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IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

An ambitious and imaginative film that uses animation and contemporary voices including poets Jane Hirshfield and US Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin, and Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman to explore the life and meaning of the man who became “awake,” and who continues to inspire the diverse Buddhist traditions all over the world.

Woody Allen: Spring Collection

What’s old, pussycat? Allen’s first produced screenplay did not turn out the way he wanted, but this swung-out nineteen sexties farce is at the very least a fascinating time capsule, so chauvinist it would make Austin Powers blush. But get a load of that cast! Peters O’Toole and Sellers, Romy Schneider, Paula Prentiss, Ursula Andress and Woody too.

Vancity Theatre Screening

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.) One of the most acclaimed American films of the year, 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.

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

Vancity Theatre Screening

Delving deeper into the art and mastery of Johannes Vermeer, this entertaining doc by the magician Teller casts a light on the researches of Tim Jenison, a video engineer obsessed with the idea that the painter used optical devices to craft his infinitely detailed canvases.

"Just about the most fun you can have while learning."Variety

"Thrilling."Wall Street Journal

SPARK FX

Filmed in BC, John Carpenter’s 1982 horror classic is a bone fide Antarctic chiller. American antarctic researchers come across a burned out Norwegian base - and the buried UFO which may be linked to the carnage.

"The Thing is one of [Carpenter’s] greatest moments, creating a terrifying atmosphere of claustrophobia, suspense and paranoia. And Kurt Russell is as good as he’s ever been, wearing one of the best beards in movie history." Total Film

Vancity Theatre Screening

When Jack Nicholson played a merciless Boston gangster in Scorsese’s The Departed, it was immediately recognised as a portrait of the notorious Whitey Bulger - at that time, still topping the FBI’s Most Wanted List (though that didn’t stop him attending the Stanley Cup Finals in Vancouver in 2011). When Whitey was eventually brought to trial, at last his victims had a chance to face this killer and extortionist face justice. But in a bizarrre twist, many found themselves siding with the case for the defence, as they attempted to prove that, contrary to Government claims, Bulger was not and never had been an FBI informant.

"Like five seasons of The Wire distilled into one epic episode."  Globe and Mail

"A chilling, immediate true-crime story."  NOW magazine

Woody Allen: Spring Collection

The movie where it all came together for Woody Allen, Annie Hall marks both the culmination of his ’early, funny’ period, and the first of his mature, more overtly serious and autobiographical films as writer-director. Winner: Academy Awards for Best Picture, Direction, Screenplay, Best Actress.

"One of Allen’s funniest, and most touching films." Saul Austerlitz, Another FIne Mess

"Woody Allen’s breakthrough movie." Time

"Arguably Allen’s most honest film." 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Vancity Theatre Screening

Against the odds, the American Dream endures in small towns like Rich Hill, Missouri - but as this poetic, poignant doc makes clear, life is anything but easy for teenage boys growing up in a place where the tracks don’t seem to have a "right" side.

Winner: Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, Sundance Film Festival

"A truly moving and edifying film, Rich Hill is the type of media object that could and should be put in a time capsule for future generations." Katie Walsh, The Playlist (Indiewire)

"Open-hearted….deeply empathetic." Peter Debruge, Variety

"Often heartbreaking." Duane Byrge, Hollywood Reporter

Vancity Theatre Screening

Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago follows various pilgrims, from ages 3 to 73, as they attempt to cross an entire country on foot—with only a backpack, a pair of boots and an open mind. Driven by an inexplicable calling and a grand sense of adventure, we witness the Camino’s magnetic and miraculous power to change lives. Each pilgrim throws themselves heart and soul into their incredibly challenging trek to Santiago de Compostela, and most importantly, their personal journey to themselves.

100% Fresh, Rotten Tomatoes

"Driving both the filmmaker and her subjects is wonder and wanderlust. Their enthusiasm for the Camino is contagious ..."—Diana Clarke, Village Voice

007 Reloaded: Bond vs Bond

Released just a few months after Octopussy, this Thunderball remake was produced by a rival team who managed to entice Sean Connery back into his most famous role (hence the ironic title). Notable for superior super villains Max von Sydow, Klaus Maria Brandauer and Barbara Carrera.

"The classiest of all the Bonds." Jay Scott, Globe & Mail

The Best of Hot Docs

Over the past two decades, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Doug Block has supported his career with a side business of videotaping weddings. Long curious about how their marriages have turned out, he tracks down and interviews some of the more memorable of his 112 wedding couples - with funny, insightful and deeply moving results.

"Quirky, entertaining, and heartwarming." Toronto Film Scene

"Simple in execution, but unmistakably rich in dialogue of the complexities of married life, Doug Block has lensed a wonderfully playful, startlingly tragic film that will surely move anyone who’s ever been in love and question anyone considering marriage themselves." Jordan M Smith, Ion cinema

"Block finds the extraordinary in the patient observation of everyday life." Michel Gondry

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

In this rarely screened masterpiece from cult director Jim Jarmusch, Johnny Depp plays a 19th century greenhorn - an accountant named William Blake - who heads west to the town of Machine. His prospects take a dark turn when a love triangle ends in double murder and Blake finds himself a wanted man, on the run, until a mysterious stranger by the name of Nobody (Gary Farmer) takes him under his wing. His journey takes him from civilization as he knows it to a nebulous realm of Native American spirit, and reality seems to slip away.

"Jarmusch’s most stunning achievement." Slant

"With the passing of time, this movie will settle in and find a place as a cinema classic." Jeffery M Anderson, Combustible Celluloid

Woody Allen: Spring Collection

Recently transformed into a Broadway musical, this is a fizzy satire on the pretensions, hypocrisies and indulgences of theatre folk. John Cusack is an idealistic young playwright whose big break is backed by a mobster boss with his own ideas about casting….

"One of Allen’s best and most revealing comedies, as much a moral meditation as it is dazzling fun." Rolling Stone

DEMY MONDE: The Cinema of Jacques Demy

Lola in LA, Demy’s first (and only) Hollywood movie improves with age. Gary Lockwood is the aimless young architect who falls under the spell of a French photographic model (Anouk Aimee). "A marvel of tone and decor…forges the impossible bridge between Quentin Tarantino’s in-jokey cinematic universe of intertwined characters and events, and the recently-completed Before trilogy of Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke." Next Projection

"A marvel of tone and decor…forges the impossible bridge between Quentin Tarantino’s in-jokey cinematic universe of intertwined characters and events, and the recently-completed Before trilogy of Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke." Next Projection

"One of the great movies about LA." Geoff Andrew, Time Out Film Guide

DOCside

Beauty Is Embarrassing is a funny, irreverent, joyful and inspiring documentary featuring the life and current times of one of America’s most important artists, Wayne White. "One of the most pleasurable moviegoing experiences I’ve had this year." Leonard Maltin

"One of the most pleasurable moviegoing experiences I’ve had this year." Leonard Maltin

"White is such a hysterically funny, wacky and weird guy that the documentarian need only train his camera upon him in order to make it entertaining. It is a genuinely hilarious film, but it’s funny because of the pathos too, the sadness in White that makes him want to live everyday to its fullest, to make a silly puppet because it’s fun, and why not today?" Katie Walsh, The Playlist

"This movie ought to be required viewing, not just for Oscar voters but for every aspiring artist wondering how to build a life doing what they love. Beauty is Embarrassing isn’t simply a testament to the talents of Wayne White; it’s a snapshot of the ways in which creativity and the business of daily living can be inseparably fused." Elina Shatkin, LA Magazine

Vancity Theatre Screening

Ricky likes lines, shapes, designs. So much so that he can’t quite decipher the more practical banalities we need to grasp to navigate safely from A to B. Autistic and alone on the New York subway, the 13 year old is trapped in a spiral of urban alienation and solipsism while his desperate mother forlornly searches the streets of Queens ahd Hurrican Sandy approaches…

"Wonderfully witty and understated ... A small miracle of a film."Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Fascinating and beautiful ... an impressionistic record of the subway experience circa exactly right now."Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

"An exceptional film ... richly textured and fully engaging."Amy Taubin, Art Forum

SPARK FX

40 years ago, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist redefined screen terror with its slow but atmospheric build up mounting to a sustained crescendo of graphic, visceral horror. Audiences had never seen special effects like these before, and reacted with panic and revulsion - as if Satan himself was at loose in this film.

"A credible portrait of the modern, urban world ripped apart by an obscene, ancient evil… the graphic desecration of everything considered wholesome and good about the fading American Dream - the home, the family, the church, and, most shockingly, the child." Mark Kermode

Woody Allen: Spring Collection

One of Woody’s most popular recent films, this enchanting slice of whimsy casts Owen Wilson as a Hollywood screenwriter transported back to the moveable feast of Paris in the 1920s, home to Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds and Gertrude Stein.

"In Woody Allen’s beguiling and then bedazzling new comedy, nostalgia isn’t at all what it used to be — it’s smarter, sweeter, fizzier and ever so much funnier." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

"Midnight in Paris finds Allen in a larky, slightly tart and altogether bountiful mood, giving filmgoers a movie that, while unabashedly funny and playful, provides a profiterole or two for thought." Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

GB, USA

DOCside

When doctors diagnosed 19-year-old rock star Jason Becker with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, they said he would never make music again and that he wouldn’t live to see his 25th birthday. 22 years later, without the ability to move or to speak, Jason is alive and making music with his eyes.

Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet is a feature-length documentary film that tells the incredible story of a guitar legend who refuses to give up on his dream of being a musician despite the most incredible odds. It is a story of dreams, love, and the strength of the human spirit.

"This heartfelt documentary is also, more subtly, a tribute to the squadron of caregivers that has enabled Mr. Becker not only to survive for an extraordinarily long time but also to continue to compose music, using virtually the only part of him that still moves, his eyes." Neil Genzlinger, New York Times

"Inspiring heartbreaker of a documentary." Joshua Rothkopf, New York Times

France, USA

Vancity Theatre Screening

Trust the French to come up with the best bebop movie. Sax legend Dexter Gordon is mesmerizing as American horn player, Dale Turner (a thinly veiled amalgam of Bud Powell and Lester Young) trying to shake his demons in 1959 Paris, with loving help from a local fan and his young daughter. Plagued by years of alcoholism and drug use, knowing the end is near; he plays every note of his memories and battles with dignity and wisdom, and then returns home to New York. The forlorn music includes early work of Monk and Bird, the standards of Gershwin and Porter. Gordon’s contribution aside, Herbie Hancock is on piano and others such as Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Ron Carter and Billy Higgins all figure, with Lonette McKee on vocals. Hancock, who a star attraction at this year’s TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, also composed the film’s beautiful score.

"This movie teaches you everything about jazz that you really need to know… It is about a few months in a man’s life, and about his music. It has more jazz in it than any other fiction film ever made, and it is probably better jazz; it makes its best points with music, not words.." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

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