Film Festival Series
Find Your Film
Use our search function below to sort the films by their English title, the names of directors, or their country of origin. Films can also be filtered by series, genre, or Vancouver International Film Festival venue. You can also browse by film series by visiting our Browse By Series page.
The majority of films in the Vancouver International Film Festival are unrated and you must be 18 and purchase a $2 VIFF membership to attend a screening. However, a selection of films are open to all ages.
Before you make your purchase, please note The Rio is 19+ exclusively with the exception of the rated High School Screenings at this venue.
An intimate and gloriously musical chronicle of the life of the late, legendary Andalusian flamenco guitarist, Francisco Sánchez Varela’s captivating documentary features contemporary interviews and ample archival footage of the master in full flight alongside, other flamenco legends José Greco, Sabicas, Niño Ricardo and Bambino Camarón. No doubt due to the fact that he’s de Lucía’s son, Varela also shows us the relaxed and candid side of the great musician and his unparalleled virtuosity, a talent that was cut short when de Lucía died unexpectedly last year.
Phyllis Ellis’ documentary is equal parts mystery, history and adventure. Algoma’s tangled wilderness and Lake Superior’s expansive North Shore inspired The Group of Seven in their formative years - young artists searching to articulate the Canadian landscape. Now, three modern-day adventurers canoe across lakes, bushwhack through untamed forests and scale cliffs to seek out the vistas that inspired these artists. Seeing the iconic paintings side by side with the astonishing locations that inspired them is a reminder of art’s power and this land’s majestic beauty.
Siena is one of the world’s most picturesque cities and the Palio is its crowning glory. Held twice a summer, this often ruthless bareback horse race brings pageantry and unparalleled intensity to the tight turns of the medieval town’s Piazza del Campo. Cosima Spender’s breathtaking documentary centres on a young upstart intent on making his mark in this cutthroat competition. “A remarkably concise and clear explanation of a complex, ancient tradition… How can something like this still exist? And how can one film capture it in such elegant detail?”—Vanity Fair
A fascinating and effective mix of documentary and fiction techniques, shot "guerrilla style" (without permission) on the streets of Tehran, Sina Ataeian Dena’s feminist drama focuses on 25-year-old unmarried teacher Hanieh (newcomer Dorna Dibaj) as she doggedly pursues a promotion while facing casual sexism at every turn. "A sensitive, topical debut [that is] quietly affecting… The ’candid camera’ approach adds a welcome edge of verisimilitude…"—Hollywood Reporter
Alex Williams’ film illuminates a shocking time when Canada embraced racial segregation, wilfully and illegally denying Indigenous peoples the basic freedom to leave their reserves and jailing them when they did so without a pass. Cree, Soto, Dene, Ojibwe and Blackfoot elders tell their stories of living under—and resisting—this system. Likewise, they link their experiences to the current state of affairs. Acclaimed Cree actor and activist Tantoo Cardinal narrates this investigation into a little-known aspect of our history.
Altruistically abandoning her promising law career in order to teach the impoverished, socially conscious Paulina (Dolores Fonzi) finds herself horribly out of her depth in an Argentinean backwater. In the wake of a sexual assault, her convictions are tested and Santiago Mitre’s provocative drama is elevated into a complex examination of the emotional ramifications for victim, perpetrators and those who stood idly by. “Fonzi is riveting in a demanding role…”—Hollywood Reporter
Patricio Guzmán explores the watery Patagonian Archipelago and its meaning in Chilean history—from its use by Chile’s Indigenous peoples to its function as a grave site for Pinochet’s desaparecidos… "Applying the same mix of lyrical nature and space imagery, voice-over narration, archive photos and footage, and interviews [that he used in Nostalgia for the Light], the director crafts another deeply poetic but also committedly, at times even angrily, humanist meditation on buried traces of the past and how they determine our present and future…"—Screen
Peggy Guggenheim not only amassed one of the world’s most impressive collections of contemporary art but also rightfully earned a reputation as the consummate bohemian. In her wildly entertaining follow up to Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, Lisa Immordino Vreeland explores how Guggenheim forsook her bourgeois birthright in favour of a villa in Venice, crashing international art scenes, and discovering the likes of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko in the process. “[With] so many love affairs and ego clashes Art Addict never feels a bit like a history lesson.”—Hollywood Reporter
All of contemporary China in one continuous animated frieze, where spacemen, hamburgers and city ruins float freely together. (SK)
The absurd, darkly humorous side of war has always been a subject for adventurous filmmakers. Fernando León de Aranoa joins the ranks with this scabrous look at aid workers beset by red tape during the aftermath of the 1990s war in the Balkans. A dead body has been thrown down a well and will soon start poisoning the water supply. It’s up to Benicio del Toro, Tim Robbins, Olga Kurylenko and crew to get it out. Simple, yes? Not really… "A pitch-black war comedy."—Telegraph
In 1987, three young Soviets would do anything that their motherland asked. Now in their 30s, they’re adrift in a Russia that has no real need of them. Natalya Kudryashova’s wistful debut shuns grand allegory in favour of an intimate scale that focuses on character (but still allows for some ravishingly cinematic passages). Cutting between time periods and counterpointing defiance with disillusionment, it generates a compelling tension that builds to a staggering climax.
Making a splash with his debut feature, Kim Gwangtae has transposed the "Pied Piper of Hamelin" story to a Korean mountain village in the early 1950s, the time of the Korean War. This piper is a charming peddler with a bad leg, trudging in search of treatment for his tubercular son. Their brief stay in a village plagued by rats uncovers some very guilty secrets: astonishing spectacle meets dark allegory. Tony Rayns
Shot by the inimitable Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love) and featuring an exceptional performance from newcomer Jessie Li as a teen prostitute, Philip Yung’s noirish tale of an eccentric cop (Aaron Kwok) trying to understand the motives of a stone-cold killer is definitely not for the faint-of-heart. "Blending social commentary with police procedural… [this] is an absorbing and at times grisly portrayal of modern Chinese society and adolescent apathy…"—Screen
A filmmaker (played by director Bertrand Bonello) in search of the definitive image of "the monstrous" forms the backbone of Antoine Barraud’s fascinating mélange, one part drama, one part art history lesson, one part homage to past cinematic masters Buñuel and Hitchcock. Jeanne Balibar and Géraldine Pailhaus (playing the same art historian) accompany our intrepid director through a tour of some of Paris’ most quixotic museums. The effect is "spellbinding."—ArtForum
Once the most ambitious undertaking in Cuban history, the Juragua nuclear reactor now sits abandoned. In its shadow is Nuclear City, where the plant’s would-be employees are left to contemplate the glory that might’ve been. Fuelled by the disappointments of three generations of disillusioned denizens, Carlos Quintela’s beautifully lensed but unflinchingly dark comedy intersperses archival footage and blends surrealism and social realism to depict a country locked in stasis.