Vancouver International Film Festival @40 Years! and Genre Picks

The Vancouver International Film Festival is terrific in spotlighting international films and don’t always often have a wide selection of genre picks. When they do, especially during a key anniversary year, there’s reason to cheer!

Reviewed: New Logo and Identity for Vancouver International Film Festival by Cause+Affect | UX AgencyOctober 1 to 11th * Various Venues * Vancouver, British Columbia

The Vancouver International Film Festival is terrific in spotlighting international films and don’t always have a wide selection of genre picks. When they do, especially during their ruby anniversary year, there’s reason to cheer! Anyone who’ve missed seeing a few films from Fantasia have a second chance here!

Most of these titles are geo-locked to this province and in-person attendence is most likely capped. Anyone with questions can also read the Health & Safety Guidelines in the official VIFF website.

On my list of notable pieces to view are:

International Shorts: Animation

Runs Oct 1-3
(please check link for showtimes)

This year’s International Shorts: Animation is a more mature program, predominated by adult themes and some very serious subjects. The creativity, the artistry, and the storytelling on display in these nine shorts is all top-notch, and the range of styles, techniques, and approaches will surprise you. We encourage younger viewers watching on VIFF Connect to be accompanied by an adult as three shorts have strong themes and violent content that could be disturbing to some viewers.

What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? (2021) - IMDb

What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?

Oct 1, 4 and 10
VIFF Centre – Vancity Theatre

Falling in love at first sight, Lisa and Giorgi have no sooner met than they are cursed to wake up in new bodies, unrecognizable even to themselves. Will love draw them together again?

This playful and discursive contemporary fairy tale is a love story smitten with the peculiarities of place: the ancient city of Kutaisi, Georgia, its people, its dogs and children, its passion for soccer, and for music. Writer-director Alexandre Koberidze is entranced by everything he sees, and we, too, are transported.

Tin Can

Oct 1, 5 and 8
The Rio Theatre, 19+ Venue

Racing to find a cure for a global outbreak, a parasitologist (Anna Hopkins) is abducted and awakens in a suspended animation chamber. As she kicks and screams her way to freedom—or whatever the plague has laying in wait—Tin Can trades claustrophobic tension for undiluted nightmare fuel. Seth A. Smith (The Crescent) confirms his credentials as one of genre cinema’s most singular voices with this deftly executed, undeniably deranged wedding of classic body horror and contemporary anxieties over isolation.

Charlotte (2021) - IMDb


Oct 3 (3:00pm) and 6 (9:15pm)
Vancouver Playhouse

The tragically short life of German Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon (voiced by Keira Knightley) and her remarkable body of autobiographical work (including her masterpiece Life? Or Theatre?) are honoured in this expressively animated, deeply felt biopic helmed by Eric Warin and Tahir Rana. Despite the hardship and persecution endured by its namesake in World War II, Charlotte serves as an inspirational testament to what can be achieved if one is able to live and create as if there was no tomorrow.

Lamya’s Poem

Oct 1, 9 and 10
(please check link for times)
VIFF at SFU Goldcorp

In a mysterious and haunting dream world, a modern 12 year-old girl meets the 13th century young poet Rumi, as they travel through a fantastical land where luxurious airships float through the air, and unfurling, insidious black tendrils spread over a mystical city. Directed by Alex Kronemer, Lamya’s Poem is a heartfelt animated tale that follows a Syrian girl as she flees her war-torn country on a perilous journey that eventually brings her to the unwelcoming shores of a European refugee camp.

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko (2021) - IMDb

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko

Oct 9 (6:45 pm) & 11 (3:45pm)
VIFF at SFU Goldcorp

From the director of Children of the Sea (VIFF 2019) comes another visual wonder with a gossamer whiff of magic realism. Unlike the esoteric Children, this is a kid-friendly comedy that sizzles with the most appetizing Japanese cuisine that animation can render. Nikuko (‘Meat-girl’) is a plus-sized single mother who adores food, Japanese wordplay, and shifty men, and never loses her joie de vivre. When she and daughter Kikuko settle in an idyllic fishing village, they’re almost undone by a buried secret.



Oct 8 (6:30pm) & 10 (1:00pm)
The Rio Theatre, 19+ Venue

Having successively orchestrated a coup, extracted a foreign drug lord, and absconded with a gold bounty, the Bangui Hyenas find their run of good luck ends abruptly when they’re shot down over Senegal’s Sine Saloum region. Taking refuge at a holiday camp, the mercenaries instantly arouse suspicion and soon unleash something otherworldly. As supernatural chaos rains down and predatory creatures wreak havoc, Jean Luc Herbulot orchestrates an action-horror film that’s a heady mix of mysticism and mayhem.

Folk Horror | Must-Watch Horrors and Thrillers | SHUDDER

Woodlands: A History of Folk Horror

Oct 1 (12:00pm) and 8 (8:45pm)
The Rio Theatre, 19+ Venue

(Movie review can be read here)

Tracing folk horror’s winding path from the influential likes of The Wicker Man to more recent fare like Midsommar, Kier-La Janisse has fashioned an astonishingly ambitious deep dive into every recess of one of the genre cinema’s most spiritually resonant, and culturally specific strains. Assembling clips from 200 films and insights from 50 interviewees, Woodlands Dark explores how these works are deeply rooted in myriad storytelling traditions and alternately embrace and interrogate chequered histories.


Kicking Blood

Oct 1 (9:00pm) and 3 (1:00pm)
The Rio Theatre, 19+ Venue

When Anna (Alanna Bale), a high-on-hemoglobin vampire, becomes enchanted by Robbie (Luke) Bilyk), a despondent alcoholic, she nurtures his sobriety and considers forsaking her immortality. But her newfound nurturing instincts and fascination with humanity don’t sit well with her blood-sucking brethren… Sensual and soulful, Blaine Thurier’s latest idiosyncratic genre piece explores the more metaphorical elements of vampirism with considerable inventiveness and precisely the right measure of irreverence.

Strawberry Mansion

Oct 2 (9:00pm) and 9 (4:15pm)
The Rio Theatre, 19+ Venue

(Movie review can be read here)

In 2035, James (Kentucker Audley) audits people’s dreams, assessing them back taxes for their fantasies. Diving into the deep end of an archive of dreams belonging to elderly Bella (Penny Fuller), he embarks on a rollicking adventure featuring seafaring rats, mythical beasts, and a younger Bella (Grace Glowicki). Transforming practically every shot into a showcase of candy-coloured sets, analog technology, and stop-motion creatures, Audley and Albert Birney have dreamt up a beguilingly absurd confection.

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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