Set in the heart of the Middle Eastern community in Vancouver, Canada, Kayan is an intricate story of betrayal, belonging and love in all their complicated and often paradoxical glory. Hanin, a strong-minded Lebanese woman, tries her best to keep Kayan, her struggling restaurant, afloat. A subtle, authentic movie about an everyday twentyfirst century heroine trying to make ends meet in a place far from home, this offers a strikingly different perspective on our city.
Kayan offers a glancing impression of Middle Eastern diaspora life through a vivid rendering of a busy Lebanese restaurant in Vancouver. Iran-born helmer Maryam Najafi films an actual eatery, enlisting its staff and clientele to play themselves; their seamless perfs contribute to the pic’s docu-like veracity, led by thesp Oula Hamadeh’s magnetic presence in a complex leading role." Maggie Lee, Variety
When livestock begin dying and people become mysteriously ill after gas leaks in Peace River Country in northwestern BC, a series of bombs are set off on the pipelines in reaction. "Trouble in the Peace" follows Karl Mattson, an enigmatic and reclusive cowboy, as he struggles to make sense of what’s happening to his town and the people in it. Feeling scared and alone, he embarks on a unique course of action in an attempt to save his family and unite the community.
Nunavut means "Our Land". But does that include us? After decades of what might generously be described as benign neglect, Canada seems more invested in the north than ever (no prizes for guessing why). Documentarian John Walker (A Drummer’s Dream) traces the long, often fractious relationship between the Inuit and the rest of the country, marvels at the beauty and hardship of this place, and reflects on his own experiences, revisiting the arctic for the first time since the 60s.
Two women from opposite sides of Hitler’s Third Reich meet in Toronto, years after the Second World War–Mania, orphaned by the regime, and Johanna, possibly the Nazi guard who protected her. Weaving together their stories, this powerful documentary intimately explores their war experiences and witnesses their reunion more than half a century later.
One billion people on our planet—one in six—live in shantytowns, slums or squats. Slums: Cities of Tomorrow challenges conventional thinking to propose that slums are in fact the solution, not the problem, to urban overcrowding.
"3/4: The film challenges the ingrained prejudice that leads many urban governments to withhold basic services from squatters and force them into apartment blocks." Globe and Mail
"A celebration of the perseverance and creativity of some of the poorest people in the world." Pretty Clever Films
There are men, and then there are men with beards. how 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.
Presented in association with Black History Month, Music for Mandela explores the role music played in the remarkable life of one of the world’s few genuinely heroic politicians. Musical performances include celebrated artist Vusi Mahlasela, Grammy award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and new music from the internationally acclaimed Soweto Gospel Choir. Interviews include the legendary BB King, Sean Paul, Estelle, Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins and Mandela’s grandson, hip hop artist Bambatha Mandela.
Live musical tribute performed post screening by Benin musician Yoro Noukoussi.
A homegrown Sugarman, little-known Canadian actor Rob Stewart had no idea that a dumb, short-lived cop show he made 20 years ago was a cultural phenomenon in Serbia. Throughout the war years, Tropical Heat was far and away the most popular series on Serbian TV screens, and Stewart’s character Nick Slaughter became an icon for dissidents protesting the Milosevic regime. Venturing to Eastern Europe for the first time, Stewart discovers the extent of a fame he never knew he had.
"A winner!" National Post
"Heart and heft." Globe & Mail
"A real find… truly bizarre." The Star
Morris Panych’s black comedy gets a slick and stylish cinematic treatment in this homegrown gem, one of the standout BC films from last year’s VIFF. Lawrence (Ben Cotten) would seem to have it all—he’s successful, charming, lucky, and relentlessly optimistic. Which only makes the much smarter, much less successful Holloman (David Arnold) hate him all the more!
“Dark, twisted, and really very funny ... a multi-dimensional screamer. One of the events top flicks.”—The Province
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 from as far back as the 1940s. Those movies originally produced without sound will be accompanied live by pianist Wayne Stewart.
Two friends make a bet to see which of them can withstand a week of psychological torture at the hands of the other. What starts out as a bizarre but humourous reality TV scenario gradually spirals out of control.
“Stress Position is an intelligent, thought-provoking film, which can only become increasingly relevant … the overall effect is a film you both want to see again because of its numerous admirable qualities, and never want to re-endure because the psychological tortures are so convincing and the verisimilitude too unnerving.” Alex Fitch, Electric Sheep Magazine
"A nearly flawless debut feature which jumps head first into psychological terror." Film Bizarro
"Stress Position is an attractive, inventive, creative film well worth seeing." David Jaffer, exlaim
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.
“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
In this dark, twisted BC mystery thriller, a man finds himself condemned to a special place in hell, blamed for his wife’s murder – a fact he refuses to accept. His punishment is to eternally re-live that last dreadful day - unless he can prove his innocence…?
A love story unlike any you have seen before, the latest from gay provocateur Bruce La Bruce (No Skin Off My Ass) is at once his most mainstream, accessible movie, and arguably his most transgressive. After all, we’re not usually treated to the sight of an 18 year old male nurse hopping into bed with an octogenarian…
« Magnificent » – Le Monde
« Beautiful » – Libération
« Audacious » – Le Parisien
« Poignant » – L’Humanité
« Luminous » – Métro
« Tender and sensual » – 20 minutes
« A beautiful story » – Télérama
« Powerful » – Les Inrockuptibles
« Delicious » – Ciné Télé OBS
« A beautiful movie » – Rolling Stone
« Romantic and innocent » – Europe
A rebellious teenager (Tatiana Maslany, Grown Up Movie Star) forced to repeat her last year of high school is caught between adolescence and adulthood — and between two very different male admirers — in this charming and vibrant debut feature from writer-director Kate Melville.
“One of the smartest movies on youth I have seen since “Freaks & Geeks.” Jason Whyte, efilmcritic
“Smartly written and directed by Kate Melville, Picture Day is a well-executed coming-of-age drama that distinguishes itself with its strong sense of its characters and their emotional universe.” Adam Cook, Filmmaker Magazine
“Engaging, funny and evokes all the beautiful awkwardness and confidence of being a teenager … Kate Melville has tapped into something very funny, real, and uniquely female … Tatiana Maslany absolutely steals the film as Claire … One of the best teen films this country’s ever produced.” Katarina Gligorijevic, Toronto Film Scene
Dolan’s fourth feature is his most accomplished yet, a slippery, probing thriller with a Hitchcockian score by Gabriel Yared and enough tortuous psychological coupling and decoupling to make Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s head spin. As the eponymous Tom, Dolan comes to bury his lover at the farm where the latter grew up, only to find that the bereaved mother (Roy) knows nothing of her son’s sexuality - a lie that his brother is determined to keep up.
"In Quebec, no one can hear you scream… A tense, potent pleasure: imagine a Claude Chabrol thriller half-drunk on its own feints and seductions… By far his best film." Robbie Colin, Daily Telegraph
"Taut, creepy, compelling and sexy." Ben Walters, Time Out London
School’s out for summer, and son of a preacher man Vincent Furnier (better known as the rock n roll icon Alice Cooper) would like to remind you that there’s more to life than grades, grad and grind. Like sex, drugs and grand guignol, for example.
Musicians these days have to tour to survive. That fact of life just became more problematic for SMZ violinist Jessica Moss and singer/guitarist Efrim Menuck with the arrival of baby Ezra. Their solution? Bring him along. Director Helene Klodawsky (Malls R Us) came too.
"It’s an immediate and engaging work that lets us share the weary rewards of doing what you love - even if you’re not sure you can make a living at it. 4 stars." Norm Wilner, NOW magazine
Inspired by the collective experiences of Harriet Tubman and many Freedom Seekers who traveled to Canada through the Underground Railroad, Seth-Adrian Harris’s debut relates their journeys through Afro-modern dance, poetic realism, and the music of resilience and triumph performed by Canada’s national treasure, Jackie Richardson. Through a weaving of dream sequences, we are taken on a great voyage with a woman named Moses whose spiritual awakening becomes the beacon of Hope for all seekers on the quest for freedom.
Olympia Dukakis gives an brilliant, barnstorming performance as a foul-mouthed lesbian, Stella, who isn’t about to let her lover of 31 years, Dot (Brenda Fricker), be carted off to an old folks’ home without a fight. Her plan? A daring rescue, followed by flight to Canada and marriage - an elopement. Ryan Doucette is the hitchhiker who helps them sneak over the border - the Brad Pitt to their septuagenarian Thelma and Louise.