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Just Film Fest: Lowdown Tracks + The Hand That Feeds

(170 mins)


Feb 11 07:00 pm

All Access Pack is available for $50



The Just Film Festival brings the pursuit of justice to the big screen.

We feature social justice and environmental documentaries that go to the heart of issues confronting communities, here and around the planet. The focus of the festival is to motivate audiences to action by spotlighting issues both local and global.

Lowdown Tracks starts at 7:00 PM.

The Hand That Feeds starts at 8:50 PM.

JFF: Lowdown Tracks

DIR Shelley Saywell / Canada, 2015, 86 min.

Music is an expression of the spirit for everyone. But for some who survive on the periphery of society, it can also be a life-saving coping mechanism and the last stand of their dignity.

Emmy-winning director Shelley Saywell’s moving and inspiring documentary was created with singer/activist Lorraine Segato. It captures the music and stories of five musicians who are homeless or on society’s margin. The causes, from abuse to mental health to simple bad luck, are all touched on in their stories in the film. But at its heart, Lowdown Tracks is about bringing into focus the heartache and the beautiful potential we should see when we walk by someone on the street. In the end, it is a celebration of the power of music and survival.

"An inspiring ode to the power of music to sustain people living on the margins… It’s a valuable sociology lesson, and the tales of abuse, bureaucratic bungling and financial hardship are heartbreaking. And the talent is wondrous." 4 stars, Susan G Cole, Now Toronto

JFF: The Hand That Feeds

DIR Rachel Lears, Robin Botnick / USA, 2014, 84 min.

At a popular bakery café, residents of New York’s Upper East Side get bagels and coffee served with a smile 24 hours a day. Behind the scenes, undocumented immigrant workers face sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery and abusive managers who will fire them for calling in sick.

Risking deportation and job loss, the workers team up with innovative young organizers and form their own independent union, launching themselves on a journey that will test the limits of their resolve. In one roller-coaster year, they must overcome a shocking betrayal and a two-month lockout. Lawyers battle in back rooms and workers walk the picket line with support from the “Occupy” crowd. If they can win a contract, it will set a historic precedent. But whatever happens, these workers will never be the same.

Just Film Fest: Six Saturday Matinee Films

(246 mins)
On Saturday, February 13, all day starting at 12:00 pm, be sure to visit the Social Justice Bazaar with up to 20 progressive organizations and connect with fellow activists.


Feb 13 12:00 pm

All Access Pack is available for $50



The Just Film Festival brings the pursuit of justice to the big screen.

We feature social justice and environmental documentaries that go to the heart of issues confronting communities, here and around the planet. The focus of the festival is to motivate audiences to action by spotlighting issues both local and global.

Knitting Nannas & Cooking Across Cultures starts at 12:00 PM.

Milk Men starts at 1:00 PM.

Facing Fear & Nefertitti’s Daughters starts at 3:10 PM

The Wanted 18 starts at 4:30 PM

On Saturday, February 13, all day starting at 12:00 pm, be sure to visit the Social Justice Bazaar with up to 20 progressive organizations and connect with fellow activists.

JFF: Knitting Nannas

DIR Rani Brown / Australia, 2013, 22 min.

Knitting Nannas Against Gas is a group of sweet ladies who ‘protest’ by unfolding some lawn chairs, popping the kettle on and knitting. The KNAGs, who formed in Australia in 2012, campaign against the growing coal-seam gas (CSG) industry, which they argue threatens to destroy prime farmland and unspoiled ecosystems. They are also absolutely delightful and effective.

From the Nannafesto: “We peacefully & productively protest against the destruction of our land, air, and water by corporations and/or individuals who seek profit and personal gain from the short-sighted and greedy plunder of our natural resources. We support energy generation from renewable sources, and sustainable use of our other natural resources. We sit, knit, plot, have a yarn and a cuppa, and bear witness to the war against those who try to rape our land and divide our communities.”

JFF: Cooking Across Cultures

DIR Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House collective / Canada, 2015, 11 min.

Immigrants to Canada arrive healthier than the average Canadian but this reverses in 5 to 10 years after arrival. This video looks at four groups – three immigrants and one Aboriginal – and discusses how food and culture affects them.

Film participants in attendance

JFF: Milk Men

DIR Jan Haaken / USA, 2015, 76 min.

Psychologist and filmmaker Jan Haaken revisits the region where she spent childhood summers on her aunt and uncle’s dairy farm, following four families as they try to survive amidst intense pressures that have led most dairies to go under. Filmed over the changing seasons in the richly scenic agricultural terrain of the Pacific Northwest, dairy farming emerges as a fascinating tale of modernity. Regardless of the size of their operations, these families all struggle to hold onto traditions while adapting to change, from economic and technological forces to shifting intergenerational and gender roles. Milk Men explores as well the symbolic place of dairy cows in the public imagination, and societal discomfort with industrializing a business long associated with rural America.

Filmmaker in attendance

JFF: Facing Fear

DIR Jason Cohen / USA, 2013, 23 min.

Worlds collide when a former neo-Nazi skinhead and the gay victim of his hate crime attack meet by chance 25 years after the incident that dramatically shaped both their lives. Together they embark on a journey of forgiveness that challenges both to grapple with their beliefs and fears, eventually leading to an improbable collaboration…and friendship.

Academy Award Nominee, Documentary Short Subject 2014

JFF: Nefertiti's Daughters

DIR Mark Nickolas, Elizabeth Van Meter / Egypt, 2015, 39 min.

Nefertiti’s Daughters is a story of women, art and revolution. Told by prominent Egyptian artists, this documentary witnesses the critical role revolutionary street art played during the Egyptian uprisings. Focused on the role of women artists in the struggle for social and political change, it spotlights how the iconic graffiti of Queen Nefertiti placed her on the front lines in the ongoing fight for women’s rights and freedom in Egypt today.

Remi Award, Houston International Film Fest 2015; Grand Jury Prize, Athens Film and Video Festival 2015

JFF: The Wanted 18

DIR Amer Shomali, Paul Cowan / Palestine, 2015, 75 min.

It started simply enough, with the purchase of 18 cows. Bought by residents of the West Bank town of Beit Sahour, the cows were a symbol of freedom and resistance, allowing them to provide milk for their children rather than buying it from an Israeli company.

But these were not ordinary times. The first Palestinian popular movement in the West Bank was rising and soon the illegal cows, cherished by the Palestinians, were being sought by the Israeli army. With humour and passion, The Wanted 18 captures the spirit of the 1987 uprising through the personal experiences of those who lived it, bringing to life one of the strangest chapters in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Just Film Fest: Valentino's Ghost

(2015, 100 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
FEATURING Gore Vidal, Robert Fisk, John Mearsheimer, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Shadid, Tony Shalhoub, Alan Sharp, Melani McAlister
Filmmaker in attendance


Feb 13 07:00 pm

All Access Pack is available for $50


An attacker pepper-sprayed a group of Syrian refugees as they were welcomed to a Muslim Community Centre. How did we get here? Filmmaker Michael Singh: “Distorted images lead to injustice.” Valentino's Ghost explores the portrayal of the Arabic person— from silent film romanticism (Sheik of Araby), through exoticism (Lawrence of Arabia) to today’s Crusader racism (American Sniper)—and relates this portrayal to US foreign policy. Interviews with Gore Vidal,Robert Fisk, Niall Ferguson and John Mearsheimer et al. Arabic comics add edgy commentary. Join Michael Singh to discuss the film, its making and its suppression in the US. 

Reception to thank you all for attending will follow. 

"A crash course in history, politics, and social science, Valentino’s Ghost is both sobering and illuminating, and its execution is thrilling." Ernest Hardy, Village Voice

The Oscar Nominated Short Films (Live Action)

(2015, 107 mins)
Classification: 19+


Feb 17 06:30 pm
Feb 22 01:00 pm
Feb 26 03:45 pm
Feb 26 08:00 pm
Feb 27 02:00 pm
Feb 27 06:30 pm

Each year the Vancity Theatre is proud to present the nominees for the Academy Award for Best Short Film in the Live Action and Animation categories. Check for program details.

Shorts - Live Action: 

Ave Maria – dir. Basil Khalil, Palestine/France/Germany, 15 minutes
Five nuns living in the West Bank find their routine disrupted when the car of a family of Israeli settlers breaks down outside the convent. Unable to use the telephone due to Sabbath restrictions, the family needs help from the nuns, but the sisters' vow of silence requires them to work with their visitors to find an unorthodox solution. 

Shok – dir. Jamie Donoughue, Kosovo/UK, 21 minutes
In Kosovo in 1998, two young boys are best friends living normal lives, but as war engulfs their country, their daily existence becomes filled with violence and fear. Soon, the choices they make threaten not only their friendship, but their families and their lives. 

Everything Will Be OK – dir. Patrick Vollrath, Germany/Austria, 30 minutes
Michael, a divorced father devoted to his eight-year-old daughter, Lea, picks her up for their usual weekend together. At first it feels like a normal visit, but Lea soon realizes that something is different, and so begins a fateful journey. 

Stutterer – dir. Benjamin Cleary, UK/Ireland, 12 minutes
For a lonely typographer, an online relationship has provided a much-needed connection without revealing the speech impediment that has kept him isolated. Now, however, he is faced with the proposition of meeting his online paramour in the flesh, and thereby revealing the truth about himself. 

Day One – dir. Henry Hughes, USA, 25 minutes
On the heels of a painful divorce, an Afghan-American woman joins the U.S. military as an interpreter and is sent to Afghanistan. On her first mission, she accompanies troops pursuing a bomb-maker, and must bridge the gender and culture gap to help the man's pregnant wife when she goes into labor. 

The Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts

(2015, 91 mins)
Classification: 19+


Feb 17 08:45 pm
Feb 22 03:30 pm
Feb 26 01:45 pm
Feb 26 06:00 pm
Feb 27 12:00 pm
Feb 27 04:20 pm

Each year the Vancity Theatre is proud to present the nominees for the Academy Award for Best Short Film in the Live Action and Animation categories.


Animated Shorts:

Sanjay's Super Team – dir. Sanjay Patel, USA, 7 minutes
In Sanjay's Super Team, the new short film from Pixar Animation Studios, accomplished artist Sanjay Patel uses his own experience to tell the story of a young, first-generation Indian-American boy whose love for western pop-culture comes into conflict with his father’s traditions. Sanjay is absorbed in the world of cartoons and comics, while his father tries to draw him into the traditions of his Hindu practice. Tedium and reluctance quickly turn into an awe-inspiring adventure as the boy embarks on a journey he never imagined, returning with a new perspective that they can both embrace.

World of Tomorrow – dir. Don Hertzfeldt, USA, 17 minutes
A little girl named Emily is taken on a fantastical tour of her distant future by a surprising visitor who reveals unnerving secrets about humanity's fate. 

Bear Story – dir. Gabriel Osorio, Chile, 11 minutes
Every day, a melancholy old bear takes a mechanical diorama that he has created out to his street corner. For a coin, passersby can look into the peephole of his invention, which tells the story of a circus bear who longs to escape and return to the family from which he was taken.

We Can't Live Without Cosmos – dir. Konstantin Bronzit, Russia, 16 minutes
Two best friends have dreamed since childhood of becoming cosmonauts, and together they endure the rigors of training and public scrutiny, and make the sacrifices necessary to achieve their shared goal.

Prologue – dir. Richard Williams, UK, 6 minutes
Clocking in at six minutes, Prologue describes an incident in the Spartan-Athenian wars of 2,400 years ago. In it, a small girl bears witness as warriors battle to death. The dialog-free project utilizes natural sounds to complement the intense animation (entirely animated by Richard Williams himself). Williams - who is best known for his work as animation director on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", his unfinished feature "The Thief and the Cobbler" and Academy Award-winning "A Christmas Carol "adaptation - has worked on Prologue for many years in between other projects. It was finally completed this year at the Aardman Studios in Bristol, U.K. 

These titles will be supplemented with the runners-up in this category: 
If I Was GodTaking FlightThe Short Story of a Fox and a Mouse,The Loneliest SpotlightCatch It 

Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango

(2013, 93 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
Classification: 19+


Feb 23 06:30 pm

Black History Month 5-Film Ticket Pack is available for $35


Dom Pedro explores the expression of Tango’s Africanness and the contribution of African cultures in the creation of the tango. Tango was a reflection of the social life of the slaves that were taken to South America - including Argentina and Uruguay - mostly from central Africa, particularly from the former Kongo Kingdom. Pedro reveals the depth of the footprints of the African music on the tango, through this rich movie combining musical performances and interviews from many tango fans and historians in Latin America and Europe, including the renowned Argentinean pianist Juan Carlos Caceres.

For anyone who loves music, Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango by Angolan filmmaker Dom Pedro, will inspire you to explore more deeply the African roots of almost all of the Western Hemisphere’s music. ..This treat of a movie combines musical performances and interviews from many tango fans and historians in Latin America and Europe." Sydney Levine, Indiewire

Plus: Tango demonstration by Argentine Tango Lab 

JFL Northwest: The Gentlemen Hecklers do Road House

(1989, 114 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
CAST Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, Ben Gazzara, Jeff Healey
Classification: 19+


Feb 27 09:30 pm

A local institution (they ought to be in one), the Gentlemen Hecklers supply the commentary you wish you had thought of to the best bad movies.

In their Vancity Theatre debut, Eric Fell, Patrick Maliha, and Shaun Stewart turn their sites on the 1989 Rowdy Herrington "classic", Road House, starring Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch and Sam Elliott.

Dalton (Swayze) is a true gentleman with a degree in philosophy from NYU. He also has a flip side - he’s the best bar bouncer in the business. When Dalton’s brought in to clean up a popular establishment that become particularly rowdy, his calm is put to the test by the town bully.

"Road House is much funnier than most comedies." Caryn James, New York Times

"Mindless entertainment of the highest order." Time Out


Photo credit: Evil Patrick Shannon

JFL Northwest: The Lobster

(2015, 118 mins, DCP)
CAST Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly, Olivia Colman
Classification: 19+


Feb 24 09:00 pm

From the darkly irreverent mind that brought you Dogtooth and Alps comes this biting allegorical satire about a world where failing to find love means being turned into an animal.

In a society that otherwise appears identical to our own, there is a strict rule that must be followed: everyone needs a mate. Single folks are rounded up and forced to check into a hotel where they have 45 days to find someone to love. Failure to find the right person results in being turned into an animal of your choosing.

The Lobster gets its title from protagonist David’s (Colin Farrell) preferred species. While in the hotel, the fairly dull David befriends a couple of other unlikely suitors, played by Ben Whishaw and John C. Reilly. In order to stave off the impending transmutation, hotel guests (check: prisoners) are sent out on a nightly hunt to track down escaped bachelors and bachelorettes living in the surrounding forest (among them, a deliciously cold Rachel Weisz). Bagging a fugitive extends your stay, and increases your odds of finding "the one."

The farfetched conceit of Yorgos Lanthimos’ film serves as more than just an amusement—it has our romance-deprived post-Internet age of involuntary interconnectivity squarely in view.

“A wickedly funny, unexpectedly moving satire… Perversely romantic…” Guy Lodge, Variety

JFL Northwest: Waiting for Guffman 20th Anniversary Show (+ The Sunday Service)

(1996, 84 mins, 35mm)
CAST Christopher Guest, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Bob Balaban, Michael Hitchcock, Larry Miller
Classification: 19+
BONUS: This screening will feature a short set by madcap Vancouver japesters The Sunday Service.


Feb 24 06:30 pm

Join JFL Northwest and VIFF in celebrating one of the seminal film comedies of the last quarter century, a jewel of am-dram endeavor and imagination harnessing some of the most gifted comic actors of their generation, including Christopher Guest, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.

Set in fictional Blaine, Missouri, this "mockumentary" from the makers of This Is Spinal Tap, pokes fun of small towns as it chronicles the burg’s preparations and execution of its sesquicentennial anniversary, a celebration that is to be capped off by a fabulous amateur show helmed by former New Yorker Corky St. Clair. Corky has high hopes for his "Red, White and Blaine" extravaganza…

BONUS: This screening will feature a short set by madcap Vancouver japesters The Sunday Service.

Favoring discovery over structure, the group builds, demolishes, and builds again an absurd patchwork of scenes and stories. Using strong narratives and character work to ground their set, the group dips in and out of meta-comedy, rock opera, word play and even slapstick shtick.

Their high energy and commitment to comedy carries the audience through a kaleidoscopic trip; watching scenes barrel into tangents and stories smash together to create a piece that holds the collective spirit to its highest regard, and puts a big ol’ goofy shoe down to show everyone they’re not so serious!

The Sunday Service is Ryan Beil, Caitlin Howden, Kevin Lee, Aaron Read, Taz VanRassel, and our musical director, Emmett Hall.

JFL Northwest: Entertainment

(2015, 102 mins, DCP)
CAST Gregg Turkington, John C. Reilly, Tye Sheridan, Michael Cera, Amy Seimetz, Lotte Verbeek
Classification: 19+


Feb 22 06:30 pm

If you attended any film at VIFF last year you will recall the clip of the balding gentleman who blows raspberries into his microphone. Fair warning: this is not your Vegas stand up shtick. Rather, it’s a poke in the eye and the ear and the chest, an anti-entertainment that may be the bravest, ballsiest movie to come out of the US last year.

A broken, aging comedian (Gregg Turkington) tours the California desert, lost in a cycle of third-rate venues, novelty tourist attractions, and vain attempts to reach his estranged daughter. By day, he slogs through the barren landscape, inadvertently alienating every acquaintance. At night, he seeks solace in the animation of his onstage persona. Fueled by the promise of a lucrative Hollywood engagement, he trudges through a series of increasingly surreal and volatile encounters.

"The film confronts and challenges in order to produce something increasingly rare in American cinema: an active, engaged experience." John Semley, Globe and Mail

"It’s a portrait of the comedy tour as odyssey of madness, a plummet into the abyss." AA Dowd, AV Club

"You know the way you can walk out after even a thoughtful, accomplished drama - and then never think of it again? Entertainment will stain you, grub you up, maybe ruin your week." Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice