Monday, September 24, 2012

2012 Vancouver International Film Festival: Preview

The 2012 VIFF (31st annual Vancouver International Film Festival), opens in just a few days, running from September 27 to October 12, with an exciting lineup of over 380 films from around the world.

This is my hometown festival, and I'm excited to announce that I've been fortunate enough to be granted a media pass to cover it! This means I'll be watching as many films as possible in the next couple of weeks, and providing ample coverage right here.

Opening VIFF 2012, will be Midnight's Children from Indian-Canadian director Deepa Mehta, a collaboration with British author Salman Rushdie, who adapted his own Man Booker prize winning novel of the same name into the film's screenplay. It had its world premiere last month in Telluride, and later screened at TIFF to a lukewarm reception, but it looks to be a visually stunning effort worth checking out.

The closing film, Holy Motors, is one I've been greatly anticipating. It's the long awaited return of French director Leos Carax, with his first feature film since 1999's Pola X, which has received lots of positive buzz since its premiere at Cannes back in May. It promises to be an intense can't miss cinematic experience.

Other highlights of the line-up include Cannes award winners: Amour, Reality, Beyond the Hills, and The Hunt; titles from this year's Berlinale: Barbara, Rebelle, Tabu, and A Royal Affair; and several recently announced contenders to the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film including: Lore (Australia), Our Children (Belgium), Children of Sarajevo (Bosnia and Hezegovina), and Sister (Switzerland).

The festival also holds two official competition categories:

The Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema, is a prize recognizing new and emerging directors from Pacific Asia. This year's line-up has eight eligible films and will be awarded by a three member jury comprised of Portuguese director João Pedro Rodrigues, Japanese director Shinozaki Makoto, and American film critic Chuck Stephens.

The Best Canadian Feature Film Award, a $10,000 cash prize awarded to the director of the best film in the Canadian Images section of the festival. This year there are twelve eligible films and will be awarded by a three member jury comprised of Canadian actor Jay Brazeau, Canadian director Anne Émond (winner of last year's award for her feature Nuit #1), and Colombian-American journalist/media personality Claudia Mendoza-Carruth.

Read on for a closer look at the films in competition at this year's VIFF:
Dragons and Tigers
The Charm of Others (魅力の人間)
directed by Ninomiya Ryutaro
Japan Japan
26-year-old Japanese filmmaker Ninomiya Ryutaro's first effort is a film that focuses on the relationships and rivalries of the workers at a vending machine repair plant. Ryutaro wrote, directed, edited, and also plays an important role in the ensemble cast.
Emperor Visits The Hell (唐皇游地府)
directed by Li Luo
China China
The third feature film from Chinese director Li Luo. A modern political satire based on the Ming Dynasty novel Journey to the West. It stars Li Wen, Mai Dian, Zi Jie, Zhang Hai, Wu Wei, Liu Jia, Zuo Yi, Li Juchuan.
A Fish (물고기)
directed by Park Hong-min
South Korea South Korea
The debut film from South Korean writer director Park Hong-min. An intriguing looking mystery thriller orginally shot in 3D, and premiered at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival. Stars, Lee Jang-hoon, Kim Sun-bin, Choi So-eun, Park No-sik, Kyun Yong-hwan, Kim Myung-ja, Han Hong-su
Memories Look at Me (記憶望著我)
directed by Song Fang
China China
The debut film from Chinese writer director actress Song Fang. A semi autobiographical tale of a young woman who reflects on the past when she visits her elderly parents in Nanjing. It premiered at the Locarno Film Festival last month where it won the award for Best First Feature.
A Mere Life (벌거숭이)
directed by Park Sang-hun
South Korea South Korea
The debut feature from South Korean writer director Park Sang-hun. First screened in competition at the 2012 JeonJu International Film Festival under the title Ankor Wat, tells the hardluck story of a man in deep despair. Stars Kim Min-hyuk, Jang Li-wu, Jeon Yeong-woon, Oh Eun-ho
Moksha: The World or I, How Does That Work? (모크샤... 나는 혹은 세상은 어떻게 작동하는가)
directed by Koo Sung-zoo
South Korea South Korea
The world premiere of the third feature film by South Korean director Koo Sung-zoo. A bizarre existential study of an amnesiac chained to the ground in a park. His calls for help left unanswered. Stars Jang Hyeok-jin, Jang Suk-hyun, Min Kyung-jin, Kim Jung-suk, Park Gil-su, Kim Jeong-yeo, Im Yo-jin, Nam Gi-ae, Oh Jo-hee
Peculiar Vacation and Other Illnesses (Vakansi yang janggal dan penyakit lainnya)
directed by Yosep Anggi Noen
Indonesia Indonesia
North American premiere of the debut feature from Indonesian writer director Yosep Anggi Noen that first screened at Locarno. A road trip slash romance story of an Indonesian woman who takes a funiture delivery job to escape her boring marriage. Stars Christy Mahanani, Joned Suryatmoko, Muhamma Abe Baasyin.
Riko (リコ)
directed by Yumiba Aya
Japan Japan
International premiere of the debut feature from Japanese writer-director Yumiba Aya. She also stars in the lead role as a young woman who embarks on an unusual relationship with an older man. Also with Enomoto Toyoharu, Koike Yuta, Kubodera Kochi, Otome Emi.
Canadian Images
Becoming Redwood
directed by Jesse James Miller
British Columbia British Columbia, Canada Canada
The bittersweet story of a young boy who believes that beating Jack Nicklaus's golf record will lead to his parents getting back together. Stars Ryan Grantham, Jennifer Copping, Chad Willett, Derek Hamilton, Scott Hylands, Viv Leacock.
directed by Jason Buxton
Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Ontario Ontario, Canada Canada
The debut feature from writer director Jason Buxton. A suspenseful drama about the consequences of an alienated small town teenager's online threats. Stars Connor Jessup, Michael Buie, Alex Ozerov, Alexia Fast.
Camera Shy
directed by Mark Sawers
British Columbia British Columbia, Canada Canada
The world premiere of the debut feature from writer director Mark Sawers. A political satire with a crazy twist. Follows a corrupt city councillor who can't escape the cameraman filming his every deed. Stars Nicolas Wright, Lara Gilchrist, Gerard Plunkett, Hilary Jardine, C. Ernst Harth.
directed by Rafaël Ouellet
Quebec Quebec, Canada Canada
Winner of Best Director and the Award of the Ecumenical Jury at the 2012 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival where it premiered earlier this summer. Writer director Rafaël Ouellet presents a moving story of a trucker suffering from deep depression after he is involved in a terrible accident. Stars Julien Poulin, Patrice Dubois, Maude Giguère, Jacob Tierney, Stéphane Breton, Noémie Godin-Vigneau.
Charlie Zone
directed by Michael Melski
Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada Canada
Winner of several awards at the 2011 Atlantic Film Festival. This thriller from Michael Melski follows a First Nations dockworker and part time street-fighter who finds himself involved in a dangerous situation. Stars Amanda Crew, Glen Gould, Mpho Koaho, Pasha Ebrahimi, Jennie Raymond, Don Allison
Crimes of Mike Recket
directed by Bruce Sweeney
British Columbia British Columbia, Canada Canada
From writer director Bruce Sweeney. A neo-noir black comedy that follows an unemployed real estate agent who turns to crime. Stars Nicholas Lea, Gabrielle Rose, Agam Darshi, Paul Skrudland, Raphael Kepinski, Jillian Fargey.
The Disappeared
directed by Shandi Mitchell
Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada Canada
The directorial debut from Shandi Mitchell. The gripping tale of six men lost at sea in their rowboats. Stars Billy Campbell, Shawn Doyle, Brian Downey, Ryan Doucette, Gary Levert, Neil Matheson.
In No Particular Order
directed by Terry Miles, Kristine Cofsky
British Columbia British Columbia, Canada Canada
The world premiere of the debut film from writer director Kristine Cofsky, co-directed by Terry Miles. Cofsky also stars in this drama, as a young woman 'suspended in post-adolescence' trying to figure out her life.
directed by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette
Quebec Quebec, Canada Canada
The second feature film from writer director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette. Tells the powerful story of a young Canadian doctor working in a Palestinian refugee camp. Stars Évelyne Brochu, Sabrina Ouazani, Sivan Levy, Yousef Sweid.
directed by Manon Briand
Quebec Quebec, Canada Canada
The first film in a decade from writer director Manon Briand (Chaos and Desire), is a stylish romantic comedy-thriller full of mishaps and misunderstandings. Stars Stéphanie Lapointe, Charles-Alexandre Dubé, Louis Morissette.
Random Acts of Romance
directed by Katrin Bowen
British Columbia British Columbia, Canada Canada
The world premiere of the latest effort from writer director Katrin Bowen. An outrageous comedy that revolves around the failing relationships of two couples. Stars Amanda Tapping, Zak Santiago, Ted Whittall, Robert Moloney, Laura Bertram, Katherine Isabelle, Sonja Bennett.
directed by Kim Nguyen
Quebec Quebec, Canada Canada
Premiered at the Berlinale in January where Rachel Mwanza won the Best Actress prize. It also won Best Narrative Feature and Best Actress at Tribeca in April, and was recently announced as Canada's official submission to the 2013 Oscars. The latest from writer director Kim Nguyen, tells the powerful story of a 14-year-old female child soldier in sub-Saharan Africa.

View the full line-up at the official VIFF website.

What do you think of the line-up? Which films should I see?


365 moviesandsongs365 said...

Lucky dog ( : Congrats on the media pass! Especially interested in what you think of:Holy Motors, Amour, Barbara, The Hunt, and Beyond The Hills. But of course as with any film festival, perhaps the ones to go for might be those that won't be getting a wide release?

FrontRoomCinema said...

ALL of them!!!

Mettel Ray said...

God, I miss going to a film festival. The feeling and surroundings just make me forget that I don't really watch foreign and go watch everything. VIFF would be definitely something like that..

the_cynical_gamer said...

Only a week after watching, I'm already a tad jealous of anyone getting to see Holy Motors for the first time. Enjoy! Tabu is a nice cine-literate treat too

Michaël Parent said...

Terrific lineup! Holy Motors looks really great! I'm looking forward on reading your appreciation of the showings you'll attend. Lucky you, I wished that they invited me in Quebec but since I write in English I am kind of regarded as a traitor in my Province.
Enjoy the festival my friend!

The Angry Lurker said...

I don't know whether I'll see any of these but you never know!

d_4 said...

Wow you got a pass! That's exciting! How.. will you choose which films to see? I mean I just stare at this lineup and I'm not even sure where I'd go to if I could. Then again, I'm in less of a position to understand what -could- be gold..

Good luck and enjoy! :D

Lisa Thatcher said...

Congrats on the media pass! Have a brilliant brilliant time! You will LOVE Holy Motors! I can't wait to read your take on it. The Midnights Children looks amazing - I'll be dying to hear how SR went with the screenplay. So many amazing amazing films here. You must justify that pass and glean as much as possible for us sad little folk who are bathing in our envy across the world!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks, I'm pretty excited about the pass. I've always gone to a couple shows here and there, but this will be the first time I go full out. I'm definitely going to try and catch all five of those, but as you said most of the big names will likely get a commercial release so I won't be extremely disappointed if I don't get in to all of them.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Haha. I will give it my level best.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

The only thing I wish we had, is a big outdoor venue like some of the European fests have. But given the weather we have here, chances are it would rain the entire time.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks TCG, I cant wait to see Holy Motors, and I do have Tabu on my list.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks Michaël. Do you really get flack from others for blogging in English? That makes me a bit sad.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Stay tuned, maybe a couple will catch your eye.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

It is a bit overwhelming. The films I highlighted here are only one tenth of the full program. There will be several that I go into completely blind, but that's part of the fun.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks Lisa! Have to say, I'm a little bit afraid that all the critical hype and heightened expectations for Holy Motors might kill it for me, but hopefully that isn't the case. I also have a clear schedule for the next couple of weeks, so I will be taking in as much as I can.

Lisa Thatcher said...

If we were talking about Beasts of the South. Wild I would be worried but this is one of the few films I don't think that will be an issue. Still - I totally get the fear. I'll be dying to hear what you think of Amour as well. How exciting!!! Your opinion matters to me so much. I will be hanging out for your updates!!!

Michaël Parent said...

Sadly, I'm the case no one is popular in his homeland... Writing in English is my way to reach more readers and discuss with other film enthusiasts. But if I want to get Press passes etc. my blog and my writings are not recognized in Quebec.

Sam Fragoso said...

I just got a notice that I'll be receiving a press screener of HOLY MOTORS. I'm beyond ecstatic for the film. I can't find your review of the film, did you see/write about it?

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Just saw it tonight, and I was blown away. Review coming shortly.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

You were right, what an amazing film, and amazing performance.

Post a Comment