Tag Archives: British Columbia

The Vintage Tempest’s Picks of Whistler Film Festival 2018

24 Nov

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The Whistler Film Festival is a jam-packed five-day event taking place north of Vancouver, British Columbia. Established in 2001, local talents and industry bigwigs are here not only to ski but also look at the spotlight of refreshing new talents. This show is not for star spotting. I visited this resort to marvel at the Milky Way and get back to Nature; though for others, to mingle with the likes of Kim Cattrall, Ryan Reynolds or Jason Priestley is more enticing. Even Hollywood’s elite might be here looking for the next big thing.

With no surprise, Mary: Queen of Scots is the gala film. Saoirse Ronan plays the title role, and Margot Robbie is Queen Elizabeth I. Both are rivals for the throne, and for who gets it, they can look at John Guy’s book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart, which posits the theory that Mary and Elizabeth actually met and planned how to rule. Their on-screen tête-à-tête is one to marvel at.

To revisit this mountain resort town has been on my list for a while, and this year has enough reasons for me to go. The following are my genre picks which caught my eye.

The summaries are from this event’s website:

Anna and the Apocalypse

Nov 29 8:30pm
Squamish Cultural Center

Sun, Dec 02, 9:00am
Rainbow Theatre

Okay, so you want to see something different at a film festival. How about a Scottish Christmas musical zombie movie? Yup. Shaun of the dead meets Glee. This is the wackiest premise for a film since Trey Parker’s Cannibal The Musical (1993) or Darren Lynn Bousman’s The Devil’s Carnival (2012). When a zombie apocalypse threatens the town of little haven at Christmas time, Anna and her teen friends have to slash, decapitate and sing their way through an assortment of undead snowmen, elves, Santas and Christmas shoppers just to make it across town to the safe haven of their high school. The singing and dancing are show-stoppingly good at times as if the players are auditioning for a Broadway play. And if you are a truly twisted soul, maybe this will even put you in the Christmas spirit.

[Editor’s note: This movie will play at select theatres beginning Dec 7 courtesy of Orion Pictures. Please check local listings]

Elijah and the Rock Creature

Dec 02 4:00pm
Village 8 Cinema

A delightful family film that structurally resembles E.T., but on a tiny fraction of the budget. It demonstrates what great costume design and luminescent photography can accomplish when filtered through the eyes of visual artist and painter Jennifer Walden in her first feature, shot near Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.

Elijah and his mother are grieving a loss when they decide to see the stars in Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest dark sky preserve in the world. Elijah gets separated from his party and wanders the beautiful but marker-less landscape, frightened and lost. Along the way, he encounters a mythological rock creature “from beyond the stars”, who is also trying to find his way home. Together, they become a team. But when Elijah tries to explain the existence of his extraterrestrial guide, the folks back home assume he is suffering from hallucinations.

Using mostly local talent, with a particular nod to costume designer Adrienne Cartwright, this is proof that resonant stories can be made in any part of this country, and it marks the arrival of a major new directorial talent on the Canadian scene.

At Eternity’s Gate

Nov 28, 9:00pm
Nov 30, 12:00pm
Rainbow Theatre

Willem Dafoe is Vincent van Gogh. With his sunken cheeks and haunted eyes, it is difficult to imagine any other actor in the role. The film, directed by acclaimed artist Julian Schnabel (Basquiat, The Diving Bell & the Butterfly), focuses on Van Gogh’s final months, living hand to mouth in the south of France. He drinks too much, is extremely productive, but fails to connect with the locals, who taunt him and tease him. His artistic response to the beauty of the country around him continues to inspire him, even as his daily life and very survival become more difficult. Using lighting and natural settings, Schnabel successfully evokes the artist’s unique way of seeing the world around him. The nature of genius, and of artistic obsession is captured with deep insight in this oft-told story, but it is Dafoe’s performance as Van Gogh that will stay with you, long after the final images from the film have faded. This is the film’s first festival showing in Canada.

Treeline

Nov 30, 9:45pm
Dec 02, 9:45pm
Maury Young Arts Center

Trees are the oldest living beings humans have encountered since our time on Earth. They provide us with sustenance, shelter, fuel, and materials that we cannot live without. This year’s winter film from Patagonia takes us on a journey through the enshrined cypress groves of Japan, into the ancient bristlecones of Nevada and through British Columbia’s own towering red cedar forests. We follow skiers, snowboarders, scientists and healers as they each explore their relationship with the silent giants. Vancouver filmmaker Jordan Manley breathes life into these forests with his stunning cinematography. A unique look into the power of nature, treeline is as visually encapsulating as it is spiritually moving.

Shortwork Series

Up to nine short films make up this unique set of screenings. Beginning November 28th, each day will offer something special. Of note, Girl in the Galactic Sun (see below) and Cedar Tree of Life will certainly sate the sci-fi enthusiast and hedgewitch in me. Guy Maddin is one of three directors in Accidence (Day 2, Nov 30 12pm)

The following make up unit four, of student’s works, (playing Dec 3, 1:30pm). Of these pickings from this category, I find the shorts offered in this collection may well traverse beyond the line of what fantasy, a thriller or science fiction means. Rod Serling must be proud!

EGG – A surreal animation about a woman locked in her home with an egg, towards which she feels both attraction and fear. She eats the egg, she repents; she kills the egg; she lets the egg die of hunger. The woman controls the egg… or does the egg control the woman?

Fantasmagoria – Struggling to cope with the loss of her daughter, a grieving mother embarks on a surrealist journey filled with bizarre characters in search of peace in the realm of lucid dreams. As she gets closer to her daughter, Mara comes to realize what she needed all along.

Girl in the Galactic Sun – A genderless alien who longs for a different life decides to transform into a woman in order to reproduce and save the species. G944 arrives at the Galactic Sun Facility unaware of the risks, and its desperation to understand what it is to be a woman leads it down a dangerous path with unnerving consequences.

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Take Me Home to This Place I Belong, This Mountain Life

12 Nov

Plays November 14, at the Capitol 6 theatres, at 7pm and 9:30pm, in Victoria, B.C. Tickets can be bought online hereFor upcoming screenings nationwide, please visit MountainLifeFilm.com

Coming soon to Knowledge Network. Please check local listings. The local showing includes the NFB’s Mountain of SGaana.

  • Spoiler Alert

This Mountain Life is a beautiful documentary about staying positive. For those aspiring to climb high enough, communion with Nature can be found. Though tuning into the cosmos natural vibration is not everyone’s goal, these huge rocky ranges people find latticed around the world offer than meets the eye. At least for those folks who wonder what it’s like to live off the grid, or spend time away from the concrete jungle—whether it’s at a cabin, a monastery or a small community in the woods—this film reveals plenty.

At the same time, we are reminded Supernatural British Columbia is three-quarters mountainous terrain. Life within the Coast Mountains (sic. Cascades) is the focus. To live life with the outdoors as your backyard is not limited. Those willing to explore these alpine ranges can reveal a bounty of medicines and new discoveries, if not reconnecting with a higher force. Small towns tucked within the valleys enjoy the benefits. In the Lower Mainland, some folks can visit Whistler, BC to go skiing. I am brave enough to venture deeper to discover other treasures, if not get spirited away—lest the wildlife have other plans for me.

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Fan Expo Vancouver 2018 Report

25 Oct

215d2-fanexpovancouverBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Anyone who enjoys reading comic books, meeting celebrities and shopping for geeky novelties will flock to events like Fan Expo Vancouver (FXV), no matter when or where it takes place. This year, they moved from their November slot to October mid-month, from Oct 12-14th and scaled it back. Those who have frequently been to this annual event noticed.

Instead of taking up two floors of the West Vancouver Convention Center, everything was packed into one space. As I have reported in previous articles, the East Building has SHUX, a closed to the public board game event. I could approach check-in and look yonder to know the layout was similar to FXV’s. And that’s to pack everything into one space instead of spreading it out. This event probably took up three-quarters of the main floor. On the map, the area dedicated to panels and sellers were smaller and I was glad to know I was not missing anything special. Attendees to this event were not here to shop, but rather play demos and new games; I could not spot card games like Magic the Gathering.

If I had to pick between two events the same weekend, my money is on Fan Expo.

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Vancouver’s SPARK Animation 2018 Picks & Highlights

23 Oct

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

SPARK Animation is back to highlight the best in what the medium offered in the past year. This event runs from October 25 to 28, and Vancouver will be abuzz with incredible talents showing off the latest works from many talented filmmakers. It is also a great place to meet up-and-coming talents, network and see the best of the best. The highlight this year is from Korea, The Moon in the Hidden Woods and from Japan, Short Films: Modest Heroes of these Times is a themed collection of works from Studio Ponoc (who made Mary and the Witch’s Flower)

Not to be outshone, The National Film Board of Canada has beloved favourites Animal Behavior and Shop Class being showcased. The latter is making its Vancouver premiere. These works are Canadian made. In addition to these works, the following will be making screening on the big screen: Continue reading