A Piece of Sky
North American Premiere
In a remote alpine village, Anna (Michèle Brand) works both as a waitress and mail carrier to support her young daughter. She has fallen deeply in love with the village newcomer, Marco (Simon Wisler), a strong and silent farmhand from the lowlands. But soon after their wedding, Marco is diagnosed with a brain tumour. As the seasons change, his behaviour grows increasingly erratic, leading up to a severe transgression that threatens to tear the young family apart.
An impressive sense of restraint permeates writer/director Michael Koch’s sophomore drama, from its lingering shots to its stoic cast of nonprofessional actors, who imbue the depictions of alpine farm life with genuine realism. Koch’s classically tragic plot is elevated by the presence of a choir that, like a Greek chorus framed by the sprawling natural amphitheatre of the Swiss Alps, gives voice to the characters’ unspoken grief. A Piece of Sky weighs the heavy questions about illness and mortality, and highlights how compassion can prevail under the most dire of circumstances.
Special Mention, Berlin 2022
Michèle Brand, Simon Wisler, Elin Zgraggen, Daniela Barmettler, Josef Aschwanden
In German, English, and French with English subtitles
Child Abuse, Sexual Violence
Missing VIFF? Check out what’s playing at the VIFF Centre
Someone Lives Here
Throughout the COVID pandemic, Toronto has seen a catastrophic increase in homelessness. Sick of seeing his city unable to care for its unhoused people, Khaleel Seivwright quit his job as a full-time carpenter and dedicated himself to building insulated shelters--called 'tiny shelters.'
Oscar® Shorts 2024: Animation
The best animated shorts of the year, according to the Academy... films from Iran, Israel, France and the USA. This program will also feature a handful of "best runners-up".
Big Fight in Little Chinatown
Set against the backdrop of the COVID pandemic and an unprecedented rise in anti-Asian racism, the documentary takes us into the lives of residents, businesses, and community organizers whose neighborhoods are facing active erasure.
Oscar® Shorts 2024: Live Action
This year's nominees for Best Live Action Short Films include a mini-masterpiece from Wes Anderson and French Canadian entry, Invincible.
The Invisible Fight
Fans of Black Sabbath, kung fu, and/or wacky comedy won't want to miss The Invisible Fight. This gonzo Estonian martial arts movie is an unholy cross between Aki Kaurismaki and Edgar Wright; a true one-off.
Manufacturing the Threat
Shining a light into the murky world of police infiltration, incitement, and agent provocateurs, Manufacturing The Threat shows how Canada’s policing and national security agencies, granted additional powers after 9/11, routinely break laws with little to no accountability or oversight.
Tobias Koch, Jannik Giger
Photo by Bernhard Keller
Michael Koch was born in Lucerne, Switzerland and studied at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. His short films have been shown at over 100 international film festivals and won several awards. His graduation film Polar (2009) received a Special Mention at Berlinale and won the German Camera Award and German Short Film Award. His debut feature film Marija (2016) had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival and was screened at film festivals in Toronto, Busan, Angers, and Gothenburg, winning numerous national and international prizes. A Piece of Sky is his second feature film.
Filmography: Marija (2016)