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Monkey Beach directed by Loretta Sarah Todd
Monkey Beach directed by Loretta Sarah Todd

For its 39th edition, Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) will showcase more than 100 feature films and events, including a vibrant blend of boundary-pushing Canadian work, adventurous East Asian cinema, provocative and inspiring documentaries, elevated genre cinema, festival favorites and more.

VIFF 2020 will open with the world premiere of Loretta Sarah Todd’s Monkey Beach. The adaptation of Eden Robinson’s beloved novel will be screened at several independent cinemas throughout the province in compliance with COVID-19 capacity restrictions and the latest provincial health and safety regulations.

“Despite the roadblocks presented by the pandemic, we’ve sought out opportunities hidden within the challenges,” says Kyle Fostner, Interim Executive Director. “We have uncovered inclusive new ways to share our love of film, while building foundations that will benefit the organization for years to come. The result is an ambitious and innovative festival model firmly rooted in our identity as a ‘creator’s festival,’ boasting the best films and filmmakers in the world. Embracing the need to move the festival online, our premier streaming platform, VIFF Connect, will be available province-wide from the comfort and safety of our homes. This year’s festival aims to remind us of a world of possibilities, and hopefully for a moment, transport us somewhere we’ve never been.”

The 14-day online-primary festival will be available throughout the province of British Columbia on the new VIFF Connect streaming platform,

VIFF 2020 FILM HIGHLIGHTS

OPENING

Monkey Beach (dir. Loretta Sarah Todd), Canada | World Premiere

CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA

Narrative films from around the globe

Highlights include the world premiere of Highlights include the world premiere of Yellow Sunglasses (dir. Iván Mora Manzano, Ecuador), the Canadian premiere of Golden Bear winner There Is No Evil (dir. Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran/Czech Republic/Germany), the Canadian premiere of the award-winning found footage film My Mexican Bretzel (dir. Nuria Giménez, Spain), the Cannes 2020 Label Here We Are (dir. Nir Bergman, Israel) and Merkel – Anatomy of a Crisis (dir. Stephan Wagner, Germany), a look at the critical moments of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015.

Another Round (dir. Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark)
Bad Tales (dirs. The D’Innocenzo Brothers, Italy/Switzerland) | North American Premiere
Black Bear (dir. Lawrence Michael Levine, USA)
Falling (dir. Viggo Mortensen, UK/Canada)
Father (dir. Srdan Golubović, Serbia/France/Germany/Croatia/Slovenia/Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The Father (dir. Florian Zeller, UK/France)
Hammamet (dir. Gianni Amelio, Italy) | North American Premiere
Here We Are (dir. Nir Bergman, Israel) | North American Premiere
In the Name of the Land (dir. Edouard Bergeon, France)
Kala azar (dir. Janis Rafa, Netherlands/Greece) | Canadian Premiere
Last and First Men (dir. Jóhann Jóhannsson, Iceland) | Canadian Premiere
Merkel – Anatomy of a Crisis (dir. Stephan Wagner, Germany)
A Metamorphosis of the Birds (dir. Catarina Vasconcelos, Portugal)
Mogul Mowgli (dir. Bassam Tariq, UK/USA)
My Donkey, My Lover, and I (dir. Caroline Vignal, France)
My Mexican Bretzel (dir. Nuria Giménez, Spain) | Canadian Premiere
My Wonderful Wanda (dir. Bettina Oberli, Switzerland) | North American Premiere
On the Quiet (dir. Zoltán Nagy, Hungary) | Canadian Premiere
The Pencil (dir. Natalya Nazarova, Russia) | Canadian Premiere
The Restoration (dir. Alonso Llosa, Peru) | Canadian Premiere
Sarita (dir. Sergio Basso, Italy/Germany)| North American Premiere
Servants (dir. Ivan Ostrochovsky, Slovakia/Romania/Czech Republic/Ireland) | North American Premiere
The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs (dir. Pushpendra Singh, India) | North American Premiere
Siberia (dir. Abel Ferrara, Italy/Germany/Mexico)
Summer of 85 (dir. François Ozon, France)
Tales of the Lockdown (dirs. Fernando Colomo, Álvaro Fernández-Armero, David Marqués, Miguel Bardem, Juan Diego Botto, Spain) | North American Premiere
There Is No Evil (dir. Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran/Czech Republic/Germany) | Canadian Premiere
This Is My Desire (dirs. Arie & Chuko, Nigeria) | North American Premiere
Uncle (dir. Frelle Petersen, Denmark) | North American Premiere
Undine (dir. Christian Petzold, Germany) | North American Premiere
Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness (dir. Massoud Bakhshi, France/Germany/Switzerland/Luxembourg/Lebanon/Iran) | Canadian Premiere
Yellow Sunglasses (dir. Iván Mora Manzano, Ecuador/Brazil) | World Premiere

TRUE NORTH

A celebration of the creativity and craft demonstrated by Canadian storytellers

Highlights include the world premieres of Monkey Beach (dir. Loretta Sarah Todd, Canada) and five other BC features, the North American premiere of Bruce LaBruce’s Saint-Narcisse and the BC premieres of The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (dirs. Joel Bakan, Jennifer Abbott, Canada), Akilla’s Escape (dir. Charles Officer, Canada), Cannes 2020 Label Nadia, Butterfly (dir. Pascal Plante, Canada) and Inconvenient Indian (dir. Michelle Latimer, Canada).

Akilla’s Escape (dir. Charles Officer, Canada)
Beans (dir. Tracey Deer, Canada)
Brother, I Cry (dir. Jessie Anthony, Canada) | World Premiere
Call Me Human (dir. Kim Obomsawin, Canada)
Chained (dir. Titus Heckel, Canada) | World Premiere
Events Transpiring Before, During and After a High School Basketball Game (dir. Ted Stenson, Canada) | World Premiere
First We Eat (dir. Suzanne Crocker, Canada)
Flowers of a Field (dir. Andrew Stanley, Canada) | World Premiere
Fucking Idiots (dir. David Milchard, Canada) | World Premiere | BC Feature
Happy Place (dir. Helen Shaver, Canada)
Inconvenient Indian (dir. Michelle Latimer, Canada)
John Ware Reclaimed (dir. Cheryl Foggo, Canada)
The Magnitude of All Things (dir. Jennifer Abbott, Canada) | World Premiere | BC Feature
Monkey Beach (dir. Loretta Sarah Todd), Canada | World Premiere | BC Feature | Opening Film
My Salinger Year (dir. Philippe Falardeau, Canada/Ireland)
Nadia, Butterfly (dir. Pascal Plante, Canada)
The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (dirs. Joel Bakan, Jennifer Abbott, Canada/USA/Belgium/UK/Switzerland/Kenya/Spain/Australia) | BC Feature
No Ordinary Man (dirs. Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase Joynt, Canada)
No Visible Trauma (dirs. Robinder Uppal, Marc Serpa Francoeur, Canada) | World Premiere
Pink Lake (dirs. Emily Gan, Daniel Schachter, Canada) | World Premiere
Prayer for a Lost Mitten (dir. Jean-François Lesage, Canada)
Saint-Narcisse (dir. Bruce LaBruce, Canada) | North American Premiere

VIFF SHORT FORUM

Aniksha (dir. Vincent Toi, Canada)
The Archivists (dir. Igor Drljaca, Canada)
As Spring Comes (dir. Marie-Ève Juste, Canada)
August 22, This Year (dir. Graham Foy, Canada)
Bad Omen (dir. Salar Pashtoonyar, Canada) | World Premiere
Benny’s Best Birthday (dir. Benjamin Schuetze, Canada)
Black Forest Sanatorium (dir. Diana Thorneycroft, Canada)
Boredom (dir. Mashie Alam, Canada) | World Premiere
Breaking Up for the Modern Girl (dir. Sydney Nicole Herauf, Canada) | Canadian Premiere
Cake Day (dir. Phillip Thomas, Canada)
Canucks Riot II (dir. Lewis Bennett, Canada) | World Premiere
Cosmic (dir. Meredith Hama-Brown, Canada) | Canadian Premiere
Deeper I Go (dir. Michael P. Vidler, Canada) | World Premiere
êmîcêtôcêt: Many Bloodlines (dir. Theola Ross, Canada)
Even in the Silence (dir. Jonathan Elliott, Canada)
Every Day Is Like This (dir. Lev Lewis, Canada)
The Fake Calendar (dir. Meky Ottawa, Canada)
First Person Shooter (dir. Cole Kush, Canada) | World Premiere
Foam (dir. Omar Elhamy, Canada) | North American Premiere
The Fourfold (dir. Alisi Telengut, Canada)
Girls Shouldn’t Walk Alone at Night (dir. Katerine Martineau, Canada)
The Great Malaise (dir. Catherine Lepage, Canada)
Into Water (dir. Cole Forrest, Canada)
Laura (dir. Kaayla Whachell, Canada)
Moon (dir. Zoé Pelchat, Canada)
A New Leash on Life (dir. Daniel Jeffery, Canada) | Canadian Premiere
Nuxalk Radio (dir. Banchi Hanuse, Canada)
Parlour Palm (dir. Rebeccah Love, Canada) | World Premiere
Rag Doll (dir. Leon Lee, Canada) | Canadian Premiere
Spring Tide (dir. Jean Parsons, Canada)
Strong Son (dir. Ian Bawa, Canada)
Succor (dir. Hannah Cheesman, Canada)
Sunken Cave and a Migrating Bird (dir. Qiuli Wu, Canada) | World Premiere
Toward You (dir. Meysam Motazedi, Canada) | World Premiere)
The Train Station (dir. Lyana Patrick, Canada)
The Trip (dirs. Mikizi Migona Papatie, Théo Sohiez, Mathieu Laprise, Canada)
tu (dir. Suzanne Friesen, Canada)
Vaivén (dir. Nisha Platzer, Canada)
ZOO (dir. Will Niava, Canada)

IMPACT

Highlights include the world premiere of I Am Not a Hero (dirs. Pablo Crutzen, Robin Smit, Stijn Deconinck, Belgium), Sundance Grand Jury and Audience Award winner The Reason I Jump (dir. Jerry Rothwell), UK/USA) and Citizen Penn (dir. Don Hardy, USA), a portrait of Sean Penn’s activism.

Caught in the Net (dirs. Barbora Chalupová, Vít Klusák, Czech Rep/Slovakia) | Canadian Premiere
Citizen Penn (dir. Don Hardy, USA) | International Premiere
Cured (dirs. Bennett Singer, Patrick Sammon, USA) | International Premiere
The Forum (dir. Marcus Vetter, Germany/Switzerland)
The Hidden Life of Trees (dir. Jörg Adolph, Germany) | Canadian Premiere
I Am Not a Hero (dirs. Pablo Crutzen, Robin Smit, Stijn Deconinck, Belgium) | World Premiere
The Reason I Jump (dir. Jerry Rothwell, UK/USA)
Women in Blue (dir. Deirdre Fishel, USA)

M/A/D

Music, art and design receive an aesthetically alluring big-screen treatment

Highlights include the world premiere of Frida Kahlo (dir. Ali Ray, UK) and the Canadian premieres of intended Tribeca Film Festival opener Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President (dir. Mary Wharton, USA) and Marcel Duchamp: The Art of the Possible (dir. Matthew Taylor, USA).

Frida Kahlo (dir. Ali Ray, UK) | World Premiere
In the Tracks of – Special Edition (dir. Pascale Cuenot, France)
Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President (dir. Mary Wharton, USA) | Canadian Premiere
Maguy Marin: Time to Act (dir. David Mambouch, France) | Canadian Premiere
Marcel Duchamp: Art of the Possible (dir. Matthew Taylor, USA) | Canadian Premiere
My Rembrandt (dir. Oeke Hoogendijk, Netherlands) | North American Premiere
Paris Calligrammes (dir. Ulrike Ottinger, Germany/France) | Canadian Premiere

INSIGHTS

Nonfiction films that investigate essential subject matter

Highlights include the world premiere of My Voice Will Be With You (dir. Bruno Tracq, Belgium/France) and the North American premieres of Anerca, Breath of Life (dirs. Johannes Lehmuskallio, Markku Lehmuskallio, Finland) and Wolf Walk (dir. Jean-Michel Bertrand, France).

Anerca, Breath of Life (dirs. Johannes Lehmuskallio, Markku Lehmuskallio, Finland) | North American Premiere
The Crossing (dir. Juliana Penaranda-Loftus, USA) | World Premiere
Into the Storm (dir. Adam Brown, UK/Peru) | Canadian Premiere
Journey to Utopia (dir. Erlend E. Mo, Norway/Denmark) | Canadian Premiere
My Voice Will Be With You (dir. Bruno Tracq, Belgium/France) | World Premiere
Once Upon a Time in Venezuela (dir. Anabel Rodríguez Ríos, Venezuela/UK/Austria/Brazil)
The Race to Alaska (dir. Zach Carver, USA/Canada) | Canadian Premiere
Super Frenchie (dir. Chase Ogden, USA) | Canadian Premiere
Time (dir. Garrett Bradley, USA)
The Truffle Hunters (dir. Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw, Italy/USA/Greece)
Wolf Walk (dir. Jean-Michel Bertrand, France) | North American Premiere

GATEWAY

Compelling cinematic worlds envisioned by East Asia’s most adventurous artists

Highlights include the international premiere of The Town of Headcounts (dir. Shinji Araki, Japan), the Canadian premiere of Fantasporto Film Festival Special Jury Prize winner Dancing Mary (dir. SABU, Japan), the Annecy International Animation Film Festival official selection Beauty Water (dir. Cho Kyung-hun, South Korea), the Canadian premiere of Hong Kong Film Award winner Twilight’s Kiss (dir. Ray Yeung, Hong Kong) and A Life Turned Upside Down: My Dad’s an Alcoholic (dir. Kenji Katagiri, Japan).

Beauty Water (dir. Cho Kyung-hun, South Korea)
Dancing Mary (dir. SABU, Japan) | Canadian Premiere
A Life Turned Upside Down: My Dad’s an Alcoholic (dir. Kenji Katagiri, Japan)
Memories to Choke on, Drinks to Wash Them Down (dirs. Leung Ming-kai, Kate Reilly, Hong Kong) | Canadian Premiere
Mickey on the Road (dir. Lu Mian Mian, Taiwan) | North American Premiere
Moving on (dir. Yoon Dan-bi, South Korea) | Canadian Premiere
My Prince Edward (dir. Norris Wong Yee-lam, Hong Kong)
Shanghai Swings (dir. Yang Mingteng, China) | International Premiere
The Town of Headcounts (dir. Shinji Araki, Japan) | International Premiere
Twilight’s Kiss (dir. Ray Yeung, Hong Kong) | Canadian Premiere

ALTERED STATES

Fantastic cinema that defies traditional classification

Highlights include the world premiere of The Curse of Willow Song (dir. Karen Lam, Canada) and the BC premieres of international buzz titles Jumbo (dir. Zoé Wittock, France) and Special Actors (dir. Shinichiro Ueda, Japan).

The Curse of Willow Song (dir. Karen Lam, Canada) | World Premier | BC Feature
Jumbo (dir. Zoé Wittock, France)
Lapsis (dir. Noah Hutton, USA)
Sanzaru (dir. Xia Magnus, USA)
Special Actors (dir. Shinichiro Ueda, Japan)
Violation (dirs. Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli, Canada)

INTERNATIONAL SHORTS

Animated Tales

Empty Places (dir. Geoffroy de Crécy, France
Homeless Home (dir. Alberto Vázquez, France/Spain)
Malakout (dir. Farnoosh Abedi, Iran) | Canadian Premiere
The Parrot Lady (dir. Michalis Kalopaidis, Cyprus) | Canadian Premiere
The Roses of Damascus (dirs. Gabriel Gonzalez Guirola, Yasmina Touzani, France) | International Premiere
Sheep, Wolf and a Cup of Tea… (dir. Marion Lacourt, France) | North American Premiere
To Gerard (dir. Taylor Meacham, USA)
To the Dusty Sea (dir. Héloïse Ferlay, France)
Wade (dirs. Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, Kalp Sanghvi, India) | Canadian Premiere
The Winter (dir. Xin Li, Australia)

Come Hell or…

À La Carte (dir. Jay Do, Vietnam) | Canadian Premiere
Flawless (dir. Nathan Franck, France) | International Premiere
Flush (dir. Diego Freitas, Brazil) | World Premiere
Sin Cielo (dir. Jianna Maarten, USA)
The Twins (dirs. Cru Bannon, Douglas Ho, Yuriz Joe, Malaysia) | International Premiere
Union County (dir. Adam Meeks, USA) | Canadian Premiere
White Eye (dir. Tomer Shushan, Israel)

Release Me From This Darkness

Destructors (dir. Otis Tree, UK) | World Premiere
Home (dir. Alex von Hofmann, Australia) | World Premiere
The Hunter (dir. Sam McConnell, USA) | World Premiere
Imelda and Luis (dir. Leonel Chee, Mexico) | World Premiere
In This Land We’re Briefly Ghosts (dir. Chen-Wen Lo, Myanmar) | Canadian Premiere
Not a Word (dir. Elodie Wallace, France)
Of Memories and Madness (dir. Maria de la Ossa, Panama)
Widowers (dir. Julian Tuna, Australia) | World Premiere

Tell Us About Her Life

The Book of Ruth (dir. Becca Roth, USA) | International Premiere
I want to make a film about women (dir. Karen Pearlman, Australia) | International Premiere
Illusione (dir. Lorenzo Quagliozzi, Italy) | World Premiere
Jane (dir. Kathryn Prescott, USA) | Canadian Premiere
Little Chief (dir. Erica Tremblay, USA) | Canadian Premiere
Now, Daphne (dir. Johann G. Louis, France)
She (dir. Matt Greenhalgh, UK) | Canadian Premiere
A Woman (dir. Tahmina Rafaella, Azerbaijan)

MODES

All, or Nothing at All (dirs. Persijn Broersen, Margit Lukács, Denmark/Netherlands | North American Premiere
Becoming Alluvium (dir. Thao Nguyen Phan, Spain/Vietnam) | North American Premiere
Bittersweet (dir. Sohrab Hura, India) | North American Premiere
A Demonstration (dirs. Sasha Litvintseva, Beny Wagner, Netherlands/Germany/UK) | North American Premiere
Digital Funeral: Beta Version (dir. Sorayos Prapapan, Thailand) | North American Premiere
(e)scape goat (dir. Sid Iandovka, USA/Switzerland) | North American Premiere
The End of Suffering (a proposal) (dir. Jacqueline Lentzou, Greece) | North American Premiere
How to Disappear (dirs. Total Refusal: Leonhard Müllner, Robin Klengel, Michael Stumpf, Austria) | Canadian Premiere
In Times Of Deception (dir. Michael Heindl, Colombia/Bolivia/Chile/Peru) | North American Premiere
A Month of Single Frames (dir. Lynne Sachs, made with and for Barbara Hammer, USA) | Canadian Premiere
Playback (dir. Agustina Comedi, Argentina) | Canadian Premiere
Operation Jane Walk (performance) — Live Streaming Event (dir. and performance Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner, Austria) | North American Premiere
– An online performance that takes us on a tour of New York City within the confines of the shooter game, Tom Clancy’s The Division.

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