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Woody Allen Summer

Defrosted some 200 years after he went into hospital for a routine gall bladder operation in 1973, Woody Allen discovers much has changed in the brave new world of giant GM vegetables, virtual sex, and totalitarian group think. Channeling the slapstick energy of Buster Keaton, Allen delivered one of his funniest movies.

Black History Month

Ice cream, music and collective action all play a part in this alternately joyous and sobering documentary about the challenges in opening the first ever ice cream parlor in Kigali, Rwanda.

Post screening entertainment will be a drumming performance by women drummers led by Jacky Essombe.

"It’s utterly rousing watching the women master their instruments and then push past the birth pains of their new business enterprise, and it’s completely wrenching as their individual backstories unfold. The vibrantly filmed Dreams (the Rwandan landscape is breathtaking) is a powerful entry in the list of documentaries charting the country’s rebirth, illustrating the unexpected ways the human spirit reinvents itself after enduring the unthinkable." Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly

"Wonderful… Moving… Engrossing. An affecting celebration of the human spirit. Contagious joy abounds." Anita Katz, San Francisco Examiner

"A movie that will bring you to tears." Deena Shanker, Village Voice

Vancity Theatre Screening

A truly hopeful film about Alzheimer’s and aging is something unexpected. This hugely affecting documentary won the Audience Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a portrait of a man on a mission, Dan Cohen, founder of the non-profit Music & Memory, as he fights bureaucrats and austerity budgets with the palpable evidence of how very simply the gift of an iPod can restore vitality and spiritual well-being to patients suffering from dementia and depression.

"Gloriously inspirational."—Hollywood Reporter

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

Samsara is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Conceived as a guided meditation on the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, Samsara is audiovisual poetry. Filmed over a period of five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and brilliantly shot on 70mm film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders. From the filmmakers of Baraka.

Vancity Theatre Screening

A mythic, mysterious and sensuous romantic thriller, this long-anticipated second feature confirms writer-director Carruth (the award-winning Primer) as one of the most strikingly original voices in American cinema. After a vicious robbery, a man and woman are drawn together, unknowingly entangled in the lifecycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to find a place of safety and to create something from the loose fragments of their wrecked lives.

"Having the movie wash over me was one of the transcendent experiences of my moviegoing life… It’s utterly perplexing, and heart-stoppingly beautiful, quite literally overwhelming." Sam Adams, The Onion AV Club

“Bold, impassioned, ecstatically beautiful…in a class by itself at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.” Scott Foundas, Village Voice

"Upstream Colors certainly is something to see if you’re into brilliant technique, expressive editing, oblique storytelling, obscuritanist speculative fiction or discovering a significant new actress." Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

Woody Allen Summer

Described by Andrew Sarris in the Village Voice as "the one truly great American film of the ’70s," Manhattan was the movie where everything fell into place for Woody Allen, the triumphant crystallization of his cinematic style, sensibility and philosophy. Today, 35 years later, it remains for many, perhaps even most people, his greatest achievement and his most beloved film.

Black History Month

"Activism is the rent I pay for living on the planet." So says Alice Walker. One of the key writers of our times, Walker was born in a shack in the cotton fields of Georgia and became the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, for her groundbreaking novel, The Color Purple. Promotional Partner - Vancouver Writers Festival

"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

Vancity Theatre Screening

It’s no secret: the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are working harder, longer hours for less reward (that is, if we’re lucky enough to be in work). Economist Robert Reich (President’s Clinton’s Secretary of Labor) explains why the free market is a misnomer, how late capitalism has jumped the tracks, and what we should do about it in this passionate, lucid and compelling state of the nation address.

"Smart, funny and articulate, Robert Reich is the university professor we all wish we’d had. He’s so accessible and entertaining he takes a subject that sounds soporific and makes it come alive like you wouldn’t believe in ’Inequality for All.’" Kenneth Turan, LA Times

"An often essential primer." Sam Adams, Time Out New York

Vancity Theatre Screening

Elvis lives! Well, if a nursing home in east Texas can be called "living". With his buddy JFK (Ossie Davies) by his side, the King fights off an ancient Egyptian mummy and gets his mojo back. Don Coscarelli’s cult comedy maybe out to lunch in the story department, but it’s also endearingly serious about Elvis, decrepitude, and the horrors of institutionalized care.

"It has the damnedest ingratiating way of making us sit there and grin at its harebrained audacity, laugh at its outhouse humor, and be somewhat moved (not deeply, but somewhat) at the poignancy of these two old men and their situation."—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Vancity Theatre Screening

A mythic, mysterious and sensuous romantic thriller, this long-anticipated second feature confirms writer-director Carruth (the award-winning Primer) as one of the most strikingly original voices in American cinema. After a vicious robbery, a man and woman are drawn together, unknowingly entangled in the lifecycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to find a place of safety and to create something from the loose fragments of their wrecked lives.

"Having the movie wash over me was one of the transcendent experiences of my moviegoing life… It’s utterly perplexing, and heart-stoppingly beautiful, quite literally overwhelming." Sam Adams, The Onion AV Club

“Bold, impassioned, ecstatically beautiful…in a class by itself at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.” Scott Foundas, Village Voice

"Upstream Colors certainly is something to see if you’re into brilliant technique, expressive editing, oblique storytelling, obscuritanist speculative fiction or discovering a significant new actress." Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

Black History Month

The racial fault lines running deep through the American psyche are painfully exposed in Jason Osder’s riveting account of the stand off in 1985 between the Philadelphia Police Department and the black liberation group MOVE, which resulted in the death of 11 victims. "The force and intrigue of a courtroom thriller… it ripples with urgency and moral complexity."—Screen

"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

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

Chogyam Trungpa, renowned Tibetan Buddhist leader, shattered notions about how an enlightened teacher should behave when he renounced his monk’s vows & eloped with a sixteen year-old aristocrat. Twenty years after his death, Trungpa’s name still evokes admiration and outrage. What made him tick? And just what is enlightenment, anyway?

Vancity Theatre Screening

Filmed inside the war zone of northern Uganda over a period of three years, this is the story of a group of former child soldiers as they undergo trauma therapy and emotional healing while in a rehabilitation centre. Having been abducted from their homes and forced to become fighters by the Lord’s Resistance Army - a quasi religious militia led by self-proclaimed prophet and war criminal Joseph Kony - the children struggle to confront years of brutal abuse.

Vancity Theatre Screening

The flipside to reckless extreme sports docs, the latest from Lucy Walker (Wasteland) follows snowboarder Kevin Pearce from his glory days, when he looked set to dethrone Shaun White from his perch at the Vancouver Olympics, through his long, painful rehabilitation after a devastating accident.

"By turns pulse-quickening and contemplative… Thorougly winning… A spectacular feat." Variety

"Lucy Walker has assembled one of the great sporting docs - partly because its scope extends beyond the slopes." Trevor Johnston, Time Out

"Captures a seesaw exhilaration between the thrill of pushing one’s limits and the pain of dreams cut short." Robert Abele, LA Times

Vancity Theatre Screening

A behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The stirring new documentary The Case Against 8, showcasing the lawyers and plaintiffs who challenged California’s 2008 gay marriage ban, is the best kind of popular history, a film that trembles with tears and hope, and I dare you to get through it without bawling some yourself."—Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“Cotner and White’s handling of a hugely divisive topic is masterful ... Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, The Case Against 8 is essential viewing.”—National Post

"The film fascinates in part because the legal team behind the couples—and the American Foundation for Equal Rights that supported them—included Republican stalwart Ted Olson and Democrat David Boies, who had squared off in the famous Bush vs. Gore case, the 2000 battle over whether there should be a recount in Florida. Here they’re warm and toasty together and passionately committed to a progressive cause.”—Now magazine

Vancity Theatre Screening

A short history of the video game, from Pong and Space Invaders through Super Mario Bros and Zelda to Call of Duty, Halo and GTA. Featuring a Who’s Who of video game pioneers, this nifty, celebratory doc traces the evolution of a whole new form of interactive entertainment, the consoles, the joysticks, the bits and the bytes. Along the way it slays more then a few lazy stereotypes about what games and gamers are really like.

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

In 1959 a great migration from Tibet was violently set in motion. The Dalai Lama was joined in exile by thousands of refugees, among them some of the most important Tibetan Buddhist teachers, opening a window on what had been a hidden realm. Through interviews rare archival footage, the film offers an insider’s view of Tibetan Buddhism as it is manifesting beyond its original home.

"The film is a vivid and engaging account of the movement of the Buddha Dharma - the teachings and practices of Buddhism - to the West…Viewers of the film will come away with the discovery that they have learned a great deal. But even more, their hearts will have been opened and perhaps melted by the uplifting gift of genuine spirituality as it flows from teacher to student in a pattern free of time, showing us the way to go beyond the suffering and upheavals of our days and years." Light of Consciousness magazine

Vancity Theatre Screening

Author Robert K Elder asked 35 filmmakers to champion a movie that they love, but which had either been overlooked or reviled by critics and audiences. The result, ’The Best Film You’ve Never Seen’ is fascinating both for what it reveals about the directors he talked to and for their insights into some seriously neglected films. Case in point: Frank Perry’s The Swimmer, starring Burt Lancaster as a man who decides to swim his way home across Connecticut, one backyard swimming pool at a time. Selected by Alex Proyas (Dark CIty), this is seriously strange movie, but one that stands the test of time.

"As do few movies, The Swimmer stays in the memory like an echo that never quite disappears." Vincent Canby, New York TImes

"Enigmatic, poetic, disturbing." Kim Newman, Empire

"Burt Lancaster is superb in his finest performance." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

Foreign Spoils - Gangsters Abroad

Curated by photographer Greg Girard, who will introduce the films: House of Bamboo & Long Arm of the Law The Walled City of Kowloon was an amazing and forbidding part of Hong Kong, and who better to introduce these films in which it features so centrally than photographer Greg Girard, whose book City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City is itself now legendary.

HOUSE OF BAMBOO The first Hollywood movie to be shot in Japan after WWII, and also the first film to be shot in CinemaScope in that country, House of Bamboo is vividly alert to places and spaces. One of the iconic film noir hard men, Robert Ryan is an ex GI operating an American crime gang on strict military lines. Robert Stack infiltrates the group, but getting in is easier than getting out in one piece.

"A masterpiece that pinpoints the sublime in Fuller’s sensationalism and earns every inch of its widescreen real estate! Turning the on-location Tokyo streets into the perfect backdrop for a cartoonishly colorful version of hardboiled drama—call it Pulp Art— House of Bamboo keeps its story line about an undercover Army cop (Stack) battling a gangster (Ryan) on the lean and mean side. But the impeccable compositions Fuller uses to detail the lyrical and the lurid give even the most lowbrow elements a high-art feel; it’s like a bridge from the gutter to the museum." - David Fear, Time Out New York

"Some of the most stunning examples of widescreen photography in the history of cinema. Travelling to Japan on 20th Century Fox’s dime, Fuller captured a country divided, trapped between past traditions and progressive attitudes while lingering in the devastating aftereffects of an all-too-recent World War. His visual schema represents the societal fractures through a series of deep-focus, Noh-theatrical tableaus, a succession of silhouettes, screens, and stylized color photography that melds the heady insanity of a Douglas Sirk melodrama with the philosophical inquiry of the best noirs." Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine

Vancity Theatre Screening

The third film in Micha X Peled’s Globalization trilogy (following Store Wars and China Blue) Bitter Seeds looks at the raw materials that feed our cycle of over-consumption, and specifically Monsanto’s push to supply cotton seeds to farmers in India - with devastating results. A staggering 250,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide over the past 16 years

"The crisis depicted in Bitter Seeds is all the more dire when you consider that half the world’s population are farmers. Peled could have turned his cameras… to any place that industrial agriculture has driven out the little guys. One reason the tiny Indian community of Telung Takli makes sense is Amberwar—a compelling central character whose personal story raises additional issues about gender, class and non-farming employment opportunities." Peter Debruge, Variety

“Films like this can change the world.” Alice Waters

“A tragedy for our times, beautifully told, deeply disturbing.” Michael Pollan


Filmmaker Micha X Peled is our guest to introduce specific screenings and participate in a FREE panel discussion exploring these issues on Sunday May 19, 8.30pm.

The panel will be moderated by Charlie Smith, Editor of the  Georgia Straight.

Panelists include:

Tzeporah Berman, Environmental activist and author of This Crazy Time,  . Considered "Canada's Queen of Green."-Readers Digest, Tzeporah Berman has been successfully designing and managing green campaigns for nonprofits for the last two decades, leading Bill McKibben to call her "a modern environmental hero."  She currently works as a strategic advisor for dozens of environmental organizations, First Nations and philanthropic advisors on clean energy, oilsands and pipelines.  She is the former co-director of Greenpeace International's Global Climate and Energy Program,  Executive Director and Co-founder of PowerUp Canadaand Co-founder and Campaign Director of ForestEthics.

Gerardo Otero is Professor of sociology and an associated professor of the School of International Studies at Simon Fraser University. His latest edited book is Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America (University of Texas Press, 2008, reissued in paperback in 2010), which is forthcoming in Spanish as La dieta neoliberal. His latest article, “The Neoliberal Food Regime in Latin America,” was published in the Canadian Journal of Development Studies in 2012. In co-authorship with Gabriela Pechlaner and Efe Can Gürcan, he has a forthcoming article September 2013 in Rural Sociology: “The political economy of ‘food security’ and trade: uneven and combined dependency.”

Micha X Peled has made documentaries for broadcasters in the USA, Britain, France and Germany, winning over 20 awards along the way. His films were released theatrically in the U.S., Europe and Japan, and on DVDs in eight languages (officially). Micha made his first film in 1992, when his mother sent him the manuscript of her life story, which became Will My Mother Go Back to Berlin? When celebrated Los Angeles Times critic Charles Champlin wrote “it’s a damn good movie,” Micha believed him, quit his job to become a fulltime filmmaker, and never looked back. Not that it was all smelling the roses – he got out of Iran shortly before being exposed for filming illegally, in China his crew was arrested and his footage confiscated, and his shoot in Bombay’s central train station was cancelled when a terrorist group started shooting first. In New York the audience shouted, “Traitor” at the premier of You, Me, Jerusalem, which he co-directed with a Palestinian filmmaker. His Globalization Trilogy began in the U.S. with Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town about a small town fighting to keep out the world’s largest retailer. It was followed by China Blue, the story of a teenage Chinese girl who leaves her village to get a job in a jeans factory and descends into sweatshop hell. After a fiction short, Delinquent, he completed the final film in the trilogy, Bitter Seeds. The film looks at the farmers' suicide crisis in India, through the story of one farmer who grows cotton exported to China's garment factories.

 

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