A Pop Culture Guide to the 2023 Victoria Film Festival

Victoria Film Festival Current LogoThe 2023 Victoria Film Festival is turning twenty-nine years old, and it’s terrific to see them continue to support the local filmmaking community. Arnold Lim’s latest, “My Name is Arnold,” is the spotlight this year. Not only do they continue to bring the love for independent film to Vancouver Island but also do what they can to keep cineastes  in town happy.

Whether they attract more from abroad is something they should include in their guide to say why this event is important on a global scale. That’s mostly because there’s lovers of film from afar who often ask that.

If travelling to the wet and wintry garden city is not possible to show support, then I suggest checking out if your local film festival or art house theatre will play them. Thankfully, there’s three works in this list which are more accessible than others (see below). One is already on home video, and I’ll never tire of watching on a traditional basis.

No Straight Lines:
The Rise of Queer Comics
Cover of No Straight Lines

Debuting on PBS Jan 23.
Playing at VFF Feb 09 9:00pm

When Alison Bechdel received a coveted MacArthur Award for her best-selling graphic memoir Fun Home, it heralded the acceptance of LGBTQ+ comics in American culture. From DIY underground comix scene to mainstream acceptance, meet five smart and funny queer comic book artists whose uncensored commentary left no topic untouched and explored art as a tool for social change.

Featuring Alison Bechdel, Jennifer Camper, Howard Cruse, Rupert Kinnard, Mary Wings, and other queer comics artists.

Poupelle of Chimney Town Movie PosterPoupelle of Chimney Town

Feb 12 11:30am

I’ve said far too much about this work’s release ever since Fantasia Film Fest back in 2020. Although offering a dated film in this event seems unusual when considering the other films are new, it’s still a fantastic ghost story for the ages. It’s certainly worth catching again on the big screen, and for a more detailed, spoiler-filled look, please check out my former coverage.

Enys Men - HD-Trailers.net (HDTN)Enys Men

Feb 08 7:45pm

Mark Jenkin isn’t a household name and after one success that examines the life of a fisherman living day by day and dealing with some strangeness going on in a small fishing town, keeping brass knuckles in his pocket may not be enough. But there’s a lot more going on in that drama which many say leans on folk horror, and that’s why this filmmaker’s latest is worth noting.

From the official synopsis:

In 1973, on an uninhabited island, a solitary woman (Mary Woodvine) spends her days entranced by a study of wildflowers, noting their subtle daily changes in her log book. Alongside her ritualised observations, she becomes increasingly unsettled by a mounting series of nightmarish visitations, forcing both her and viewers to question whether the landscape is not only alive, but also a sinister sentient force.

Banality - movie poster | www.imdb.com/title/tt6314670 | FlickrThe Banality

Feb 04 6:30pm

From the 2023 Victoria Film Festival Guide:

Father Moss (Stranger Things’ Sherman Augustus) is a troubled priest whose connection to his faith is on shaky ground. Following a local boy’s death, he is called upon to counsel the parents who are part of his flock. The boy was known in town as “the Feral Boy” due to his being discovered in the woods as a child. As questions surrounding the death are investigated by Moss and other members of the community, the Father begins to make connections between his nightmarish visions and “Feral Boy’s” passing. Spooky stuff incoming!

Stellar (2022) - IMDbStellar

Feb 3, 1:00pm
Feb 7, 9:00pm

This science-fiction romantic drama fears the end of the world, and all people can think of is how to spend the last days before an asteroid destroys the Earth. All She (Elle-Maija Tailfeathers) and He (Braeden Clarke) are worried about is how to make the most of the time together. Instead of a typical Hollywood style let’s blow a lot of things up scenario, filmmaker Darlene Naponse, examines the connection humanity has with nature, and decides to go somewhere else with it.

Viking (2022) - IMDbViking

Feb 05 3:00pm

From the 2023 Victoria Film Festival Guide:

The Viking Society is recruiting volunteers to collaborate on the first manned mission to Mars. The goal is to form a B-team of alter egos who will live the adventure in parallel, behind closed doors on Earth, in the hope of remotely solving the interpersonal problems encountered by the five real astronauts who will soon land on the red planet. The film tells the story of how David, a physical education teacher, seized this opportunity to rekindle his dream of becoming an astronaut and perhaps make a difference. Somewhere between unlikely science fiction and modern allegory, Viking is a dramatic comedy about the gap between our aspirations and reality.

Unicorn Wars (2022) - IMDbUnicorn Wars

Feb 09 8:30pm

Anyone who missed catching this work at Spark! The festival has a chance to catch this quirky French-Spanish animated motion picture, which will no doubt be crazy. It’s no doubt filled with allegories and a hidden examination of what filmmaker Alberto Vázquez faced in his youth. But as for what the film’s protagonists, Bluey and Tubby, must face, let the battle commence!

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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