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Vancouver International Film Festival |
VIFF adds to exciting festival lineup, announces Borg Vs. McEnroe, Happy End,
The Square and eight other Special Presentations
Lineup includes 14 films from some of the world's boldest storytellers, garnering annual Oscar attention as well major festival awards
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VANCOUVER, B.C. (August 30, 2017) – The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) released a lineup of the year's must-see films on the big screen as part of the distinguished Special Presentations series. These films represent the world's boldest storytellers and their exceptional works as part of the festival's Panorama stream.

The Special Presentations in this year's lineup include two highlights from the Cannes Film Festival and a sports drama that will thrill audiences. Borg Vs. McEnroe, about the legendary tennis matchup of 1980, will make its Vancouver debut, along with VIFF veteran Michael Haneke's Happy End and Ruben Östlund's The Square, winner of the Palme d'Or.

All of VIFF's feature films are eligible for the prestigious Super Channel People's Choice Award. To determine the award, festival-goers will be invited to cast ballots after every screening. The results of this voting will also determine the winners of the other audience awards.

The full list of Special Presentations includes:

Borg Vs. McEnroe
dir. Janus Metz, Sweden/Denmark/Finland
One of the greatest tennis matches of all time—the 1980 Wimbledon Men’s Final between Björn Borg and John McEnroe—provides the baseline drama for this riveting sports movie. Director Janus Metz shoots the game in ways we have never seen before and elicits superb performances from Shia LaBeouf as McEnroe and Sverrir Gudnason (an uncanny lookalike) as Borg. Like all the best tennis games, the Final proves a nail-biting psychological thriller. This is the first tennis movie to truly ace it.

dir. Andy Serkis, UK
In the kind of technically accomplished and emotionally involving role that often captures Academy Award-voters’ hearts, Andrew Garfield plays Robin Cavendish, a handsome and charming young man apparently living a blessed life—until, at 26, shortly after learning he is to become a father, he’s struck down by polio and left paralyzed, unable even to breathe without the help of machines. The directorial debut of Andy Serkis charts Robin’s spiritual recovery as he rediscovers the will to live and love.

Call Me by Your Name
dir. Luca Guadagnino, USA/Italy/France
Set in the sun-drenched countryside of Italy’s Lombardy region, Luca Guadagnino’s visually ravishing tale of first love is a flawlessly acted wonder. Ensconced in his family’s villa for the summer, 17-year-old Elio (Homeland’s Timothée Chalamet, superb) finds himself drawn to his professor-father’s (Michael Stuhlbarg) research assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer). What follows is guaranteed to stir your soul. “Masterful… reminiscent of the best of Eric Rohmer, Bernardo Bertolucci and André Téchiné.”—Guardian

A Fantastic Woman
dir. Sebastián Lelio, Chile/Germany/USA/Spain
When her older lover Orlando (Francisco Reyes) dies suddenly, transgendered Marina (a stunning Daniela Vega) faces horrible prejudice from officials investigating his death—and worse from the man’s family. Director Sebastián Lelio (VIFF 13 standout Gloria) has fashioned a radiant tribute to one woman’s strength. “Five Stars! [This] trans tale stands alongside Almodóvar… It may be a timely film, but it is its timelessness, as well as its depths of compassion, that qualify it as a great one.”—Guardian

The Florida Project
dir. Sean Baker, USA
In a group of dilapidated motels near Disney World in Orlando, troubled, down-at-heel families try to make do. But whatever the problems faced by their parents, six-year-old Moonee (an unstoppable Brooklynn Prince) and her two friends are having none of it: for these wonderfully feral kids, they live in a magical adventureland and they plan on exploiting it to the full… Sean Baker’s (Starlet, VIFF 12) immersive and moving drama is “near-perfect… brilliant, buoyant, and ultimately heart-wrenching…”—Vulture

Happy End
dir. Michael Haneke, France/Austria/Germany
With Michael Haneke directing, you know the title of his latest work is nothing if not deeply ironic. As the Calais refugee crisis unfolds, the rich, disaffected Laurent family—including paterfamilias Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and aunt Anne (Isabelle Huppert)—is sundered by the arrival of Anne’s 13-year-old niece (Fantine Harduin, superb)… “Distinguishes itself from much of [Haneke’s filmography] in the deployment of unexpectedly approachable dark wit and thriller-ish sensibility.”—Sight & Sound

The Killing of a Sacred Deer
dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, UK
From the twisted mind of Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) emerges another wildly original, surreal and disturbing parable about what it means to be human. Colin Farrell plays a heart surgeon whose happy home is threatened by a teenage interloper who convinces him that he must sacrifice one of his own family—son, daughter or wife (Nicole Kidman)—or lose them all. So: who to choose? This is a ruthlessly controlled but utterly unhinged shocker that is funniest when it’s scariest, and vice versa.

Loving Vincent
dir. Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Poland/UK
In Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s remarkable animated work—“the world’s first fully painted feature”—the paintings of Vincent van Gogh are brought to life via a mystery wherein the postmaster’s son (Douglas Booth) in Arles tries to parse the painter’s sad last days. Each of the film’s 65,000 frames was hand-painted by one of 115 professional oil-painters, making for “a truly awe-inspiring portrait… [that pulls] audiences into the delirious, hyper-sensual world suggested by van Gogh’s oeuvre.”—Variety

dir. Jennifer Peedom, Australia
Scale the heights with this breathtaking, immersive documentary, as director Jennifer Peedom takes us up the peaks in her exploration of mountain climbing. Along for the thrill ride are Richard Tognetti and his Australian Chamber Orchestra, who give us a succession of rousing pieces to carry us through the journey. Narrated by Willem Dafoe and graced with some moments of quieter beauty to go with the thrills, this is doc filmmaking at its most powerful and a big-screen experience if ever there was one.

The Square
dir. Ruben Östlund, Sweden/Germany/France/Denmark
Ruben Östlund’s (Force Majeure, VIFF 14) hilarious yet deadly serious satire sees selfish Swedish art curator Christian (Claes Bang, perfect) preparing an upcoming piece called The Square, an interactive work described as “a sanctuary of trust and caring.” Hardly… Soon things are spiralling out of control in Christian’s personal and professional life. “A potent, disturbing work that explores the boundaries of political correctness, artistic liberty and free speech in provocative ways.”—Hollywood Reporter

Top of the Lake: China Girl
dirs. Jane Campion, Ariel Kleiman, New Zealand/Australia
The scene of the crime has changed—rural New Zealand has been replaced by downtown Sydney, Australia—but all the qualities that made Jane Campion’s feminist police procedural a must-see show four years ago are here in the follow-up: Elizabeth Moss, superb, as detective Robin Griffin; an engrossing mystery; and Campion’s emotional intelligence, sharp social conscience and keen cinematic eye. “[A]s beautiful and soul-stirring as anything you’ll see on any kind of screen this year.”—David Ehrlich, IndieWire

The following Special Presentations were previously announced: Okja (dir. Bong Joon Ho, South Korea/USA), Indian Horse (dir. Stephen Campanelli, Canada), and The Hidden Sword (dir. Xu Haofeng, China)

Weekly announcements of confirmed titles and programmed events continue 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 continue to be announced 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 the Closing night film.
  • 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