If You Are a Man
North American Premiere
Simon Panay’s film takes us into the world of Opio, a boy of 13 who works at a gold mine in Burkina Faso. As you might imagine, it’s a harsh existence, with an oppressively narrow range of options. Even the most basic education costs money, and Opio’s family has precious little of that. The boy decides on a training program for welders, but to earn enough for tuition, he must take his current occupation one step further, moving from peripheral tasks to the dangerous work of going down into the pits.
Shot in eye-catching widescreen, If You Are a Man practically makes a character of its environment: the parched, rugged terrain and the glaring sun almost set the terms of Opio’s struggle. His lot is hard, dangerous work in pursuit of things that are practically taken for granted by most Westerners—an injustice that lends Panay’s film a heightened suspense and a special poignancy.
Missing VIFF? Check out what’s playing at the VIFF Centre
Bradley Cooper's second film as director is a symphonic portrait of the composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein, with Cooper in the title role and Carey Mulligan as his wife, actress Felicia Montealegre. One of the films of the year.
Ansi meets Holappa, and these two lonely souls feel they are meant for each other, but Fate may have other ideas... Aki Kaurismäki crafts a poignant and pertinent comedy which picked up the Jury Prize at Cannes.
Diving in a Drop
Frédéric Swierczynski is one of the best cave divers in the world. Sébastien Devrient, director, is also a mountain guide. The two friends set off to dive solo in the highest lake in the world, on the slopes of the Ojos del Salado volcano in Argentina.
Arthur Erickson's Dyde House
Nestled among the aspen parkland of Alberta, a hidden masterpiece by one of Canada's most celebrated architects has been found. Arthur Erickson’s Dyde House tells the story of an undiscovered piece of history and the architects fighting for its future.
Witnessing the brutal treatment of migrant workers while working at a corn plant in the Richelieu Valley in Quebec, French-to-Spanish translator Ariane (Ariane Castellanos) is forced to decide between risking her job and sticking up for the labourers.
Outcast teen hockey goalie Heather has it rough: she's a closeted lesbian with an alcoholic mum and something far worse than the usual menstrual cycle. This full-blooded creature feature weds the classic werewolf mythos with its own sapphic sensibility.
Xavier Castano, Christie Molia
Thomas Marchand, Simon Panay
Simon Panay has directed four short documentaries in West Africa. He received the ARP Young Talent of the Year Award in 2014 and the Documentary Grant from the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation in 2018. His short film Nobody Dies Here (2016), shot in an illegal mine in Benin, has been screened in 71 countries and has won 133 festival awards.