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VIFF 2010: Leave Them Laughing

Monday, September 27th, 2010 — 6:19pm PDT
Comments 43

As a sponsor of the Vancouver International Film Festival this year I was able to choose a specific screening to be presented by After looking at the Canadian Images series I selected Leave Them Laughing.

Media sponsorship of the Leave Them Laughing screeningsLeave Them Laughing
Director: John Zaritsky
Producer: Montana Berg
Featuring: Carla Zilbersmith
View film blog
View Carla’s blog

Once a nationally-known performer of ballads, skits and self-parody, now fated by Lou Gehrig’s Disease to perish within months, the remarkable Carla Zilbersmith was diagnosed in 2007 and given less than four years to live. She will leave a teen-aged son, a few fans and students who adore her, and this 90-minute pre-mortem retrospective of a life lived fully, but far too fast.

On stage in actual and dramatized flashbacks to her giddy days as a comedienne and chanteuse, and on camera in the unashamed current reality of her condition, “Leave ‘Em Laughing” tells Carla’s own glad, sad story in her own voice through diary entries, travelogues, interviews and skits. Films of her last brave travels to Australia, Britain and Mexico demonstrate the ferocity of her intention to suck the last molecules of pleasure from her life. She is confident that a musical comedy about the nearness of death will be a unique and compelling vehicle to engage an audience with a subject that might otherwise be shunned for its graphic toll of suffering and pain.”

I made my decision based on the subject matter and the fact that the Carla was a blogger. In fact, this screening has been dedicated to the memory of Eva Markvoort of 65_RedRoses. These women both blogged about their illnesses and shared their struggles and inspirational attitudes with the world through the online realm, and through documentary films both screened at VIFF.

I have a two pairs of tickets for a Miss604 reader and their guest to join me at the first screening of Leave Them Laughing this Saturday October 2nd at 7:00pm. If you would like to attend (VIFF membership included for this film) please leave a comment on this post. I will draw two winners at 9:00am Friday October 1st.

Update My winners are James & Candice — see you at the film!
Update James is unable to attend so the next winner is Laura Ransom.

The Vancouver International Film Festival runs September 30th until October 15th, 2010.

Current contests on


  1. Masey says:

    Really looking forward to the VIFF this year and it looks like you’ve picked a really great flick to get behind. Nice one!

  2. Janice Beley says:

    Earlier this year I went to a screening of this movie at UBC. I knew Carla and unfortunately my mother also died from ALS. Carla faced this horrible disease like no other and she’s a true inspiration.

  3. Tracy says:

    I saw that memorial video a couple months ago and thought it was so inspirational and so sad. Would love to see this movie!

  4. Caresse says:

    Sounds like a fun night out, though the flick sounds sad.

  5. Mona says:

    I would love to see this movie, loved 65RedRoses

  6. Jewels says:

    Carla sounds like a remarkable woman, I know Jer and I would love to join you to hear/see her story.

  7. Shawn says:

    Love the VIFF. Love to attend.

  8. Sanaz says:

    Looking forward to watching some movies with a good story line!

  9. Mike says:

    Awesome! I love the VIFF.

  10. Lyn says:

    This film has a great title and sounds worthwhile. I’d like to see it and I’m available on Thursday so it’d be perfect.

  11. alex says:

    I’d love to attend.

  12. K says:

    sounds great, love to attend

  13. lobo says:

    Tough to watch I’m sure, but worth it.

  14. A.J. says:

    I really wanted to see this! VIFF is great!

  15. James says:

    I’d Love to see it. Everyone should get out and support the VIFF as much as possible.

  16. Melissa says:

    Would be my first screening at VIFF and would love to see this!

  17. Kristina says:

    Sounds like such an inspirational story. Would love to see it!

  18. Cindy says:

    I would love to see this…love the viff

  19. ewanEYE says:

    i love giddy days!

  20. Chista says:

    I would love to see this movie!

  21. Kate says:

    I am looking forward to VIFF this year. The free iPhone app made me really WANT to go see this one!

  22. Brenda says:

    I heart VIFF! I’m watching Score! and Mood Swings.

  23. Connie says:

    The movie sounds awesome

  24. Candice says:

    ALS is a terrible disease. What a great selection to bring all the issues to life. A close family friend recently passed away this weekend from Lou Gehrigs. Sounds like an incredibly inspiring story.

  25. I’d love to attend. I hope Jewels & Jer don’t win! Only kidding. I’ve known Jewels for years. Just like giving her a hard time 🙂

  26. Alice says:

    I love going to VIFF each year and already am going to see 3 other movies. Would love to catch this film as well!!

  27. Gretch says:

    Would love to see this movie!

  28. Rami says:

    I am hoping to see this, looks great!

  29. I am fortunate to be an Associate Producer on this film along with 3 other amazing women. I was also and more importantly a friend and co worker of Carla’s for 18 years. She was amazing; the film is amazing and trust me, you don’t want to miss it. Tell your friends as well. And thanks for letting the world there know about it. Joanna

  30. Rose says:

    Would love to check it out. VIFF is an annual highlight!

  31. Rob says:

    The VIFF is amazing, and I would love to ‘leave them laughing!’

  32. Richard W. says:

    VIFF is such a great festival for Vancouver! Just bought my program a few days ago!

  33. Linda Bilben says:

    VIFF – each year a little more on the map.

  34. Kelly Man says:

    never been to viff would love to go

  35. Amy W. says:

    Can’t wait for VIFF to start up again this year!

  36. Mimi says:

    That looks like a great film, would love to go!

  37. Dina A says:


    I am an aspiring vancouver filmmaker and would love to attend as many films as I can in the festival to support local and international filmmakers.



  38. Ron K. says:

    Still have yet to pick my flicks this year. Maybe winning tix to this one will get the ball rolling!

  39. Danielle says:


  40. Laura Ransom says:

    Would love to see this.

  41. Akemi says:

    I love the VIFF so I would definitely like to go to as many as possible!

  42. Ian MacLeod says:

    Great to see John still bringing us emotionally challenging documentaries…would love the chance to see it!

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