VIFF Announces 2014 Film Line-Up and Highlights

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(ABOVE IMAGE: Wild, by Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée, of Dallas Buyers Club fame. Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir, stars Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, and portrays a self-destructive woman who attempts to leave behind her years of drug abuse and recklessness with a solo, 1,000-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.) Vancouver BC, Canada (September 3, 2014) — The 33rd annual Vancouver International Film Festival (September 25 – October 10) announces its 2014 line-up that pushes the envelope on world-class cinema and unique film-focused events. From Cannes to the red carpet runway, 2014 sees VIFF make a bold transition in film, industry and special events.

This year audiences can look forward to 353 films from over 65 countries, including 223 features and 130 shorts. The stellar line-up includes 32 World Premieres, 38 International Premieres, 22 North American Premieres, and 47 Canadian Premieres.

VIFF’s Opening Night Gala film is the much-anticipated feature Wild, by Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée, of Dallas Buyers Club fame. Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir, stars Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, and portrays a self-destructive woman who attempts to leave behind her years of drug abuse and recklessness with a solo, 1,000-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. VIFF’s Closing Night Gala film is the Sundance Grand Jury and Audience Award winner, Whiplash (USA). Fierce rhythms and ferocious humour drive Damien Chazelle’s riveting film about an ambitious jazz drummer (Miles Teller) pushed beyond his breaking point by an instructor (J.K. Simmons) who takes tough-love to extremes.

ADDITIONAL GALA FILMS INCLUDE:

The Special Presentation Gala film (formerly Dragons and Tigers Gala) is The Vancouver Asahi — World Premiere (Japan). In Vancouver’s old Japantown, a group of Canadian-born kids launched their own baseball team, the Asahi. Yuya Ishii’s (Mitsuko Delivers) lavish-scale entertainment chronicles their battles against failure, racism and prejudice—and the brief moment of triumph they enjoyed before Pearl Harbor changed everything. Director Yuya Ishii and actors Satoshi Tsumabuki, and Kazuya Kamenashi will be in attendance.

The Canadian Images Gala film, October Gale (BC Premiere) is written and directed by Ruba Nadda and stars Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman and Tim Roth. The film tells the story of a doctor who takes in a mysterious man that washes ashore at her remote cottage with a gunshot wound.

"The VIFF is pleased to announce the Canadian Images Gala screening, October Gale, will be presented in partnership with Telefilm Canada. For many years, the Vancouver International Film Festival has enjoyed the distinct pleasure of showcasing the largest selection of Canadian films in the world. As partners we demonstrate our collective commitment to ensuring the celebration of Canadian cinema is at the forefront of local, national and international audiences alike. We look forward to working together in the coming years to building this signature event to be the Canadian "scene-to-be-seen" during the festival," says VIFF Executive Director Jacqueline Dupuis.

AWARDS:

VIFF has two new exciting awards for 2014:

Best New Director (International) An award that will go to a first or second-time director for a creative and innovative film which has not yet won significant international recognition. This competition flows directly from the 20-year history of the "Dragons and Tigers Award for Young Cinema" and is intended to help advance the careers of some of the world’s most deserving and promising young filmmakers.

Best Canadian Film $8,000 cash award sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada

Additional awards include:

Best BC Film A $10,000 development bursary provided by the Harold Greenberg Fund (The Fund), and a $15,000 equipment credit supplied by Deluxe

BC Emerging Filmmaker Award $7,500 cash award sponsored by the Union of BC Performers/ACTRA and ACTRA Fraternal Benefits Society, and a $10,000 equipment credit supplied by William F. White (Films must be signatory to a UBCP/ACTRA agreement to be eligible.)

Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film $2,000 cash award

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VIFF INDUSTRY HIGHLIGHTS:

VIFF Industry is thrilled to have secured leaders in their field to participate in this year’s conference, including:

Oscar-nominated writer Craig Borten, Dallas Buyers Club Chris Collins (Exec. Producer & Head Writer), Sons of Anarchy Jack Amiel (co-creator) of The Knick (HBO’s newest show) Bernie Su (creator/executive producer/showrunner), Emma Approved and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Jay Duplass, co-writer/co-director, Jeff, Who Lives at Home Adam Reed, creator, Archer Corey May, Lead Writer, Assassin’s Creed Other executives from VHX, Bond Strategy and Influence, Amplify Releasing, CineCoup, Film Presence, Seed&Spark, Indigogo, BitTorrent, Dotstudioz and Drafthouse Films.

Just one of many examples of VIFF Industry programming includes the 2nd edition of the Power to the Indie Program & Lab featuring leading experts in innovative technologies, new platforms and marketing strategies. The digital program will be enhanced by a private lab featuring six BC-based filmmaking teams who will collaboratively explore new models of direct distribution, potential revenue streams, and strategies for engaging audiences, with the goal of defining best practices for independent films as digital platforms continue to evolve.

In 2014, the VIFF will present 9 major film series:

1987 — BC Premiere (Canada) Director Ricardo Trogi (1981) delights with this hilarious and sometimes caustic souvenir of his own life when he was 17 years old. Ricardo is a cockeyed Quixote, fearlessly tilting at the repressive tyranny of everyday adolescence. Inspired by a surreal vision, he’s on a quirky quest that involves raging hormones, family drama and petty crime.

GALAS AND SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS — Our leading section combines major works from today’s masters with several other films that we are specially showcasing on the HUGE screen of The Centre for Arts, all topped off with a sprinkling of 3D art like you’ve never seen. CANADIAN IMAGES — One of the largest showcases of new Canadian cinema on the planet and a true point of pride for VIFF. This series is also home to the BC Spotlight, which focuses on the best and brightest of our homegrown talent.

CINEMA OF OUR TIME — A spectacular showcase of narrative films from around the globe featuring both today’s masters and tomorrow’s visionaries. Same planet. Different worlds.

DRAGONS AND TIGERS: THE CINEMAS OF EAST ASIA — For over 25 years, VIFF has presented one of the world’s largest and most adventurous collections of East Asian cinema. This tradition continues with another inspired selection of films.

NONFICTION FEATURES — As we mark the centenary of In the Land of the Head Hunters, the seminal British Columbia nonfiction film, VIFF unveils another series of acclaimed documentary and essay films that expand the form’s possibilities and invite us to view the world in different lights.

ARTS & LETTERS — A cinematic celebration of visual and performing arts with a strong focus on captivating films in which music takes centre stage.

SPOTLIGHT ON FRANCE — VIFF honours the rich cinematic culture that continues to flourish in France by highlighting the nation’s finest big-screen offerings.

ALTERED STATES — This is where international genre films come out to play and audiences will experience fantastic cinema that defies ready classification.

SHORT FILM SHOWCASE — These programmes showcase both established and emerging artists who push short-form storytelling to its limits.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS

Launching this year, the Style in Film Series is a stunning showcase of fashion, style, art, cinematic aesthetics and cultural iconoclasts, this series will be an experience Vancouverites will be sure to adore. Included in the 6-film series are Advanced Style, Hand Made With Love In France, God Help The Girl, Two Faces Of January, In The Name Of My Daughter, Looking For Light: Jane Bown. We are also thrilled to partner with Eco Fashion Week to produce a series of Q&A’s and events that will further enhance this already stylish experience, including a VIP post-screening event at Holt Renfrew following the October 5 screening of Advanced Style, the hottest new style doc. We have launched a special new Style Passport where fashionistas and style-mavens alike can purchase this exciting experience.

Other Film Highlights by section:

VIFF’s Closing Night Gala film is the Sundance Grand Jury and Audience Award winner, Whiplash (USA). Fierce rhythms and ferocious humour drive Damien Chazelle’s riveting film about an ambitious jazz drummer (Miles Teller) pushed beyond his breaking point by an instructor (J.K. Simmons) who takes tough-love to extremes.

CANADIAN IMAGES The Canadian Images series is the largest exhibition of new Canadian cinema in the world. This incredibly popular series has screened over 1,000 feature films and 1,600 shorts to an audience of over 600,000 since its inception.

1987 — BC Premiere (Canada) Director Ricardo Trogi (1981) delights with this hilarious and sometimes caustic souvenir of his own life when he was 17 years old. Ricardo is a cockeyed Quixote, fearlessly tilting at the repressive tyranny of everyday adolescence. Inspired by a surreal vision, he's on a quirky quest that involves raging hormones, family drama and petty crime.

Monsoon — BC Premiere (Canada) Sturla Gunnarsson’s latest is a personal reflection on chaos, creation and faith in a land of believers. He explores the incomparably vast seasonal weather system that permeates and unifies the immense and varied cultures of India. As the huge system gradually engulfs every region of the country, we meet a remarkable array of individuals whose lives are fundamentally affected by the phenomenon.

Elephant Song — BC Premiere (Canada) An eminent psychiatrist (Colm Feore) disappears from his office. The last person to see him was Michael, played here by wunderkind Xavier Dolan. The director of the hospital, Doctor Green (Bruce Greenwood) interviews Michael in director Charles Binamé's surprising tale of turning tables.

Dirty Singles — BC Premiere (Canada) Jack (Paul Campbell) and Meagan (Alex Paxton-Beesley) have got it all. They've just bought a house, they're thinking about a family, and they have a close-knit circle of zany friends that love them. A few hook-ups, break-ups and break downs later, the circle unravels and then regroups in this sharp-edged and libidinous comedy from Alex Pugsley.

BC SPOTLIGHT

Sitting on the Edge of Marlene — BC Premiere (Canada) Ana Valine's darkly comic drama centres on mother/daughter con artists who just can't catch a break. Seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Sammie—who lives with her pill-popping, alcoholic mom Marlene—this bittersweet journey leads us through dysfunction, love and addiction, before culminating with an unusual deliverance for this compelling pair.

The Boy From Geita — BC Premiere (Canada) Adam was born with albinism, a genetic condition that affects skin pigment. At home in Tanzania, Adam’s white complexion sets him apart and has made him the target of unimaginable violence. "Harrowing and poignant ... Vic Sarin's film, with its searing images, is both ode to human resilience and ingenuity, and indictment of human cruelty and stupidity."

Two 4 One — BC Premiere (Canada) Maureen Bradley wrote and directed this feature film debut, a bittersweet romantic comedy with a transgender hero in an unimaginable predicament. Oddball couple Miriam and Adam have an ill-advised and pivotal one-night-stand and they both wind up pregnant. Engagingly shot by Amy Belling, watch for standout performances from Gavin Crawford, Naomi Snieckus and Gabrielle Rose.

Songs She Wrote About People She Knows — BC Premiere (Canada) Sturla Gunnarsson’s latest is a personal reflection on chaos, creation and faith in a land of believers. He explores the incomparably vast seasonal weather system that permeates and unifies the immense and varied cultures of India. As the huge system gradually engulfs every region of the country, we meet a remarkable array of individuals whose lives are fundamentally affected by the phenomenon.

The Boy From Geita — BC Premiere (Canada) Adam was born with albinism, a genetic condition that affects skin pigment. At home in Tanzania, Adam’s white complexion sets him apart and has made him the target of unimaginable violence. "Harrowing and poignant ... Vic Sarin's film, with its searing images, is both ode to human resilience and ingenuity, and indictment of human cruelty and stupidity."

INTERNATIONAL

With hundreds of incredible titles to choose from the International programming at VIFF 2014 is beyond explanation.

One of the themes at this year’s festival is Gentle on My Mind, a section of programming that includes extraordinarily touching films on overcoming disabilities, family caring, mental illness, and music as an aid for recovery.

Glen Campbell: I’ll be Me — BC Premiere (USA) The legendary singer/guitarist performs on his farewell tour despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Welcome to Me — Western Canadian Premiere (USA) Directed by Shira Piven, starring Kristen Wiig, Linda Cardellini, James Marsden and Will Ferrell. The film tells the story of Alice (Wiig) who suffers from dissociative personality disorder and wins the lottery only to decide to spend her money on a cable access talk show about herself. Director Shira Piven will be in attendance.

Another theme at this year’s festival is The Great Divide, sponsored by the Lochmaddy Foundation. One of the hottest topics today is the growing gap between the haves and have-nots. Many films in VIFF 2014 address issues of social justice, politics and the dispossessed, but this sidebar has been chosen to illuminate just some of what rising inequality is bringing to our world.

Foxcatcher — BC Premiere (USA) The bizarre true story of Olympic wrestling brothers (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) and their mentally imbalanced sponsor, played by Steve Carell.

Jalanan — North American Premiere (Indonesia/Canada) The most successful documentary in Indonesian history shines a light on urban poverty, and also made stars of three Jakarta street musicians whose talent is only rivalled by their resourcefulness. Vancouver filmmaker Daniel Ziv will be in attendance.

Other International Film Highlights:

Handmade with Love From France — North American Premiere (France) The French title—Le temps suspendu (time suspended)—perfectly captures this affectionate celebration of the artisans who create fabulous haute-couture outfits for Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.

Red Army — Western Canadian Premiere (USA/Russia) Home to some of the greatest hockey players ever, the Soviet Union’s Red Army team was also a key combatant in the Cold War’s propaganda battle and exemplars of the ethos that the system trumped individual stardom.

Mr. Turner — Western Canadian Premiere (UK/France/Germany) Acclaimed director Mike Leigh and perennially unsung actor Timothy Spall are at the heights of their considerable powers in this enthralling account of visionary J.M.W. Turner's final years. Winner, Best Actor, Cannes 2014.

Haemoo — Western Canadian Premiere (South Korea) — Dragons and Tigers Program Co-written (and reputedly also supervised) by Bong Joon-ho, and based on a real incident notorious in Korea. A fishing-boat skipper is persuaded (against his better judgment) to smuggle a group of North Korean illegals ashore. What could possibly go wrong?

The Festival’s online box office is now open for ticket sales. VIFF INDUSTRY’s conference schedule is now available at www.viff.org/industry

For more information, go to www.viff.org