By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
By my count, I believe the Victoria Film Festival is celebrating 25 glorious years! Congratulations! I remember starting to go see this event when they are younger way back when, with Edison and Leo (2008). catching my attention. As a fan of all forms of animation, I found it tough to find the indie material to watch on the big screen.
After that was The Chef of South Polar (2009) to cater to my foodie interests. This organization has Feast! (runs in the month of June ) for those who love the theme of food, and B-Fest to celebrate the best of pop culture cinema over the summer.
This local event began in 1995 and grew to include the series, “In Conversation With” and “Jammies & Toons.” Both are worth going to, as this event never fails to get fascinating directors or performers to discuss their work. This year they got Bill Nighy and in no time flat, the event is sold out! I’m not surprised and am sad I was not swift as Davy Jones to snag my ticket.
My picks for this year include:
Feb 16 | 11:30 AM | The Vic
Although Okko’s Inn is available to own on home video, released by Shout! Factory and having many screenings last year, including Fantasia Festival, there’s no denying this anime is perfect for families to enjoy and watch on the big screen. It’s a film worth seeing time and time again, and review can be read here.
This coming of age tale deals with a sad moment in Okko’s life. She loses her parents and part of this film looks at how she deals. While sent to live with her grandmother, who is the house keeper of Hananoyu Inn, what she discovers about herself during this time here is special. As the survivor of the car crash which claimed her folks, she can now speak to ghosts. They are not all that scary and the just what she learns from them will certainly help in her healing,
Feb 12 | 6:00 PM | Odeon
Christoph Schaub is the narrator in Architecture of Infinity, a documentary about sacred sites. I expect an examination of ancient and modern day builds–from Abu Simbel in Egypt to the recreation of Stonehenge–in this film and just what that means is not always about the culture of the past, but rather in what it still means today.
From the press release:
The film follows “spiritual life” in architecture and the fine arts, but also in nature, and literally lifts it over and above the limits of thinking. A slightly floating camera immerses us in somnambulistic images, takes us on a sensual and sensing journey through vast spaces, and guides our eye towards the infinity of the starry sky and the depths of the ocean. Past and present, primeval times and light years, it’s all there.
Feb 8 | 12:15 PM | The Vic
Feb 13 | 5:30 PM | Parkside
Bibliophiles will no doubt gravitate to The Booksellers. This documentary delves into the rare and exotic. Every city or town has a few stores dealing with rare and antiquarian works. In New York City, there are literally dozens of them!
Just when we think these shops are a fading memory, D.W. Young’s documentary promises to deliver a lighthearted (and often thoughtful portrayal of the eccentric personalities who keep the scene alive.
For me, it’s about the ghosts of the past. This film will no doubt dig up some interesting bits of history not only about this particular scene but also how these operations stay afloat in this day and age of the Internet.
Feb 9 | 1:00 PM | Capitol 6
Feb 12 | 3:15 PM | SilverCity #3
Hi, A.I. is another documentary that examines and questions how reliant we are with technology. Or rather, when does the line blur when we want to be fully integrated with it. German director Isa Willinger looks at the advances that come with faster computers.
Computations do not make up artificial intelligence, and nor are advanced heuristic trees to make that winning chess move! What if robots become our companions or love interest? There’s a lot of things to consider, including cinema’s take with movies like Terminator and I, Robot. What if these AIs rebel against us? What are we to do. Star Trek: Picard is no stranger to this theme, as this film looks at a quiet revolution that Starfleet fears.
Feb 7 | 6:30 PM | Capitol 6
Feb 14 | 12:15 PM | The Vic
The Men’s Room is about 25 Norwegians who love to sing dirty rock songs and drink beer. They promised to sing at each other’s funerals but did not expect their director is first in line. He’s been diagnosed with a cancer, and it’s not expected he will live long.
This choir is preparing for its biggest gig to date–they are the warm-up act for Black Sabbath before their concert in Norway 2016.
Feb 11 | 4:00 PM | Capitol 6
Feb 12 | 5:30 PM | The Vic
Elves, dwarves and trolls are an integral part of Icelandic myth and when a piece of volcanic rock is under threat of demolition, the seer Ragga fights for saving them. In what’s revealed is more than just about protecting the past, but also the future.
This tale is more about environmentalism and saving the past. It looks at man’s relationship with nature.
Feb 8 | 10:30 PM | Odeon
While few genre works are offered this year, Andrew Patterson’s science fiction mystery The Vast of the Night will satisfy two niches–horror and science fiction.
Set in the 50s New Mexico, radio host Everett and trusty switchboard operator Fay intercepts a strange broadcasting during one night. Until they figure out where it’s coming from, it’s safe to say they will find we are not alone in this universe. This film promises to have a Twilight Zone vibe, but I’m curious as to whether it will be like the classic Pontypool. We have no idea what the threat is, but I’m excited to go find out!
Feb 10 | 8:00 PM | Parkside
Feb 14 | 9:00 PM | SilverCity #3
As there’s no easy way to describe Jallikattu without seeing it, critic Ravi Srinivasan describes this work as an adrenaline-inducing, menacing ride that blurs the boundaries between thriller and horror, and man and beast. I’m excited to check out this unique film because it deals with more than just man’s relationship with fauna. Just how we treat animals can be reversed, when they decide to fight back.
This title references a traditional event in India where community attempts to wrangle a bull. This film examines the chaos that breeds anarchy.
Feb 13 | 9:00 PM | Capitol 6
The treat behind We Are Little Zombies is that we are looking at social misfits expressing themselves through music. These kids lost their parents. They don’t know how to deal, much less cope. Instead of crying, they go through the motions of becoming a pop cultural phenomenon–just what they discover about themselves is not only heart warming but amazing. I had the opportunity to see this film early, and highly recommend it for seeing how media treats “fads.”
A full review can be read here.
To buy tickets (titles go to purchase links) and see the full list of films to be screened, please visit www.victoriafilmfestival.com