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Vancouver International Film Festival 2016 | Sep 29 - Oct 14 |
IMPACT: Reframing The Way We See The World
FilmsAwardsTalks + EventsVIFF News

The Impact stream features uncompromising films and insightful discussions that spark action and change the way we see the world. This year's selection of documentaries addresses issues familiar to viewers from the headlines – the refugee crisis, race relations, women's rights – and delves into fascinating subject matter that demands exploration - how insects might be a solution to global food shortages, or what Baltimore's rat population tells us about the class divide.

Putting a focus on sustainability in screen-based industries, the Impact stream includes the first-of-its-kind Sustainable Production Forum, the VIFF Industry Builder Award, presented this year to Chris Carter and the Radcliffe Foundation Refugee Crisis Awareness Short Film Competition.

This year, VIFF expands the frame to create multi-experiential programming streams that include curated screenings fused with related talks and events in a unique 'film plus' model. You can now find what you already love even more easily and discover new areas of interest. For a list of our streams and announcements click here.

Impact Films | VIFF 2016

Denmark | Dir: Andreas Johnsen
Insects. They're what's for dinner. Or, they will be if Nordic Food Lab has its way. But first, a researcher and gourmet chef must embark on a globe-trotting gastronomic quest to uncover how cultures that already look to pests for protein go about sugaring their respective entomophagical pills. Andreas Johnsen's documentary may just leave you with a hankering for maggot cheese gelato or grasshopper ravioli! "A thought-provoking doc for adventurous foodies and environmentalists alike." — Hollywood Reporter

Command and Control
USA | Dir: Robert Kenner
Based on the best-selling book by Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), this harrowing doc unearths a long-buried nuclear incident on American soil. Director Robert Kenner details an accident at a missile complex and folds that narrative into a broader history of the American nuke program. Convincing, compelling and downright chilling. "[A] riveting and dismaying documentary... equal parts history lesson, cautionary tale and nerve-rattling thriller." — Variety

Fire at Sea
Italy/France | Dir: Gianfranco Rosi
Gianfranco Rosi's (Sacro GRA) quietly powerful observational documentary chronicles life on the Italian island of Lampedusa, the focal point for Europe's ongoing refugee/migrant crisis. Existing at the point where reportage meets cinematic poetry, the film is harrowing, thoughtful and deeply moving by turns. "Moral courage and filmic artistry exist side by side in this essential offering from a director gradually earning the right to be thought of as one of the greats of our era." — Sight & Sound

Winner, Golden Bear, Berlin 16

Freightened: The Real Price of Shipping
Spain/France | Dir: Denis Delestrac
Having won the Greenpeace Prize for Banking Nature (VIFF 15), celebrated documentarian Denis Delestrac returns with an intrepid investigation into the myriad economical and environmental ramifications of cargo shipping. Freighters may have become seemingly innocuous fixtures in Vancouver's waters but the inner workings of the industry remain shrouded in secrecy. Given that 90% of everything we consume arrives via ship, this is essential viewing for us all. "Edifying, remarkable, captivating." — Telerama

Power to Change: The Energy Rebellion
(Power to Change - Die EnergieRebellion)
Germany | Dir: Carl-A. Fechner
Meet the people who just might save our planet. This documentary outlines a wealth of innovations and the figures behind them, and lays out a plan that sees us reduce our carbon emissions to virtually zero. If you're down in the dumps about our planet's future, Carl-A. Fechner's film will be a tonic—it conveys hope and excitement. The path to energy independence won't be easy, but when the lights come up you'll know it exists.

Rat Film
USA | Dir: Theo Anthony
The traditions of investigative (The Wire) and idiosyncratic (John Waters' oeuvre) portraits of Baltimore entwine to dizzying effect in Theo Anthony's inventive study of the rodents that have infested this port city and carved out a squalid existence that boasts disturbing parallels with that endured by the underclass. "Linked together by an awe-inspiring orchestral score, Rat Film keeps evolving as it moves along... It's a striking combination of analysis and creative innovation..." — IndieWire

Iran/Germany/Switzerland | Dir: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
An Afghan refugee in Iran, 14-year-old Sonita aspires to be a hip-hop superstar like Rihanna. But when circumstances conspire against her and she's destined to be sold into marriage, our increasingly empowered heroine discovers her true voice as an activist. As Sonita confronts countless obstacles in a bid to escape her fate, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami fashions an essential documentary. "Sonita puts a defiant face and expressive voice to a resistance that needs to be as loud as possible." —

Two Trains Runnin'
USA | Dir: Sam Pollard
You had to be brave or foolish to venture into Mississippi in the summer of 1964. And yet, as the Civil Rights Movement came to a boil, two groups of music enthusiasts from opposite coasts (one with John Fahey in tow) converged there as they searched for long-forgotten Delta blues men like Son House... You wouldn't believe this tale if it were fiction, but Samuel D. Pollard's rousing documentary resonates with #blacklivesmatter. Narrated by Common with music by Gary Clark Jr., Lucinda Williams and more.

Impact - Awards

Radcliffe Foundation Refugee Crisis Awareness Short Film Competition
The previously announced Radcliffe Foundation Refugee Crisis Awareness Short Film Competition established by the Foundation’s Founder and President, Frank Giustra will also be part of the Impact programming stream. The competition encourages Canadians to take action on the global refugee crisis. The winner of the competition will be announced prior to the festival’s opening Gala on September 29 and awarded with a $20,000 Prize. Visit for competition details.
The Radcliffe Foundation

VIFF Industry Builder Award - October 7
In its second year, the VIFF Industry Builder Award presented by BC Creates, recognizes a key contributor to British Columbia’s creative industries. With a growing focus on sustainability in production and content creation across the industry, this year’s award is proudly presented to Chris Carter for his exemplary sustainable production of The X-Files. Carter will accept the award on October 7 at a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon. BC Creates is a communications initiative established by creative industries stakeholders to celebrate and engage British Columbia in the story of the Province’s vibrant creative economy.
BC Creates

Picture Credit: British Columbia Council of Film Unions (BCCFU)
Sustainable Production Forum
A first-of-its-kind one-day event that will lay the groundwork to showcase Vancouver as a world-class destination for sustainable screen-based industry production.The Sustainable Production Forum presented by Creative BC will be a day of inspiration and learning about trends and the next phase of opportunities to further sustainable production.

Chris Carter will open the day, followed by two morning sessions on Studio 6 and Global Leadership for Sustainable production led by Creative BC and featuring sustainability executives of Hollywood studios such as Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox, and NBC Universal and leaders from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the World Bank’s Connect4Climate group. Creative BC will kick-off the afternoon with an update of their Reel Green initiative and facilitate a discussion on practical approaches to sustainable production. The Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) will bring its successful "myth busting" format to the last afternoon session, inviting green economy leaders to debunk misconceptions and inspire attendees by sharing innovative solutions to common sustainability challenges in screen-based sectors.

The Sustainable Production Forum is a free event and registration is required. More information and registration will be available at on September 8.
Information - VIFF Sep 29 - Oct 14, 2016

The festival's programming will be featured in the following streams:

  • Panorama: Special PresentationsDocumentariesSpotlight on FranceContemporary World CinemaCinemas of India/Iran/Africa/Middle East – The world's boldest creators and their exceptional works. The year's most anticipated international films and new discoveries curated specifically for VIFF audiences.
  • Ignite – A showcase of the inspired works emerging from the creative nexus that is British Columbia.
  • True North – A celebration of the extraordinary creativity and craft being demonstrated by Canadian storytellers from coast to coast.
  • Impact – Uncompromising films and insightful discussions that spark action and change the way we see the world.
  • Next – Virtual reality, gaming, music and emerging digital platforms serve as a catalyst for ground-breaking ideas and unforgettable next-level experiences.
  • Gateway – Journey into the compelling cinematic worlds envisioned by some of East Asia's most adventurous artists.
  • M/A/D – Music, art and design receive their deserved big-screen treatment in this aesthetically alluring stream that's enhanced by exhibitions and live performances.
  • ALT – Fantastic cinema that defies traditional classification and creators who push short form storytelling to its limits.
Important Dates
VIFF+ Cardholder day! Silver and Gold members save 25% on passes and ticket packs JOIN TODAY! *while quantities last. )

ONLINE: VIFF Passes + Packs on sale at

ONLINE: VIFF Single Tickets on sale at
(Full program available on-line. Program guides begin distribution throughout Vancouver and available at the Vancity Theatre)

IN-PERSON: Box Office opens at The Vancouver International Film Centre. 1181 Seymour Street, at Davie (Mon-Sat: Noon - 7pm, Sun: 2pm - 9pm)

VIFF+ Discover more.