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DRAGONS & TIGERS: THE CINEMAS OF EAST ASIA + BEST NEW DIRECTOR NOMINEES

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DRAGONS & TIGERS: THE CINEMAS OF EAST ASIA

For over 25 years, VIFF has presented one of the world’s largest and most adventurous collections of East Asian cinema. This tradition continues with another inspired selection of films.

BLACK COAL, THIN ICE
(Bairi yanhuo)

Mon. Sep 29, 2:00 pm, Rio
Fri. Oct 3, 9:30 pm, Intl Village 10

Sun. Oct 5, 11:30 am, Intl Village 10

China

DIR: Diao Yi’nan

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Diao Yi’nan's film noir is a stylish, exhilarating descent into a nightmarish wintery Manchurian mystery. Following a series of murders, alcoholic former cop Zhang Zili's (Liao Fan) suspicions are aroused by laundress Zhichen (Taiwan superstar Gwei Lun-mei), who seems intimately linked to the victims. China's biggest art-house box-office hit so far. (Shelly Kraicer)

Winner, Golden Bear (Best Film), Silver Bear (Best Actor), Berlin 2014.

A CORNER OF HEAVEN
(Tiantang jiaoluo)

Mon. Oct 6, 9:30 pm, Cinematheque
Thu. Oct 9, 2:30 pm, Cinematheque

China / France

DIR: Zhang Miaoyan

North American Premiere

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Abandoned by his mother, a small village boy sets out to find her on a Dickensian adventure through the horrors of China’s brutal economy. First he’s a factory slave, then he’s abducted by thieves... Zhang’s film, however, is shockingly, poetically beautiful, with a black and white floating camera-eye that turns every shot into lyrical poetry. (Shelly Kraicer)

THE DOSSIER
(Dang’an)

Sat. Sep 27, 9:00 pm, Cinematheque
Mon. Sep 29, 4:00 pm, Cinematheque

China

DIR: Zhu Rikun | Facebook

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Among the most eloquent voices advocating for Tibet and its people is that of Beijing-based Tibetan writer/blogger/activist Tsering Woeser. This sharply designed, formally innovative documentary is completely in her own voice: combining readings from her secret government “dossier” with her own passionate, moving account of her political awakening and unrelenting advocacy. (Shelly Kraicer)

THE IRON MINISTRY
(Tie dao)

Thu. Oct 2, 9:15 pm, Cinematheque
Sat. Oct 4, 12:15 pm, Cinematheque

China / USA

DIR: J.P. Sniadecki | Trailer 1 | Trailer 2

North American Premiere

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Award-winning documentary filmmaker J.P. Sniadecki travelled throughout China by train for three years, capturing—with dazzling range and astonishing intimacy—the public and private spaces, faces and thoughts of Chinese people on the move. The film’s visceral forward-charging play of light and sound is pure cinema; what its Chinese passengers have to say to us is nothing short of revelatory. (Shelly Kraicer)

Pictured: The Golden Era

PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED FILMS

BLIND MASSAGE (Tui Na)

China / France

DIR: Lou Ye | BUY TICKETS

COMING HOME (Giu lai)

China

DIR: Zhang Yimou | BUY TICKETS

UNCLE VICTORY (Shengli)

China

DIR: Zhang Meng | BUY TICKETS

THE GOLDEN ERA (Huangjin Shidai)

Hong Kong / China

DIR: Ann Hui | BUY TICKETS

FLOWING STORIES

Sun. Sep 28, 6:30 pm, Vancity
Tue. Sep 30, 12:00 pm, Intl Village 8

Hong Kong / France

DIR: Tsang Tsui Shan | Trailer

International Premiere

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Tsang Tsui Shan brings the past to life in this beautiful, bittersweet documentary that shares the story of a Hong Kong family and recounts their fortunes over the span of decades, replete with home videos and photos. The culture the film sketches is unique but the emotions it evokes are immediately familiar. "There's much nostalgia to feel for, and much beauty to behold..." —Hollywood Reporter.

THE MIDNIGHT AFTER

Fri. Sep 26, 3:30 pm, Rio
Wed. Oct 1, 2:45 pm, Intl Village 9
Sat. Oct 4, 9:30 pm, Intl Village 10

Hong Kong

DIR: Fruit Chan

Canadian Premiere

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A mysterious incident empties Hong Kong (an eerie sight reminiscent of 28 Days Later), leaving a busload of disparate strangers to determine what happened. "Hong Kong doesn't do sci-fi," claims one survivor. Fruit Chan dispels that notion as he "bends genre like it’s putty in his hands, distilling the macabre from the everyday and making the apocalyptic seem absurdly matter-of-fact."—Variety

UNCERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS SOCIETY
(Aimei buming guanxi yanjiu xuehui)

Sat. Sep 27, 11:45 am, Vancity
Mon. Sep 29, 7:00 pm, Cinematheque

Hong Kong

DIR: Heiward Mak

International Premiere

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Hong Kong pop meets art in Heiward Mak’s latest feature, a rich, moving, dazzling, and deeply, sympathetically savvy look at the amorous and professional lives of six twenty-something Hong Kongers. Their complex, ambivalent lives play out over six years in fascinating, interlocking stories. Mak’s fiercely contemporary sensibility creates an essential snapshot of Hong Kong’s hopes, anxieties and pleasures today. (Shelly Kraicer)

JUNGLE SCHOOL
(Sokola Rimba)

Fri. Sep 26, 1:15 pm, Rio
Sat. Oct 4, 9:15 pm, Cinematheque
Wed. Oct 8, 10:00 am, Cinematheque

Indonesia

DIR: Riri Riza

Canadian Premiere

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Riri Riza follows his exploration of Timor’s civil war in Atambua 39° C with a very different but equally engrossing movie. A young woman is giving "primitive" children their first schooling in a huge preservation area in southern Sumatra. She finds herself fighting tribal prejudices, bureaucratic arrogance... and illegal loggers. (Tony Rayns)

Pictured: Jalanan

PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED FILMS

JALANAN

Indonesia / Canada

DIR: Daniel Ziv | BUY TICKETS


BEST NEW DIRECTOR NOMINEE

THE SUN, THE MOON AND THE HURRICANE

Indonesia

DIR: Andri Cung | BUY TICKETS

DISCONCERTO
(Mahoro Eki-mae Kyosokyoku)

Fri. Sep 26, 8:15 pm, Intl Village 9
Sat. Sep 27, 10:30 am, Intl Village 9

Japan

DIR: Omori Tatsushi

World Premiere

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Omori follows The Ravine of Goodbye with a delicious comedy-drama about the perfect odd couple: Tada (Eita), who runs a shaky do-it-all service, and his buddy Gyoten (Matsuda Ryuhei), who usually gets in the way. The storyline involves phoney organic farming, pensioners, babysitting, yakuza and lesbian parenting. Two hours of sheer charm! (Tony Rayns)

THE FURTHEST END AWAITS
(Saiha Tenite)

Sat. Sep 27, 2:00 pm, Vancity
Mon. Sep 29, 9:00 pm, Cinematheque

Japan / Taiwan

DIR: Chiang Hsiu-Chiung [Jiang Xiuqiong]

North American Premiere

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Made in Japan by a Taiwanese woman director, this sets a high benchmark for films about female solidarity. A woman returns to the remote peninsula where she grew up; she wants to "find" her father, lost at sea, but instead bonds with a single mother living nearby. Piercing emotional depth and wonderful performances, plus great visual beauty. (Tony Rayns)

THE HORSES OF FUKUSHIMA
(Matsuri no Uma)

Mon. Sep 29, 10:00 am, Cinematheque
Wed. Oct 1, 9:30 pm, Cinematheque

Japan

DIR: Matsubayashi Yoju

Trailer | Official Website

Canadian Premiere

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Much of Matsubayashi’s prize-winning documentary was shot inside the "exclusion zone" around the crippled nuclear power-plant at Fukushima. He finds a stable of horses injured in the tsunami, and follows their rehabilitation to take part in a local horse festival. Very movingly, we watch one horse overcome its traumas... and one man overcome his fears. (Tony Rayns)

SHARING

Tue. Sep 30, 2:30 pm, Cinematheque
Wed. Oct 8, 9:00 pm, Cinematheque

Japan

DIR: Shinozaki Makoto

International Premiere

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VIFF regular Shinozaki brings a touch of his enthusiasm for horror-fantasy movies to the tragic story of a teacher who has lost her fiancé in the 2011 tsunami. Her traumatizing loss meshes with her interest in precognitive dreams... and with the post-tsunami play developed by one of her students. Hirabayashi’s brilliant short also explores the aftershocks of the disaster. (Tony Rayns)

THE WOUND AND THE GIFT

Tue. Sep 30, 5:30 pm, Intl Village 8
Thu. Oct 2, 2:30 pm, Cinematheque

USA / Japan

DIR: Linda Hoaglund

World Premiere

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Taking her cue from the ancient Japanese fable (beautifully animated here) of the wounded crane, nursed back to health by a peasant, that seeks to show her gratitude through a gift, Linda Hoaglund's (ANPO: Art X War) deeply felt portrait of the animal-rescue movement shows how our relationship to our fellow creatures is evolving and benefitting not just the rescued animals, but the rescuers as well.

AMAZING ANIME (Shorts Programme)

Sat. Sep 27, 6:30 pm, Intl Village 8
Sun. Sep 28, 1:45 pm, Intl Village 8

Japan / South Korea

DIR: Various Directors

International Premiere

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An old VIFF tradition is revived in this electrifying anthology of new indie animation from Japan—with a special bonus in the form of Hwang Gyuil’s Deaf and Wind from Korea. A wide range of graphic styles and techniques, tackling everything from a ninja vendetta to the secret origin of the universe. The full listing is on VIFF’s website. (Tony Rayns)

Pictured: The Vancouver Asahi

PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED FILMS

THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA
(Kaguyahime no monogatari)

Japan

DIR: Takahata Isao | BUY TICKETS

THE VANCOUVER ASAHI (Vancouver no Asahi)

Japan / Canada

DIR: Ishii Yuya | BUY TICKETS


BEST NEW DIRECTOR NOMINEES

OW (Maru)

Japan

DIR: Suzuki Yohei | BUY TICKETS

REKORDER

Philippines

DIR: Mikhail Red| BUY TICKETS

HAEMOO (aka Sea Mist)

Sun. Oct 5, 4:30 pm, Intl Village 10
Tue. Oct 7, 9:15 pm, Centre for Arts

South Korea

DIR: Shim Sungbo | Trailer

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Co-written (and reputedly also supervised) by Bong Joon-ho, this is an exceptionally gripping story set at sea between Korea and China. A fishing-boat skipper is persuaded (against his better judgment) to smuggle a group of North Korean illegals ashore: what could possibly go wrong? Like Memories of Murder, this is based on a real incident notorious in Korea. (Tony Rayns)

HILL OF FREEDOM
(Jayoo ui Undeok)

Fri. Sep 26, 5:15 pm, Cinematheque
Wed. Oct 1, 5:15 pm, Cinematheque

South Korea

DIR: Hong Sangsoo

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Named after the coffee shop in which several key scenes are set, Hong Sangsoo’s latest centres on a Japanese man (Kase Ryu, Like Someone in Love) who fetches up in Seoul in search of a long-lost girlfriend. His amusingly awkward encounters with several other women and his landlady’s adult son make for Hong’s wittiest deconstruction of the rom-com in some time. (Tony Rayns)

MAN ON HIGH HEELS
(Haihil [High Heel])

Thu. Sep 25, 1:30 pm, Rio
Thu. Oct 2, 8:45 pm, Vancity
Mon. Oct 6, 10:00 am, Cinematheque

South Korea

DIR: Jang Jin | Trailer

North American Premiere

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Yoon (Cha Seungwon) is the ultimate hard man, a battle-scarred cop who gets his man by any means necessary. But Yoon has a secret: she’s a woman trapped in a man’s body. Arch-satirist Jang Jin delivers all the thrills and ultraviolence we’ve come to expect from Korean cop/gangster movies, but with a very subversive twist. (Tony Rayns)

NON FICTION DIARY

Sat. Sep 27, 9:00 pm, Intl Village 8
Mon. Sep 29, 3:45 pm, Intl Village 8

South Korea

DIR: Jung Yoonsuk

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VIFF has screened many of Jung Yoonsuk’s short films, so the global success of his feature-length essay is no surprise to us. He starts from some notorious, nihilistic murders in the early 1990s, then opens out to examine the spaces between the death penalty and murder, between negligence and culpability, between dictatorship and freedom. A dynamic blow to Korea’s body politic! (Tony Rayns)

REVIVRE
(Hwajang)

Tue. Sep 30, 11:45 am, Vancity
Mon. Oct 6, 9:00 pm, Playhouse

South Korea

DIR: Im Kwontaek

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Im Kwontaek’s 102nd film is no less compelling than any of his earlier masterworks. Ahn Songgi stars as a company director who knows better than to develop a crush on his new woman marketing manager—especially while caring for his dying wife. Elegantly shot, this is a wise and worldly film, all the more moving for its subtlety and emotional restraint. (Tony Rayns)

Pictured: Journey to the West

PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED FILMS

JOURNEY TO THE WEST (Xi you)

Taiwan / France

DIR: Tsai Ming-liang | BUY TICKETS


BEST NEW DIRECTOR NOMINEE

EXIT (Hui guang zoumingqu)

Taiwan / Hong Kong

DIR: Chienn Hsiang | BUY TICKETS

NUOC 2030

Sat. Sep 27, 11:30 am, Intl Village 10
Thu. Oct 2, 6:00 pm, Intl Village 9

Vietnam

DIR: Nguyen-Vo Nghiem-Minh

Official Website | Trailer

North American Premiere

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We’re in 2030, when rising sea levels have flooded much of the Mekong delta. A husband and wife live in a hut on stilts above their former land, subsisting on fish and seafood. Nearby, a slightly sinister corporation experiments with salt-water hydroponics. The husband dies mysteriously... Vietnam’s first sci-fi eco-thriller is a real eye-opener. (Tony Rayns)


BEST NEW DIRECTOR AWARD

This new prize is awarded annually to a first or second-time international director for a creative and innovative film which has not yet won significant international recognition. This competition flows directly from our 20-year history of offering the "Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema." Over the past two decades, a particularly distinguished group of films were brought to early international attention at VIFF and their visiting directors benefitted greatly from their recognition in Vancouver. We’re pleased to continue to help launch the careers of some of the world’s most deserving and promising young filmmakers.

ASTEROID
(Asteroide)

Wed. Oct 1, 9:30 pm, Intl Village 10
Sat. Oct 4, 11:15 am, Intl Village 10
Tue. Oct 7, 4:15 pm, Cinematheque

Mexico

DIR: Marcelo Tobar

Facebook | Variety Review | Screen Daily Review | Music

Canadian Premiere

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After personal problems send free spirit Cristina (Sophie Alexander-Katz) scurrying for the comforts of her family home, her taciturn ex-addict brother's relationship with a new girlfriend threatens the orphan siblings' fragile peace... "Sibling rivalry is kept at a low, slow simmer in [Marcelo Tobar's] fractiously intimate family drama... Thanks to flinty performances... it’s a film of subtle but not insubstantial emotional rewards."—Variety

AUGUST WINDS
(Ventos de Agosto)

Sun. Sep 28, 6:30 pm, Intl Village 8
Tue. Sep 30, 2:00 pm, Rio
Fri. Oct 3, 4:00 pm, Intl Village 8

Brazil

DIR: Gabriel Mascaro | Trailer

North American Premiere

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Lyrical, sensual and poetic, yet grounded in a bracing naturalism that speaks to Brazilian documentarian Gabriel Mascaro's roots, August Winds tells the tale of a young couple who discover a skull while diving for octopus. It's a prismatic evocation of seaside life in the rural tropics. "...a beautiful meditation on life and death... a striking accomplishment..."—Indiewire

EXIT
(Hui guang zoumingqu)

Sun. Sep 28, 2:15 pm, Cinematheque
Tue. Sep 30, 6:30 pm, Vancity

Taiwan / Hong Kong

DIR: Chienn Hsiang

Original Language Trailer | Facebook

North American Premiere

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In Chienn Hsiang's subtle urban drama, the great Chen Shiang-chyi plays Lingzi, whose romantic imagination strains against the boundaries of a downwardly mobile working woman’s life. When she encounters an almost comatose man lying next to her mother-in-law in hospital, she seizes the opportunity to transform her life, one tender, anonymous touch at a time. (Shelly Kraicer)

Winner, Best Feature, Best Actress, Taipei Film Awards 2014.

MISS AND THE DOCTORS
(Tirez la langue, mademoiselle)

Thu. Sep 25, 4:30 pm, Cinematheque
Sun. Sep 28, 5:45 pm, Intl Village 9
Tue. Sep 30, 10:30 am, Intl Village 9

France

DIR: Axelle Ropert

Trailer | Interview with the Director

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Two very different pediatrician brothers (Cédric Kahn, Laurent Stocker) fall for the same barmaid (the luminous Louise Bourgoin) in Axelle Ropert's (The Wolberg Family) intelligent romance. "Reminiscent of... [the] cleverly scripted adult dramas of François Truffaut’s late period. It’s at once astutely observed and deeply, though subtly, passionate... The direction and performances are spot-on throughout."—Hollywood Reporter.

OW
(Maru)

Wed. Oct 1, 7:00 pm, Cinematheque
Fri. Oct 3, 10:00 am, Cinematheque

Japan

DIR: Suzuki Yohei

International Premiere

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The mysterious sphere which appears in an ordinary suburban house seems to stop time and scramble the brains of the Suzuki family. Maybe it’s a cousin of 2001’s monolith? The police are too dopey to care much, but an intrepid reporter goes where angels fear to tread... A brilliantly original debut feature, scary and funny. The accompanying short’s great too! (Tony Rayns)

PARIS OF THE NORTH
(París norðursins)

Fri. Sep 26, 10:30 am, Intl Village 9
Mon. Sep 29, 9:30 pm, Intl Village 10
Thu. Oct 2, 1:30 pm, Intl Village 8

Iceland

DIR: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson

North American Premiere

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This droll and appealing dramedy, set in a picturesque (if run-down) fishing village in northwest Iceland, focuses on dry alcoholic Hugi who's trying to cope both with the feelings he still has for his ex-wife and a visit from his hard-drinking father... "One of the best up-and-coming young European directors, [Sigurðsson] has crafted a revealing, amusing and intelligent film to be cherished."—Screen.

REKORDER

Tue. Sep 30, 7:00 pm, Cinematheque
Thu. Oct 2, 12:00 pm, Cinematheque

Philippines

DIR: Mikhail Red | Facebook | Trailer | Teaser

North American Premiere

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Maven, once a camera pro, is now a scuzzy videographer who compulsively records everything from the birth of his daughter to crime on the streets. One night he shoots a murder, with ruinous consequences... A riveting debut from Mikhail Red (son of Raymond), half noir thriller, half study of what it means to stand apart and look. (Tony Rayns)

THE SUN, THE MOON AND THE HURRICANE

Sun. Sep 28, 6:30 pm, Cinematheque
Wed. Oct 1, 12:15 pm, Cinematheque

Indonesia

DIR: Andri Cung | Trailer | Official Website

International Premiere

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Rain falls in love with the enigmatic Kris when they’re both high-school seniors and is devastated when Kris abruptly goes abroad. Several years later he gets an invitation to visit his former crush, now married and living in Bali. But what does Kris really want? Andri Cung’s debut feature is sexy, seductive and emotionally intense. (Tony Rayns)

TWO STEP

Tue. Sep 30, 8:30 pm, Intl Village 8
Thu. Oct 2, 3:45 pm, Intl Village 8

USA

DIR: Alex R. Johnson

Trailer | Facebook | Review

International Premiere

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A college dropout gets mixed up with a malicious con artist in Alex R. Johnson's atmospheric Texas-set thriller. As it shifts perspectives and delivers shocks, it demonstrates dexterity fit for a barn dance and a sucker punch that would do any barroom brawler proud. "A cult following could be in the offing, and crime-movie aficionados will want to seek it out..."—Variety.

UNA VIDA: A FABLE OF MUSIC AND THE MIND

Tue. Sep 30, 2:45 pm, Intl Village 8
Fri. Oct 3, 7:00 pm, Vancity
Mon. Oct 6, 2:30 pm, Vancity

USA

DIR: Richie Adams | Official Website | Trailer

International Premiere

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Garnering audience awards all over the festival circuit, Richie Adams' true indie is a beautiful, soul-stirring drama that brings together the city of New Orleans and the jazz that made it famous with the story of a haunted neuroscientist trying to help the declining jazz singer (The Help's Aunjanue Ellis, remarkable here) he discovers singing in the streets.

THE WOMB
(El Vientre)

Mon. Sep 29, 3:30 pm, Intl Village 9
Wed. Oct 1, 5:45 pm, Intl Village 9
Fri. Oct 3, 3:00 pm, Cinematheque

Peru

DIR: Daniel Rodríguez Risco

Official Website | Trailer | Facebook

International Premiere

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A monstrous case of manipulation lies at the heart of Daniel Rodríguez Risco's stylish psychothriller. Obsessed with having a child, 45-year-old widow Silvia (Vanessa Saba) tricks the naïve Mercedes (Mayella Lloclla) into accepting a room in her home and arranges a meeting with young handyman Jaime (Manuel Gold). When Mercedes gets pregnant, Silvia will stop at nothing to claim the baby...

BEST NEW DIRECTOR AWARD CEREMONY

Thu. Oct 2, 6:15pm, Playhouse

The award for Best New Director will be announced prior to a screening of Welcome To Me (USA, 2014, DIR: Shira Piven). Congratulations to the eleven nominees!

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MARK YOUR CALENDARS

 

PASSES + TICKET PACKS on sale at viff.org
Registration is now open for the VIFF INDUSTRY CONFERENCE at viff.org
FULL FESTIVAL PROGRAM posted to viff.org + ADVANCE BOX OFFICE open (online only)
VIFF COMPLETE FESTIVAL GUIDE available at locations around town

September 13
ADVANCE IN-PERSON SALES start at Vancity Theatre Box Office, 1181 Seymour Street, noon — 7pm

September 25
33rd ANNUAL VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL opens

October 1
VIFF INDUSTRY CONFERENCE opens

 


 

Vancouver International Film Festival
September 25 - October 10, 2014