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Indigenous Stories at VIFF
Program Updates

This year's VIFF will once again feature an array of Indigenous stories made by a diverse group of creators. Whether they hail from Brazil, New Zealand, or our own backyard, these films poignantly capture lives caught in the wake of colonialism while effectively modelling what resistance looks like in action. To see all announced films, visit: viff.org

One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk
ZACHARIAS KUNUK, CANADA, 2019, 113 MIN. True North
MON OCT 7, 6:45 PM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 10
WED OCT 9, 1:00 PM, SFU-GCA
In the northern reaches of Baffin Island in 1961, Noah (Apayata Kotierk) sets out on a traditional Inuit hunt only to run headlong into progress personified in the form of “Boss” (Kim Bodnia), an emissary who’s come to make a proposition on behalf of the Canadian government: assimilation in exchange for shelter and services. In the extended showdown that ensues, Zacharias Kunuk (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner) crafts unhurried yet urgent cinema that’s steeped in fatalism and devastating ramifications.


Bacurau
KLEBER MENDONÇA FILHO, JULIANO DORNELLES, BRAZIL/FRANCE, 2019, 130 MIN. Panorama
THU OCT 3, 9:15 PM, PLAYHOUSE
MON OCT 7, 4:00 PM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 10
Kleber Mendonça Filho (Juliano Dornelles co-directs) continues the critique of contemporary Brazil displayed in Aquarius, but here the arthouse gloves are off in favour of tropes taken from the Western and other genres. When the defiant town of Bacurau finds itself literally wiped from online maps, a violent confrontation with Udo Kier and his mercenaries looms. Sonia Braga and Bárbara Colen are exemplary leads. "An exhilaratingly jittery mash-up of genres and moods… Hallucinatory." - Cinema Scope

Jury Prize (ex aequo), Cannes 19
Blood Quantum
JEFF BARNABY, CANADA, 2019, 92 MIN. ALT
WED OCT 2, 9:00 PM, RIO
SAT OCT 5, 9:30 PM, RIO
A zombie outbreak has left rural Quebec looking like a butcher’s block and, amidst the blood splatter, a pattern has emerged: while the settler population is being decimated, the Indigenous community at Red Crow reserve appears to be immune to the virus. As the power dynamics of colonization are tipped on their head and hell on Earth is unleashed, Jeff Barnaby (Rhymes for Young Ghouls) goes for the jugular as he delivers a hyper-intelligent, gleefully gory, and legitimately provocative genre epic.



The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open
ELLE-MÁIJÁ TAILFEATHERS, KATHLEEN HEPBURN, CANADA/NORWAY, 2019, 105 MIN. Sea to Sky
SAT SEP 28, 6:00 PM, PLAYHOUSE
MON SEP 30, 11:15 AM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 10
Discovering Rosie (Violet Nelson), a pregnant teenager, sobbing on a rainy East Vancouver street, Aila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) swiftly intercedes, initially offering shelter before working feverishly to get her access to proper support networks. Unfolding in real time, this deft drama from Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn (Never Steady, Never Still) employs a riveting combination of intimacy and immediacy as these two Indigenous women forge a tentative bond and embark on a revelatory odyssey. Join us for a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Totally Indie Day: Case Study: The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

Gateways to New York
MARTIN WITZ, SWITZERLAND, 2019, 88 MIN. Impact
Canadian Premiere
SUN OCT 6, 11:00 AM, VANCITY
WED OCT 9, 6:00 PM, VANCITY
Swiss engineer Othmar Ammann not only redefined the art of bridge building but also catalyzed the evolution of New York City into a metropolis. Celebrating the visionary who designed nine of Manhattan’s 11 bridges, the Golden Gate Bridge, and many others, Martin Witz’s documentary offers awe-inspiring access to these towering, miraculous amalgams of engineering and artistry. This is a testament to the exhilarating spirit of modernity that guided a century of urban development.






Haida Modern
CHARLES WILKINSON, CANADA, 2019, 85 MIN. Sea to Sky
World Premiere
TUE OCT 1, 6:30 PM, PLAYHOUSE
FRI OCT 11, 3:00 PM, PLAYHOUSE
In the 50 years since he carved his first totem pole, Robert Davidson has come to be regarded as one of the world’s foremost modern artists. Charles Wilkinson (Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World) brings his trademark inquisitiveness and craftsmanship to this revealing portrait of an unassuming living legend. Weaving together engaging interviews with the artist, his offspring, and a host of admirers, Haida Modern extols the sweeping impact of both Davidson’s artwork and the legions it’s inspired.

Intersecting Voices
CANADA, 2019, 77 MIN. ALT
SUN OCT 6, 6:00 PM, VANCITY
THU OCT 10, 3:30 PM, VANCITY
This showcase of short films by emerging Indigenous creators features diverse perspectives and bold approaches to storytelling. Whether it’s a documentary portrait of a two-spirited aspiring comedian, an account of activists battling tirelessly to reclaim their rights, an artist locking horns with an angry spirit, or a raunchy retelling of a classic narrative, each of these films embraces tradition while demonstrating an individual sensibility.




Jordan River Anderson, the Messenger
ALANIS OBOMSAWIN, CANADA, 2019, 66 MIN. True North
WED OCT 2, 11:00 AM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 9
THU OCT 3, 6:45 PM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 9
Left to languish in a hospital for all of his short life while government agencies ducked responsibility, Jordan River Anderson would ultimately leave behind a legacy for Indigenous children. However, Jordan’s Principle - which declares that First Nations children must receive equitable access to services - might’ve been an empty gesture if not for activists’ dogged efforts to hold the Canadian government to its word. In turns infuriating and empowering, Alanis Obomsawin’s 53rd film is essential viewing.


Kuessipan
MYRIAM VERREAULT, CANADA, 2019, 117 MIN. True North
WED OCT 9, 3:00 PM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 8
THU OCT 10, 6:15 PM, VANCITY
"Freely inspired" by Naomi Fontaine’s novel, Myriam Verreault tells the story of two best friends in an Innu community. While Mikuan (Sharon Fontaine-Ishpatao) has a loving family, Shaniss (Yamie Grégoire) is picking up the pieces of her shattered childhood. As children, they promised each other to stick together no matter what. But as they near adulthood, their friendship is shaken when Mikuan falls for a white boy, and starts dreaming of leaving the reserve that’s now too small for her dreams.




Red Snow
MARIE CLEMENTS, CANADA, 2019, 100 MIN. Sea to Sky
World Premiere
FRI SEP 27, 6:15 PM, PLAYHOUSE
SUN OCT 6, 11:00 AM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 10
TUE OCT 8, 6:00 PM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 8
When captured by the Taliban, a Gwich’in soldier (Asivak Koostachin) must confront tormenting memories he believed he’d left behind in the Canadian north. In turn, when he strikes up an alliance with a Pashtun family, he discovers an affinity with these ethnic Afghans beyond their shared bid for survival. Shifting between striking arctic and arid landscapes, and tapping into a universal need for belonging, Marie Clements delivers an enthralling thriller that’s as poignant as it is pulse-quickening.

Rising Tides
CANADA, 66 MIN. Sea to Sky
TUE OCT 8, 8:15 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
This special screening features two films that delve into Indigenous Nations’ relationships with the respective lands they call home. In Raven People Rising (dir. Andrea Palframan), we learn of the ancestral teachings that powerfully connect the Heiltsuk Nation to the Great Bear Rainforest. Meanwhile, When the Tide Goes Out (dir. Eliot Galan) examines how food sovereignty is at the heart of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s cultural reclamation and the environmental restoration of their traditional territory.



Rustic Oracle
SONIA BONSPILLE BOILEAU, CANADA, 2019, 101 MIN.
World Premiere
SUN SEP 29, 6:45 PM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 9
TUE OCT 1, 3:15 PM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 8
After her devoted sister vanishes from their Mohawk community, eight-year-old Ivy (Lake Kahentawaks Delisle) joins her mother Susan (Carmen Moore) in a desperate search that lays bare the indifference of the authorities to a missing Indigenous teen. As their investigation leads them from their cloistered community, Sonia Bonspille Boileau (Le Dep) uncovers instances of warmth and grace in this delicate depiction of a child forging a stronger sense of identity and family by contending with the unthinkable.

Song Without a Name
(Canción sin nombre)
MELINA LEÓN, PERU/SPAIN/USA, 2019, 97 MIN. Panorama
MON SEP 30, 8:30 PM, VANCITY
THU OCT 3, 1:45 PM, VANCITY
Set in 1988 Lima, Melina León’s debut - shot in luminous B&W - draws from a real-life baby-trafficking scandal exposed by her journalist father. Lured by an ad promising free medical help, the pregnant Georgina (Pamela Mendoza), an Indigenous peasant, and her partner Leo (Lucio Rojas) journey to Lima to give birth. When her baby is taken away for a "check-up" and never returned, an ordeal unfolds that reveals corruption on multiple levels… "A bold, beautiful debut." - Hollywood Reporter


Three Feathers
CARLA ULRICH, CANADA, 2018, 44 MIN. True North
SUN SEP 29, 8:45 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
MON SEP 30, 4:00 PM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 8
After committing a crime that shakes their community, Flinch (David Burke), Bryce (Joel Evans), and Rupert (Dwight Moses) are sent to live on the land for nine months and explore the healing power of restorative justice. The Elders reconnect them to a life that was taken from them long ago, but it’s up to the boys to acquire the humility needed for restitution. Adapting Richard Van Camp’s novel and shooting in four languages, director Carla Ulrich underscores the value of culture and tradition.


Vai
NICOLE WHIPPY, 'OFA-KI-LEVUKA GUTTENBEIL-LIKILIKI, MATASILA FRESHWATER, AMBERLEY JO AUMUA, MĪRIA GEORGE, MARINA ALOFAGIA MCCARTNEY, DIANNA FUEMANA, BECS ARAHANGA, NEW ZEALAND, 2019, 90 MIN. Panorama
SAT SEP 28, 11:00 AM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 9
SAT OCT 5, 9:45 PM, PLAYHOUSE
Eight short films by women from different cultures in the South Pacific make up this groundbreaking package. Each director was given a set of rules: a 10-minute film following the fictional Vai’s life; one unbroken shot, if possible; one specific decade within which to situate the action. The amazing thing is that each film is both urgent and poetic, making for very satisfying viewing. "Vai has a lovely consistency of style and content that heightens the accessibility of its unique value…" - Variety


Program Updates

For all program updates see our announcements page.
    ADDED SCREENINGS:
  • I Lost My Body
    MON SEP 30, 6:15PM, VANCITY THEATRE
  • Harriet
    SAT OCT 5, 3:00PM, THE CENTRE
  • The Laundromat
    SUN OCT 6, 3:00PM, THE CENTRE
  • Marriage Story
    THU OCT 10, 8:45PM, THE CENTRE
  • Ford v Ferrari
    FRI OCT 11, 6:00PM, VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE

  • CANCELLED SCREENINGS:
  • I Lost My Body (Date/Venue Change)
    TUE OCT 8, 4:30PM, INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 10
Information - viff.org

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

  • Panorama –– Contemporary world cinema
  • Sea to Sky –– Celebrating BC Filmmakers - Presented by TELUS
  • True North –– Canadian stories from coast to coast - Presented by Telefilm Canada
  • Impact – Films that change the ways we see the world
  • Next – Next-level experiences in screen-based storytelling - Presented by Creative BC
  • Gateway –- Compelling world of East Asian cinema
  • M/A/D -– Focus on music, art + design.
  • ALT -– Fantastic cinema that defies classification

    For all programming announcements visit viff.org
Tickets & Guide
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The Complete Festival Guide
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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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