Films

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Films2018-11-28T19:37:20+00:00

The World Comes to PRFF

Our line-up for 2019 is as diverse as we are.
Engaging Cinema. Engaging Minds.

Early Bird Passes Are Now Available! online at our Eventbrite Event Page, and click on “tickets” to buy your pass.

You can also visit our pop-up kiosk near Coles at the Town Centre Mall.

Hours are: Fridays, and Saturday, from 12pm to 4pm. Early bird pricing ends December 31, 2018.

One of our friendly volunteers will be happy to assist you.


Friday, February 8
7:00 p.m Opening Party w/Jazz music by Retro, catering & cash bar
8:00 p.m. Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes
Director:Sophie Huber
(85 min)

Founded in New York in 1939 by German refugees Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff (with funding from communist writer Max Margulis), Blue Note became a congenial home to the likes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Bud Powell and so many others—the list of stars who recorded for the label is, frankly, astounding. Lion and Wolff were true fans, and they were willing to cater to the artists in any way the artists wanted, just so the duo could capture the music as it was meant to be heard, without compromise.


Saturday, February 9
1:30 p.m Becoming Astrid
Director: Pernille Fischer Christensen
Language:In Swedish, Danish with English subtitles
(93 min)

Writer Astrid Lindgren (née Ericsson) is famous the world over for creating the indefatigable Pippi Longstocking, the tenacious, free-spirited character beloved of children everywhere. What is revelatory about Pernille Fischer Christensen’s vibrant biopic focusing on Lindgren’s life between the ages of 16 and 21 is that it shows Pippi’s moxie was not created out of whole cloth—Lindgren herself lived as unorthodoxly and individualistically as the fictitious Pippi, and paid a price for it.


Saturday, February 9
7:00 p.m Shoplifters
Director: Kore-eda Hirokazu
(121 min)

VIFF favourite Kore-eda Hirokazu (Still Walking, After the Storm) is back with the top prizewinner at Cannes 2018. Also a smash hit in his native Japan, Shoplifters is a film about love and crime. When a little girl (Sasaki Miyu) is found alone in the cold by Osamu (Lily Franky) and his young companion Shota (Jyo Kairi), Osamu brings her home for a hot meal; when signs point to her being an abuse victim, he decides she should stay. And so she joins the Shibata family, which also includes wife Nobuyo (Ando Sakura), teenager Aki (Matsuoka Mayu) and “grandma” Hatsue (Kiki Kilin). To all appearances, they’re a caring and contented bunch, but they’re also very poor, and they have ways of getting by that “respectable” society frowns on—most notably, theft. Can their happiness last?


Sunday, February 10
1:30 p.m Science Fair
Director: Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster
(90 min)

Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster’s joyful documentary can’t help but inspire hope in these grim times as it follows nine science-obsessed teenagers in the lead-up to the esteemed Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, an arduous competition where the winner stands to pocket a cool $75,000 and perhaps change the world. Costantini was an ISEF contestant herself, which helps account for the empathetic treatment accorded her and Foster’s whizz-kid subjects, all of whom come across as fully rounded—and fully human—characters while competing with 1,700 fellow neophyte scientists from 78 countries.


Sunday, February 10
7:00 p.m People’s Republic of Desire
Director: Hao Wu
Language:In Chinese with English subtitles
(93 min)

Hold on tight for a dazzling, harrowing trip down the digital rabbit hole. With over 300-million users, the Chinese live-streaming platform YY has the power to transform the very modestly talented into much-adored superstars who can earn tens of thousands of dollars a month in tips from their loyal armies of diaosi—the isolated, self-described “losers” who flock to the site to squander their meagre incomes. Singing off-key pop songs, telling lame jokes and basking in one’s ordinariness seems to be all it takes to make it big in this brave new world.


Monday, February 11
1:30 p.m. Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes
Director:Sophie Huber
(85 min)

Founded in New York in 1939 by German refugees Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff (with funding from communist writer Max Margulis), Blue Note became a congenial home to the likes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Bud Powell and so many others—the list of stars who recorded for the label is, frankly, astounding. Lion and Wolff were true fans, and they were willing to cater to the artists in any way the artists wanted, just so the duo could capture the music as it was meant to be heard, without compromise.


Monday, February 11
7:00 p.m Styx
Director: Wolfgang Fischer
Language:In English, German with English subtitles
(94 min)

Both an example of the West’s reaction to the refugee crisis and an exhilarating exercise in pure cinema, Wolfgang Fischer’s taut drama features Susanne Wolff (amazing here) as Rike, a fit and capable doctor who sets out on a solo ocean voyage. After weathering a spectacular literal storm with aplomb, she faces a moral one that turns out to be far harder to master: Rike comes across a sinking trawler full of refugees, radios the coast guard and is told to back off as help is on the way. But, as time passes and the 100-odd refugees edge closer and closer to certain death, her humanity demands a response—which almost leads to her own demise.


Tuesday, February 12
7:00 p.m. The Price of Everything
Director:Nathanial Kahn
(98 min)

What is it about the contemporary art market that holds us mere mortals in thrall? How and why can a shiny, metallic balloon-animal dog sell for $58.4 million, as Jeff Koons’ original did in 2013? Why is some contemporary art now worth 10 times more than what it fetched at auction only 10 or 15 years ago? Kahn seems to have had unlimited access to the billionaire players pushing up prices as well as the behind-the-scenes skullduggery that hypes some artists and suppresses others, and the picture he paints—sometimes cynical, sometimes upbeat—captures the crazy spirit of this crazy time.


Wednesday, February 13
7:00 p.m. Roma
Director:Alfonso Cuarón
(135 min)

The most personal project to date from Academy Award (R)-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien), ROMA follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City. Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s.


Thursday, February 14
1:30 p.m. Maria by Callas
Director: Tom Volf
Language:In English, French with English subtitles
(113 min)

The most beautiful singing voice of the 20th century belonged to a Greek-American who grew up in New York City before moving to Athens shortly before WWII. Maria Callas was a prodigious talent from the first, but pushed by a determined stage mother, and driven by her own perfectionism, she took the world by storm, conquering the renowned opera stages of Rome, Paris, London and New York. Her fame was such she was hounded by paparazzi throughout the 1950s and 60s, and she became tabloid fodder for her (greatly exaggerated) “diva” reputation, and for a mildly scandalous love affair with one of the richest men in the world, Aristotle Onassis. (He ditched her for Jackie Kennedy, then regretted it.)


Thursday, February 14
7:00 p.m. What They Had
Director: Elizabeth Chomko
(101 min)

Summoned home to wintery Chicago by her brother Nicky (Michael Shannon), Bridget (Hilary Swank) has to contend with her mother Ruth (Blythe Danner), who’s losing a fight with late-stage Alzheimer’s, and her overbearing father Burt (Robert Forster), who has taken a deep dive into denial. Also along for the ride to offer additional aggravation is Emma (Taissa Farmiga), Bridget’s daughter who’s just been booted from her college dorm for boozing.Elizabeth Chomko performs a deft tonal balancing act in this exquisitely detailed narrative, and her actors are at the height of their powers, uncovering humour and healing in the most trying of circumstances.


Friday, February 15
1:30 p.m. Firecrackers
Director: Jasmin Mozaffari
(93 min)

Teens Lou (Michaela Kurimsky) and Chantal (Karena Evans) have only one thing on their minds: getting the hell out of their rural Ontario backwater and never looking back. Scouring their stifling surroundings for any source of income, these resilient girls butt heads with a place and a populace that threaten to rob them of their free spirits. But Lou and Chantal are equally threatened by their own combustibility and could very well precipitate their own ruin.
A tribute to youthful ambition and ideals, Jasmin Mozaffari’s feature debut offers us the chance to feel as rebellious, as animated and as alive as its protagonists. Set against a striking backdrop of big skies and open spaces and vibrantly shot by Catherine Lutes, Firecrackers hinges on raging emotions and devastating heartbreaks. It’s also a potent reminder that opportunities in life are often precarious and fleeting. None of us have a moment to waste.


Friday, February 15
7:00 p.m. Edge of the Knife
Director: Gwaai Edenshaw, Helen Haig-Browni
Language:In Haida with English subtitles
(100 min)

Filmed on stunning Haida Gwaii, Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown’s 19th-century epic is a nod to the grand storytelling traditions that lure us to the big screen. The fact that it’s the first narrative scripted and shot in two dialects of the endangered Haida language—which has only 20-odd fluent speakers left—also certifies it as a landmark work of cinema. Guilt-ridden after a tragic accident at sea, Adiits’ii (Tyler York) retreats into the wilderness where he’s plagued by spirits and transformed into Gaagiixiid/Gaagiid, the Haida Wildman. As his loved ones, including best friend Kwa (William Russ), set out to capture and cure him, Adiits’ii grows increasingly feral.


Saturday, February 16
1:30 p.m. The Issue of Mr O’Dell
Director: Rami Katz
(34 min)
Finding Big Country
Director: Kathleen S. Jayme
(44 min)

Finding Big Country: The Vancouver Grizzlies’ inglorious six-year NBA history may’ve lacked for highlights but it undeniably had a poster boy: Bryant “Big Country” Reeves, the centre whose less-than-sculpted man-mountain frame made him an easy target for criticism, if not outright derision. Documentarian Kathleen S. Jayme sets out to track down her hard-luck hero who has become infamously reclusive since he was forced into early retirement by injuries. (It’s tragically poetic that Reeves never played another game after the Grizzlies’ relocated to Memphis in 2001.) As Kathleen shares details of her own complex relationship with basketball, it becomes evident just how much she has personally invested in this search. Peoples’ Choice Award winner at VIFF 2018.


Saturday, February 16
7:00 p.m Closing Party with Special guests, catering & cash bar
8:00 p.m. In the Valley of Wild Horses
Director:Trevor Mack, Asia Youngman
(23 min)
Hɛhɛwšɩn-The Way Forward
Director: Cyndi Pallen (čɩnɛ)
(~ min)

Every summer, the community of Xeni Gwet’in travels 200 km by horse and wagon from their home in Nemiah Valley to the famous Williams Lake stampede to honour a 94-year tradition of inclusion, trade and relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. In the Valley of Wild Horses traces their journey.

How do you undo over 2 centuries of genocide and oppression, that was forced upon the original inhabitants of this land? We carved a canoe! Climb aboard the Hehewsin Canoe, come listen and learn from the Tla’amin people, as we move forward, together! Hehewshin – The Way Forward follows impassioned Tla’amin Nation members – Cyndi Pallen (čɩnɛ) and John Louie (yaχwum) and their colonized Irish friend Phil Russell (kʷʊnanəm) as they come upon a brilliant plan to engage the non-indigenous on the path of reconciliation. Moving way beyond lip service, this film documents a first of it’s kind; the joint creation of a traditional dugout canoe. The canoe proves to be a powerful symbol of reconciliation: we are all on the same canoe, we must all paddle in unison to get to where we need to be.


Sunday, February 17
1:30 p.m. In the Valley of Wild Horses
Director:Trevor Mack, Asia Youngman
(23 min)
Hɛhɛwšɩn-The Way Forward
Director: Cyndi Pallen (čɩnɛ)
(~ min)

Every summer, the community of Xeni Gwet’in travels 200 km by horse and wagon from their home in Nemiah Valley to the famous Williams Lake stampede to honour a 94-year tradition of inclusion, trade and relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. In the Valley of Wild Horses traces their journey.

How do you undo over 2 centuries of genocide and oppression, that was forced upon the original inhabitants of this land? We carved a canoe! Climb aboard the Hehewsin Canoe, come listen and learn from the Tla’amin people, as we move forward, together! Hehewshin – The Way Forward follows impassioned Tla’amin Nation members – Cyndi Pallen (čɩnɛ) and John Louie (yaχwum) and their colonized Irish friend Phil Russell (kʷʊnanəm) as they come upon a brilliant plan to engage the non-indigenous on the path of reconciliation. Moving way beyond lip service, this film documents a first of it’s kind; the joint creation of a traditional dugout canoe. The canoe proves to be a powerful symbol of reconciliation: we are all on the same canoe, we must all paddle in unison to get to where we need to be.