Path Alias: 

Song of Lahore

Program Running Time 82 min.

May 16 06:30 pm

Films in Program

(Pakistan, 2016, 82 mins, DCP)

Documentary celebrating Izzat Majeed Sachal Studios, a recording space for traditional South Asian music. A smash jazz/South Asian album caught the imagination of Wynton Marsalis.

"Like Buena Vista Social Club set to the beat of traditional Pakistani music, Song of Lahore is a feel-good exploration of making music as an act of defiance and the unifying property of love of the arts. Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who won her second Oscar this year for the short doc A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, directs with Andy Schocken." Toronto Star

DGC Master Class Series: Adam Arkin

Program Running Time 90 min.

May 28 03:00 pm

Films in Program

(90 mins)

Launching in 2016, the Directors Guild of Canada is pleased to present a series of Master Classes in partnership with VIFF. We are thrilled to announce our inaugural guest, ADAM ARKIN, a director, and actor with multiple Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations for his work on Chicago Hope and Northern Exposure. His TV directing credits include the award-winning series Fargo, Masters of Sex, Justified, Backstrom, Sons of Anarchy and Secrets and Lies to name but a few.

The Fits

(2016, 72 mins, DCP)
CAST Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Antonio A.B. Grant Jr.
Classification: PG


Jun 24 06:30 pm
Jun 25 06:20 pm

"This visually lush and uncommon coming-of-age story pivots on Toni (Royalty Hightower), an 11-year-old who tags after her older brother during his trips to the boxing gym of a neighborhood rec center. One day, Toni spies young female dancers practicing a routine that’s fiercer than any slugfest, and is wholly transfixed. She signs up, joining a sorority that initiates her into a surprisingly, satisfyingly complex femininity. Beat by beat, thrilling move by move, the director Anna Rose Holmer — making an impressively assured feature debut — proves that the his-and-her spaces of the boxing ring and dance floor are more multilayered than they seem." Manohla Dargis, New York Times

Taiwanese FF: Elena

(2015, 138 mins)
In Hoklo, Mandarin and Japanese with English subtitles


Jun 12 08:35 pm

This screening will be preceded by the short film: New Human (4 mins).

"Part romantic comedy, part Taiwanese soap opera, the film, set in the industrial city of Kaohsiung, tells the story of a woman in search of love and happiness, but fixes its gaze on social ills and political injustice in Taiwanese society." Tapei Times

Taiwanese FF: The Laundryman

(2015, 112 mins, DCP)
In Taiwanese, Mandarin
CAST Joseph Chang, Sui Tang, Wan Qian, Yeo Yann Yann


Jun 11 07:15 pm

In this kinetic horror/kung-fu mash-up, an innocuous-seeming dry cleaners fronts for a hitman-for-hire operation. When a nameless contract killer becomes haunted by his former targets, he enlists a psychic for help, but their quest to make peace with the past puts them at odds with his ruthless employer. Colorful and brimming with unforgettable characters, The Laundryman puts the stylish influences of Wong Kar-Wai on the spin cycle. (Chicago Film Festival)

"Starting off as a horror comedy and concluding with a hard-knuckle free-for-all, Taiwanese filmmaker Lee Chung’s first fictional feature works as a knowing and entertaining genre blender, its relentlessly manic energy propped up by its stars — some of them cast remarkably against type — and throbbing imagery." Clarence Tsui, Hollywood Reporter

"An assassin haunted by the ghosts of his victims is the tantalizing conceit of The Laundryman, the feature debut by up-and-coming director Lee Chung. There is a bit of everything in this black comedy — from a healthy dose of romance and suspense to abundant action. To top it all off, this boisterous genre concoction is made with sleek production values and an A-list cast." Taipei Times

Taiwanese FF: Panay, Children of the Sun

(2015, 99 mins, DCP)
In Mandarin, Taiwanese, Amis with English subtitles
CAST Ado Kaliting Pacidal, Dongi Kacaw, Rahic Kulas, Kaco Lekal, Bokeh Kosang


Jun 11 03:00 pm
Jun 12 06:20 pm

Based on a true story, up and coming directors Yu-Chieh Cheng and Lekal Sumi weave a wonderfully shot story about aboriginal rights. When Panay, a single mother, returns to her home village to attend to her sick father, she discovers a plan to turn their lands into large resorts. Rekindling her love for her home, she works with the villagers to revive the village and save their lands. As the first to leave the village and receive a college education, Panay sees the struggles of marginalized groups in society, and it is through this that she is able to reconcile with her aboriginal roots. Panay: Children of the Sun is a story of reclamation: the reclamation of the rightful land of the Pancah, and Panay’s reclamation of a culture she left behind. Its beautiful scenery will draw you into a world still strongly integrated with nature.

Note: the screening Sunday June 12 will be preceded by the short film, Behind the Scene (11 min).

"Essentially Local Hero in paddy fields… the idyllic surroundings, naturalistic performances and overwhelmingly earnest message ultimately win out." South China Morning Post

Taiwanese FF: Wansei Back Home

(2015, 111 mins, DCP)
In Japanese, Hoklo and Mandarin with English subtitles


Jun 11 12:40 pm

A tale of home spanning decades in war and peace, Wansei Back Home is the fruit of director Ming-Cheng Huang and producer Mika Tanaka’s twelve-year effort. Filmed over five years, the documentary tells the story of “wansei”, or Japanese who were born in Taiwan during the colonial period. After WWII, they were forcibly deported back to Japan, despite having spent almost two decades of their life in Taiwan. Now, advanced in age and with children and grandchildren of their own, the wansei are returning to Taiwan once more. Intimate and moving, the documentary explores the power of memory, nostalgia, and the lasting place of home in our hearts.

Taiwanese FF: Fly, Kite Fly

(2015, 75 mins, DCP)
In Taiwanese
FEATURING Chen-Chung Shen


Jun 11 11:00 am

In 1991, a man makes a promise to create a detailed account of the Black Kites (a specie of eagle) of Taiwan. Produced by the Raptor Research Group of Taiwan, Fly, Kite Fly! follows Chen-Chung Shen, a.k.a Mr. Eagle, on a 20-year journey across Taiwan as he observes its 200 remaining Black Kites. The film chronicles a story of rapid urbanization, conservation, and the dangers of pesticide use, through the plight of the Black Kites, borrowing the voice of famous director and scriptwriter, Wu Nien Zhen. Carefully shot scenes of the Black Kites playfully gliding over Taiwan’s coast will inspire the same desire to protect these precious creatures as it did for Mr. Eagle almost 20 years ago.

Taiwanese FF: Baby Steps

(2015, 103 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In Mandarin and English with English subtitles
CAST Tzi Ma, Nadège August, Michael Adam Hamilton


Jun 10 09:25 pm
Jun 11 05:05 pm

Danny, a Taiwanese-American man, and his boyfriend Tate, long to have a baby, but the journey becomes more complicated by Danny’s well-intentioned but meddlesome mother who wants to control every aspect of the process from Taipei.

Taiwanese FF: Welcome to the Happy Days

(111 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In Mandarin, Hoklo, English and Japanese with English subtitles
CAST Chia-Yen Ko, Andrew Chau


Jun 10 07:20 pm
Jun 11 09:35 pm

An eccentric young girl has her dreams of traveling to America dashed after her grandmother takes a tumble down the stairs. Their desolate hot springs resort is left in her care, along with a debilitating debt. What’s more, a strange young foreigner stumbles upon the resort with limited funds and even more limited Chinese. Join these two in an unusual partnership as they try to keep the resort afloat, while discovering its hidden romantic secrets. Welcome to the Happy Days will invite you on the vacation of a lifetime with its comic book-style storytelling and vibrant colors of a pre-WWII resort.

"An uplifting story about how an unlikely couple save a family-run guesthouse from going out of business… Alice Ko’s gratifying blend of slapstick and humor makes the Nintendo-games-playing slob a lovable heroine." Taipei Times