I had the honor of attending the 2013 edition of VIFF. The invitation was extended by my dear friend Terry McEvoy, who is in charge of programming the Canadian films for the festival.
Vancouver International Film Festival has gain its reputation by helping talented people with few financial resources but very actively created sources share their projects and passions with the rest of us, who in other way we might never had the opportunity to witness and we will lose these artistic representations.
The most characteristic film that I came across was H&G directed by Canadian filmmaker Danishka Esterhazy , who choose to adapt Hansel and Gretel to a more contemporary version, in which the two kids, rase in poverty, got lost and had each other to survive the dangers of the real modern world and the people that came across with them. By surprise the children are play by two girls Breazy Diduck-Wilson as Gemma and Annika Elyse Irving as Harley, in the Q&A the audience ask why a girl play the roll of Harley, and as an spectator the answer was clear to me, this girls connected as if they were born real sisters, something that can’t be cast in any other way.
Films all around the world were shown from Afghanistan, Philippines, Thailand, Germany, Greece, Ghana, Iceland, Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina… Big comments in Amat Escalante’s “Heli” about the corruption in Mexico and “Nebraska” movie which was chosen to open the festival. Documentaries like “Hue: A Matter of Colour“, “Dessert Runners“, “Once upon a forest” (il-etait-une-fois-la-foret) by Luc Jacquet’s (March of the Penguins), “Gore Vidal: United States of Amnesia“, “Liv & Ingmar“, were my favorites. The political Russian documentary that had question if the punishment of three woman artist is fair or something is wrong in the society they live in was one of the most expected screenings, “Pussy Riot: A punk prayer“, the story of Nadia, Masha and Katia facing seven years in a Russian prison for a satirical performance in a Moscow cathedral.
I was lucky to occupy one of the seats of the sold out event “One Last Cook: An evening with Vince Gilligan and Breaking Bad”. Humble Vince walked us throw his struggles as a writer after the “X- Files” ended, he was unemployed for two years and though about a character much like him, in his middle age crisis and the possibilities of his actions when money is needed. He pretended to inspire hardworking, hope and gave credit to his writing team (six total including two woman who he describe were the responsible of the most brutal scenes of the show). The Q & A were moderated by the LOST co-creator Damon Lindelof. Writer to writer two hours went fast. Questions well asked and even some entertainment created by some fans who asked questions dress up as Mr. White and Jesse Pinkman, because after all we are in the show business.
This year selection of movies have made me believe in films again. There is hope for the Industry if this filmmakers keep doing what they love. Look into VIFF screenings and you will find the gems that we need to keep in hour memories.