs
Evacuated from Sarajevo in 1992 and emigrating to BC as a child, filmmaker Bojan Bodružić returned to his home country in 2000 to visit his family, and began filming his grandparents on visits over the next 15 years. A first-hand account of the collapse of the former Yugoslavia and its consequences as well as a family portrait full of impressions of a country forever changed, Bodružić’s film collates an invaluable collection of memories–both personal and historical–into a deeply affecting work. Q&A