For local film fans there is no better time of the year than mid-February, when the ever-growing, ever-popular Victoria Film Festival comes to the silver screens of our fair city and brings the world with it.
Documentaries, feature films, short films, local, national, international, drama, comedy, horror, indigenous directors, female filmmakers; whatever your favourite flavour, the festival has something for you.
For those who like to shop local, there is a truly impressive lineup of features and shorts produced right here in the provincial capital.
Gone South: How Canada Invented Hollywood is directed by local talents Leslie D. Bland and Ian Ferguson and takes a look at the influence Canadians have had on Tinsel Town, from its earliest pioneers to the current crop of Canadian talent who have headed south of the border to pursue careers.
Victoria’s own Maureen Bradley will be screening her first feature film, Two 4 One, at the festival. A funny, sweet, filmed-in-Victoria look at a truly modern family, the movie stars This Hour Has 22 Minute’s Gavin Crawford as a transgendered person who has managed to end up in a bit of a pickle: he’s pregnant. And so is his ex-girlfriend. From the same donor sperm.
Trunk: The Movie, from Martin DeValk, is a single-location thriller that perhaps isn’t for those who have problems with claustrophobia. Shot in Victoria, the movie features murder, revenge and a man locked in the trunk of a car.
Quebec director Magnus Isacsson’s Granny Power also has a strong Victoria connection, as it focuses on telling the story of the Raging Grannies, a widespread movement of aging activists that began in Victoria in the late 1980s.
There are plenty of local shorts to get excited about too, including Jeremy Lutter’s Gord’s Brother, written by Ben Rollo and starring Jack Irvine (Gracepoint), Instance, directed by Michael Farrell, and Whistler Film Festival BC Student Shortwork Award winner Godhead, directed by Connor Gaston.
For those who prefer a more international flavour, there is a wide range of documentaries and feature films from around the world, made by some of the most respected names in the business. There are too many to name, but a few are worth making the special effort to see.
Two internationally-acclaimed documentaries are coming, including filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer’s Look of Silence, his follow-up to the excellent The Act of Killing. Also in the schedule is Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery, a behind-the-scenes look at the titular London, UK art gallery that’s been getting a lot of attention.
One of last year’s most divisive, and best, films was Vic and Flo Saw a Bear. This year Quebec director Denis Côté is back with Joy of Man’s Desiring, described as an “exploration of the energies and rituals of various workplaces.” If it’s half as interesting as Vic and Flo, it’s worth checking out.
Other titles of note include Colin Farrell and Jessica Chastain in Miss Julie, indie horror darling It Follows, Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart in Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria, acclaimed French film Girlhood and the new Lone Scherfig (An Education) joint The Riot Club.
So get out there, try something different; you’ll surely find something you like. Go to victoriafilmfestival.com for more information.