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Vancouver International Film Festival 2017 | Sep 28 - Oct 13 | viff.org
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Award-Winning Films at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2017
Award-Winning Films VIFF News

Every year, VIFF is thrilled to bring films from around the globe to its audience. Many of these movies come to Vancouver having already been awarded for their excellence. This year's selection includes prizewinners from Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Venice and many other festivals. VIFF is proud to stand with these organizations in offering the world cinema of the highest caliber.

Award Winning Films | VIFF 2017

Ava
LÉA MYSIUS, FRANCE, 2017, 105 MIN. Panorama
North American Premiere
FRI SEP 29, 3:00 PM, INTL VILLAGE 8
SUN OCT 1, 6:45 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
Soon to go blind, defiant 13-year-old Ava (Noée Abita) resolves to exploit her summer at the beach to its fullest. In debuting director Léa Mysius’ hands, this resolution takes us to some exciting places as Ava explores her sexuality and falls in with a beach-bum bad boy (Juan Cano)… “[The] startlingly assured, exquisitely shot Ava is a film that doesn’t simply explore the textural possibilities of 35mm film for the hell of it, it makes thematic use of them, to stunning, evocative effect.”—Variety

SACD Prize, Critic's Week, Cannes 17


BPM (Beats Per Minute)
(120 battements par minute)
ROBIN CAMPILLO, FRANCE, 2017, 144 MIN. Panorama
SAT SEP 30, 3:15 PM, PLAYHOUSE
MON OCT 2, 6:15 PM, PLAYHOUSE
A crowd favourite at Cannes this year, Robin Campillo’s fast-paced drama positively vibrates with energy, commitment and joie de vivre. As the AIDS crisis claims more and more lives in early 1990s Paris, the AIDS activist group ACT-UP begins a heated campaign to raise awareness and disrupt the blasé middle class. “Five stars! Compellingly combines elegy, tragedy, urgency and a defiant euphoria… This film has what its title implies: a heartbeat. It is full of cinematic life.—Guardian

Grand Prix, FIPRESCI Award, Cannes 17

Becoming Who I Was
MOON CHANGYONG, JEON JIN, SOUTH KOREA, 2017, 95 MIN. Gateway
SAT SEP 30, 4:45 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
SUN OCT 8, 8:15 PM, VANCITY
WED OCT 11, 6:15 PM, VANCITY
This doc chronicles the early life of Angdu, named as the reincarnation of a prominent Buddhist monk. Precocious, but full of the unruly spirits that mark childhood, the boy is mentored by the elderly Urgyan. It’s a tender, loving relationship, wonderful to behold. Eventually the film focuses on Angdu’s trek from his home in northern India to Tibet, as he seeks to fulfill his destiny. “Bright, brisk and harmonious… A charmingly intimate portrait that ultimately assumes epic-journey proportions.”—Variety

Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, Seattle 17; Grand Prix, Generation Kplus, Berlin 17

Call Me by Your Name
LUCA GUADAGNINO, USA/ITALY/FRANCE, 2017, 131 MIN. Panorama
THU OCT 5, 9:00 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
SUN OCT 8, 9:00 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
THU OCT 12, 3:15 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
SPECIAL PRESENTATION
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

Audience Award, Melbourne 17

Caniba
VERENA PARAVEL, LUCIEN CASTAING-TAYLOR, USA/FRANCE, 2017, 96 MIN. Panorama
FRI SEP 29, 9:15 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
TUE OCT 10, 6:45 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
Caniba is a film that reflects on the discomfiting significance of cannibalistic desire in human existence through the prism of one Japanese man, Issei Sagawa, and his mysterious relationship with his brother, Jun Sagawa. Rather than taking cover behind facile outrage, or creating a masquerade out of humanity’s voyeuristic attraction to the grotesque… we try to treat cannibalistic desire and acts with the unnerving gravity they deserve…”—Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Viewer discretion is advised.

Special Jury Prize, Venice Horizons 17

Close-Knit
(Karera Ga Honki De Amu Toki Wa)
NAOKO OGIGAMI, JAPAN, 2017, 127 MIN. Gateway
Canadian Premiere
TUE OCT 10, 6:30 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
THU OCT 12, 4:15 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
Abandoned by her mom, tween Tomo (Rinka Kakihara) needs a new place to live. Uncle Makio (Kenta Kiritani) is glad to take her in, but offers a gentle warning: his live-in partner is a bit “unusual.” She’s played by Ikuta Toma, one of Japan’s hottest young stars, and he steals the show with his note-perfect turn. That’s right: girlfriend Rinko is a trans woman—a surprise to Tomo and the source of her awakening in Naoko Ogigami’s drama. “Gentle, sweet-souled… a nuanced, softly lit family portrait.”—Variety

Teddy Jury Award, Berlin 17; Audience Award, NY Asian Film Festival 17

Cocote
NELSON CARLO DE LOS SANTOS ARIAS, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC / ARGENTINA / GERMANY/QATAR, 2017, 106 MIN. Panorama
SAT OCT 7, 9:00 PM, INTL VILLAGE 8
TUE OCT 10, 3:45 PM, VANCITY
Rare is a film like Cocote, Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias’ fascinating opus. Learning of his father’s murder, Alberto treks across the Dominican Republic to participate in death rituals that offend his evangelical sensibilities. As his family plots revenge and the ritual becomes more boisterous, Alberto’s agitation grows, with this restlessness mirrored by shifting film stocks and a barrage of camera styles. Cocote “speaks to a country’s irrepressible urge to give free rein to emotion…”—Slant

Best Film, Signs of Life Section, Locarno 17

The Divine Order
(Die Göttliche Ordnung)
PETRA VOLPE, SWITZERLAND, 2016, 96 MIN. Panorama
FRI SEP 29, 4:30 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
MON OCT 2, 6:30 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
Until 1971, women in Switzerland had no voting rights. This startling fact is the basis for Petra Volpe’s small gem, which traces the political awakening of young wife and mother Nora (Marie Leuenberger). As news of the ’60s counterculture finally reaches her quiet hamlet, Nora decides to go against “the divine order” and advocate for enfranchisement in the upcoming referendum. This does not go over well… “Volpe dramatizes her action with a light touch that allows for flashes of pointed comedy…”—Variety

Audience Award, Best Actress, Tribeca 17

A Fantastic Woman
(Una mujer fantástica)
SEBASTIÁN LELIO, CHILE/GERMANY/USA/SPAIN, 2017, 104 MIN. Panorama
MON OCT 2, 3:45 PM, PLAYHOUSE
THU OCT 5, 6:15 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
WED OCT 11, 9:00 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
SPECIAL PRESENTATION
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

Best Screenplay, Berlin 17

Félicité
ALAIN GOMIS, SENEGAL/FRANCE/BELGIUM/GERMANY/LEBANON, 2017, 123 MIN. Panorama
TUE OCT 10, 9:30 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
WED OCT 11, 4:30 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
Alain Gomis’ vibrant, impressionistic drama, set in the streets of Kinshasa, focuses on a single mother (the riveting Congolese singer Véro Tshanda Béya), a bar singer who tries to go it alone in a megacity where corruption, violence and ingrained sexism make every day a challenge. When her 14-year-old son is badly injured in an accident, she reaches out… “Gomis’ latest… [weaves] a sensual, sometimes hopeful, sometimes disturbing urban tapestry with threads of image, sound, poetry, and song.”—Variety

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, Berlin 17

Gabriel and the Mountain
(Gabriel e a Montanha)
FELLIPE GAMARANO BARBOSA, BRAZIL/FRANCE, 2017, 131 MIN. Panorama
North American Premiere
MON OCT 2, 8:30 PM, VANCITY
TUE OCT 3, 2:00 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
While on a long trip that culminated in an exploration of parts of Africa, director Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa’s friend Gabriel Buchmann died on a mountain in Malawi. Buchmann (winningly played by João Pedro Zappa) was a generous and friendly idealist who gave away large parts of his budget, and Barbosa sensitively dramatizes his story, enlisting the help of those who knew Buchmann to play themselves. Gorgeously shot, “this uplifting drama… [is] a moving look at the transformative nature of travel…”—Screen

France 4 Visionary Award, Cannes 17

God's Own Country
FRANCIS LEE, UK, 2017, 104 MIN. Panorama
FRI OCT 6, 9:15 PM, PLAYHOUSE
WED OCT 11, 11:30 AM, INTL VILLAGE 10
Announcing himself as a major talent with this remarkable, decorated debut, Francis Lee has crafted a sharply observed, richly textured and thrillingly sensual story about the redemptive powers of love and self-acceptance. Josh O’Connor is outstanding as mistrustful Johnny, who slowly opens up to the possibility of happiness with the help of gentle Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu), a ruggedly handsome Romanian farmhand whose soulful appreciation for rural life provides the catalyst for transformative change.

Teddy Award, Berlin 17; Best British Feature, Edinburgh 17

The Great Buddha+
(Dafo pulasi)
HUANG HSIN-YAO, TAIWAN, 2017, 104 MIN. Gateway
TUE OCT 3, 5:30 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
THU OCT 5, 4:15 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
Pickle works as a night guard in a foundry, where a giant bronze statue of Buddha is under construction. Belly Button collects scrap by day, and hangs out with Pickle at night. When they discover their well-connected, overly amorous boss keeps dash-cam recordings of his nocturnal prowlings, they become obsessed with his lurid private secrets. Huang Hsin-yao uses the darkest black humour to probe the moral underbellies of Taiwan’s upper and lower classes to hilarious and devastating effect.


Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature, Grand Prize, Taipei 17

The Insult
(L'Insulte)
ZIAD DOUEIRI, FRANCE/LEBANON, 2017, 110 MIN. Panorama
THU OCT 5, 7:00 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
FRI OCT 6, 11:00 AM, INTL VILLAGE 9
During a renovation in Beirut, a disagreement over plumbing escalates until Toni, a Lebanese Christian, utters a grievous insult at Yasser, a Palestinian refugee. Filing a formal complaint that leads to a highly publicized trial, Yasser inadvertently fuels a national debate between their respective communities. Reminding us how the trivial can serve as tinder for a political wildfire, director Ziad Doueiri crafts a modern day fable about how someone can play oppressor and victim in the same conflict.

Best Actor, Venice 17

In the Fade
(Aus dem Nichts)
FATIH AKIN, GERMANY, 2017, 95 MIN. Panorama
SUN OCT 1, 3:15 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
WED OCT 4, 9:00 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
Fatih Akin’s (Head-On, Soul Kitchen) taut drama could not be more timely, as it deals with the resurgence of fascism plaguing the West in general and his native Germany in particular. When her Kurdish husband and young son are killed in a bomb blast triggered by neo-Nazis, Katja (a magnificent Diane Kruger) will stop at nothing to ensure the perpetrators pay for their senseless slaughter. “Kruger’s beautifully modulated performance as a woman seeking justice… anchors this skilled… drama.”—Variety

Best Actress, Cannes 17

Lipstick Under My Burkha
ALANKRITA SHRIVASTAVA, INDIA, 2016, 116 MIN. Panorama
SUN OCT 8, 6:45 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
THU OCT 12, 1:15 PM, SFU-GCA
Alankrita Shrivastava weaves together four stories of Indian women refusing to play by the rules in this warmly funny tale. Shirin (Konkona Sen Sharma) hides her job from her husband; Leela (Aahana Kumra) gets engaged while having an affair; religious student Rehana (Plabita Borthakur) discovers sensual pleasures; and Auntie Usha (Ratna Pathak Shah) is obsessed with erotic fiction… “Lipstick is audaciously outspoken about women’s sexual desires and fantasies, both visually and verbally.”—Hollywood Reporter

Best Film, London Asian Film Festival 17; Spirit of Asia Award, Tokyo 16

Loving Vincent
DOROTA KOBIELA, HUGH WELCHMAN, POLAND/UK, 2017, 95 MIN. Panorama
THU SEP 28, 6:30 PM, RIO
SAT SEP 30, 4:30 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
SPECIAL PRESENTATION
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

Best Animated Film, Best Director, Shanghai 17;
Audience Award, Annecy 17


The Nile Hilton Incident
TARIK SALEH, EGYPT/SWEDEN, 2017, 107 MIN. Panorama
Canadian Premiere
WED OCT 4, 3:45 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
SAT OCT 7, 9:00 PM, SFU-GCA
By setting his gripping neo-noir in a Cairo on the edge of revolution, director Tarik Saleh elevates a riveting tale into a forceful political allegory. Cynical cop Noredin (Fares Fares) sees his inquiries about a murdered singer stymied at every turn. The deeper he goes into Cairo’s underworld, the higher up the political ladder the crime reaches… “Perfumed with an enervated atmosphere of decrepitude… Saleh’s striking feature parts the curtains on an era in the final throes of decline…”—Hollywood Reporter

Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Dramatic, Sundance 17

No Date, No Signature
(Bedoune Tarikh, Bedoune Emza)
VAHID JALILVAND, IRAN, 2017, 104 MIN. Panorama
North American Premiere
SAT SEP 30, 9:30 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
SUN OCT 1, 3:45 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
Vahid Jalilvand’s film gives us Dr. Nariman (Amir Agha’ee), a forensic pathologist and upstanding member of the community. When he injures a child in a motor vehicle accident, the good doctor is willing to take him to the hospital, but the kid’s father declines his help. The next morning Nariman discovers that the boy has died… Besides being a riveting drama, No Date, No Signature offers a nuanced look at class and power relations in contemporary Iran. It’s a disquieting but profoundly satisfying movie.

Best Director, Fajr Film Festival 17; Best Director, Best Actor, Venice Horizons 17

The Other Side of Hope
(Toivon tuolla puolen)
AKI KAURISMÄKI, FINLAND, 2017, 98 MIN. Panorama
SAT SEP 30, 11:00 AM, SFU-GCA
MON OCT 9, 6:30 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
FRI OCT 13, 6:30 PM, SFU-GCA
The Finnish master of the droll and the deadpan, Aki Kaurismäki, returns with a second feature (after Le Havre) concerning the European refugee crisis, this one about a Syrian (Sherwan Haji) who washes up on Finland’s glum shores and becomes an unlikely friend to a middle-aged Finnish shirt salesman (Sakari Kuosmanen) in the midst of re-making his life. Compassionate and wryly funny by turns, this is Kaurismäki firing on all cylinders. “A deeply humane film, as well as a quietly hilarious one.”—Time Out

Best Director, Berlin 17; FIPRESCI Grand Prix 17

Reşeba: The Dark Wind
HUSSEIN HASSAN, KURDISTAN/QATAR/GERMANY, 2016, 92 MIN. Panorama
FRI SEP 29, 6:45 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
MON OCT 2, 1:30 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
Kurdish director Hussein Hassan shot this affecting drama—about a Yazidi woman (Diman Zandi), kidnapped by ISIS members during the Yazidi genocide, who is rejected by her community after being rescued by her fiancé (Rekesh Shabaz)—in refugee camps in Kurdistan with the help of the Yazidi community. Unfussy visuals and a fast pace add urgency to a subject never before filmed. “Hassan’s sensitive, muted handling of potentially explosive subject material has the undeniable ring of authenticity…”—Screen


Best Fiction Feature, Dubai 16




Sami Blood
(Sameblod)
AMANDA KERNELL, SWEDEN/DENMARK/NORWAY, 2016, 110 MIN. Panorama
TUE OCT 10, 6:15 PM, PLAYHOUSE
THU OCT 12, 11:15 AM, INTL VILLAGE 10
The indigenous Sami of northern Scandinavia have been labelled “inferior” throughout modern history. Half Sami herself, debuting director Amanda Kernell crafts a deeply moving coming-of-age tale, set in 1930s Sweden, about a 14-year-old Sami girl (Lene Cecilia Sparrok, riveting) whose rejection of her heritage has profound consequences. “A stirring debut… Robustly blends adolescent fears that resonate across borders and generations with a fascinatingly specific, rarely depicted cultural context.”—Variety

Grand Jury Prize, Best Actress, Seattle 17; Special Jury Prize, Best Actress, Tokyo 17; Best Director of a Debut Film, Venice 16

The Square
RUBEN ÖSTLUND, SWEDEN/GERMANY/FRANCE/DENMARK, 2017, 145 MIN. Panorama
FRI SEP 29, 9:00 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
TUE OCT 3, 3:15 PM, PLAYHOUSE
SPECIAL PRESENTATION
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

Palme d'Or, Cannes 17

Still Night, Still Light
(Mes nuits feront écho)
SOPHIE GOYETTE, CANADA, 2016, 98 MIN. True North
SUN OCT 1, 9:00 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
TUE OCT 3, 3:15 PM, INTL VILLAGE 8
An existential meditation on longing, loss and memory, Sophie Goyette’s lyrical drama seamlessly moves between three characters and three distinct locations. Haunted by the death of her parents, Eliane leaves her Montreal home to teach piano in Mexico City. Her student’s father Romes is coping with midlife disappointment. Lastly, Pablo’s father harbours memories of a lost love. Each character is processing their past and unsure about how to move into the future.

Bright Future Award, Rotterdam 2017

Summer 1993
(Estiu 1993)
CARLA SIMÓN, SPAIN, 2017, 96 MIN. Panorama
Canadian Premiere
SUN OCT 1, 11:15 AM, INTL VILLAGE 10
THU OCT 5, 7:15 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
When both of her parents die of AIDS, six-year-old Frida (an amazing Laia Artigas) is sent to live with her uncle in the Catalan countryside. Unsure about how her parents died—shame keeps the adults mum—and thrown by her new surroundings, she begins to act out… Debuting director Carla Simón draws on her own experience for this deeply affecting drama. “A delicate sleeper of a film that movingly looks at an orphaned six-year-old’s loneliness and confusion without the usual dip into sentimentality.”—Variety

Best First Feature, Berlin 17

Unarmed Verses
CHARLES OFFICER, CANADA, 2017, 86 MIN. True North
WED OCT 4, 1:00 PM, SFU-GCA
FRI OCT 6, 6:00 PM, RIO
At the cusp of adolescence and facing forced relocation, Francine has a lot on her mind. And while this Toronto ’tween possesses a way with written words, she has yet to develop the necessary confidence to express herself in full voice. Charles Officer’s luminous, poignant documentary charts this marginalized yet magnetic young woman’s determination to make herself and her community heard. “Like [Jim Jarmusch’s] Paterson, Unarmed Verses is both about poetry and a work of poetry in itself.”—RogerEbert.com

Best Canadian Feature Documentary, Hot Docs 17

Information - VIFF 2017viff.org

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

  • PanoramaFrom France to FinlandEastern Europe, India, Middle East and Africa Latin America, UK & USA Documentaries Galas and Special Presentations – The world's boldest creators and their exceptional works. The year's most anticipated international films and new discoveries curated specifically for VIFF audiences.
  • Sea to Sky – 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 – Accelerating the advancement and innovation of screen-based industries in British Columbia.
  • 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 – Genre-bending features that defy traditional classification and creators who push short form storytelling to its limits.

Important Dates
Tickets, Passes + Ticket Packs On Sale Now
Tickets available online at viff.org 24 hours a day.
In Person Box Office opens September 14th at The Vancouver International Film Centre. 1181 Seymour Street, at Davie (Mon-Sat: Noon - 7pm, Sun: 2pm - 7pm)

The Complete Festival Guide
Program Guides are now available online and for pick up at The Vancouver International Film Centre. For select outlets around town visit here for locations.

THU SEP 28
The 36th Annual Vancouver International Film Festival opens. All venue box offices open, 30 minutes before the first screening of the day.
Full Program available online now!
VIFF Single Tickets, Pass + Packs, on sale now at viff.org (online only)


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VIFF
Vancouver International Film Festival
September 28 - October 13, 2017

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Film selections are subject to change.


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