VIFF 2010: Leave Them Laughing

Comments 43 by Rebecca Bollwitt

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.

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43 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. MaseyMonday, September 27th, 2010 — 6:23pm PDT

    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 BeleyMonday, September 27th, 2010 — 6:30pm PDT

    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. TracyMonday, September 27th, 2010 — 10:00pm PDT

    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. CaresseMonday, September 27th, 2010 — 10:22pm PDT

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

  5. MonaTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 6:34am PDT

    I would love to see this movie, loved 65RedRoses

  6. JewelsTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 9:05am PDT

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

  7. ShawnTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 10:02am PDT

    Love the VIFF. Love to attend.

  8. SanazTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 10:15am PDT

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

  9. MikeTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 10:46am PDT

    Awesome! I love the VIFF.

  10. LynTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 10:48am PDT

    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. alexTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 11:34am PDT

    I’d love to attend.

  12. KTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 11:57am PDT

    sounds great, love to attend

  13. loboTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 12:06pm PDT

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

  14. A.J.Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 12:43pm PDT

    I really wanted to see this! VIFF is great!

  15. JamesTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 2:45pm PDT

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

  16. MelissaTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 2:46pm PDT

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

  17. KristinaTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 2:49pm PDT

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

  18. CindyTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 3:43pm PDT

    I would love to see this…love the viff

  19. ewanEYETuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 3:57pm PDT

    i love giddy days!

  20. ChistaTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 4:40pm PDT

    I would love to see this movie!

  21. KateTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 4:43pm PDT

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

  22. BrendaTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 5:14pm PDT

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

  23. ConnieTuesday, September 28th, 2010 — 9:13pm PDT

    The movie sounds awesome

  24. CandiceWednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 10:16am PDT

    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. Rich @VancouverNutritionistWednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 10:40am PDT

    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. AliceWednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 10:41am PDT

    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. GretchWednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 11:49am PDT

    Would love to see this movie!

  28. RamiWednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 12:29pm PDT

    I am hoping to see this, looks great!

  29. Joanna FolinoWednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 12:55pm PDT

    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. RoseWednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 1:30pm PDT

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

  31. RobWednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 2:22pm PDT

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

  32. Richard W.Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 3:12pm PDT

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

  33. Linda BilbenWednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 4:34pm PDT

    VIFF – each year a little more on the map.

  34. Kelly ManWednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 6:30pm PDT

    never been to viff would love to go

  35. Amy W.Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 9:15pm PDT

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

  36. MimiWednesday, September 29th, 2010 — 9:52pm PDT

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

  37. Dina AThursday, September 30th, 2010 — 10:11am PDT


    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.Thursday, September 30th, 2010 — 11:03am PDT

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

  39. DanielleThursday, September 30th, 2010 — 11:32am PDT


  40. Laura RansomThursday, September 30th, 2010 — 5:51pm PDT

    Would love to see this.

  41. JennyThursday, September 30th, 2010 — 6:01pm PDT

    I want to win!

  42. AkemiThursday, September 30th, 2010 — 9:30pm PDT

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

  43. Ian MacLeodThursday, September 30th, 2010 — 11:41pm PDT

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

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