Path Alias: 

Hadwin's Judgment

Program Running Time 88 min.

Films in Program

James White

(2015, 85 mins, DCP)
CAST Chris Abbott, Cynthia Nixon, Scott Mescudi, Makenzie Leigh, Ron Livingston
Classification: 19+


Dec 02 06:30 pm

In the wake of his father’s death, James (Girls’ Chris Abbott) has been left a wreck, dragging himself between New York bars and nightclubs, anesthetizing his heartache with booze, and throwing himself into the crashing waves of sound. Aware that he desperately needs a change of scenery, he decamps to Mexico, meets someone (Mackenzie Leigh) and is offered hope that they might just have something. However, one phone call from his ailing mother Gail (Cynthia Nixon), whose cancer has returned, and he’s on his way back to New York, and all of the crippling anxieties, vices and unresolved issues awaiting him there.

Having produced VIFF standouts Afterschool and Martha Marcy May Marlene, Josh Mond plunges into a personal tragedy for his strikingly accomplished directorial debut, a singularly honest, immersive drama. The film’s attention to aesthetics and textures is remarkable as it crafts both cacophonous scenes of New York and quieter moments within Gail’s home, in which the tension between mother and son grows electric and the sensation that James is teetering on the brink of another downward spiral becomes dizzying. Acclaimed at Sundance, Mond has made a searingly authentic, heartfelt movie in the noble tradition of John Cassavetes and Maurice Pialat.

"One of Sundance’s undisputed breakout dramas." Indiewire

"Extraordinarily intimate…from the first restless widescreen frames and the woozy opening notes of a soundtrack densely layered with music and ambient noise, this is a distinctive portrait of anger, pain and grief that unfolds simultaneously on and under the skin." David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

Fractured Land

(2015, 80 mins, DCP)
Classification: 19+


Dec 03 08:15 pm

What would it be like to live alongside one of the shapers of human events, in their youth, before they transformed history? Meet Caleb Behn, a young Dene lawyer who may become one of this generation’s great leaders. That’s if he can discover how to reconcile the fractures within himself, his community and the world around him, blending modern tools of the law with ancient wisdom. As founder, Bill McKibben, puts it, "Anyone who can throw a hatchet and sue you is a force to be reckoned with."

Caleb sports a Mohawk and tattoos, hunts moose, and wears a business suit. His father is a devout environmentalist and residential-school survivor. His mother is a top executive for the oil and gas industry. His people, at the epicentre of some of the largest fracking operations on earth, are deeply divided. How does Caleb balance their need for jobs with his sacred duty to defend their territory? He has arrived at a key moment in history, sees the contradictions, and wants to reconcile them.

Filmmakers Fiona Rayher and Damien Gillis have been following Caleb for four years, capturing hundreds of hours of footage of his development as he goes through law school, begins sharing knowledge with other Indigenous peoples and starts speaking to larger and larger audiences— all the while dealing with deep community divisions and building a movement.

Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World

(2015, 75 mins, DCP)
Classification: 19+


Dec 03 02:45 pm
Dec 03 06:30 pm

Named Best Canadian Documentary at HotDocs earlier this year, this completes Charles Wilkinson’s triptych of ecological films after Peace Out and Oil Sands Karaoke, all firm favourites at VIFF and Vancity Theatre. If you have never visited Haida Gwaii, then this is a great place to start. Wilkinson’s stunning cinematography vividly captures the raw beauty of this very special part of the world. It is also, of course, a battlefield, though Wilkinson finds reasons to hope that First Nations’ long-view of environmental sustainability can prevail over short-term economic interest. Granted this is a complicated and paradoxical struggle, and Wilkinson hears firsthand from those figuring out their own way forward in practical, not ideological, terms. It’s an inspiring film for that, and a worthy conclusion to a fine trilogy.

"So much more than a profile of this remarkable place and the cast of characters who populate it, this film captures the heart and heartbreak of the clashes it has seen, primarily over logging (in an unforgettable interview, a former police officer, who is Haida, recalls having to arrest his auntie at a protest). And it hints at what’s to come in a showdown over Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. As one resident warns and promises: ’We are ready to fight, believe me.’"—Marsha Lederman, Globe and Mail

"A wonderful film about the environment that doesn’t just talk about solutions, but shows people actually putting those ideas to good use."

Toronto Film Scene

"Some of the most important environmental documentaries being made in the world include the work of director Charles Wilkinson"

The Film Corner


  • Fri Nov 20, Sat Nov 21 - Filmmaker in attendance
  • Fri Nov 20 - Severn Suzuki (environmental activist, speaker, television host and author)

Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award, HotDocs 2015

Most Popular Canadian Documentary, VIFF 2015

Vancouver: A Distant Mirror (from the City of Vancouver Archives)

(120 mins)
Classification: 19+


The latest screening from the City of Vancouver Archives features newly digitized films that focus on the city’s transportation, landmarks, industry, and domestic and public spheres. From Vancouver’s last interurban streetcar ride to its first Grey Cup Parade, from Obon in Oppenheimer Park to barrelmaking on False Creek, spend a Sunday afternoon reliving Vancouver’s past from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Local historian and artist Michael Kluckner will provide commentary during the projection. The silent films will be accompanied live by renowned jazz pianist, Wayne Stewart.

I Am What I Play (The Heyday of Rock Radio)

(2015, 105 mins, DCP)
FEATURING Meg Griffin, David Marsden, Charles Laquidara, Pat O’Day
Classification: 19+


Nov 30 08:45 pm

From the 1960s to the 1980s, the rock radio DJ played an unprecedented creative role in the rock music world. I Am What I Play profiles four disc jockeys in major markets (Seattle, Toronto, Boston and New York) during this period: their programming, their politics and their deep connections with musicians and fans in the heyday of rock radio. Where are they now - and how did they reinvent themselves as the medium changed? Featuring the music of The Ramones, Joni Mitchell, Rush, David Bowie, The Cars, The Sonics and more.

The DJs

Meg Griffin is a rock radio legend, having spent almost 40 years on New York airwaves. Her early stint at WRNW lead to a lifelong friendship with colleague Howard Stern. Later, at the incomparable WNEW, she played a major role in championing the punk and new wave scene of the late 70s and early 80s, introducing listeners to the music of Patti Smith, The Ramones, Talking Heads and many others. Griffin has been honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and continues her groundbreaking free-form radio work on three different Sirius XM satellite radio channels.

David Marsden first ruled the Toronto airwaves as David Mickie, a motor-mouthed DJ who hosted two television shows and was featured in Marshall McLuhan’s book “Understanding Media”. Later he would carve out his own identity on powerhouse CHUM-FM in the early 1970s and then as program director of one of North America’s first alternative rock stations, CFNY, known as “The Spirit of Radio.” He is the subject of an exhibit at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and was recently given a lifetime achievement award by the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame.

Charles Laquidara was the morning man for pioneering free form station WBCN in Boston for over 25 years and was among the highest paid radio personalities in the U.S. He was one of the first morning show hosts to have a staff of writers and a cast of comic characters but was also known for using his show “The Big Mattress” to take on major issues like the Vietnam War and Apartheid in South Africa. Laquidara was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2009.

Pat O’Day was a DJ and Program Director at legendary Seattle station KJR for the better part of 15 years. His dance and concert promotion business eventually became Concerts West which at its peak represented big names such as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles and Elvis Presley. O’Day is credited with putting the Seattle music scene on the map and is a part of a permanent exhibit at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

The Stanford Prison Experiment

(2015, 120 mins, DCP)
CAST Billy Crudup, Michael Angarano, Ezra Miller, Johnny Simmons, Tye Sheridan, Olivia Thirlby
Classification: 19+


Nov 30 06:30 pm
Dec 02 08:15 pm

How does environment impact behaviour? Do power dynamics trump character? In August, 1971, Dr Philip Zimbardo (Billy Crudup) enlisted 24 male students to simulate prison life within the confines of the psychology department at Stanford. Overwhelmingly, the students volunteered to play the inmates, so guards were selected on a coin toss (though they were given to understand their promotion was based on their superior performance in preliminary interviews).

The results were deeply disturbing. The guards quickly internalised their roles. Deprived of personal belongings, sunlight, and subjected to degrading abuse, the prisoners began to crack. Scheduled to last two weeks, the experiment was called off after six days before an already alarming situation spiraled further out of control. Indeed, Dr Zimbardo has been criticised for waiting too long.

A crack young cast led by Michael Angarano and Ezra Miller bring this famous Psych 101 experiment to life with riveting intensity.

The Stanford Prison Experiment is the kind of movie that raises as many questions as it answers. It’s also the kind of film where you want to budget some time for discussion afterward. You won’t be able to shake this one off easily." Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

"Stark and riveting… Michael Angarano is downright terrifying as a guard who patterns his behavior after a particularly nasty character in the prison movie Cool Hand Luke." Neil Genzlinger, New York Times

"Disturbing, honest and compelling, The Stanford Prison Experiment turns a well-known story into must-see storytelling, depicting the ugly truth through gorgeous filmmaking." James Rocchi, The Wrap