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Canadian Filmmakers Transcend Borders
True North FilmsFuture//PresentAwardsVIFF News

Presented by Telefilm, the Vancouver International Film Festival's (VIFF) True North series is a showcase, a tribute and a celebration of Canadian cinema. From VIFF hometown Vancouver all the way to Palestine and Uruguay via Ontario, Montreal and more native locations, True North this year expands its reach as our filmmakers look beyond borders and boundaries. As always, poignant fiction and expansive documentary feature in the series, stirring hearts and expanding minds. The festival is proud of the storytellers and visionaries who bring these vibrant narratives to life.

True North Films

Clara
Clara
AKASH SHERMAN, CANADA, 2017, 105 MIN.
A brilliant astronomer (Suits’ Patrick J. Adams) obsessively scours the cosmos for signs of life while growing increasingly detached from the real world. When a new assistant (Troian Bellisario) provides unexpected inspiration, they’re sent hurtling on a collision course with a reality altering discovery. A master class in restrained and rigorously intelligent sci-fi tinged drama, Clara builds to a jaw-dropping climax and announces the arrival of a major new talent in the form of director Akash Sherman.
The Far Shore
(Dérive)
DAVID ULOTH, CANADA, 2018, 104 MIN.
World Premiere
Navigating the treacherous social tides of high school, Marine (Maeva Tremblay) is cut adrift by Océane (Éléonore Loiselle), her older sister who’s caught in the thrall of an older man (Emmanuel Schwartz). Meanwhile, their mother (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) struggles to keep her head above water. Drawing from emotionally rich dramas like The Ice Storm, director David Uloth and screenwriter Chloé Cinq-Mars craft a deeply empathetic portrait of these women’s odyssey from frailty to resilience.

Firecrackers
JASMIN MOZAFFARI, CANADA, 2018, 93 MIN.
Teens Lou (Michaela Kurimsky) and Chantal (Karena Evans) have only one thing on their minds: getting the hell out of their rural Ontario backwater and never looking back. Scouring their stifling surroundings for any source of income, these resilient girls butt heads with a place and a populace that threaten to rob them of their free spirits. A tribute to youthful aspiration, Jasmin Mozaffari’s feature debut offers us the chance to feel as rebellious, as animated, as alive as its protagonists.

Genesis
(Genèse)
PHILIPPE LESAGE, CANADA, 2018, 129 MIN.
North American Premiere
At an all-boys conservatory in Quebec, Guillaume (Théodore Pellerin) teeters on the edge of first love, confronted by a yearning for his best friend Nicolas (Jules Roy Sicotte). His sister, the slightly older Charlotte (Noée Abita), is unnerved when her boyfriend (Pier-Luc Funk) asks to loosen the monogamous rules of their relationship. Powerful and provocative, Genesis inverts expectations and defies classification. It’s an ode to innocent love and a cruel examination of our fallen world.

Giant Little Ones
KEITH BEHRMAN, CANADA, 2018, 94 MIN.
After sharing an experience that permanently alters their long-standing friendship, Franky (Josh Wiggins) and his childhood pal Ballas (Darren Mann) engage in a protracted feud—one that serves as an outlet for their repressed feelings. Returning to feature filmmaking after a 16-year hiatus, Flower & Garnet (VIFF 2002) director Keith Behrman mounts an impressive comeback with this finely observed, and frequently poignant, study of identity and its boundaries.

Mouthpiece
Mouthpiece
PATRICIA ROZEMA, CANADA, 2018, 91 MIN.
Patricia Rozema (Into the Forest) brings her singular sensibility to this tale of Cassandra, a troubled woman divided against herself and, thus, played simultaneously by Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava (who also handle scripting duties). The interplay between the physically mismatched, misanthropically aligned leads is a sardonic wonder to behold as Rozema and her collaborators set Cassandra on a seriocomic odyssey that returns her home to lay a loved one to rest and seek redemption for past implosions.
Quiet Killing
KIM O'BOMSAWIN, CANADA, 2018, 76 MIN.
Kim O’Bomsawin’s searing documentary explores the systemic failures that contribute to Indigenous women being 8 times more likely to be murdered than any other Canadian citizen. More importantly, it puts faces and stories to the women behind these numbers, profiling Indigenous women (including several Vancouver advocates) who seek to put an end to the cycle of violence. Ultimately, Quiet Killing is a story of resilience that carries a vital message about Indigenous women’s right to safety and justice.

Roads in February
(Les Routes en février)
KATHERINE JERKOVIC, CANADA/URUGUAY, 2018, 83 MIN.
In the wake of her dad’s passing, Sarah (Arlen Aguayo Stewart) abandons Montreal and decamps to her native Uruguay in order to reconnect with her estranged grandmother (Gloria Demassi). As she endeavors to bridge a divide wrought by generational differences and deep-seated resentments, Sarah comes to understand that “home” can remain perfectly preserved and yet irrevocably changed. Luminously shot and immaculately acted, Katherine Jerkovic’s debut proves refreshingly unsentimental yet undeniably moving.

A Sister's Song
DANAE ELON, CANADA, 2018, 82 MIN.
North American Premiere
Twenty years after Tatiana found her calling and retreated to a Greek monastery, her sister Marina becomes convinced that the seemingly devoted nun may now regret the path she’s chosen. The incredible intimacy and involving drama that Danae Elon lends her documentary would be the envy of any narrative filmmaker. As we witness those kaleidoscopic conflicts that can only be forged by siblings play out, the enthralling film grows increasingly complex, delving into issues of acceptance, respect and faith.

Ville Neuve
FÉLIX DUFOUR-LAPERRIÈRE, CANADA, 2018, 76 MIN.
North American Premiere
Set against the backdrop of the 1995 referendum on Quebec independence, Félix Dufour-Laperrière’s feature debut recounts the story of Joseph (Robert Lalonde), a washed-up novelist and political dissident who rekindles his relationship with his ex-wife Emma (Johanne-Marie Tremblay) at a remote cabin on the Atlantic coast. Making striking use of a monochrome animation style, Ville Neuve is a mesmerizing study of personal and collective crises, told in ambiguous shades of grey.

What is Democracy?
ASTRA TAYLOR, CANADA, 2018, 120 MIN.
Astra Taylor’s philosophical documentary reflects on a word we too often take for granted while spanning millennia and continents: from ancient Athens’ groundbreaking experiment in self-government to capitalism’s roots in medieval Italy; from modern-day Greece grappling with financial collapse to the United States reckoning with its racist past. This urgent film connects the past and the present, the emotional and the intellectual, the personal and the political, in order to provoke and inspire.

What Walaa Wants
CHRISTY GARLAND, CANADA/DENMARK, 2018, 89 MIN.
Disorderly and defiant, 15-year-old Walaa is an unlikely candidate for the Palestinian Security Forces. Sure enough, her transition from a refugee camp to the strict regimen of military training is hardly a smooth one. Employing a cinéma vérité approach and discretely following her subject for six transformational years (this is akin to Boyhood on the West Bank), Christy Garland’s enthralling character study is a vibrant portrait of a clever, tenacious and outspoken Palestinian woman’s coming of age.

True North Stream Future//Present

The Future//Present series highlights work from Canada's emerging independents. Bringing together the most talented, bold and distinct voices in Canadian cinema, the series presents films that challenge and advance the medium.

Fausto
ANDREA BUSSMANN, CANADA/MEXICO, 2018, 70 MIN.
On the Oaxacan coast, in a space between our world and heaven and hell, Goethe’s version of the Faust legend is echoed in stories of colonization, greed and the limitations of human perception; the distinction between what we can and cannot see is shown to be an illusion. Tales of shape-shifters, telepathic animals, how a man stole a moon and the clash between mankind and the spirit world all collide in Andrea Bussmann’s mesmerizing blend of myth and reality.

M/M
DREW LINT, CANADA/GERMANY, 2017, 82 MIN.
A queer arthouse thriller, M/M explores notions of identity and sexuality—and the confusion that can emerge between the two. Newly relocated from Canada, Matthew (Antoine Lahaie) is an outsider in Berlin, where he encounters the dark and mysterious Matthias (Nicolas Maxim Endlicher). Confident and overtly sexual, Matthias is a living fantasy who represents what Matthew desires to have—and what he wishes to be. As Matthew’s obsession grows, it threatens to consume both men.

Mangoshake
TERRY CHIU, CANADA, 2018, 97 MIN.
Terry Chiu has the eye of a comic visionary; his feature debut is anarchic and downright hilarious. After pals Ian (Ian Sheldon) and Philip (Philip Silverstein) open a mango shake stand, a series of absurd episodes ensues among a group of friends. Set amid the malaise of a suburban summertime, this is a backhanded tribute to the coming-of-age film. It takes place in an environment that is usually defined by characters who rebel against it; here, they play within it—just like Chiu himself.

The Museum of Forgotten Triumphs
BOJAN BODRUŽIĆ, CANADA/BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, 2018, 87 MIN.
World Premiere
After being evacuated as a child in 1992, BC-based filmmaker Bojan Bodružić returned to Sarajevo in 2000 and began to film his grandparents; over the course of 15 years, he recorded their incredible life stories and their experiences during the Bosnian War. The result is at once a moving family portrait and an account of a country forever changed. The Museum of Forgotten Triumphs is an invaluable collection of memories—both personal and historical—and a deeply affecting film.

Song of a Seer
Song of a Seer
(Les Flâneries du voyant)
AÏDA MAIGRE-TOUCHET, CANADA/FRANCE/HAITI, 2018, 72 MIN.
North American Premiere
Haitian poet, critic and actor Dominique Batraville rummages through a library of literature and curios while drifting between recitations, musings and memories in a hypnotic stream of consciousness. The film is shot inside his cramped Port-au-Prince home, and yet it conjures a portrait of an entirely offscreen world. Song of a Seer reveals the intangible qualities lurking beneath surfaces—and points to the infinite space of the human mind.

Spice it Up
LEV LEWIS, YONAH LEWIS, CALVIN THOMAS, CANADA, 2018, 82 MIN.
World Premiere
Film student Rene (Jennifer Hardy) struggles to complete her thesis project in this unique tragicomedy. Everyone she shares her feature with is dismissive, but our protagonist is determined to finish it. The film-within-a-film is a piece of straight-faced absurdity in which seven female friends enlist in the Canadian army. It contrasts with the story of Rene’s creative solitude, but the portrayals of bonding and loneliness also align with each other in this sly satire of Canadiana.

The Stone Speakers
The Stone Speakers
(Kameni Govornici)
IGOR DRLJAČA, CANADA/BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA, 2018, 92 MIN.
In present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, economically depressed towns turn themselves into tourist destinations in order to survive—deliberately forming their own cultural narratives. Centering on four different locations, The Stone Speakers interrogates a nation’s contradictory memories. Made with subtlety and tactful distance, director Igor Drljaca’s film reveals the traumatic consequences of being a country that is stuck in a postwar identity crisis.

Waiting for April
(En attendant avril)
OLIVIER GODIN, CANADA, 2018, 78 MIN.
North American Premiere
A detective investigating the case of a mystical singing bone, an actor with the arm of a gorilla, and a cashier from the Bank of Permanent Fog all come together in this playful mix of the theatrical and the cinematic. Graced with delightfully bizarre dialogue, Waiting for April is a unique independent comedy full of romance, colour and formal pleasure. It expresses the joy of storytelling, as well as the potential tenderness of all the strange encounters awaiting us.

Awards

Best Canadian Film
$10,000 award presented by the Directors' Guild of Canada.
DGC Directors Guild of Canada

Emerging Canadian Director
$2,000 award presented by the Directors' Guild of Canada.
DGC Directors Guild of Canada

Best Canadian Documentary
$15,000 prize presented by the Rogers Group of Funds.
The Rogers Group of Funds

Best Canadian Short Film
$15,000 colour grading and/or VFX services credit supplied by Side Street Post
Side Street Post & VFX

Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film
$2,000 + Roundtrip Flight Anywhere Delta Air Lines flies
Presented by Gary Harvey and Delta Air Lines

Delta Airlines

Information - VIFF 2017viff.org

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


Important Dates
THU AUG 23
ONLINE: Advance VIFF Pass + Ticket Packs on sale at viff.org

THU SEP 6 - Full Program available online.
ONLINE: VIFF Single Tickets on sale at viff.org

THU SEP 13
IN-PERSON: Box Office opens at The Vancouver International Film Centre. 1181 Seymour Street, at Davie. (Mon-Sat: Noon - 7pm, Sun: 2pm - 7pm)

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VIFF

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Greater Vancouver International Film Society
1181 Seymour Street Vancouver BC Canada V6B 3M7
Box Office Helpline: 604.683.3456
Film selections are subject to change.


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