The NFB at Vancouver Film Festival 2023. Premiering Four Special Works

Now that this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival is in full swing, we offer a list of what The NFB is presenting.

The NFB LogoThe NFB has four special works now playing at the 2023 Vancouver International Film Festival. 

First up is the feature-length documentary WaaPaKe: Tomorrow, directed by Vancouver-based filmmaker Dr. Jules Arita Koostachin. This work is important because of what was discovered years ago, bodies of children in unmarked graves by a normal school. The public outcry was huge, and to find answers, viewers will have to watch this.

From the Press Release: 

For generations, the suffering of residential school Survivors has radiated outward, affecting Indigenous families and communities. Children, parents, and grandparents have contended with the unspoken trauma, manifested in the lingering effects of colonialism: addiction, emotional abuse, and broken relationships.

In her efforts to help the children of Survivors, including herself and her family, Koostachin makes the hard decision to step in front of the camera and take part in the circle of truth. She is joined in this courageous act of solidarity by members of her immediate household, as well as an array of voices from Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. Moving beyond burying intergenerational trauma, WaaPaKe is an invitation to unravel the tangled threads of silence and unite in collective freedom and power.

Special to this year is an installation art piece of Meneath. It’ll be part of the VIFF Signals program and is based on Métis creator Terril Calder’s Meneath: The Mirrors of Ethics, a winner of the New Voices Award at New York’s Tribeca Festival. For our review of this work, please visit this link.

On other fronts The NFB will be debuting two new shorts: Two Apples and Modern Goose.


The raised relief style in the Two Apples is amazing, which evokes a sense that the apple is eternal; not only did it allow life to spring forth, but also why it helped feed those ancient civilizations. It’s like looking at those hieroglyphics found in those temple walls–more Babylonian than Egyptian–and seeing them come alive! There’s no easy way to express everything that was exilerating in this short piece. It tackles a lot of topics, and just how it blends seemlessly into one narrative is all I’ll really say about it.

When Bahram Javahery was asked about how he got the idea to make this film, he replied:

As an artist, I create art based on my experience. My family and I immigrated to Canada from Iran in 2001. Being an immigrant is a complicated experience with many highs and lows. I wanted to explore this experience—leaving my home, choosing to come to Canada, and rebuilding a life here with my family—in Two Apples. In the film, the main character is a young woman named Gina. Like many immigrants arriving in Canada, she leaves her home in search of a better future while remaining deeply connected to her homeland and her loved ones still living there.

ModernGoose_Poster24x36ENG-Lauriers_v05-W_Web-250x375As for the fate of many waterfowls in Modern Goose, what’s not run afoul is in how these geese persevere. In terms of how this work is filmed and edited together shows they have a sense of human consciousness too. Even as one dies, just how the flock reacts is something to behold. I found this piece very sombre, as the filmmaker simply followed a flock around town, filming everything he can and then tackling the tougher job of making it feel like a narrative.

This short comes with a disclaimer: bring a box of tissues!

And as for why Karsten Wall chose to focus on this bird, he said: 

I chose Canada geese as the subject for this film because of the interesting place they occupy in the minds of Canadians. Many geese have adapted to city life but still retain their migratory instincts. For Canadians, Canada geese can be both an urban pest and a majestic creature that symbolizes the changes in season. In many ways this contradictory relationship mirrors humanity’s connection to the wider natural world: we idolize and cherish nature, but obsessively try to control it to the point of destruction.

In part two, we will present our top five genre picks to check out, and it’s certainly worth the commute for those wanting to see Hayao Miyazaki’s final film. The Boy and the Heron is coming to town!

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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