VIFF organizers won’t Allow Toronto’s stars dim festival’s Glow

The executive director of the Vancouver International Film Festival states with some resignation which she’s accustomed to hearing the question: How come the Vancouver event never matches the celebrities and red-carpet quotient of its Toronto counterpart, the Toronto International Film Festival?

Filmmaker Christopher Nolan as well as celebrities Jennifer Lawrence, Matt Damon and Idris Elba, together with many others, are anticipated at TIFF, promoting their new feature movies. But don’t search for a similar constellation in VIFF, which starts Sept. 28. VIFF will display a total of 375 films from all over the world before the festival curtain drops on Oct. 13.

Jacqueline Dupuis says that there are contractual obligations for actors to promote movies as they open, describing their presence in TIFF, which has more premieres. “If we had more celebrities take part in our festival, that would be a terrific thing, but it’s probably not a viable anticipation,” says Ms. Dupuis, noting that if celebrities return to VIFF, “it sort of has to be out of the goodness of the heart{}”

However, Ms. Dupuis notes that VIFF has heard audiences want to hear from founders and the 2017 variant of the festival — the 35th edition — will oblige with 400 founders involved with varied areas of the movies available for the festival. Creators, she said, bring a new dimension to describing the films that people see.

On Wednesday, VIFF summarized its programming plans for this year’s festival, a mixture of films from British Columbia, the rest of North America and the world.

A VIFF spokesperson mentioned at least eight world premieres, and two North American premieres — among these acclaimed director Jane Campion’s mystery series Top of the Lake: China Girl, starring Elisabeth Moss from TV’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

The legion of founders has its high-profile start with Mina Shum, whose newest dramatic feature film Meditation Park is your opening-night gala for the festival. Ms. Shum grew up in Vancouver, the setting for this movie about a Chinese-Canadian spouse who fears her husband was unfaithful. Sandra Oh and Don McKellar are in the cast. The movie will be screened at TIFF before its appearance in Vancouver.

“We had an opportunity to start with a local movie that was created by Mina Shum. It is a very uniquely Vancouver narrative,” she said. “It’s a really sweet and strong story.”

The closing-night movie for this year’s VIFF is the U.S. drama Wonderstruck, directed by Todd Haynes and starring Julianne Moore. Even though Mr. Haynes and Ms. Moore won’t be at VIFF this year, Ms. Dupuis is happy to have his new film. “It is a get to have that as the Canadian premiere, here at VIFF. We love Todd Haynes, a very successful, auteur filmmaker.”

VIFF will be doubling back on the founders theme with a Creator Talks program that includes appearances by Carlton Cuse, the co-creator of TV’s Missing, who also shot five seasons of the recently concluded series Bates Motel — according to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie Psycho — in British Columbia.

There is also Toronto-born director Jeremy Podeswa, whose current work directing the season finale of Game of Thrones follows missions on True Detective, The Walking Dead, Homeland and Boardwalk Empire.

And South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho will go back to the town where he shot portions of his new movie Okja — a unique story about one of many superpigs made to help nourish the world — to take part in a protracted In Conversation session. Okja had its debut on Netflix earlier this season. Many of Mr. Bong’s films have screened at VIFF, which will, this season, be honouring him as a “VIFF visionary{}”

Ms. Dupuis said it is okay that lots of VIFF movies will have been screened everywhere because audiences in Vancouver is going to be conscious of these, and more interested in seeing them.

She states VIFF remains relevant in an era when so many movies are available through streaming solutions on mobile devices because people are interested in a shared experience, particularly when it includes commentary from a founder. Ms. Dupuis calls it an interactive experience you can not get on an iPad.

“I always have that warm and fuzzy feeling after I’ve seen that first screening using a founder and hearing them talk about the way they brought it to life,” she said.

“Every movie is a wonder — all the different components that will need to happen to bring a film to life on screen. It’s really a miracle, therefore I really like hearing from the wonder workers in regard to how they did this.”

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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