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Vancouver International Film Festival |
VIFF Shines Spotlight on BC Films and Filmmakers with
First Programming Announcement
Premier Partner TELUS champions BC filmmakers with screenings, awards and industry events in Sea to Sky stream.
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VANCOUVER, B.C. (August 10, 2017) – The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), with the support of Premier Partner, TELUS, has unveiled the festival's much-anticipated Sea to Sky programming stream: a showcase of the inspired works emerging from the creative nexus that is British Columbia. Sea to Sky's name reflects this province's diverse creators and the astonishing range of storytelling techniques they employ. Featuring rising talent and filmmakers at the top of their game, the Sea to Sky stream is home to gripping dramas, intrepid documentaries, outrageous comedies, genre romps and hybrid-fiction experiments.

TELUS proudly promotes and enhances BC's creative culture by working with VIFF to create meaningful engagement for regional filmmakers and audiences of all backgrounds. Through the #mustseeBC pre-festival campaign and award, they help stoke anticipation for local films, while their Sea to Sky Award celebrates female creators and ensures that they have the resources to continue creating. Furthermore, Totally Indie Day provides a forum for invaluable insights and advice from industry pros and rising new talent.

"Our commitment to support diverse voices and stories from Western Canada perfectly aligns with VIFF's mission and has come to life with the Sea to Sky programming stream," said Kim Guise, Director of Content at TELUS. "We are thrilled to continue our partnership with VIFF and focusing on enhancing the careers of creators with screenings, specialized training and a dedicated award for women in the industry."

The 2017 BC Spotlight film lineup features 12 titles that will leave audiences inspired by the talent being developed right here in British Columbia. Since its inception in 2013, the BC Spotlight film series has earned the highest attendance ratings in VIFF's history.

On the heels of world premiere announcements at the Toronto International Film festival, Kathleen Hepburn's Never Steady, Never Still, Wayne Wapeemukwa's Luk'Luk'I and Kyle Rideout's Public Schooled will play to eager hometown audiences. Jason James' Entanglement, Peter Ricq's Dead Shack, Scooter Corkle's Hollow in the Land and Cody Bown's Gregoire will likewise hit Vancouver screens having already made their marks on the festival circuit.

VIFF will also be home to five world premieres, including Ana Valine's Once There Was a Winter, Melanie Wood's Shut Up and Say Something, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers' c'əsnaʔəm, the city before the city (in partnership and collaboration with the Musqueam First Nation and the c'əsnaʔəm, the city before the city curatorial team), Boris Ivanov's On Putin's Blacklist and LaTiesha Ti'si'tla Fazakas and Natalie Boll's Meet Beau Dick: Maker of Monsters.

All films in the BC Spotlight will compete in the #mustseeBC competition. Launching on September 14, this social media campaign invites film fans to preview these features and the still-to-be-announced BC shorts, promote local creators across social networks and vote online to determine this year's most anticipated local films. By successfully engaging thousands of fans through social media, the winning film receives a special red carpet screening during the festival. All details will be hosted at

Presented by TELUS, the Sea to Sky Award will recognize the outstanding work of one female key creative on a BC-produced feature or short. The significant $20,000 prize money can be used for a future production or towards customized training that will further advance the creator's career.

Details of other noteworthy awards in the Sea to Sky stream, including Best BC Film and BC Emerging Filmmaker as well as the members of the Sea to Sky jury will be announced in September 2017.

Totally Indie Day, presented by STORYHIVE, is a dynamic day designed to provide hands-on advice from top experienced industry professionals to emerging content creators through targeted business, creative and personal development opportunities. This tent pole industry event supports rising feature film directors, by connecting them with award-winning screenwriters, directors and producers from some of the most popular and successful screen-based content series, today. Attendees also have the chance to meet with Canadian and US distributors and network with industry professionals.

"Having helped the programming team launch the BC Spotlight series back in 2013, I'm extremely excited to have been involved in the selection of this year's remarkably strong lineup," said Curtis Woloschuk, VIFF's Associate Director of Programming. "And, with the Sea to Sky Award now in its second year, we're very proud of the fact this 12-film series features work from six women directors."

The full lineup of films in the BC Spotlight film series includes:

c'əsnaʔəm: the city before the city
dir. Elle-Maija Tailfeathers in partnership and collaboration with the Musqueam First Nation and the c'ƏsnaʔƏm, the city before the city curatorial team
We live our lives on land that was never ceded or sold by those who were living here at 'first contact,' and yet we know precious little about the Lower Mainland before real estate. This film aims to correct that with a meaningful reminder of the history and prehistory of this land and her first people. VIFF alumnus Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, in collaboration with the Musqueam First Nation and the UBC Museum of Anthropology curatorial team, shares this reflection on a time when BC was indeed super and natural.

Dead Shack
dir. Peter Ricq
With their best attempt at a wholesome family vacation already being sabotaged by f-bombs and baser desires, three teenage friends are suddenly sent careening on a detour into over-the-top, gory horror in this ode to '80s genre flicks from Peter Ricq (whose band HUMANS supplies the synth score). Thanks to the equal attention lavished on characters and physical comedy/carnage (courtesy of first-rate practical effects), this severed-tongue-in-cheek film's blunt force trauma packs all the more punch.

dir. Jason James
Intent on ending his misery, Ben (Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch) merely adds to a laundry list of embarrassments. So it's no surprise when subsequent efforts to connect with the woman who was nearly his adoptive sister (Jess Weixler) send him into a darkly comic tailspin that leaves him questioning every relationship in his life, as well as his increasingly tenuous grip on reality. Jason James' sophisticated film poignantly questions whether it's ever advisable to let things go.

dir. Cody Bown
Shot in his hometown of Fort McMurray before it was ravaged by wildfires, Cody Bown's drama draws on real life events to capture snapshots of a community teetering on a precipice and a collection of twentysomethings whose seemingly directionless lives have intersected. Bown draws remarkable performances from an ensemble cast (headed by Jared Abrahamson); his film will resonate with anyone who's reached that stage in life where there's no other option than making a life-changing decision.

Hollow in the Land
dir. Scooter Corkle
When a body is found in a trailer park and her missing brother (Jared Abrahamson) becomes the number one suspect, headstrong Alison (Dianna Agron) decides to take things into her own hands, setting out to track him down and clear his name before the cops find him first. The harder this amateur detective looks, the more people turn up dead, and soon she becomes a suspect herself. In a town tucked away between a mountain range, secrets get buried deep. If Alison's not careful, she'll get buried with them.

dir. Wayne Wapeemukwa
February 2010: as Canada battles the US for Olympic hockey supremacy, a handful of engrossing, life-and-death dramas unfold in the back alleys, seedy bars and SROs of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Filmmaker Wayne Wapeemukwa invites some of the city's marginalized citizens to step into starring roles, and he shines a light on the urban realities we're often too eager to avert our eyes from. In the process he crafts a discordant city symphony that charts Vancouver's complexities.

Meet Beau Dick: Maker of Monsters
dir. LaTiesha Ti'si'tla Fazakas, Natalie Boll
Admirers of Pacific Northwest art are notably unanimous in their admiration of the oeuvre of the late Kwakwaka'wakw artist Beau Dick, whose generosity and prolific nature embodied the very spirit of potlatch. LaTiesha Ti'si'tla Fazakas and Natalie Boll share an intimate profile of this man's rare charisma; his carvings, which remain revered in art circles; and his passionate activism, which culminated in the breaking of coppers in Victoria and Ottawa as an act of protest against legislative injustices.

Never Steady, Never Still
dir. Kathleen Hepburn
Set against a spectacular northern BC backdrop, Kathleen Hepburn's debut is the intimate story of a devoted mother wrestling with Parkinson's (Shirley Henderson, astonishing in a demanding role) and a son saddled with his first adult responsibilities (future star Théodore Pellerin). Eloquently scripted, and directed with both tenderness and assurance, the film uses its note-perfect, naturalistic performances and intricately calibrated revelations to create powerful, cathartic drama.

On Putin's Blacklist
dir. Boris Ivanov
An engaging and timely tour d'horizon of Mother Russia and her place in the world today. We witness the wounded pride of Russians as the Soviet Empire crumbles, and the jingoistic xenophobia born out of an increased reliance on foreign investment. Propaganda and demonization of the "other" result in institutionalized racism and a culture of disdain. Boris Ivanov brings us up to speed on the shameful adoption crisis, the state-sanctioned hacking of the Internet and the heartless treatment of LGBTQ citizens.

Once There Was a Winter
dir. Ana Valine
The Canadian north's unforgiving nature is amplified to chilling effect in this claustrophobic, white-knuckle thriller from Ana Valine (Sitting on the Edge of Marlene). What is supposed to be a quick stop at a remote trailer turns into a standoff between embittered brothers, with an innocent woman (Kate Corbett) caught in the crossfire. As old wounds are reopened and fresh blood is spilled, the wolves at the door pose little threat in comparison to the personal demons being unleashed inside.

Public Schooled
dir. Kyle Rideout
Book-smart but unschooled in the ways of life, home-schooled teen Liam (Daniel Doheny) has a bright future laid out, even if casual conversation amounts to a social minefield for him. But then he lays eyes on the wooden leg of the prettiest girl in public school and decides on self-sabotage; the result is an extended Grade 12 stay. This comedy from Kyle Rideout (Eadweard) is fuelled by chemistry between Liam and his helicopter mom (Judy Greer) that is so spectacularly awkward it would make Oedipus blush.

Shut Up and Say Something
dir. Melanie Wood
Internationally acclaimed spoken-word artist Shane Koyczan gives a poignant and powerful voice to those relegated to the margins: the bullied, awkward and visibly different. In this entrancing documentary, Melanie Wood reveals a bashful alchemist who creates dazzling rhetorical fireworks. With candour, Koyczan shares his momentous and deeply personal journey to finally meet his estranged father. The result is his most important poem yet—and the more intimate his words are, the more universal they become.

Weekly announcements of confirmed titles and programmed events commence this week.

Tickets start at $15. Passes and ticket packs are available online on August 28th, with single tickets available online September 7th and in-person at the Vancity Theatre Box Office starting September 14th. All tickets will be available for purchase at

Passes for Totally Indie Day are available for morning and afternoon sessions. Full day passes are also available, and include entrance to the after party. More information will be available at on September 8th.

VIFF would like to thank Premier Partner Telus, Premier Supporters Telefilm Canada and Creative BC as well as our other generous partners, sponsors and suppliers.

Each year VIFF relies on the hard work of more than 1,000 volunteers to assist in running the festival. Volunteer registration is now open at

About VIFF
Founded in 1982, the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival Society is a not-for-profit cultural society and federally registered charitable organization that operates the internationally acclaimed Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) and the year-round programming of the Vancity Theatre at the Vancouver International Film Centre. VIFF produces screenings, talks and events that act as a catalyst for a diverse community to discover, discuss and share the creativity and craft of storytelling on screen. In its 36th year, the Vancouver International Film Festival welcomes the world to Vancouver from September 28-October 13, 2017 as it showcases the top international, Canadian and BC films and plays host to industry professionals from around the globe.

  • Media accreditation to attend VIFF 2017 is now open. Apply until September 11th here.
  • Films, talks and events programming will be announced starting this week and continuing weekly throughout August and September. A press conference will be held on September 6th at the Vancouver International Film Centre (1181 Seymour St) with final festival announcements including Opening and Closing night films.
  • To stay up to date with year-round Film Centre programming, request to be added to our media distribution list.
  • For more information on VIFF, to obtain media assets, or to request an interview, please contact or call 778-328-7813
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For more information, please contact
Darren Johnson
Communications Manager
Vancouver International Film Festival

Greater Vancouver International Film Society