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UK, Japan

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

A mysterious and engaging journey through sound, song, story, ritual, performance, nature, tradition and Japanese Buddhism… A fearless merging of medieval and modern, beautifully filmed with a variety of cinematic techniques on location in Japan. “Kanzeon” is another way of saying Kannon (Chinese: Kuanyin), the embodiment of compassion, and can also be written in Japanese as “to see sounds.”

"Stunning to look at… mesmerising musical sequences”

Frances Morgan, Sight and Sound

"A stunning new British documentary.”

Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye

UK Ireland

Vancity Theatre Screening

In 2008, 18 climbers from a party of 24 reached the summit of the world’s second highest mountain, the treacherous K2. 48 hours later, 11 were dead, or had simply vanished. What happened? Nick Ryan weaves together found footage, eerie reenactments and interviews with survivors to try and solve this tragic mystery.

"Riveting. Gripping. Thrilling." Indiewire

"A gripping cliffhanger. A heart-throbbing experience." Hollywood Reporter

USA

WOODY ALLEN 4 SEASONS: Woody in Winter

Expertly weaving between comedy and tragedy ("if it bends, it’s funny; if it breaks, it isn’t," as Alan Alda’s egomaniac sitcom writer is fond of saying), this is one of Allen’s finest movies, a dark, somber but also very witty tale of infidelity and murder that grapples with the philosophical implications of our own, seemingly in-built ethical limitations and stands as a cynical corrective to the warmth of Hannah and Her Sisters.

"His best and most courageous work to date." Stanley Kauffman, New Republic (1989)

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

Chogyam Trungpa, renowned Tibetan Buddhist leader, shattered notions about how an enlightened teacher should behave when he renounced his monk’s vows & eloped with a sixteen year-old aristocrat. Twenty years after his death, Trungpa’s name still evokes admiration and outrage. What made him tick? And just what is enlightenment, anyway?

For over forty years, America’s "War on Drugs" has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs in America are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever before. Perhaps it’s time to call a ceasefire?

"Searing… One of the most important pieces of non-fiction to hit the screen in years." LA Times

"Fearless… A model of the ambitious, vitalizing activist work that exists to stir the sleeping to wake." New York Times

Vancity Theatre Screening

Heroes don’t come more gold-plated than Muhammad Ali. But if you’re too young to remember the 1960s then you may be shocked to discover how controversial the heavyweight champion was in his heyday. Indeed, he was a constant thorn in the side of the establishment, and a hate figure for much of the mainstream media.

"The best Muhammad Ali doc I’ve ever seen and - dare I say - I’ve seen ’em all.” Dave Zirin, The Nation

"A wholly illuminating look at Muhammad Ali in all his complexity, providing a surprisingly fresh and vivid portrait of a man who played rope-a-dope with history, religion and sport." Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

"Bill Siegel’s audacious documentary puts new heat and focus on what an extraordinary figure Muhammad Ali was outside the boxing ring. No film has probed this deeply into the fallout from his name change or his complex bond with Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam. And the saga of Ali’s refusal to be drafted during Vietnam becomes a profile in courage — a tale of shocking vilification and faith lost and found. A-" Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

In 1959 a great migration from Tibet was violently set in motion. The Dalai Lama was joined in exile by thousands of refugees, among them some of the most important Tibetan Buddhist teachers, opening a window on what had been a hidden realm. Through interviews rare archival footage, the film offers an insider’s view of Tibetan Buddhism as it is manifesting beyond its original home.

"The film is a vivid and engaging account of the movement of the Buddha Dharma - the teachings and practices of Buddhism - to the West…Viewers of the film will come away with the discovery that they have learned a great deal. But even more, their hearts will have been opened and perhaps melted by the uplifting gift of genuine spirituality as it flows from teacher to student in a pattern free of time, showing us the way to go beyond the suffering and upheavals of our days and years." Light of Consciousness magazine

DOCside

"Peter Nicks’s magnificent documentary spends a day in the life of an over-crowded and under-resourced hospital emergency room in Oakland, Calif., where a staff of compassionate professionals provide care to a startlingly diverse population of patients. This subtle, compassionate tableau lifts the veil on a world often described in terms of squalor and despair, finding the inherent dignity and perseverance therein." Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

"Peter Nicks’s magnificent documentary spends a day in the life of an over-crowded and under-resourced hospital emergency room in Oakland, Calif., where a staff of compassionate professionals provide care to a startlingly diverse population of patients. This subtle, compassionate tableau lifts the veil on a world often described in terms of squalor and despair, finding the inherent dignity and perseverance therein." Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

"Documentarian Peter Nicks had extraordinary access to the people in and around the waiting room of a public hospital in Oakland. But what makes this a classic, and a work of art and not journalism, is his taste, his poetic touches and his talent for understatement." Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Coenpalooza!

A curtain-raiser for tomorrow’s Coen Bros marathon: the brothers’ first movie, a delectably twisted film noir set in modern day (well, mid 80s) Texas, where Marty (Hedaya) doesn’t much care for the fact that his wife Abby (McDormand) is playing around behind his back. This is one of the great debut films, bursting with malicious wit and style, with an unforgettable performance from character actor M Emmett Walsh as a private dick with a very personal notion of ethics.

"It’s the boys’ most immediately gratifying movie: The goods are delivered in a hearse." Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner

"A tight, beautifully ugly neo-noir classic." Kim Morgan, Portland Oregonian

"As black, sinful and nasty as a weekful of Hitchcocks, this is as fresh and intoxicating now as it was back then. In a word: deadly." Ian Nathan, Empire

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

Against all odds, E. Gene Smith, a Mormon, pacifist and Buddhist organized a mission to rescue the written legacy of the Tibetan culture even as it was threatened with destruction and loss. The film documents his amazing efforts which set in motion an ongoing project to preserve, digitize and translate 20,000 volumes of Tibetan literature, from medicine and history to poetry and Buddhist texts.

Vancity Theatre Screening

The first in a double bill featuring two of the most highly acclaimed US features of the year, Before Midnight is Richard Linklater’s bittersweet study of a love affair languishing in middle-age - his follow up to generational touchstones Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

Before Midnight is a wonderful paradox: a movie passionately committed to the ideal of imperfection that is itself very close to perfect." AO Scott, New York Times

Vancity Theatre Screening

The hilarious (and possibly exaggerated) origin story of the real life alien bluegrass band, Future Folk. When a comet threatens to destroy their planet, the citizens of Hondo enlist their most decorated soldier, General Trius (Nils d’Aulaire), to search for a new home planet- and wipe out the current inhabitants with a flesh-eating virus. After landing somewhere near Brooklyn, General Trius wanders into a megastore to unleash the terror… when he’s enchanted by a strange and mystical human invention known as "music."

"Close encounters of the charming kind." Robert Koehler, Variety

"Delightful." LA Weekly

"Hilarious." San Francisco Chronicle

Vancity Theatre Screening

Greta Gerwig is delightful - a kind of modern day Annie Hall - in this lovely, deft, funny/sad movie from Noah Baumbach. Frances Halladay is 27, living in New York, and not really pulling things together yet. She’s in the wrong job, and her most intimate friend is her flatmate, who’s moving out. Simultaneously optimistic and melancholy, romantic and unsentimental, it’s the finest comedy of the year.

"An irresistibly lovely, melancholic acknowledgment that love is impossible, and that the more candid a young woman is, the less eligible she becomes in the standard romantic sweepstakes… Frances Ha also marks the rare instance in which an actress has the perfect role at the perfect time. Ms. Gerwig’s work here is fragile, delicate, subject to bruising; something that could wither under too much attention. Perhaps Ms. Gerwig is the greatest actress alive. And maybe Frances Ha is just the ghost orchid of independent cinema." John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

"There’s an optimism and an empathy in “Frances Ha” that feels genuine and earned.The plot doesn’t build to a gigantic, sweeping climax, but the understated final moments made me happier than any other filmgoing experience I’ve had all year." Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

Vancity Theatre Screening

Classified PG. Under-19s welcome with adult accompaniment.

Perhaps you remember Tilikum? The killer whale was a star attraction at Oak Bay, British Columbia’s Sealand of the Pacific park from 1983 to 1992 - when he was shipped out to SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. The sale took place shortly after the tragic death of a trainer, Keltie Byrne, who slipped and fell into the pool. Although Tilikum was officially exonerated from the death, eye-witnesses tell a very different story. And as filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite discovered, this was not to be the last human death associated with the bull orca.

"Blackfish has the capacity to stand the test of time as a gripping documentary synonymous with changing the way people see both killer whales and the multi-billion dollar industry that continues to exploit killer whales as playful tourist attractions" Daniel Pratt, exclaim

"A mesmerizing psychological thriller with a bruised and battered killer whale at its center." Variety

"Has the potential to take our society on the first step in the right direction." Alex Koehne, Twitch

Vancity Theatre Screening

Both a tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most extravagant and influential personalities, and simultaneously a chronicle of the impact of fashion in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, this portrait of the irrepressible editor of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar is an eye-opener, just like its subject.

Vancity Theatre Screening

Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century.

"Nails the sense of joie de vivre these extraordinary artists put into every note-a tribute to doing it for the love of the expression over stardom that provides incalculable amounts of inspiration." David Fear, Time Out New York

"You may never hear the Rolling Stones’s Gimme Shelter the same way again after hearing Jagger’s and Clayton’s separate accounts of the recording of the song." Liam Lacey, Globe & Mail

"I have rarely seen a movie that better expressed the revivifying nature of music." Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

Vancity Theatre Screening

Our tribute to the late, great James Gandolfini consists of two recent feature films, both released at the tail end of last year, neither of which found the audience they deserved. The first feature written and directed by Sopranos creator David Chase, Not Fade Away is an overtly autobiographical piece about a young man (newcomer John Magaro) trying to make it in rock n roll in the 1960s. Gandolfini has a relatively small yet crucial role, as the young man’s conservative father, dismayed by his boy’s directionless. It’s a part that could have been clichéd, but Gandolfini invests his scenes with such expert comic timing and emotion, he transcends any such traps. Reminiscent of Barry Levinson’s Diner, Not Fade Away is a personal movie in the best sense, true and honest and lived in, and Gandolfini has much to do with that.

"A warm, funny, poignant scrapbook." Hollywood Reporter

"A gritty, graceful salute to rock and roll." Rolling Stone

’Buried’ meets ’127 Hrs’ in this nail-biting suspense film with ’Lost’ star Neil Hopkins. In a bone fide California nightmare scenario, Jackson Alder comes to after his SUV has been swept off the road by a mudslide. The doors are jammed shut, and anyway who knows how deep he’s buried (or how much further he might slide), so Jackson reckons he can wait it out til help comes. If his oxygen lasts out…

Australia, USA

In 60s Australia, John Grant (Gary Bond), is an Education Department bonded teacher at a tiny outback school. Making his way to Sydney for the holidays, John takes the train but stops overnight in Bundayabba.

Drawn into the ’Yabba’s’ culture of drinking and gambling, he becomes embroiled in the locals’ insular and threatening world.

""Wake in Fright" is a film made in Australia in 1971 and almost lost forever. It’s not dated. It is powerful, genuinely shocking and rather amazing. It comes billed as a "horror film" and contains a great deal of horror, but all of the horror is human and brutally realistic."

- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Combining elements of Heart of Darkness, After Hours, and Groundhog Day, Ted Kotcheff’s brutally brilliant Outback thriller follows the moral degradation, or perhaps redemption, of a snooty schoolteacher (Gary Bond) traveling from the backwater where he’s assigned to Sydney for his Christmas vacation. But along the way he gets stranded in "the city," Bundanyabba, where he loses his money in a backroom game of chance and must rely on the contemptuous hospitality of the local yokels […]Kotcheff’s masterpiece (he later did First Blood), it orchestrates landscape, music, demonic faces, and lots of blood, sweat, and vomit into a stark bacchanalia of men having fun." Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix

USA, Australia

The untold story of how the ancient male practice of yoga has been revolutionized by a dynamic generation of female teachers and students. Yogawoman reveals how yoga has utterly transformed the lives of thousands of over-stimulated, overscheduled, and multitasking modern women, and how they in turn have "feminised" yoga itself.

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