$40,000 for our 40th Festival
Whether you’ve been attending our theatres for decades, or just discovered VIFF from the comforts of home, you’re part of the VIFF Family and played a role in helping us reach our landmark 40th edition. Thank you!
To celebrate this occasion, a group of committed patrons are challenging you to raise $40,000 before closing night. The Reel Friends Giving Society will match your gift dollar-for-dollar, up to a total of $40,000. Your donation will help ensure that VIFF continues to bring you the best films from around the globe for decades to come. If you believe in supporting VIFF, Western Canada’s home of film and film culture, please make a gift today.
VIFF is a unique event, and one that we must fiercely protect - A message from Matt Hall
A month ago, The Reel Friends giving society challenged us all to raise $40,000 in recognition of the 40th edition of VIFF, and this group of VIFF supporters will match every dollar. With opening night in a little over a week. I’m humbled to announce that through your support the Reel Friends Giving Society have already matched more than $29,000. Can you help meet their original goal before closing night?
I first moved to Vancouver eleven years ago after living in cities that are recognized as cultural centres around the world and across Canada. Upon my arrival I was keen to immerse myself in local performing arts events and discover the unique perspectives of artists and creators from this region.
I must confess that a decade ago I was surprised to find that the arts were not highlighted as enthusiastically in Vancouver as in other places, and as a result, resources and philanthropic support for the arts were well below what I had come to expect from the other world class cities that I’ve had the privilege to spend time in. Right away I knew I wanted to help our West Coast cultural institutions grow, so I began volunteering my time as a board member and after working with several local organizations I joined the VIFF board of directors three years ago.
Film hasn’t always been held in the same high regard as other art forms, but it is such an Important medium for telling the stories of a particular time and place, preserving geography, history, and the mood of society for future generations to explore and dissect. I was drawn to VIFF because of the diverse film repertoire of the festival, spotlighting Canadian cinema, as well as Asian & Indigenous filmmakers. This diversity is what makes VIFF such a unique event, and one that we must fiercely protect. I’m a relative newcomer to VIFF, many of the team and many of you have been building and supporting VIFF for far more of the past 40 festivals, but I feel so fortunate to be here now, volunteering with some great people in our community and seeing the positive changes that a taking place at the VIFF Centre or in adapting the festival to the challenges of the pandemic.
Being involved in this period of change over the past few years at VIFF has been inspiring, and exactly what I was hoping to be a part of when I first set out to help arts institutions in Vancouver. But the changes and challenges don’t end when the festival opens this year. To ensure that VIFF thrives in future years help raise $40,000 before closing night on October 11 by making a gift today.
Vice Chair – VIFF Board of Directors
PS Every gift of $25 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt.
There are more than a few reasons I have been a volunteer at VIFF for 36 years. Everything about this fun and educational event keeps me coming back for more and more. And that’s why I’m so excited about the pledge from the Reel Friends Giving Society to match up to $40,000 in donations before closing night. Through their generosity these festival regulars are helping to ensure that VIFF can continue.
My full-time career was teaching foreign languages to high school students in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland and I’ve travelled and worked abroad extensively throughout my life. Therefore, as you can imagine, the word “International” in VIFF drew me like a magnet. VIFF appeals to so many of us from various parts of the world, and if you stop and listen in a theatre lobby after a film, you can hear many different languages being spoken. The festival does a wonderful job of bringing people together who would not otherwise find themselves sharing an experience.
To volunteer and be a part of this fascinating festival is a magical feeling. In the theatre there is also magic: hearing all of you happily chattering guests as you rush to your seats makes me smile, especially when you return year after year. When I’m volunteering during the festival, I want to stay all day, there’s a special atmosphere in the theatre that brings me so much joy. What a pleasure to see everyone enjoying the myriad films, both foreign and Canadian, which satisfy everyone’s taste!
I can travel worldwide by staying in one place and without packing a single suitcase. How could there be a more perfect festival than VIFF? We can’t let this wonderful learning experience end. We need to make sure that VIFF is here for another 40 years at least, so please make a gift and celebrate the upcoming 40th festival by helping to raise $40,000.
Producer and former Canadian Images Programmer for VIFF
P.S. A donation of time is just as important as dollars. Please also consider becoming a volunteer with VIFF, I highly recommend the experience!
As of this morning tickets are now on sale for the 40th edition of VIFF and as a long-time VIFF advocate, I’m writing in to ask you to join me in supporting the festival this year. When you buy your tickets today, please consider making a donation to help VIFF raise $40,000 before closing night.
Most cinema-lovers in Vancouver will agree that the theatrical landscape in our city has changed significantly over the past several years. Former cultural landmarks like the Ridge, Park and Hollywood theatres have long since disappeared, taking with them the opportunity to watch world-class cinema on the big screen. Fortunately, we still have VIFF and the VIFF Centre which provides not only a delightful seasonal smorgasbord of the very best films from around the world each fall, but also a world-class venue where you can watch expertly curated cinema all year-round. Cultural organizations like VIFF remain great because they deliver unparalleled programming, provide a place for filmmakers to engage with their audiences and with each other, and respond to the ever-evolving tastes and interests of our city and region.
As I reflect on my personal history with VIFF, as a programmer for the Canadian Images series and as a representative of one of the key funders of the event for many years, I’m proud to have played a small role in helping the festival reach this landmark 40th edition. But even as we collectively celebrate this achievement, you and I cannot take the ongoing success of VIFF for granted.
The past two years have been difficult for most everyone, but cultural institutions reliant on public events have been particularly challenged. VIFF has navigated the challenges admirably, but they still need your help. I hope you’ll consider making a financial gift, no matter the amount, to help support VIFF in the important work they’re doing.
Producer and former Canadian Images Programmer for VIFF
P.S. This year every donation will be matched by fans of the festival like us. The Reel Friends Giving Society will match every dollar raised before closing night, up to $40,000.
Make twice the impact for VIFF at this critical time for the arts - A message from members of the Reel Friends Giving Society
We are members of the Reel Friends Giving Society, and we are challenging you to help raise $40,000 to celebrate 40 years of VIFF. We have pledged to personally match your donation, meaning that your support will make twice the impact for VIFF at this critical time for the arts.
There’s nothing quite like fall in Vancouver. For us, and likely for you as well, there’s always a crackle of excitement in the air as the opening day of VIFF draws closer. Once the festival program is announced every long-time festival fan like us springs into action, deciding which films and talks to attend, making plans with festival friends, some of whom we may only see during VIFF, and plotting personal festival schedules. The question of whether it is possible to rush from one theatre to the next before showtime is all part of the fun! This year, there won't be quite the same mad dash between screenings as VIFF Connect should ease the pressure a little for those of us who want to see as much as we possibly can.
With tickets for the 40th edition of the festival going on sale next week, we are feeling the anticipation starting to mount again. We have each been fixtures at VIFF over the years, from The Ridge Theatre to Granville 7 and The Centre and this year we’ll be trying some new venues, including the Hollywood Theatre in Kitsilano. We’ve enjoyed VIFF’s unique festival experience and watched many, many incredible films. That’s why, for this landmark edition, we want to give back to the organization that has given us so many memorable experiences over the years.
This year we have each made a philanthropic pledge and created the Reel Friends Giving Society. Collectively we will match all donations received by closing night up to a total of $40,000. Please join us and help make a difference by making a gift that will support VIFF as the festival enters a new decade. Let’s ensure that each Fall, we can look forward to sharing the festival experience together for years to come.
Will you accept our challenge to raise $40,000 this year? If you can, please consider a $40 gift in recognition of the legacy of VIFF to date. Every donation of $25 or above will receive a charitable tax receipt.
Birgit Westergaard, Reta Rea and Gordon Allan, The Molnar Group and Melina Buckley
Members of The Reel Friends Giving Society
On the eve of our 40th edition, it’s time for me to send a personal urgent appeal to you, to help rebuild West Coast film culture.
Thanks to a group of loyal VIFF supporters dubbed The Reel Friends Giving Society any donation made between now and closing night of the festival will be matched up to $40,000. This means every dollar you contribute before October 11 will be doubled. So, please help raise an additional $40,000 to mark our 40th festival and an exciting new era for cinema in Vancouver.
Amongst our current staff, I am the only one who has been with this organization since the beginning. We have seen tremendous changes over these years. The combined forces of the internet, property development, and economic inequality have often threatened to make the viewing of cinema in a downtown theatre a thing of the past. Still, the festival lives on, our own theatre remains a centre of excellence, new audiences emerge, and cinema remains an unequalled art form, if it is enabled to be experienced in all its riches.
Cinema changed my life. I’ve found that sharing the excitement of film-going with audiences at The Ridge Theatre, The Vancouver East Cinema, and at every edition of VIFF has proven to be the best education one could ever hope for and made life worthwhile in ever fresh and exciting ways. Over these years, we’ve had such an amazing array of films and participating filmmakers. We all owe a debt to them and to past staff, volunteers, and supporters. As the saying goes: “Drink water, think source”.
VIFF, and the arts in general, are at a critical juncture. After the long period navigating COVID, we need to reignite passion for the arts and bring back audiences, especially the young. During this time, our theatre has undergone an extensive revitalization, but this investment will only make sense if new audiences can discover what regular VIFF devotees have known all along: there’s more to life than what’s readily available on streaming services. True cinema is larger than that.
For the sake of a bright future for curious young minds and the next generation of filmmakers, please consider making a donation to VIFF. Now is the time: while we have this matching opportunity from the Reel Friends Giving Society and a major hurdle to overcome.
Thanks, and I look forward to seeing familiar faces at VIFF again after all these months (and years)!
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