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Palo Alto

(2014, 98 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST Emma Roberts, James Franco, Jack Kilmer, Nat Wolff, Val Kilmer
Classification: 14A

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Based on James Franco’s short stories, Palo Alto marks the directorial debut of Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola, and niece of Sofia. It’s the latter who seems to have exerted the most immediate influence (you can’t miss the Virgin Suicides poster adorning April’s bedroom wall). A shimmering, limpid film about California teens coasting towards they know not what, Palo Alto may not break new territory but it certainly surveys the landscape with keen insight and humanity.

April (Emma Roberts) is the class virgin - shy, sensitive, but a popular soccer player and frequent babysitter for her single-dad coach, Mr. B. (James Franco). Teddy (Jack Kilmer) is an introspective artist whose best friend and sidekick Fred (Nat Wolff) is an unpredictable live wire with few filters or boundaries. While April negotiates a dangerous affair with Mr. B., and Teddy performs community service for a DUI - secretly carrying a torch for April, who may or may not share his affection - Fred seduces Emily (Zoe Levin), a promiscuous loner who seeks validation through sexual encounters.

"A knockout." Gavin Smith, Film Comment

Palo Alto is one of the best movies ever made about high school life in America , blurring the lines between how unique it is to be a teenager, and how universal it is to feel like one." David Ehrlich, Film.com

"The best feature film directed by someone named Coppola in a number of years." Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil le Clercq

(2013, 87 mins, DCP)
Director:

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The beautiful, sylph-like Tanaquil Le Clercq was one of the most exquisite ballet dancers ever to grace the stage, but her personal life was complex and troubled, and her career was cut short in its prime when she was tragically struck down by polio.

Director Nancy Buirski (The Loving Story) brings to life the story of a fascinating, prodigiously gifted artist, focusing both on the unsurpassed talents and achievements of her early dancing career, and the heartbreaking struggles she faced when the disease took hold. Breathtaking soft-focus kinescope footage of Le Clercq’s performances emphasize her gorgeous, gamine movements, as well as her playfulness and innovative style. With a voiceover that draws from her personal letters, Buirski creates an intimate, sensuous portrait of the extraordinarily long-legged, alluring ballerina.

While Le Clercq had no shortage of adoring suitors, like many devoted artists, she found human connection difficult and often felt alone and isolated. Buirski uses her incredible footage artfully and respectfully, finding the parallels between Le Clercq’s loneliness and devastation and the lasting emotional power and beauty of her performances.

"It is almost as though you are beholding mythological deities who have alighted briefly on the earth….one of the great ballerinas of the 20th century." - Stephen Holden, New York Times

"The ballet movie we’re swooning over." - Marie Claire

"Classical dance great Jacques d’Amboise calls Tanaquil LeClercq’s style a ’path to heaven.’ And this lovely documentary by Nancy Buirski makes it clear that he’s right." - Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

Apocalypse WW1: Free Panels

(90 mins)
Both panel discussions are free events.

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Panel: Cinema, War, Commemoration, Memory and the Archive

Saturday, June 14, 7:00 PM

Moderator: Colin Browne, SFU.

Participants: Josette Normandeau, CEO and producer - Idéacom International; Roxanne Panchasi, Associate Professor - Department of History, SFU; Nicolas Kenny, Assistant Professor - Department of History, SFU


Panel: History Now: New Media and the Ever Present Past

Sunday, June 15, 7:00 PM

Moderator: Jeannette Kopak, Centre for Digital Media.

Participants: Josette Normandeau, CEO and producer - Idéacom International; Nik Palmer, Zeros to Heroes


PANELISTS

Jeannette Kopak
Associate Director, MDM Program / Director of Operations & Business Development, Centre for Digital Media, Vancouver, BC. Jeannette is a digital media veteran with 16 years of experience at the CBC in roles that ranged from designing and implementing the corporations first local newsroom editorial system to facilitating and spearheading the original CBC.ca website to leading a multi-million dollar, multi-year project to catalogue, restore, digitize and preserve the CBC radio and television archives across Canada. In her current role at the CDM, she is responsible for ensuring the Centre continues to adapt to the needs of the students and digital media community by developing programs and initiating relevant projects and events.

Nik Palmer
After spending 12 years in the console games industry, Nik joined Zeros 2 Heroes in 2012 to work on cutting-edge transmedia projects for television, comics, books, software, analytics, and, of course, games. A long term goal has been to explore ways of getting information, activities, and experiences to new audiences. His interest in the retelling of the story of the WWI through newer forms of media such as Twitter and Google Glass led to the formation of Z2H's Centenary project.

Josette Normandeau
Josette D. Normandeau began her career as a journalist and radio host. She then entered the emerging multimedia world, and set up the New England Audio Multimedia Division in Boston (8 years). Normandeau joined Ideacom in 1994. Thanks to her initiatives, the company became a pioneer in TV/WEB convergence. President of Ideacom since 2000, she heads up the development and international positioning of the ensemble of Ideacom’s productions. In 2010, Normandeau founded Zenith ABC, the software and digital production sister company of Ideacom.

Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University whose research focuses on twentieth-century France. She is the author of Future Tense: The Culture of Anticipation in France between the Wars (Cornell University Press, 2009) and the host of “New Books in French Studies,” a monthly podcast featuring interviews with scholars of France and the Francophone world about their new books.

Nicolas Kenny is a member of the History Department at Simon Fraser University where he teaches Quebec and Canadian history. He is the author of The Feel of the City: Experiences of Urban Transformation (University of Toronto Press, forthcoming June 2014), which examines the way city dwellers interacted with the changing urban environment at the turn of the twentieth century. He is currently conducting research on emotional experiences of World War I in Canada.

Colin Browne is a poet, writer, documentary filmmaker and film historian whose work has often touched on WW I as it touched the lives of his family. He has a particular interest in the preservation of archival media and until recently taught in the School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU. He is currently working on a book addressing the history and legacy of the Surrealist fascination with Northwest coast art.


Apocalypse WWI is presented with the support of the following consulates general based in Vancouver: Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, United States of America.


Best of Hot Docs: The Starfish Throwers

(2014, 83 mins)
Director:

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Worlds apart, a five-star chef, a retired school teacher and a young girl discover how their small efforts to feed the poor ignite a movement in the fight against hunger. Award-winning Indian chef Narayanan Krishnan, fighting against the caste system, quits his job to begin a life of cooking and hand-delivering fresh meals to hundreds of people in his hometown. Katie Stagliano’s planting of a single cabbage seedling blossoms into Katie’s Krops, a non-profit dedicated to ending hunger. Retired middle school teacher Mr. Law battles personal health issues as he hand delivers more than a thousand sandwiches nightly to the hungry. This inspiring and heartwarming documentary tells the tale of these remarkable individuals and the unexpected challenges they face. Despite being constantly reminded that hunger is far too big for one person to solve, they persevere and prove the doubters wrong. (Heather Haynes)

"A luminous window into the lives of true local heroes…" The Arts Guild

Cruel & Unusual

(2014, 95 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST David Richmond-Peck, Bernadette Squibal, Michelle Harrison, Michael Eklund, Richard Harmon
The filmmakers will attend opening week screenings.

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In this dark, twisted BC mystery thriller, a man finds himself condemned to a special place in hell, blamed for his wife’s murder – a fact he refuses to accept. His punishment is to eternally re-live that last dreadful day - unless he can prove his innocence…?

Shot in Langley and the ominous confines of the disused Riverview hospital near Coquitlam, Cruel & Unusual is an impressive debut feature from Vancouver writer-director Merlin Dervisevic. Treating its fantastical theme in a realist mode, the film is both an allegorical exploration of guilt, denial and despair, a pitch black satire on therapy culture, and a teasing whodunnit with a clever twist in its tail.

Like Stress Position, Cruel & Unusual shows a local filmmaker tackling weighty themes on a tight budget through ingenious storytelling and eye-catching cinematic acumen.

Best of Hot Docs: Slums: Cities of Tomorrow

(2014, 81 mins)
Director:

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One billion people on our planet—one in six—live in shantytowns, slums or squats. Slums: Cities of Tomorrow challenges conventional thinking to propose that slums are in fact the solution, not the problem, to urban overcrowding caused by the massive migration of people to cities. The film explores communities in India, Morocco, Turkey, France, New Jersey and Quebec, offering an intimate look at the inhabitants and families who, through resilience and ingenuity, have built homes that suit their needs for shelter. Experts like Robert Neuwirth (Shadow Cities), Jeremy Seabrook (Pauperland) and architect Nicolas Reeves explode the notion that a slum must be a breeding ground for criminal activity. The reality is quite different: slums are as diverse as the cities they surround, often offering a more accurate representation of what community ought to mean—an experience where sharing is essential and social hope can flourish. (Lynne Fernie)

"3/4: The film challenges the ingrained prejudice that leads many urban governments to withhold basic services from squatters and force them into apartment blocks." Globe and Mail

"A celebration of the perseverance and creativity of some of the poorest people in the world." Pretty Clever Films

Best of Hot Docs: 112 Weddings

(2014, 92 mins, DCP)
Director:

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Filmmaker Doug Block (51 Birch Street) has been working on the side as a wedding videographer for nearly 20 years. In that time, he has accumulated hundreds of hours of personal memories, ones that belong to people he only knew for a short time, when their love was new and energetic. Now, on the eve of his own 25th wedding anniversary, Block decides to revisit these couples and complete their stories, asking the difficult questions of what makes a marriage work. Contrasting the subjects’ original precious moments with modern interviews and some insight from counsellors specializing in nuptials, 112 Weddings draws a vibrant picture of the relationships that couldn’t sustain themselves and the ones that seem destined to last forever. Exploring the true meaning of commitment, Block feeds his curiosity with these emotional journeys 20 years in the making. (Michael Lerman)

"Quirky, entertaining, and heartwarming." Toronto Film Scene

"Simple in execution, but unmistakably rich in dialogue of the complexities of married life, Doug Block has lensed a wonderfully playful, startlingly tragic film that will surely move anyone who’s ever been in love and question anyone considering marriage themselves." Jordan M Smith, Ion cinema

"Block finds the extraordinary in the patient observation of everyday life." Michel Gondry

Stress Position

(2013, 79 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST A.J. Bond, David Amito, Marguerite Moreau
Filmmakers A.J. Bond and Amy Belling will attend screenings on the opening week.

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The rules are as follows: 1. No severe pain. 2, No permanent physical damage. 3. Nothing illegal.

How bad could it be?

Inspired by a flippant remark about the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Canadian filmmaker A.J. Bond (a graduate of the UBC Film course) made a bet with close friend and longtime collaborator actor David Amito to see which of them could withstand a week of psychological torture at the hands of the other.

Shot in an avant-garde “torture chamber” in an isolated warehouse under the supervision of associate producer Marguerite Moreau, what begins as a bizarre and darkly humorous reality TV scenario gradually spirals out of control, testing the limits of their friendship and exposing an unsettling connection between filmmaking and torture.

Stress Position is an intelligent, thought-provoking film, which can only become increasingly relevant … the overall effect is a film you both want to see again because of its numerous admirable qualities, and never want to re-endure because the psychological tortures are so convincing and the verisimilitude too unnerving.” Alex Fitch, Electric Sheep Magazine

"A nearly flawless debut feature which jumps head first into psychological terror." Film Bizarro

"Stress Position is an attractive, inventive, creative film well worth seeing." David Jaffer, exlaim

World Cup Soccer: Brazil v Croatia free on the big screen

(150 mins)

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The Halfmoon Files: A Ghost Story

(2007, 87 mins, Digital Betacam)
In German with English subtitles
Director:
Classification:

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11 December 1916. For one minute, Mall Singh sings a heartrending song into a phonographic funnel connected to a recording device for shellac records. The words and melody originated then and there. Singh was an Indian soldier in the British Army who was imprisoned in the Half Moon Camp for colonial prisoners of war near Berlin. The recordings are part of an ambitious sound archive representing all nations of the world. The screen remains black while we listen to the exotic voices from Half Moon Camp. The exotic prisoners were interesting and easily manageable study material for ethnographers, musicologists and linguists. The prisoners were not used as objects of study. The entertainment industry also exploited the prisoners in a desert drama film shot in the camp, in which the prisoners were forced to play fierce savages.

"A beautiful experimental film… I was crying at the end." The People’s Paper (India)

"The Halfmoon Files is a gift – a generous gift and an invitation. An invitation to journey to distant lands that turn out to be very close after all, to seek the unexpected, to listen to the noises of an old barrack or a landscape that gradually emerges from the fog, and to observe closely the many possible images of a voice. A film as invitation to follow ghosts and at the same time a modest but nonetheless intense call to think.” Nicole Wolf

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