This year’s Vancouver International Film Festival will open with the historical immigration drama Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley and with a screenplay adapted by Nick Hornby from the Colm Toibin novel of the same name. The British/Irish/Canadian co-production, starring Saoirse Ronan, will kick off the festival with a gala screening on Sept. 24. The Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light, directed by Marc Abraham and produced by Vancouver’s Bron Studios, will close the festival on Oct. 9.
VIFF, which includes 355 films from 70 countries this year, announced its gala and special presentation programs on Tuesday. This year’s festival features 32 world premieres, 33 North American premieres and 53 Canadian premieres.
The Canadian Images program opens with the political comedy My Internship in Canada, directed by Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar), and the BC Spotlight Awards Gala will screen Patricia Rozema’s Into the Forest, starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood. Deepa Mehta’s Beeba Boys, a gang film set in the Lower Mainland, will also screen at a gala presentation.
Other films announced on Tuesday include Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, based on the Man Booker Prize-nominated novel by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue; This Changes Everything, a documentary by Avi Lewis inspired by the book of the same name by Naomi Klein, his wife; Mabel Cheung’s A Tale of Three Cities, about the parents of kung fu superstar Jackie Chan; and the Canadian premiere of Stig Bjorkman’s Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words.
Two Canadian Images special presentations were also announced: Paul Gross’s Hyena Road tells the stories of a sniper, an intelligence officer and a legendary mujahedeen warrior. And Atom Egoyan’s Remember stars Christopher Plummer as a Holocaust survivor seeking revenge.
Previously announced films in the Canadian Images program include Alan Zweig’s Steve Fonyo documentary Hurt; Guy Maddin’s new film, The Forbidden Room, co-directed by Evan Johnson; and the world premiere of Michael Shannon Michael Shannon John by director Chelsea McMullan (My Prairie Home).
Previously announced as part of the BC Spotlight program: Mina Shum’s documentary Ninth Floor, Charles Wilkinson’s Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World; and the world premiere of Jordan Paterson’s docudrama Tricks on the Dead: The Story of the Chinese Labour Corps in WWI.
Other previously announced films screening at VIFF include Cannes Palme d’Or winner Dheepan, directed by Jacques Audiard; Jafar Panahi’s Berlin Golden Bear winner Taxi; and the six-hour epic Arabian Nights directed by Miguel Gomes.