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When Moses Woke

(2006, 48 mins)
Director:
Classification:

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Winner of the Gemini Award for Best Direction of a Performing Arts Program, When Moses Woke is a dramatic masterpiece inspired by the collective experiences of Harriet Tubman and many Freedom Seekers who traveled to Canada through the Underground Railroad.

This debut film of writer, director, producer, Seth-Adrian Harris is the original upliftment of their journeys told through Afro-modern dance, poetic realism, and the music of resilience and triumph performed by Canada’s national treasure, Jackie Richardson. Through a weaving of dream sequences, we are taken on a great voyage with a woman named Moses whose spiritual awakening becomes the beacon of Hope for all seekers on the quest for freedom.

Seth-Adrian Harris – Biography (Short Form)

Seth-Adrian Harris is a passionate Jamaican-born filmmaker who grew up in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. He uses poetry and media to inform, educate, entertain and engage the heart of every breath-making life force that knows there is much to discover in the power of the smallest existence. In 2006 he was the recipient of the Gemini Award for Best Direction of a Performing Arts Program from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for his television movie, When Moses Woke. His powerful documentary, Catatonia’s Incantations, won him the 2005 World Gold Medal for Best Health/Medical Promotion Program at the New York Festivals and in 2002 his film Back won the Vision Award for Best Direction at the Vancouver Videopoem Festival. When asked about his cinematic style, he replies that “filmmaking is the art of transformation.” Mr. Harris is a loving husband and father who lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

When Moses Woke

DIR Seth-Adrian Harris / Canada, 2006, 48 min.

Winner of the Gemini Award for Best Direction of a Performing Arts Program, When Moses Woke is a dramatic masterpiece inspired by the collective experiences of Harriet Tubman and many Freedom Seekers who traveled to Canada through the Underground Railroad.

This debut film of writer, director, producer, Seth-Adrian Harris is the original upliftment of their journeys told through Afro-modern dance, poetic realism, and the music of resilience and triumph performed by Canada’s national treasure, Jackie Richardson. Through a weaving of dream sequences, we are taken on a great voyage with a woman named Moses whose spiritual awakening becomes the beacon of Hope for all seekers on the quest for freedom.

Seth-Adrian Harris – Biography (Short Form)

Seth-Adrian Harris is a passionate Jamaican-born filmmaker who grew up in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. He uses poetry and media to inform, educate, entertain and engage the heart of every breath-making life force that knows there is much to discover in the power of the smallest existence. In 2006 he was the recipient of the Gemini Award for Best Direction of a Performing Arts Program from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for his television movie, When Moses Woke. His powerful documentary, Catatonia’s Incantations, won him the 2005 World Gold Medal for Best Health/Medical Promotion Program at the New York Festivals and in 2002 his film Back won the Vision Award for Best Direction at the Vancouver Videopoem Festival. When asked about his cinematic style, he replies that “filmmaking is the art of transformation.” Mr. Harris is a loving husband and father who lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Let the Fire Burn

(2013, 95 mins, DCP)
Director:
Classification:

Showtimes

Screening in conjunction with Vancity Theatre’s Black History Month program, Let the Fire Burn proved one of the most highly rated audience favourites at last year’s VIFF. It’s also one of the most highly acclaimed films of 2013, with a Rotten Tomatoes aggregate score of 97% fresh.

Director Jason Osder carefully examines one of The City of Brotherly Love’s darkest moments: a devastating standoff in 1985 between the Philadelphia Police Department and the black liberation group MOVE. In an attempt to force the MOVE members out of their home, the police dropped explosives on the roof and then controversially allowed the fire to burn, resulting in the tragic and unnecessary deaths of 11 people, including five children. The documentary is an assembly of stock footage from court proceedings, testimonies and news reports with no omniscient narrator telling the audience how to think, leaving the viewer to come to their own conclusions about MOVE, the police and the traumatic event.

Expertly crafted by Osder, the film is a powerful work of excavation that finds elements of human drama in archival material, even discovering something resembling hope in the process, with the story of survivor Michael Moses Ward, then just 13 years old, who was rescued by one of the police officers on the scene, even as his fellow cops, it would seem, preferred to let the fire burn.

"The force and intrigue of a courtroom thriller… it ripples with urgency and moral complexity."—Screen

"The brilliantly edited tapestry of actions and reactions exposes a pattern of prejudice and fear capable of infinitely repeating itself." Ronnie Scheib, Variety

"Quietly terrifying." Stuart Klawans, The Nation

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth

(2013, 84 mins)
Director:
CAST Alice Walker, Howard Zinn, Quincy Jones, Sapphire
Classification:
Promotional Partner - Vancouver Writers Festival and City of Vancouver

Showtimes

This film tells the compelling story of an extraordinary woman’s journey from her birth in a paper thin shack in the cotton fields of Georgia to her recognition as a key writer of the twentieth Century. Alice Walker made history as the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for her groundbreaking novel, The Color Purple. A universal story of triumph against all odds not that different from Walker’s own. Born, the eight child of sharecroppers, her early life unfolded in the midst of violent racism and poverty during some of the most turbulent years of social/political changes in the US. The film offers a penetrating look at the life and art of an artist, a self confessed renegade and human rights activist.

"If Pratibha Parmar’s documentary on the life’s work of Alice Walker is the director’s invitation to exalt with connected, layered complexity the artist, the activist, the woman, the person of colour as cultural icon, - then the parting words of Alice Walker invoke a simpler message of connectedness to her own art, her beauty and her truth. In Walker’s words:’Earth was meant for joy. And as an artist, connect with that joy. And you will be forever fed by it.’” Jana Sante, Indiewire

The Hunt

(2012, 115 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST Mads Mikkelsen, Thomsa Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrom
Classification:

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The Audience Award winner at VIFF 2012, Thomas Vinterberg’s modern day witchhunt drama continues to exert a deep pull on audiences, and is now among the five nominees for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

A parent’s prime responsibility must be to protect his or her child. The same goes for a school and its pupils; a community and its children. So when first one, then another, and finally several infants all imply that kindergarten teacher Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) is a pedophile, he’s immediately ostracized, a pariah in the small town where he himself grew up and made a life. Only one thing, though: the charges are false, the result of a single, silly lie that spins far out of control and contaminates the perception of anyone it touches.

In his most successful film since The Celebration, Dogme co-founder Thomas Vinterberg remorselessly turns the screws on Lucas, showing how easily public opinion can embrace the blood lust of a lynch mob, and testing how even a fundamentally good man responds to such malignant stress. This probing psychological drama is as gripping and cathartic as any thriller, with a searing performance from Mikkelsen at its core.

"It is a devastating film to watch, a heedful one, and a tragic reminder that no matter how well a life has been conducted, the mere whiff of such scandalous behavior is condemnation enough." Betsy Sharkey, LA Times

"A powerful, provocative study of mob mentality and the fabric of trust." Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

The Last Detail

(1973, 104 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Otis Young, Carol Kane
Classification:

Showtimes

“Jack’s best film,” according to many Nicholson fans, was written and produced during the Vietnam War and released during the early months of Watergate. Larry (Quaid), a young seaman, gets royally shafted after stealing $40 from the charity box of his officer’s wife. Eight years in prison is the ludicrous sentence and two navy “lifers” take Larry from Norfolk, VA to Portsmouth, NH with cultural stops in New York City and Boston. They can’t believe the severe sentence, however they can sure as hell help to bring some fun into Larry’s last week before his life in the brig. Duty and institutional authority are challenged, like most Ashby films, which made him one of the most vocal of the anti-establishment directors from this volatile era of American history.

TOBY JONES won British Actor of the Year at the London Critics Circle Film Choice Awards, 2013, Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards in 2012 and Best Actor at the London Evening Standard Awards, 2013. Playing Swifty Lazar in the feature film “Frost/Nixon,” Jones was nominated for British Supporting Actor of the Year at the London Critics Circle Film Awards, 2009 and nominated in the same category at the 2008 London Critics Circle Film Awards for “The Painted Veil.” In 2007, he won the award for Best British Actor at the London Critics Circle Film Awards as Truman Capote in “Infamous.”

Other film credits include; “Snow White and the Huntsman”, “Red Lights,” “My Week with Marilyn,” “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” “Your Highness,” “W,” “City of Ember,” “St. Trinians,” “The Mist,” “Nightwatching,” “Finding Neverland and most recently “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” ”. Jones voiced the character of “Silk” in Stephen Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.” He was also the voice of “Dobby,” the house elf, in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” for which he was nominated for Best Digital Acting Performance at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards.

He will be seen next in the mob thriller “God Only Knows”; and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

Music For Mandela

(2013, 82 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
Director:
FEATURING Soweto Gospel Choir, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Vusi Mahlasela, BB King, Bambatha Mandela, Katherine Jenkins
Classification:
Vancouver-based filmmaker Jason Bourque will introduce this special tribute to the late great Nelson Mandela. Live musical tribute performed post screening by Benin musician Yoro Noukoussi. Presented with the City of Vancouver.

Showtimes

Presented in association with Black History Month, Music for Mandela explores the role music played in the remarkable life of one of the world’s few genuinely heroic politicians. The effects of this relationship continue to ripple through the poorest South African townships as well as the world stage.

From Nelson Mandela singing at his own prison concert to the present day celebrations of his legacy, the music born out of his inspirational journey is commented on by his closest friends, former exiled musicians, current international artists and community volunteers who use music today to motivate and educate. The documentary also explores what music means to all South Africans and how it became both a unifying force and weapon against apartheid.

Combining striking visuals with freedom songs, pop music and hip hop, Music for Mandela is both a stirring tribute to the man himself and to the ultimate power of music. Musical performances include celebrated artist Vusi Mahlasela, Grammy award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and new music from the internationally acclaimed Soweto Gospel Choir. Interviews include the legendary BB King, Sean Paul, Estelle, Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins and Mandela’s grandson, hip hop artist Bambatha Mandela.

Live musical tribute performed post screening by Benin musician Yoro Noukoussi.

The Oscar Shorts 2014 (Live Action)

(2013, 110 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
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Classification:

Showtimes

Each year the Vancity Theatre is proud to present the nominees for the Academy Award for Best Short Film in the Live Action and Animation categories.

The nominated live action shorts are:

· Helium (Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson, Denmark/Danish, 23 min.) - A dying boy finds comfort in the tales of a magical land called HELIUM, told to him by the hospital janitor.

· The Voorman Problem (Mark Gill and Baldwin Li, UK/English, 13 min.) - A psychiatrist is called to a prison to examine an inmate named Voorman, who is convinced he is a god. Starring Martin Freeman.

· Avant Que De Tout Perdre / Just Before Losing Everything (Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras, France/French, 30 min.) - Miriam has left her abusive husband and taken refuge with her children in the local supermarket where she works.

· Aquel No Era Yo / That wasn’t Me (Esteban Crespo, Spain/Spanish, 24 min.) - Paula, a Spanish aid worker, has an encounter with an African child soldier named Kaney.

· Do I Have to Take Care of Everything (Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari, Finland/Finnish, 7 min.) - Sini tries frantically to get her family ready to leave for a wedding, but her husband and two children are interfering with her efforts.

Ms. 45

(1981, 80 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST Zoe Tamerlis,Peter Yellen, Jack Thibeau, Steve Singerewton
Classification:

Showtimes

Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant; King of New York) opined that this, his second feature*, made his previous film, Driller Killer, look like ’scratchings on the cave wall’. Who are we to disagree?

Still working the gutter no-budget beat - a correlative to New York’s no-wave punk music of the period - he brings a patina of slick visual sophistication to this rape/revenge exploitation thriller; more importantly, he allows a coherent, if extreme, feminist position to emerge, with the victim embracing her sexuality and sensuality as she proceeds to wreak revenge on the male denizens of NYC.

Seventeen-year-old Nastassja Kinski-lookalike Zoë Tamerlis plays Thana, a shy deaf-mute who works in New York’s garment district. Raped twice within the film’s first ten minutes (one of the rapists is played by the director himself, behind a mask) she kills her second assailant and chops him up in the bathtub (an episode that finds its way into Alan Warner’s novel Morvern Callar). Gaining confidence, she arms herself and woe to the chauvinist who crosses her path. It’s a provocative, disreputable movie, with several punchy, subversive images that make it well worth seeing. Regrettably, Tamerlis never really came through on her promise, though she co-wrote and appears in Bad Lieutenant as Zoe Lund. A heroin addict, she died in 1999 of ’heart failure’ at 35.

Screening in a newly restored DCP version.

*unless you count his porno, Nine Lives of a Wet Pussy

["Ferrera] is clearly a talented fellow. One can only hope he finds something else to make movies about very soon." Janet Maslin, New York Times

Empire of Dirt

(2013, 99 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST Cara Gee, Shay Eyre, Jennifer Podemski, Luke Kirby, Jordan Prentice, Lawrence Bayne, Michael Cram
Classification:

Showtimes

Lena (Cara Gee) has worked long and hard to turn her life around. A teenage runaway and single mom, she went through drug addiction and came out the other side. Now in her late twenties, she’s making ends meeting by working as a cleaner and donating her services as a counselor at a youth center. But it’s a precarious balance, and when her headstrong 13-year-old daughter Peeka (Shay Eyre) turns up in hospital after an overdose Lena reluctantly heads back home to rural Ontario and introduces Peeka to the grandmother she had always claimed was dead.

This affecting portrait of three generations of Cree women smacks of authenticity and truth. It’s a low-key movie about mother-daughter relationships and the way past mistakes have a way of cycling back round again no matter how hard you try to run away from them. All three actresses impress, but perhaps the stand out is Jennifer Podemski as the grandmother, Minnie, who has learned to roll with the punches and now makes her living selling manure, an appropriately earthy and guardedly optimistic metaphor.

"Beautifully shot, newcomers Gee and Eyre are revelations, and the central theme of cultural pride is stirring and urgent." Glenn Sumi, Now Toronto

"Finely crafted… A trio of gorgeous performances from the three female leads…" Katherine Monk, Canada.com

Visitors

(2013, 87 mins, DCP)
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Showtimes

Thirty years after Koyaanisqatsi, Godfrey Reggio - with the support of Philip Glass and Jon Kane - once again leapfrogs over earth-bound filmmakers and creates another stunning, wordless portrait of modern life. Presented by Steven Soderbergh, Visitors reveals humanity’s trancelike relationship with technology, which, when commandeered by extreme emotional states, produces massive effects far beyond the human species. The film is visceral, offering the audience an experience beyond information about the moment in which we live. Comprised of only seventy-four shots, Visitors takes viewers on a journey to the moon and back to confront them with themselves.

"Reggio’s film is an artistic and aesthetic achievement unlikely to be equaled in 2013, and perhaps the only film in recent memory which can proudly claim to be unlike anything else we have ever seen." Christopher Schobert, The Playlist

"Incredibly profound, unexpected and brave." Alison Murray, Filmmaker

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