The Fred and Ginger of Buenos Aires tango, Maria Nieves Rego (81) and Juan Carlos Copes (84) danced together for nearly 50 years. Sometimes they loved each other. Sometimes they loathed each other. But together they refined and redefined the tango… Directed by Wim Wenders’ protege German Kral, this stylishly passionate doc covers two entangled talents.
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.
Her father’s death brings Elliot back to the family home and business, a 100-year-old vineyard on the brink of bankruptcy. Here, she unravels the mystery of his death by facing her own traumatic past. The film explores themes of loss, memory, and renewal, while paralleling the disintegration of a family with the corporate abuse of a landscape. This “environmental thriller” has been enthusiastically received by juries and audiences alike, screening at the Montreal, Napa Valley and Melbourne Underground film festivals.
Nothing is as contagious as enthusiasm. George is overwhelmed by his idea to rent the Café Derby to make money during the Pope’s visit to Belgium for a mass in a nearby field. His wife and five children abandon their initial reluctance, and decide to help. They are convinced there’s a small fortune to be made. Told from the point of view of the youngest daughter, the film is a funny and moving chronicle of a family both falling apart and pulling together. Inspired by true events in the filmmaker’s life, the film is an ode to audacity.
An eco-animated gem, this fable about a small boy tracing his missing father’s footsteps from a rural cabin to the big city (and beyond) doesn’t need words to spell out its message about the devastating impact of globalization. But Ale Abreu’s film is also a breathtakingly beautiful and inventive example of the animator’s art, a film of kaleidoscopic visual rhapsodies and delightfully curious investigations into shape and colour, transforming both natural and industrial landscapes into dazzling child’s-eye tableaux. With an infectious Brazilian-inflected score by Ruben Feffer and Gustavo Kurlat.
Caleb Behn sports a Mohawk and tattoos, hunts moose, and wears a business suit. His father is a devout environmentalist and residential school survivor. His mother is in a senior position in the oil and gas industry. His people, at the epicenter of some of the largest fracking operations on earth, are deeply divided. How does Caleb balance their need for jobs with his sacred duty to defend their territory?
Special Guest and Keynote Speaker: Caleb Behn, star of Fractured Land
Emmy-winning director Shelley Saywell’s moving and inspiring documentary 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.
Bearded Ladies is an engaged and engaging documentary about Rosamond Norbury, a self-described “omnisexual” Vancouver photographer who explores gender and identity with a playful ‘wink and a nod’. The film follows Norbury as she creates her most recent show, a series of surprising and often hilarious portraits of women donning male drag for the first time.
Plus short films Kanada Girl (11 min) and Synesthesia (20 min)
Adrien runs a garage in a small Quebec town. He needs a new kidney, but that won’t be happening any time soon. Through the recurring cycles of dialysis and ebbing energy, he quietly struggles to balance his work and marriage. Things take an intriguing turn when he hires a young man to help around the garage, and reconsiderations of his past help him move forward. Screened at many festivals around the world, this atmospheric and moving film explores inner strength and personal dignity, capturing compelling characters in an exquisite rural landscape.
Mina Shum’s documentary documentary reopens the file on what is now seen as a watershed moment in Canadian race relations and campus politics, the moment in 1967 when a professor at Sir George Williams University in Montreal was accused of racism, and student uprising that followed.
Hit with a diagnosis of cancer, Saffron wants to ensure the well-being of her children. With a lack of reliable friends and a deadbeat ex-boyfriend, she resorts to her last hope - finding her biological mother. This emotionally nuanced film builds on a strong female lead, one capable of facing reality, no matter how daunting, and charting a path towards hope and reconciliation . This mother-daughter drama shines with stellar performances by actors Gabrielle Rose and Camille Sullivan.
Plus short film: The Vocation (7 min)
Samantha, a talented and up-and-coming underground DJ in Vancouver, experiences alienation and isolation, despite the progressively integrated world of music, computers, telephones and social media in which she lives. Confined to a small group of friends and disillusioned with online dating, she seeks a meaningful connection. The film chronicles her journey through the streets of Vancouver, and introduces newcomer Vanessa Crouch in a memorable performance.
Preceded by short: Rock the Box (10 min)
Preceded by short: I Wanna Date U (15 min)
Under the guise of a farewell party with cash bonuses to come, a group of unenthusiastic employees is tricked into working all night for a company closing shop. Between work breaks filled with bizarre, childish and completely mandatory party games, the employees begin to realize that their work is having catastrophic consequences on the outside world. As the bribes turn into threats, and when quitting is no longer an option, will this smorgasbord of antiheroes have what it takes to save the world?
This delightfully bizarre and genre-bending comedy comes with strong performances and memorable production design.
Cop or killer? She’s convinced he murdered her daughter, and today is payback. His pleas of innocence fall on deaf ears. Lies are useless, mind games backfire, the truth doesn’t work. In the end, the only way he can stop this death-ride could kill them both.
TRUNK, an audience favourite at the 2015 Victoria Film Festival, is a BC-created independent feature from Chiaro Productions, Produced and Directed by Martin de Valk, Written by Keith Digby and Brian Paisley – and the first in their triptych of “claustrophobic thrillers’. The second film, CONTAINER, is now in development.
Arising from the Embargo Collective II project, this feature-packaged collection of five short films is based on Lars von Trier’s The Five Obstructions. Five Canadian Indigenous female filmmakers challenged one another with creative restrictions pushing their artistic form,
To amuse themselves during the winter school break, the kids in a small village decide to have a massive snowball fight. Luke and Sophie, both 11 years old, become the leaders of the opposing sides. But what starts out as pure youthful fun and enthusiasm deteriorates into a more serious conflict. Joy is restored when all the children decide to attack the fort rather than each other and happily destroy every last bit of the snow fort.
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.
Canada, Zambia, Tanzania
This feature documentary recounts the incredible odyssey of 22 men from China’s persecuted Uyghur minority who were detained in Guantánamo as terrorists. These Turkicspeaking Muslims, persecuted by the authorities in Beijing, escaped to the Middle East where they were captured and sold as terrorists to the American forces. From northern China to Guantánamo, Cuba, this new documentary by Patricio Henríquez charts the incredible odyssey of three of these “prisoners of the absurd,” linked to worldwide terror networks through no fault of their own
Academy Award nominee: Best Foreign Language Film, Guerra’s film is a bewitching Amazonian odyssey inspired by two historical forays deep into the jungle by European anthropologists. Filmed in stunning black and white, this is a potent, poetic, political film reminiscent of Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre.
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