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Slaughter Nick for President

(2012, 72 mins)
Director:
FEATURING Rob Stewart
Introduced by CTV film critic and "travel guy" Jim Gordon.

Showtimes

When a little-known Canadian actor accidentally discovers through Facebook that he’s been wildly famous in Serbia for almost two decades, he sets out to discover the reasons why.

Rob Stewart is a 47-year-old journeyman Canadian actor. The ups and downs of his career have been extreme. After 20 years in the biz, the one-time CBS TV star finds himself living with his parents after being forced to move from Los Angeles back to Brampton, Ontario.

It’s late 2008 and Stewart’s son introduces his father to Facebook where a quick vanity search yields an astonishing discovery: Rob Stewart is wildly famous… in Serbia. With little else on his agenda, Rob decides to travel to the Balkan state to find out more.

Wonder of wonders. Rob’s long-forgotten starring role as Nick Slaughter — a pony-tailed beach-bum detective on the 1990s American TV series Tropical Heat (aka Sweating Bullets) — is by far the most popular show in the history of Serbian television. But it gets even more bizarre — Stewart learns of the student protests against former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic and how the character of Nick Slaughter became a symbol of freedom and democracy for the movement that eventually led to his downfall. A whole generation of Serbians grew up watching the show and a punk rock band called Atheist Rap had even written a song about Rob’s character: “Nick Slaughter, Serbia Hails You.”

Slaughter Nick for President chronicles Stewart’s journey to Serbia, dubbed “Slaughtermania” by the national press. With TV appearances, a punk rock concert, interviews with heroes of the resistance movement and even the making of a commercial, in the midst of a frenzied media circus, Rob uncovers the surprising meaning behind the show’s popularity and gains redemption in the process.

"A winner!" National Post

"Heart and heft." Globe & Mail

"A real find… truly bizarre." The Star

Men with Beards

(2013, 80 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
Director:

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There are men, and then there are men with beards. This documentary explores what it means for a guy to stop shaving and show your true face to the world. It’s not as easy as it looks! In fact for many men growing a beard is a challenge and even a rite of passage, a time when they reclaim their masculinity despite suspicion and derision from colleagues, bosses, friends and loved ones. If the results can be hairy - especially when confronted with a bowl of soup - they can also prove revelatory, opening up new channels of self expression and even sensuality.

RADAR: Exchanges in Dance Film Frequencies

(2013, 120 mins)

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RADAR: Exchanges in Dance Film Frequencies is a program dedicated to the exploration and evolution of dance film through connecting artists scene by scene. Curated by filmmaker/curator Adam Sekuler and choreographer Shannon Stewart, RADAR features movement based films of many budgets, styles and perspectives, creating a platform of local/national and international exchange that allows artists to publicly screen their work, discuss, get feedback, and meet other artists working in the same form. In 2013, RADAR screenings took place place in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Portland, and Minneapolis.

Radar program Vancouver
cARTographies: Crystal Pite by Brian Johnson
Twixt by Anna Kraulis
Evelyn's Farm by Brain Johnson and Tomorrow Collective
Fragment by Sophia Wolfe, Alex Tam, Clare Twiddy
Butte by Byron Chief-Moon, Mouvement Perpétuel
Twilight Groove by Amy O'neal
Choros by Michael Langan,Terah Maher
1922 by Shannon Stewart, Adam Sekuler

WIP films
605 R&D by Josh Martin and Brian Johnson
Mima Mounds by Shannon Stewart, Adam Sekuler, Nandan Rao

Short Term 12

(2013, 96 mins)
Director:
CAST Brie Larson, Frantz Turner, John Gallagher Jr, Kaitlyn Dever
Classification: 14A

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Please note, this film has been classified 14A.
Youths under the 19 will be admitted into the theatre with an accompanying adult.

Grace (a breakthrough performance from former child star Brie Larson) is a twenty- something supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers. Passionate and tough, Grace is a formidable caretaker of the kids in her charge – and in love with her long-term boyfriend and co-worker, Mason (John Gallagher Jr.)

But Grace’s own difficult past – and the surprising future that suddenly presents itself – throw her into unforeseen confusion, made all the sharper with the arrival of a new intake at the facility – Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), a gifted but troubled teenage girl with whom Grace has a charged connection.

She and Mason also struggle to help Marcus (Keith Stanfield) – an intense, quiet kid who is about to turn 18 – manage through the difficulty of having to leave the facility.

Grace comes to find – in both her work and the new teenager in her care – surprising sources of redemption. And while the subject matter is complex and often dark, this lovingly realized film finds truth – and humor – in unexpected places.

One of the most acclaimed American films of the year (currently rated 100% fresh by Top Critics on the aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes), Short Term 12 may sound earnest in outline, but it looks and feels vividly true - not surprising, when you learn that writer-director Destin Cretton worked for two years in just such a care facility in San Diego. Cretton also had the good sense to cast the brilliant young actress Brie Larson (The Spectacular Now, The United States of Tara) in her first adult lead role.

100% Fresh, Top Critics, Rotten Tomatoes

"It’s one of the best movies of the year and one of the truest portrayals I’ve ever seen about troubled teens and the people who dedicate their lives to trying to help them." Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

"A compact masterpiece of storytelling that brims equally with ambition and humility. It is, by a wide margin, the best film I have seen so far this year." Christopher Orr, The Atlantic

Griot

(2011, 80 mins)
Director:
CAST Volker Goetze, Ablaye Cissoko
Followed by Volker Goetze and Ablaye Cissoko live in concert at the Vancity Theatre, Nov 9 & 10.

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Senegalese kora and western trumpet make fabulous music together! Volker Goetze’s enthralling documentary melds dazzling visuals and haunting songs to serve up a feast for the senses. Griot introduces us to Goetze’s own soulful trumpet stylings and the extraordinary voice and calabash harp artistry of Ablaye Cissoko. "Africa is the spiritual centre of the Planet Earth," claims one of the many contributors to this enchanting film, and, given the evidence, it is a claim that becomes difficult to disprove.

Ostensibly, Goetze’s documentary sets out to explore the history and role of the "griots" whose spiritual and musical talents are passed "through the blood" from generation to generation. Their role is many-faceted: historian, storyteller, praise-singer, poet and musician. Ablaye Cissoko, thinker, leader and gifted musician, is an examplar.

The film has at least three elements that compel our attention and capture our minds and hearts: the outstanding music; the cinematography, which brings to life the vibrant colours of West Africa and the splendours of its natural life; and the almost hallucinatory animation which adds another texture to the music. In common with other exceptional documentaries, Griot amounts to more than the sum of its parts. It is a paean to the senses: at moments our eyes are dazzled by what we see, at others we can close them and just let the haunting music flow through us.

Director’s Statement

The film is neither a traditional western documentary, as it does not settle for a conceptual understanding of our subject; nor is it simply a performance piece, as it does not settle for collecting powerful songs. This piece celebrates the art of the Griot - the art of the praise-singer and musical healer - by expanding the narrative through an interaction of poetry, music, song, stunning visuals and earthy sounds. Our stylistic approach taps into the very essence of the healing work of Ablaye Cissoko as a musician and activist in his home country Senegal. The approach is consonant with the life and history of Ablaye Cissoko himself. He descends from Kimitang Cissoko, the inventor of the kora, the African lute-harp. A genie directed him to build the first kora and the beautiful music he created with it lifted his people from their despair. Ablaye Cissokos music similarly has the power to heal broken people. His songs touch hearts and already reach far beyond the borders of West Africa.

Country of Origin: USA, France, Germany, Senegal

"Stunning… beautiful." Globe & Mail

Grave of the Fireflies

(Hotaru no haka)
(1988, 89 mins, DCP)
In Japanese with English subtitles
Director:
CAST (Voices) Tatsumi Tsutomi, Shirashi Ayano, Shinohara Yoshiko, Yamaguchi Akemi
Classification: PG violence; frightening scenes

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Classified for youth: PG (please note this film has somber and sometimes harrowing content.)

Probably the least seen Studio Ghibli masterpiece (at least in North America), this is also one of the most affecting animated films ever made. Roger Ebert described it "as an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation," adding: "It belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made."

Set in Japan during WWII, the film focuses on Seita and his little sister Setsuko. After their mother is killed in an air raid, and with their father serving in the navy, they are forced to fight for survival in the devastated Japanese countryside. Food and shelter are scarce, and even their own relatives are too concerned with their own survival. All they have is each other and their belief that life must carry on. A visually stunning and emotionally powerful meditation on the devastating consequences of war.

“Grave of the Fireflies” is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation… It belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made." Roger Ebert

Dia de los Muertos

(Day of the Dead Festival)
(150 mins, DVD)
Classification:

Showtimes

This special event features film, music, painting, prayer and hot chocolate, all in honour of Mexico’s traditional holiday, "Dia de los Muertos."

Highlights:

From 6:15 p.m. Art exhibit and Altar with photos of deceased loved ones.

7:00 p.m. Film introduction and explanation of the day of the dead custom.

Followed by Film screening: Macario. This 1960 classic of Mexican cinema is based on a novel by B. Traven (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre), itself based on a folk tale. Ignacio Tarso plays a peasant who goes on hunger strike in the hope of a turkey dinner. He gets more than he bargained for when the Grim Reaper (Enrique Lucerio) strikes a deal with him. It’s a powerful supernatural fantasy that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

8:40 p.m. (approx.): Hot chocolate and prayer for the departed.

Followed by a short set of traditional songs performed by Mariachi Los Dorados

A People Uncounted

(2013, 99 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In English, Gernan with English subtitles
Director:
Classification:

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A People Uncounted tells the story of the Roma, commonly referred to as Gypsies-a people who have been both romanticized and vilified in popular culture. The Roma have endured centuries of intolerance and persecution in Europe, most notably the Holocaust genocide where an estimated 500,000 were murdered. A People Uncounted documents their culturally rich yet often difficult lives, and demonstrates how their present state has been deeply shaped by the tragedies of the past.

Filmed in 11 countries and featuring dozens of Roma-including Holocaust survivors, historians, activists and musicians-A People Uncounted brings the Romani history to life through the rich interplay of their poetry, music, and compelling first-hand accounts. As ethnic intolerance flares up across Europe,

A People Uncounted sheds light on this unique culture while placing the Romani story within the larger context of the world’s legacy of racism and genocide.

“Profoundly moving…a powerful documentary on the plight of the Roma people through history…an expansive essay on prejudice and the resilience of the human spirit. 4 stars” Montreal Gazette

"The eye witness accounts in this film cry out to be heard." Chris Knight, National Post

Reflecting the City: Vintage Movies from the City of Vancouver Archives

(120 mins, Digital Betacam)
Classification:

Showtimes

With commentary provided by historian Michael Kluckner, this screening includes home movies, City-commissioned films, television shows produced by local stations and the community, and local advertisements. Those movies originally produced without sound will be accompanied live by pianist Wayne Stewart.

Experience Vancouver’s outdoor pastimes in the 1940s. Flash back to the 1960s with a rain dance in Kitsilano. Ride through 1970s Vancouver from the perspective of a cyclist. Witness the city’s transition leading up to Expo ’86. Spend an afternoon with us and relive Vancouver’s past.

Wolf Children

((Okami kodomo no ame to yuki))
(2013, 117 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In Japanese with English subtitles
Director:
Classification: PG
Classified PG, children welcome with accompanying adult.

Showtimes

Fans of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, it’s time to expand your horizons! This beautiful, sweet modern day fairy tale is the latest animated feature from Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time). Wolf Children is exquisite, a fantasy about a single mom, Hana, who has the misfortune to fall in love with a wolf man. He’s kind and considerate, but given to roaming the streets at night on four legs—which is how he comes to a tragic end.

The progeny of this union are a girl and a boy, Yuki and Ame, who grow furry ears and long tails whenever they get excited. They may look adorably cute but Hana knows outsiders wouldn’t understand. She brings them up alone and tries to teach self-control, but soon relinquishes the city for an old farmhouse in the country, away from nosey neighbours. Here she learns to cultivate crops, and hopes that her wolf children will have time to figure out who and what they are.

With its gorgeous animation and sensitive, multifaceted direction, this is a funny, exhilarating and touching film about nature, nurture, and the call of the wild. It’s ideal family viewing—and equally suited to wolf packs.

"Mamoru Hosoda’s deeply moving and astoundingly contemplative work touches on the fleeting nature of life. Though devastating and gut-wrenching, the process of love, family and eventual moving on is considered a thing of beauty and something to be appreciated during the brief moments for which it lasts. 9/10" Robert Bell, Exclaim!

"An enchanting film, perfect for family viewing." Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

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