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UK, Japan

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

A mysterious and engaging journey through sound, song, story, ritual, performance, nature, tradition and Japanese Buddhism… A fearless merging of medieval and modern, beautifully filmed with a variety of cinematic techniques on location in Japan. “Kanzeon” is another way of saying Kannon (Chinese: Kuanyin), the embodiment of compassion, and can also be written in Japanese as “to see sounds.”

"Stunning to look at… mesmerising musical sequences”

Frances Morgan, Sight and Sound

"A stunning new British documentary.”

Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye

UK Ireland

Vancity Theatre Screening

In 2008, 18 climbers from a party of 24 reached the summit of the world’s second highest mountain, the treacherous K2. 48 hours later, 11 were dead, or had simply vanished. What happened? Nick Ryan weaves together found footage, eerie reenactments and interviews with survivors to try and solve this tragic mystery.

"Riveting. Gripping. Thrilling." Indiewire

"A gripping cliffhanger. A heart-throbbing experience." Hollywood Reporter

USA

For over forty years, America’s "War on Drugs" has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs in America are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever before. Perhaps it’s time to call a ceasefire?

"Searing… One of the most important pieces of non-fiction to hit the screen in years." LA Times

"Fearless… A model of the ambitious, vitalizing activist work that exists to stir the sleeping to wake." New York Times

Vancity Theatre Screening

Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century.

"Nails the sense of joie de vivre these extraordinary artists put into every note-a tribute to doing it for the love of the expression over stardom that provides incalculable amounts of inspiration." David Fear, Time Out New York

"You may never hear the Rolling Stones’s Gimme Shelter the same way again after hearing Jagger’s and Clayton’s separate accounts of the recording of the song." Liam Lacey, Globe & Mail

"I have rarely seen a movie that better expressed the revivifying nature of music." Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

Vancity Theatre Screening

Our tribute to the late, great James Gandolfini consists of two recent feature films, both released at the tail end of last year, neither of which found the audience they deserved. The first feature written and directed by Sopranos creator David Chase, Not Fade Away is an overtly autobiographical piece about a young man (newcomer John Magaro) trying to make it in rock n roll in the 1960s. Gandolfini has a relatively small yet crucial role, as the young man’s conservative father, dismayed by his boy’s directionless. It’s a part that could have been clichéd, but Gandolfini invests his scenes with such expert comic timing and emotion, he transcends any such traps. Reminiscent of Barry Levinson’s Diner, Not Fade Away is a personal movie in the best sense, true and honest and lived in, and Gandolfini has much to do with that.

"A warm, funny, poignant scrapbook." Hollywood Reporter

"A gritty, graceful salute to rock and roll." Rolling Stone

DOCside

"Peter Nicks’s magnificent documentary spends a day in the life of an over-crowded and under-resourced hospital emergency room in Oakland, Calif., where a staff of compassionate professionals provide care to a startlingly diverse population of patients. This subtle, compassionate tableau lifts the veil on a world often described in terms of squalor and despair, finding the inherent dignity and perseverance therein." Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

"Peter Nicks’s magnificent documentary spends a day in the life of an over-crowded and under-resourced hospital emergency room in Oakland, Calif., where a staff of compassionate professionals provide care to a startlingly diverse population of patients. This subtle, compassionate tableau lifts the veil on a world often described in terms of squalor and despair, finding the inherent dignity and perseverance therein." Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

"Documentarian Peter Nicks had extraordinary access to the people in and around the waiting room of a public hospital in Oakland. But what makes this a classic, and a work of art and not journalism, is his taste, his poetic touches and his talent for understatement." Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Vancity Theatre Screening

Located on the banks of the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of the most creative and defiant music in American history. With nothing but grit and great ears, producer Rick Hall turned a tiny studio into the heart and soul of 60s R&B, recording such classic songs as "I’ll Take You There," "Brown Sugar," "When a Man Loves a Woman," "I Never Loved A Man the Way That I Loved You," "Mustang Sally,” "Tell Mama" and "Freebird".

"Propelled in equal measure by its gorgeous music and rich anecdotes, it’s joyous, uplifting – and as funky as the music at its heart." David Gritten, Daily Telegraph

"A terrific film… a must see for even the most casual of music fans.. a stunning, soulful achievement." Jason Gorber, Twitch

"Will appeal to just about everyone." Katherine Monk, Canada.com

Vancity Theatre Screening

Inexplicably repudiated by most critics and audiences last year, Killing Them Softly is ripe for rediscovery, a highly stylized, caustic satire which uses a hired killer (Brad Pitt) as an emblem for the last word in private enterprise. Based on George V Higgins’ novel Cogan’s Trade, but updated to the economic meltdown (and Presidential election campaign) of 2008, and set in a mildewed, post Katrina New Orleans, the movie may be the last great film noir. Gandolfini is at his very best as another professional killer, a bloated, vicious, self-pitying wreck of a man, perhaps the ghost of Coogan’s Future.

"Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly is a slick ensemble-nightmare of middle-management mobster brutality and incompetence in the tradition of Goodfellas and Casino, Pulp Fiction and TV’s The Sopranos, with something of the opening voiceover monologue from the Coens’ Blood Simple: the one about being on your own. It is outstandingly watchable, superbly and casually pessimistic… a smart, nasty, gripping movie." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Vancity Theatre Screening

In honour of the late Lou Reed - another chance to see Julian Schnabel’s film of his transcendent Berlin cycle of songs, complete wth Sharon Jones and Antony Hegarty on backing vocals.

007 Reloaded: Bond vs Bond

Released just a few months after Octopussy, this Thunderball remake was produced by a rival team who managed to entice Sean Connery back into his most famous role (hence the ironic title). Notable for superior super villains Max von Sydow, Klaus Maria Brandauer and Barbara Carrera.

"The classiest of all the Bonds." Jay Scott, Globe & Mail

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

Vancity Theatre Screening

Both a tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most extravagant and influential personalities, and simultaneously a chronicle of the impact of fashion in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, this portrait of the irrepressible editor of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar is an eye-opener, just like its subject.

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

’Buried’ meets ’127 Hrs’ in this nail-biting suspense film with ’Lost’ star Neil Hopkins. In a bone fide California nightmare scenario, Jackson Alder comes to after his SUV has been swept off the road by a mudslide. The doors are jammed shut, and anyway who knows how deep he’s buried (or how much further he might slide), so Jackson reckons he can wait it out til help comes. If his oxygen lasts out…

Vancity Theatre Screening

How much of yourself have you already given away on the internet? Nobody really reads the terms and conditions routinely applied to almost every digital service agreement, but if we did, what would we find there? Cullen Hoback’s scary doc has answers to the questions you don’t even want to Google.

"This documentary should be mandatory viewing for everyone who uses the internet." John Ford, Slug Magazine

"If you believe the privacy promises of online giants like Google and Facebook, then Cullen Hoback’s doc will remove the scales from your eyes and your hand away from your mouse." Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

"Witty yet chilling." Brian D Johnston, Macleans

DOCside

In 1961, three young, visionary architects were commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to create Cuba’s National Art Schools on the grounds of a former golf course in Havana, Cuba. Construction of their radical designs began immediately and the school’s first classes soon followed. Dancers, musicians and artists from all over the country reveled in the beauty of the schools, but as the dream of the Revolution quickly became a reality, construction was abruptly halted and the architects and their designs were deemed irrelevant in the prevailing political climate. Forty years later the schools are in use, but remain unfinished and decaying. Castro has invited the exiled architects back to finish their unrealized dream.

"A fascinating tale of visionary aesthetics and…. sublime structures." Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal

Vancity Theatre Screening

Once a rising star in the ’70’s New York art scene, 80-year-old "boxing" painter Ushio Shinohara is prepping for his latest show, hoping to reinvigorate his career. His wife and de facto assistant, Noriko, seeks her own recognition through her "Cutie" illustrations, which depict their chaotic 40-year marriage. Cutie and the Boxer captures two lives united by a dedication to art-making for a touching meditation on the eternal themes of love and sacrifice.

"Cutie and the Boxer is more than a great documentary. It’s a great film." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

"A movie that makes you feel less like a spectator than a guest, a friend welcomed into the home of an odd and fascinating couple." AO Scott, New York Times

Australia, USA

In 60s Australia, John Grant (Gary Bond), is an Education Department bonded teacher at a tiny outback school. Making his way to Sydney for the holidays, John takes the train but stops overnight in Bundayabba.

Drawn into the ’Yabba’s’ culture of drinking and gambling, he becomes embroiled in the locals’ insular and threatening world.

""Wake in Fright" is a film made in Australia in 1971 and almost lost forever. It’s not dated. It is powerful, genuinely shocking and rather amazing. It comes billed as a "horror film" and contains a great deal of horror, but all of the horror is human and brutally realistic."

- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Combining elements of Heart of Darkness, After Hours, and Groundhog Day, Ted Kotcheff’s brutally brilliant Outback thriller follows the moral degradation, or perhaps redemption, of a snooty schoolteacher (Gary Bond) traveling from the backwater where he’s assigned to Sydney for his Christmas vacation. But along the way he gets stranded in "the city," Bundanyabba, where he loses his money in a backroom game of chance and must rely on the contemptuous hospitality of the local yokels […]Kotcheff’s masterpiece (he later did First Blood), it orchestrates landscape, music, demonic faces, and lots of blood, sweat, and vomit into a stark bacchanalia of men having fun." Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix

USA, Australia

The untold story of how the ancient male practice of yoga has been revolutionized by a dynamic generation of female teachers and students. Yogawoman reveals how yoga has utterly transformed the lives of thousands of over-stimulated, overscheduled, and multitasking modern women, and how they in turn have "feminised" yoga itself.

USA, Austria

Vancity Theatre Screening

When a Vienna museum guard befriends an enigmatic visitor, the grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum becomes a mysterious crossroads which sparks explorations of their lives, the city, and the ways artworks reflect and shape the world.

"On the one hand a sad, poignant character study, "Museum Hours" is also a treatise on art history and a love letter to architectural wonder. A-" Eric Kohn, Indiewire

"Engaginly offbeat… Cerebral stuff, but delivered with warmth, wit and quiet confidence." Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter

"Delightfully accessible…filled with gently moving wit." Ken Eisner, Georgia Straight

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