11th Annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival lineup

Women in Film and Television Vancouver (WIFTV) is delighted to announce the lineup for the 11th Annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, #VIWIFF2016, March 8th – 13th at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre.

Two local features, Siobhan Devine’s The Birdwatcher and Melanie JonesFSM, will have their hometown premieres.

Camille Sullivan as Saffron

Camille Sullivan as Saffron in The Birdwatcher

The Birdwatcher stars Camille Sullivan as a single mother diagnosed with cancer, who embarks on a journey to re-connect with her estranged birth mother, played by Gabrielle Rose.  Continue reading

Movies to Watch with That Special Someone

Some say that rom-coms and dramas focused on love stories are the main reason we  go to the movies in the first place. If you’re looking for movies to watch on Date Night with your significant other, here are the best picks for a little romance.

As a side note, our judges and Festival Committee are especially pleased that this year’s line-up features several films which aren’t your “classic” boy-meets-girl stories–four of the seven films below have LGBTQ2S presences.

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Fun Facts: 5 Ways 2 Die

A dark comedy about a man fumbling his several suicide attempts? How can a festival show such a film about such a serious topic? For our Festival Committee, the question was more like how could they not show this witty, funny short from Cyprus by Daina Papadaki. As it turns out, things were just as amusing behind the camera–here are a few fun facts about this must-see short:Image

  • Director Papadaki found selecting the most appropriate coffin for a funeral scene to be one of the most morbid things she has done in her filmmaking career! The solemnity was all for naught when there was a mix-up in the order: when the coffin arrived, not only were parts of it missing, but it was an open casket coffin with glass! The film’s art director, Lisa Tsouloupa had to scramble to transform the goofy purchase into the casket you see in the film.

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Behind the Scenes at VIWIFF 2014: Choosing the Festival Films

This year’s festival had over 500 submissions this year from around the world, yet the festival is only showing a total of 33 films. How did we come to choose these films? What made them stand out? Here’s a behind the scenes look at what a film goes through to get into the festival.

Submitting Films

For a film to be qualified for the festival, women must hold at least three key creative positions including: director, producer, cinematographer, lead actor, composer, editor, etc. It was fine of course for one woman to hold all three roles, but if the film even had two women involved in key creative positions, no matter how good it sounded, it did not qualify.

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Movies for Activists

Film is such a powerful medium with which to communicate a message or raise awareness about an issue or problem. Subtle details and nuances can prove to be highly provocative statements, and allegorical films can be powerful critiques against a given regime or system. Attending a film festival such as the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival is activism in itself–it is only one of three festivals in Canada dedicated to films made by women.  As has been discussed on this blog before, the gender disparities in the Canadian film in television are still a huge issue, with Canadian women fare behind their male counterparts in both annual earnings and opportunities, period. Supporting festivals such as ours is therefore especially important if you care about missing voices, overlooked stories, and challenging the status quo. If you’re an activist or a free thinker, these films should be at the top of your watchlist.

El Regreso

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El Regreso (The Return) by Patricia Ortega is a narrative fiction that explores the tragic and true events of April 16, 2004 in the Wayuu community of Bahía Portete, at the Colombian Guajira, a territory split between Colombia and Venezuela.  Given that it focuses on this painfully recent history, it is no doubt one of the most powerful films of the festival. Ortega will be present following the film for a panel discussion. The story is told from the perspective of Shuliwala (Daniela González), a 10-year-old girl who is forced to flee her home for an unknown city. The film is a bold contribution to the fight against racism while portraying little-known images of the Wayuu indigenous community. By focusing on a specific ethnic group, Ortega proposes a universal approach that vindicates the struggle for the rights of indigenous people.

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Family-Focused Films

Families–close knit, estranged, chosen, or amusingly dysfunctional–are an endless source of inspiration for filmmakers. This year’s festival program has several films focused on a variety  of family structures. Here are your best bets for some family drama.

Ina Litovski by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, André Turpin

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Living in a cramped apartment in a new city, a young violinist is trying to take care of her listless mother and burnout brother. Tonight is a school recital-will she have her moment to shine, or will her family remain preoccupied?

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Old Classics & New Favorites: Festival Films You’ll Love Based On Your Current Favorites

Choosing which film to go to see at a film festival is tough–there’s only one screening, and tickets for films are sold in a block of time so you want to know the screening you pick is the best one.  To help you decide which film to see, here are some comparisons to some beloved films and shows already out there so you can see which must-see film could be added to your list of favorites.

If you like Orange is the New Black you’ll love Pretty Bitch

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Pretty Bitch by Rebecca Coley is the first film that will be shown during our festival. It is a hard film, but so worth the watch: the main character is a young woman in prison whose sense of divine justice makes Pennsatucky’s religious fervor pale in comparison…

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