VIFF 2010: Preview and Picks

Comments 5 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Vancouver International Film Festival starts at the end of September and tickets went on sale this past Sunday.

I’ve been covering the VIFF for about three years now and each time I do, I start by mining Marina Antunes for information. She helps run the RowThree podcast and blog, which is in my opinion, the best movie site around. She has posted her top picks for this year’s festival and I sat down with her to find out how and why she made these selections.

“My list is really Canadian-heavy, this year is a really good year for Canadian film. I was really impressed,” says Marina.

City of Life
Director: Ali F. Mostafa
Notes: “This one isn’t Canadian but it’s the first feature film written, directed and produced in the United Arab Emirates. From what I can tell it looks like your basic city/life drama but it’s a great first look at the city of Dubai.”
Program Link

Fathers & Sons
Director: Carl Bessai
Notes: “This is sort of a sequel to Mothers & Daughters from 2008,” says Marina, which starred the late Babz Chula. “Mothers and Daughters won the Canadian Images Audience Award and we knew [Bessai] was going to use the prize money to make this film.” She adds that Fathers & Sons looks very funny and should be just as touching, but from a male perspective.
Program Link

Director: Carl Bessai
Marina’s notes: “It’s been on my radar for about a year and I didn’t know it would play here. I really want to see this because I’ve never seen Carl Bessai do a genre film, and here he’s doing a type of Groundhog Day time travel drama. The reception was sort of mixed at TIFF but his films do really well here – for good reason – so it must be a East versus West Coast thing.” As a side note, Marina is a huge Carl Bessai fan and through her recommendations over the years, I need to thank her introducing me to his work.
Program Link

End of Animal
Director: Jo Sung-He
Notes: “This is a Koren film from a new director who has done one short film before. It’s a post-apocalyptic film that the British Film Institute has called a “pocket-sized” apocalyptic film. I think this will be the international premiere for the film and it was selected by the director of the Dragons & Tigers program at the VIFF.” Marina says that it might have been called “pocket-sized” simply based on the budget and anything “post-apocalyptic” is worth seeing for her.
Program Link

Director: Ingrid Veninger
Notes: “This is part of the Canadian Images line up and it’s a coming of age tale of two teenagers who sort of like each other. The girl is going on a trip to Slovakia and she invites the boy along with her family. The trailer looks beautiful.”
Program Link

When talking about various genres Marina lights up, post-apocalyptic, coming of age, and even period pieces. However she started to beam when introducing the next film, which she simply describes as “EPIC!”

Mysteries of Lisbon
Director: Raul Ruiz
Notes: This is based on Castelo Branco’s novel which has never been translated to English (from Portugese). “It’s a story that Portuguese people are familiar with because it’s been everywhere, forever,” says Marina who is of Portuguese heritage herself. The film runs about 4.5 hours long. “It’s sort of a mystery, romance, period setting, it’s the biggest production ever out of Portugal and it’s both a mini-series and a film.”
Program Link

You can read more from Marina on Row Three, which is currently providing team coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Back at The Vista
Photo credit: 7-how-7 on Flickr

The Vancouver International Film Festival runs September 30th until October 15th presenting films in the following series: Africa Today, Ecologies of Mind, Arts & Letters, Audience Award Winners, Canadian Images, Cinema of Our Time, Dragons & Tigers, Films for youth under 18, High School Program, Nonfiction Features (Docs), Galas, Spotlight on France, and Special Presentations.

Tickets for individual films and full festival passes are now on sale online, by phone, and in person at the Vancouver International Film Centre on Seymour at Davie.

Special Note is very proud to be an Official Media Sponsor for this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. I will be providing coverage of the gala parties along with film reviews and maybe even a few giveaways. I am very excited about this sponsorship and am excited to spread the word about this year’s fantastic line up of films.

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5 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. RhesusWednesday, September 15th, 2010 — 12:31pm PDT

    So… Marina skimmed the guide and made some picks based on countries or genres she happens to personally be interested in, just like the rest of us?

  2. Rebecca Bollwitt, Miss604 Rebecca BollwittWednesday, September 15th, 2010 — 12:34pm PDT

    That is correct. I went to who I consider an “expert” to get some ideas for this year’s festival. I value her input as a Canadian movie enthusiast, movie fan and veteran movie blogger/podcaster.

    I’m also doing a post soon regarding the Canucks so I will be providing input from some of my favourite hockey bloggers. It’s really fun to get other people involved and share their points of view.

  3. RichWednesday, September 15th, 2010 — 1:46pm PDT

    Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve seen around 12 of the VIFF 2010 films and have some notes on each I’ve seen on my blog (

    A short list from things I’ve caught previously would include: Cold Weather, Garbo the Spy, The Reverse, and A Somewhat Gentle Man, and Cell 211.

  4. Marina AntunesWednesday, September 15th, 2010 — 5:13pm PDT

    Hi Rhesus – I wish I could say it was as easy as “skimming the guide”. With over 350 films, skimming will likely only leave you with a headache and a list of films with big or recognizable stars. This year has been particularly stellar for independent and international cinema not to mention the crop of Canadian film, as noted above, is spectacular. My list (indeed, a personal one) hopefully shines a light on some of the titles that could be easily overlooked.

    Happy scheduling (and viewing)!

  5. RhesusWednesday, September 15th, 2010 — 7:23pm PDT

    Fair enough. I think I might have come off a little snippier than intended. All I meant was that there’s not really any information in this list that isn’t in the guide — it’s more a personal reaction to the countries and genres you enjoy than some inside scoop, and that’s totally legit. Wading through all that abysmal prose is no mean feat, and I applaud your willingness to do so and share what you’ve found.

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