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MUSIC FILMS AT VIFF

Vancouver audiences love experiencing music on film. Sound and sight lines are perfect as we are transported to the places where truly great music comes from and immersed in the histories and lives of those who make it.


Classical and Opera

Wagners Dream

WAGNER’S DREAM

USA | Dir: Susan Froemke | Official Website

As theatre icon Robert Lepage was mounting his awesome production of Wagner’s Ring cycle—with a 90,000-pound set and state-of-the-art technology—at the Met in New York, Susan Froemke was there to document the immense challenges faced by Lepage and his team. "Impressively well-organized... an excellent job..."—New York Times

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LOU HARRISON: A WORLD OF MUSIC

USA | Dir: Eva Soltes | Official Website

Lou Harrison is considered one of the great composers of the 20th century for "...creating America’s first important body of ’multi-cultural’ music." —New Yorker. Student of Schoenberg, friend of Cage, Harrison’s micro-tonal music astonishes for being so open and so beautiful. Eva Soltes crafts a loving and lively tribute to this iconoclast in which "the delight he imparted as composer and person is amply felt."—Variety

In Search of Haydn

IN SEARCH OF HAYDN

UK | Dir: Phil Grabsky | View Trailer

Phil Grabsky’s visually sumptuous and aurally ecstatic studies of Mozart and Beethoven were big hits with VIFF audiences; now he’s turned to the man both Mozart and Beethoven considered their teacher, Joseph Haydn. As beautifully made as Grabsky’s earlier efforts, this is "very good indeed... a bracing and refreshing experience."—Guardian

Gozaran-Time Passing

GOZARAN—TIME PASSING

Netherlands | Dir: Frank Scheffer | View Trailer

The plaintive notes of a musician’s exile from his beloved native land underscore [Frank Scheffer’s] beautifully made Gozaran... The focus is on [composer Nader Mashayekhi’s] daring experiment to bring Western classical and contemporary music to Iran, [an] exhilarating dream that catches the viewer up in a world of great music, poetry and desire for change.—Hollywood Reporter

Karajan-The Second Life

KARAJAN—THE SECOND LIFE
(Karajan - Das zweite Leben)

Germany | Dir: Eric Schulz

Herbert von Karajan famously professed, "Those who have achieved all their aims probably set them too low." A swirling mélange of previously unreleased footage and private recordings, Eric Schulz’s vibrant documentary applauds the brilliant orchestra conductor’s swashbuckling private life and creative ambition, delves into his exacting creative process and questions what his legacy might ultimately be.

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HEBREO: THE SEARCH FOR SALOMONE ROSSI

Netherlands | Dir: Joseph Rochlitz | Official Website

In 1622, in Renaissance-era Mantua, Salomone Rossi Hebreo—Salomone Rossi the Jew—revolutionized Jewish music with his Songs of Solomon, the first originally composed music for Hebrew psalms and prayers. Joseph Rochlitz’s resplendent doc features the vocal ensemble Profeti della Quinta performing Rossi’s music in Mantua, while historians shed light on the life of this elusive man.

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I AM NOT A ROCK STAR

Canada | Dir: Bobbi Jo Hart

At an age when most people are clueless and carefree, talented young Marika Bournaki was embarking on a prestigious career as a concert pianist. But was this wunderkind truly born to perform? Director Bobbi Jo Hart follows Marika over eight years of adventure and self-discovery.

Hunters Bride

HUNTER'S BRIDE
(Der Freischütz)

Switzerland | Dir: Jens Neubert | Official Website

Illustrious opera soloists Juliane Banse, Michael König, Michael Volle and René Pape are united in this lavish adaptation of Carl Maria von Weber’s landmark Der Freischütz. Shooting in glorious 35mm in remarkable sets and locations, director Jens Neubert lends another dimension of uncanny beauty to this dark, deeply romantic fairy tale concerning a young soldier’s deal with the devil.


World Music

Griot

GRIOT

Senegal/USA/France/Germany | Dir: Volker Goetze | Official Website

Senegalese kora and western trumpet make fabulous music together! Volker Goetze’s enthralling documentary melds dazzling visuals and haunting songs to serve up a feast for the senses. Griot introduces us to Goetze’s own soulful trumpet stylings and the extraordinary voice and calabash harp artistry of Ablaye Cissoko. We were so impressed that we’re bringing them to town for a special live concert performance!

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EL GUSTO

Algeria/France/Ireland/UAE | Dir: Safinez Bousbia | View Trailer

Uplifting and entertaining, Safinez Bousbia’s doc celebrates the power and the passion of her native Algeria’s musical form known as "Chaabi" (a precursor to Rai) as well as the streets and courtyards of Algiers. "Toe-tapping and infectious on emotional and intellectual levels, El gusto is... Bousbia’s heartwarming tribute to her native country’s lost egalitarianism as much as to the elderly exponents of the popular music... Comparisons are being made to The Buena Vista Social Club..."—Variety

Play Like a Lion: The Legacy of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan

PLAY LIKE A LION: THE LEGACY OF MAESTRO ALI AKBAR KHAN

USA | Dir: Joshua Dylan Mellars | Official Website

Called "possibly the greatest musician in the world" by Yehudi Menuhin, sarodist Ali Akbar Khan introduced North Americans to Indian classical music in 1955. Now, his son Alam must step in and assume the mantle... Joshua Dylan Mellars’ melodious documentary features concert and behind-the-scenes footage as well as tribute performances from Carlos Santana, Ustad Zakir Hussain and others.

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THE SOUND OF THE BANDONEÓN
(El sonido del bandoneón)

Netherlands | Dir: Jiska Rickels | Official Website

A glorious musical treat, Jiska Rickels’ film is a search for the soul of the bandoneón, an instrument inextricably linked to Argentine tango. Néstor Marconi, playing with the very best instruments in the grandest tango venues of Buenos Aires, tries to keep the bandoneón alive. Daniel Vedia creates music of extraordinary beauty on more humble instruments, but with the richest of folk traditions.

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JAI BHIM COMRADE

India | Dir: Anand Patwardhan | Official Website

After Mumbai police opened fire on unarmed Dalit protesters, leading Indian documentarian Anand Patwardhan was pushed beyond his limit. Over the next 14 years, he crafted this tour de force that not only condemns Hindu extremism and the millennia of oppression endured by the Dalit, but also showcases this underclass’ indomitable spirit through their music and poetry.
Winner, Best Documentary, Hong Kong 2012.


Contemporary: Pop, Rock, Jazz and Folk

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HOW TO GROW A BAND

USA/UK | Dir: Mark Meatto | Official Website

Mark Meatto strikes an effective balance between focusing on ambitious musicianship and stealing sidelong glances at internecine tensions... [offering] an intimately up-close look at the formation of Punch Brothers, a progressive bluegrass ensemble begun by mandolinist Chris Thile after the break-up of the Grammy-winning acoustic trio Nickel Creek... [The film leads up] to a triumphant New York performance that is the pic’s musical centerpiece.—Variety

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RE:GENERATION MUSIC PROJECT

USA | Dir: Amir Bar-Lev | Official Website

Amir Bar-Lev’s fascinating high-profile project asks leading contemporary musicians and producers to broaden their chops and play to a different groove. Skrillex joins the surviving members of the Doors; DJ Premier conducts the Berklee Symphony Orchestra(!) with Nas; the Crystal Method backs R&B singer Martha Reeves; Pretty Lights play with Dr. Ralph Stanley and LeAnn Rimes; Mark Ronson joins Zigaboo Modeliste! Music triumphs over all.

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GAINSBOURG BY GAINSBOURG: AN INTIMATE SELF-PORTRAIT
(Je suis venu vous dire... Gainsbourg by Ginzburg)

France | Dir: Pierre-Henry Salfati

Featuring previously unreleased personal footage from Serge Gainsbourg’s own collection and a soundtrack that mines his wealth of wonderful music, Pierre-Henry Salfati’s chronicle of France’s favourite musical son has Gainsbourg himself describing how his days as a Jewish boy in France during WWII marked him as an outsider and provided the impetus for his musical persona.

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SOUNDBREAKER: THE WORLD OF KIMMO POHJONEN
(Ice Bellows)

Finland/Germany | Dir: Kimmo Koskela | Official Website

Kimmo Pohjonen is an extraordinarily gifted and innovative accordionist whose wonderful compositions and playing style have opened up a huge range of territory for the instrument and won him a recent partnership with the Kronos Quartet. Kimmo Koskela’s alluring documentary profiles the boundless creativity of this Finnish iconoclast who proves to be equal parts punk and sprite.

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MY FATHER AND THE MAN IN BLACK

Canada | Dir: Jonathan Holiff

This documentary mines new territory as director Jonathan Holiff reflects on his father—the manager of, and the man behind, Johnny Cash. Estranged from him for some 20 years, Holiff navigates the missing decades in the life of the father he never really knew and the musical legend he understood even less.

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BOBCAYGEON

Canada | Dir: Andy Keen

Director Andy Keen shot a movie once, in somebody’s hometown. The Tragically Hip wrote a song about that town, and it became an anthem. This well-paced concert film brings you to the farmer’s field in Ontario cottage country where everybody sings along.

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DON'T STOP BELIEVIN’: EVERYMAN'S JOURNEY

USA/Philippines | Dir: Ramona S. Diaz | Official Website

In stumbling across a Filipino power balladeer on YouTube, the band Journey unexpectedly discover their new frontman. Ramona Diaz’s documentary captures every dizzying moment of a super-fan living out the ultimate rock ’n’ roll fantasy. "Not unlike Journey itself, Don’t Stop Believin’ hits corny but impassioned notes, resonating emotionally even (or especially) through clichés."—Variety

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BEWARE OF MR. BAKER

USA | Dir: Jay Bulger | View Trailer

Legendary drummer Ginger Baker (Cream) was as well known for his monstrous rock ’n’ roll behaviour as he was for his skin-pounding. Jay Bulger’s rollicking and frequently hilarious encounter with the South Africa-based crazy man—Baker cracks a cane across the bridge of Bulger’s nose in the first scene—shows that Baker’s ferocity has not dimmed one bit. Featuring interviews with Stewart Copeland, Neil Peart, Mickey Hart, Lars Ulrich and others.
Winner, Grand Jury Prize (Documentary), SXSW 2012.

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IN SEARCH OF BLIND JOE DEATH: THE SAGA OF JOHN FAHEY

Canada | Dir: James Cullingham

James Cullingham’s compelling biographical documentary expresses the "blind" vision and phenomenal talent of the steel-string guitar virtuoso and iconoclast John Fahey. Pete Townsend calls him the folk guitar equivalent of William Burroughs or Charles Bukowski. You decide.

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GRANDMA LO-FI: THE BASEMENT TAPES OF SIGRÍDUR NÍELSDÓTTIR

Iceland/Denmark | Dir: Orri Jónsson, Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir, Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir | Official Website

Orri Jónsson, Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir and Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir’s wildly entertaining and unexpectedly inspiring documentary spotlights a singular woman who became a musician at the age of 70. Armed with little more than cheap keyboards, household items and an adventurous spirit, she crafted an astonishing 59 albums in seven years and became an icon to boundary-pushing Icelandic musicians like múm and Sin Fang.

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VIOLETA WENT TO HEAVEN
(Violeta se fue a los cielos)

Chile/Argentina/Brazil | Dir: Andrés Wood | View Trailer

The intense, remarkable life of the Chilean singer-songwriter Violeta Parra is explored with sensitivity and exquisite lightness of touch in Andrés Wood’s [drama]. Featuring a searching central performance from Francisca Gavilán, this beautifully lensed portrait moves elegantly back and forth in time to limn the life of a woman who perpetually struggled to find her place.—Variety.
Winner, World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic, Sundance 2012.

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HUNKY DORY

UK | Dir: Marc Evans | View Trailer

The Bard goes glam in Marc Evans’ rollicking addition to the "Let’s put on a show!" stable of films. In 1976 Swansea, a drama teacher (a particularly inspired Minnie Driver) combats student apathy by giving The Tempest a Top of the Pops/Glee transfusion. Joby Talbot’s arrangements of early 70s’ hits may bring a tear to your eye. "Sentimental, sweet-natured and daft as a brush... the whole film is shot in a Hipstamatic retro-nostalgia glow."—Guardian


MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Sept. 1 - Sneak Preview Guides Hit The Street
Sept. 10 - VIFF Advance Box Office Opens
Sept. 15 - VIFF Official Program Catalogue On Sale
Sept. 26 - VIFF Film + TV Forum Starts
Sept. 27 - VIFF Opens. Yeah!


Vancouver International Film Festival | VIFF 2012

September 27 - October 12, 2012 | Film Info: 604.683.FILM (3456) | VIFF Office: 604.685.0260