Film Festival Series
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Use our search function below to sort the films by their English title, the names of directors, or their country of origin. Films can also be filtered by series, genre, or Vancouver International Film Festival venue. You can also browse by film series by visiting our Browse By Series page.
The majority of films in the Vancouver International Film Festival are unrated and you must be 18 and purchase a $2 VIFF membership to attend a screening. However, a selection of films are open to all ages.
Before you make your purchase, please note The Rio is 19+ exclusively with the exception of the rated High School Screenings at this venue.
If you can’t take the nudity and coarse language, stay out of Salam Kahil’s deli. The moment Lewis Bennett’s fascinating documentary takes us inside the shop, the hilariously crass Salam lets fly with a barrage of profane insults and ribald anecdotes. As he rewrites his own history on a whim, we’re left to wonder how an irascible Lebanese male escort actually ended up in Surrey serving the largest sandwiches known to man. With humour and humanity, Bennett unearths the truth.
The latest involving documentary from Chelsea McMullan (My Prairie Home) exemplifies excellent storytelling and artful execution. When two Canadian siblings travel to Thailand to find out what really happened to their murdered father, they discover that he fled Canada due to his involvement with a biker gang, only to land in deeper corruption in Thailand and the Philippines. Furthermore, he has two kids in Thailand with the same names as them. McMullan creates a creepy and subtly condemning portrait of foreigners doing very bad things.
Atom Egoyan returns with a completely original take on the darkest chapter of horror in the last century. Christopher Plummer plays a man who’s looking for the person who might be responsible for wiping out his family, as he strains to seize the evanescent memories of long-ago brutality. The all-star cast includes Henry Czerny, Martin Landau and Bruno Ganz. Benjamin August’s screenplay will keep you guessing until the very end.
In 1985, Steve Fonyo ran his “Journey For Lives” marathon, covering almost 8,000km of Canada and raising $14 million for cancer research. He was subsequently named an Officer of the Order of Canada, becoming the youngest person to ever receive that honour. Then things began to fall apart. He repeatedly ran afoul of the law and was convicted of various crimes. His Order of Canada was revoked. Refreshingly, Alan Zweig (15 Reasons to Live) tells the story of Fonyo’s downfall with great sensitivity—and without ever lapsing into sentimentality.
After his terminally ill daughter (Olivia Martin) claims to have had a past life as an astronaut, a Christian teacher (Charlie Carrick) experiences a profound crisis of faith. Obsessively seeking answers, he risks his marriage and his remaining days with his child to determine whether she’s lived before… and might live again. Reflective and provocative, Connor Gaston’s debut is one of the year’s most unique Canadian features.
In 1978, Guy is found dead in the basement of the family home in a small village in Quebec. The real cause of his death remains a mystery for most of his family. Years later, his son David, now a loving father of two children, secretly still carries the weight of this tragedy. Likewise, David’s daughter must contend with her father’s suffering. VIFF favourite Anne Émond directs this accomplished drama about life, family, forgiveness and grief.
Phyllis Ellis’ documentary is equal parts mystery, history and adventure. Algoma’s tangled wilderness and Lake Superior’s expansive North Shore inspired The Group of Seven in their formative years - young artists searching to articulate the Canadian landscape. Now, three modern-day adventurers canoe across lakes, bushwhack through untamed forests and scale cliffs to seek out the vistas that inspired these artists. Seeing the iconic paintings side by side with the astonishing locations that inspired them is a reminder of art’s power and this land’s majestic beauty.
Hélène Choquette’s documentary examines the symbiotic relationships that form between homeless people and their faithful canine companions. On the sometimes mean streets of Montréal and Toronto, the dogs and their owners offer one another company, protection and unconditional love. This remarkably candid film provides genuine insight into the homeless experience from an unusual angle, inspiring newfound compassion and understanding.
Alex Williams’ film illuminates a shocking time when Canada embraced racial segregation, wilfully and illegally denying Indigenous peoples the basic freedom to leave their reserves and jailing them when they did so without a pass. Cree, Soto, Dene, Ojibwe and Blackfoot elders tell their stories of living under—and resisting—this system. Likewise, they link their experiences to the current state of affairs. Acclaimed Cree actor and activist Tantoo Cardinal narrates this investigation into a little-known aspect of our history.
Guy Édoin brings us the engaging story of an internationally famous French/Italian actress (Monica Bellucci) who arrives in in Montreal to shoot a movie and reconnect with her university-aged son (Alyosha Schneider). Their fates collide with those of a nurse (Pascale Bussières) and paramedic (Patrick Hivon) during a disturbing event in Ville-Marie Hospital’s emergency room.
In recent years, Su Rynard noticed that birds she used to see—grosbeaks, flycatchers, barn swallows—were nowhere to be found. Indeed, songbirds are rapidly disappearing and their absence is a message to us all. Humans share an ageless bond with birds and their songs: in ancient times, we looked to bird’s flight patterns and listened to their melodies to predict the future. Today, the birds once again have something to tell us. "The Messenger hums with the kind of restless energy that’s all too rare for an eco-doc."—POV Magazine