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VIFF announces selection of 13 features for BC Spotlight program

Julia Kwan


A new documentary about Vancouver's rapidly changing Chinatown is one of the feature films just announced for this year's Vancouver International Film Festival. VIFF organizers revealed late Tuesday 13 British Columbia features that will make up the BC Spotlight program, and also announced a 25th anniversary screening of Anne Wheeler's seminal film, Bye Bye Blues.

Julia Kwan, best known for the Sundance award-winner Eve and the Fire Horse, directs Everything Will Be, which documents the changes affecting the culture and economy of Vancouver's Chinatown. The film features interviews with long-time Chinatown residents as well as those instigating and applauding the changes, including real estate marketing mogul/art collector Bob Rennie.

The BC Spotlight program will also feature the latest documentary from director Vic Sarin (who coincidentally was the cinematographer on Bye Bye Blues). The Boy From Geita is a harrowing account of the ostracism and violence young Adam, who was born with albinism, faces in his village in Tanzania. But his life takes a turn when a Canadian who also has albinism hears about Adam's terrible story, and takes action.

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The documentary Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story follows filmmakers Grant Baldwin and Jen Rustemeyer as they attempt to subsist on discarded food for six months. The film, directed by Mr. Baldwin, won the emerging artist award at Hot Docs in Toronto this year.

Scott Renyard's documentary The Pristine Coast investigates the decline of wild fish populations in B.C., focusing on the research of biologist Alexandra Morton.

On the feature side, highlights include Preggoland, the latest from director Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky). In this comedy, Ruth (played by Sonja Bennett, who also makes her screenwriting debut here) fakes being pregnant so she can fit in with her child-rearing friends.

Kris Elgstrand (who co-directed and wrote the screenplay for Doppelganger Paul) directs Songs She Wrote About People She Knows, about a lonely woman who has trouble connecting with people and expressing herself, until she begins writing brutally honest songs about them and leaving them on their voice-mail.

Sitting on the Edge of Marlene is described as a darkly comic drama centring on mother/daughter con artists. Ana Valine won best director at the Leo Awards this year for the film.

Andrew Huculiak, best known as the drummer for the Vancouver-based indie-rock band We Are the City, makes his directorial debut with Violent, inspired by the band's 2013 album of the same title. Shot in Norway and written in Norwegian, it stars Dagny Backer Johnsen as a young woman who copes with a catastrophic loss by losing herself in memories of the people who loved her most.

Other B.C. films announced for VIFF Tuesday include: Jason Bourque's thriller Black Fly, Matt O'Mahoney's horror film Bloody Knuckles, René Brar's Martin's Pink Pickle, Soran Mardookhi's Turbulence, and Maureen Bradley's Two 4 One, described as a bittersweet rom-com with a transgender hero in an unimaginable predicament.

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The festival will also feature nearly 20 short films from B.C. directors.

VIFF runs Sept. 25 to Oct. 10.

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