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Black History Month

Ice cream, music and collective action all play a part in this alternately joyous and sobering documentary about the challenges in opening the first ever ice cream parlor in Kigali, Rwanda.

Post screening entertainment will be a drumming performance by women drummers led by Jacky Essombe.

"It’s utterly rousing watching the women master their instruments and then push past the birth pains of their new business enterprise, and it’s completely wrenching as their individual backstories unfold. The vibrantly filmed Dreams (the Rwandan landscape is breathtaking) is a powerful entry in the list of documentaries charting the country’s rebirth, illustrating the unexpected ways the human spirit reinvents itself after enduring the unthinkable." Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly

"Wonderful… Moving… Engrossing. An affecting celebration of the human spirit. Contagious joy abounds." Anita Katz, San Francisco Examiner

"A movie that will bring you to tears." Deena Shanker, Village Voice

Black History Month

"Activism is the rent I pay for living on the planet." So says Alice Walker. One of the key writers of our times, Walker was born in a shack in the cotton fields of Georgia and became the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, for her groundbreaking novel, The Color Purple. Promotional Partner - Vancouver Writers Festival

"If Pratibha Parmar’s documentary on the life’s work of Alice Walker is the director’s invitation to exalt with connected, layered complexity the artist, the activist, the woman, the person of colour as cultural icon, - then the parting words of Alice Walker invoke a simpler message of connectedness to her own art, her beauty and her truth. In Walker’s words:’Earth was meant for joy. And as an artist, connect with that joy. And you will be forever fed by it.’” Jana Sante, Indiewire

Black History Month

The racial fault lines running deep through the American psyche are painfully exposed in Jason Osder’s riveting account of the stand off in 1985 between the Philadelphia Police Department and the black liberation group MOVE, which resulted in the death of 11 victims. "The force and intrigue of a courtroom thriller… it ripples with urgency and moral complexity."—Screen

"The force and intrigue of a courtroom thriller… it ripples with urgency and moral complexity."—Screen

"The brilliantly edited tapestry of actions and reactions exposes a pattern of prejudice and fear capable of infinitely repeating itself." Ronnie Scheib, Variety

"Quietly terrifying." Stuart Klawans, The Nation

Vancity Theatre Screening

This extraordinary documentary - one of the most popular films at VIFF last year - shuttles from New York to France to Chicago as it traces the life story of the late Vivian Maier, a career nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs has earned her a posthumous reputation as one of America’s most accomplished and insightful street photographers.

"Compelling… haunting… captivating." Variety

"Poignant, informative, occasionally disturbing." Globe and Mail

Vancity Theatre Screening

Master non-fiction filmmaker Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line; Tabloid; Fast, Loose & Out of Control) returns to the political sphere and the unblinking focus of The Fog of War with this feature-length investigation into the mind of former US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld. Not an exercise in gotcha journalism, the film is really a ruefully funny/horrified treatise on the constraints of political discourse, and indeed, human comprehension.

Vancity Theatre Screening

In the first of a new series of environmental films copresented with Sea Shepherd, Vancity Theatre is proud to bring back one of our biggest hits from last year, the powerful expose of how orcas fare in captivity in aquatic parks like SeaWorld. One of those movies credited with changing hearts and minds, Blackfish is an unforgettable film. This screening will be introduced by special guests.

Vancity Theatre Screening

Director Bill Morrison weaves together compelling archival footage of the great Mississippi flood of 1927, complemented by a very well-considered Bill Frisell original score. That flood led to an exodus of sharecroppers, all heading north. The result? Chicago blues, rhythm & blues and, ultimately, rock ’n’ roll…

"Guitarist-composer Bill Frisell’s wall-to-wall, bluesy-jazzy soundtrack beautifully reflects and unifies the visuals while also helping to personalize this distinct endeavor. It’s a terrific achievement." Gary Goldstein, LA Times

Cinema Salon

A couple meet on an ocean liner. Jean (Barbara Stanwyck) is a knock-out babe and a con artist. Charles (Henry Fonda) is a nerdy heir, interested in the study of snakes and about to get fleeced. Sturges’ unique gifts for directing comedy and writing witty dialogue makes this yet another of his great romantic comedies that deserves its reputation as a classic.

Vancity Theatre Screening

When Matt Berninger, the lead singer of The National, invited his under-achieving younger brother Tom along as a roadie on the band’s European tour, he thought he was doing him a favour. What he hadn’t banked on was Tom filming the whole thing - even as he screws up the most rudimentary tasks asked of him, like catching the tour bus, for example… A tour film like no other, this is oddly touching, very honest, and very funny.

"Poignant and hilarious." NME

"Brutal, hilarious, unexpectedly honest." The Hollywood Reporter

"The best documentary we have seen all year." The New York Observer

Vancity Theatre Screening

Italian-born Massimo and Lella Vignelli are among the world’s most influential designers. Throughout their long career, their motto has been, ’If you can’t find it, design it.’ From graphics to interiors to products and corporate identities, the film brings us into the work and everyday moments of the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor.

Woody Allen: Spring Collection

The second part in our year-long retrospective, Woody Allen: 4 Seasons brings us to the Spring Collection, and several examples of what Allen himself famously dubbed "the early, funny ones". Take the Money and Run qualifies on both counts: his very first feature as director, it’s an hilarious spoof true crime documentary. Woody plays Virgil Starkwell, public schmuck number one.

"Very special, and eccentric, and funny." The New York Times

"Roll in the aisles, hold-your-sides laughter." LA Times

Woody Allen: Spring Collection

Incompetent products-tester Fielding Mellish travels to the Latin American country of San Marcos, and quickly finds himself the center of a people’s revolution. Mellish employs his harebrained ingenuity to survive guerilla training and to become a figurehead of this new banana republic. Allen’s second is a zany slapstick smorgasbord of philosophy and absurdism.

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.

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

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

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

Vancity Theatre Screening

Guest passes and volunteer passes not accepted.

It takes more than good food to make a restaurant work. Spinning Plates is an insightful, compelling and moving documentary tracing the fates of three very different establishments: the high-end Alinea, where Grant Achatz practices his culinary perfection; the 150-year-old country steak house Breitbach’s, a community hub in rural Iowa, and La Cocina de Gabby, a new Mexican restaurant surviving on a wing and a prayer in Tuscon. This screening will be accompanied by a panel of distinguished Vancouver chef’s moderated by Vancouver Magazine editor John Burns. Check viff.org for updates.

“Splendid and engrossing … a love letter to that singular intersection of artistic innovation, cultural legacy, community pride, and family-sustaining (or -straining) commerce known as the restaurant.” Village Voice

Vancity Theatre Screening

Critics have been pulling out comparisons to the Coens for this lean, mean revenge thriller, a scintillating debut by writer-director Jeremy Saulnier (it’s currently 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). Living a seemingly pointless existence, Dwight suddenly snaps into action when he learns of the imminent release of state prisoner, Will Cleland. With a score to settle he returns to his home town, swapping the big blue for bloodshed. Delighting lovers of genre film and American Indie, Blue Ruin’s filmmaking is clean and efficient but the killing isn’t. Thrilling, devastating and even humiliating at times, Dwight’s plight manages to hit the sweet spot between idiot and amateur, predator and prey.

"Easily the most suspenseful American film of the year, a thriller that feels like lightning across a quiet night sky; sudden, terrifying, and excitingly singular." Gabe Toro, The Playlist

"Intelligent and thrilling. Recalls the dark wit of the Coens." 4 stars Total Film

"A feral and staggeringly well-conceived revenge saga." David Ehrlich, Film.com

WOODY ALLEN 4 SEASONS: Woody in Winter

In his sixth film as director, Allen poked fun at his intellectual heroes, the heavyweight Russian novelists Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in particular, but also Chekov, Ingmar Bergman and Nabakov. At the same time this tale of a cowardly Russian philosopher caught up in the fight against Napoleon bows in the direction of Bob Hope and the Marx Brothers. It is one of Allen’s funniest movies.

USA, Taiwan

Cinema Salon

A senior chef lives with his three grown daughters; the middle one finds her future plans affected by unexpected events and the life changes of the other household members. A foodie film classic selected by James Walt, executive chef at Whistler’s Araxi restaurant.

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