A scene from the Connor and Vaughan Gaston-directed film Encore, produced by Victoria’s Arnold Lim. The movie is entered in the Vancouver International Film Festival, which starts this week. Photo contributed

FILM SPOTLIGHT: Island talent hits the screen at VIFF

Film by Victoria’s Connor Gaston, Arnold Lim in 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival

Kyle Wells

Monday Magazine contributor

From the internationally acclaimed to the homegrown upstarts, the offerings at the Vancouver International Film Festival this year vary far and wide.

With 216 feature films and 120 short films from 55 countries being screened, VIFF is a window to the world, but also to our own backyard. BC filmmakers find themselves alongside international giants of cinema and have the chance to screen their latest creations for a hometown crowd.

And Victoria is getting into the mix.

Victoria-based director Connor Gaston is returning to VIFF this year with a new short directed with his brother, Vaughn. Encore is a beautifully shot and enigmatic short about a young boy learning to play the piano at the insistence of his controlling, grieving mother.

Gaston is no stranger to the festival, where his short films Godhead and The Cameraman and feature length debut The Devout have previously screened. Co-produced by Black Press’ own Arnold Lim, alongside Darlene Tait, and starring Nolan Hupp and Belfry Theatre veteran Celine Stubel, Encore screens in The Curtain Calls program on Oct. 1 and 8.

Another Victoria connection comes by way of the feature-length documentary Picking Up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket, an emotional and timely look at Victoria-based artist Carey Newman’s acclaimed art installation. Completed in 2015, the Witness Blanket is a staggering work that uses artifacts gathered from former residential school sites and other structures to weave together a representation of the trauma, the history, and the legacy of the residential school system.

The documentary, co-directed by Newman and Victoria-based Cody Graham, functions as both a peek behind the scenes at the artist’s process and as a personal journey of the wounds left behind by this dark chapter in Canadian history. As inspiring as it is heartbreaking, Picking up the Pieces is a must-see.

Beyond the local, the festival is screening many internationally acclaimed films over the course of its two-week run.

Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda (After the Storm) returns to VIFF with his 2018 Palme d’Or-winning feature Shoplifters. The Old Man and the Gun, from America’s David Lowery (A Ghost Story), features what Robert Redford says will be his final screen performance, in a film about a dapper bank robber in his twilight years.

Screenings of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s (A Separation) movies have become something of a staple at VIFF, drawing large, enthusiast Persian crowds, and this year will be no exception with his latest production Everybody Knows. Also receiving a lot of notice on the festival circuit is Greek provocateur Yorgos Lanthismos’ latest The Favourite, starring Emma Stone, Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz.

And this only scratches the surface.

The Vancouver International Film Festival starts its 37th year today (Sept. 27) and runs through Oct. 12. Visit viff.org for more information and tickets. And stay tuned to mondaymag.com and on Twitter at @mondaymag and @cinefileblog for ongoing coverage of the festival.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Still photo from Picking up the Pieces, The Making of the Witness Blanket, a documentary directed by Victoria’s Carey Newman and Cody Graham that is entered in this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. It tells the story behind Newman’s awe-inspiring project that went across Canada. Photo contributed

Just Posted

WATCH: Bedouin Soundclash opening their 2020 tour in Victoria

One of the 2000s’ biggest bands touring in support of 2019 release, MASS

Mathieu Poirier: Excitement builds for Victoria Beer Week

Tickets for March 6-14 celebration of all things crafty on sale now

The Music of Cream touring band more than a tribute act

Ginger Baker’s son Kofi, Clapton’s nephew Will joined by rock stalwarts for 50th anniversary tour

Actors asked to find a spirituality for new Belfry production

Playwright/director Tara Beagan’s The Ministry of Grace tells Indigenous tale of challenge, love

PERFECTLY POTABLE: Bold reds that make you stand up and take notice

Monday wine columnist Robert Moyes weighs in on a trio of fine reds and a yummy late harvest white

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Winners announced for inaugural Victoria Arts Council/Monday poetry contest

More than 100 entries received in five categories

Canadian polar bears’ ‘ingenious’ survival seen in BBC Earth series

Film crews also go to Tofino to watch black bears snap up crabs under massive boulders

Spring author’s reading series kicks off early in Sidney

Sidney and Peninsula Literary Society hosting Yasuko Thanh and Carla Funk for Feb. 7 event

The winners of London Drugs’ 2019 Amateur Photographer of the Year contest are…

After more than 26,000 entries, the winners have been selected across Western Canada.

Most Read