With students back to school, the first golden orange leaves falling off the maple trees, we are wrapping up Vancouver’s Indian summer with the 36th Annual Vancouver International Film Festival.
This year’s festival started with a gala evening of Canadiana with Vancouver film, Meditation Park, produced by award-winning alum, Mina Shum. Along with featured films such as Meditation Park, over 100 short films from both Canada and internationally are screened throughout the festival either paired with a feature film, or paired with other shorts in a themed event. I had the opportunity to screen some of these shorts, and here were a few picks that I enjoyed. Although most have already been screened now, there are still 3 more nights of short film screenings you can still check out starting tonight to Thursday, October 12th this week before VIFF ends.
A segment of shorts called “Teen Years: Heaven and Hell” features 8 international short films focusing on teenagers and their struggles. Game, by Jeannie Donohoe, focuses on a teenager who transfers to a new high school in hope of playing on the varsity basketball team, famous for being state champions. For the love of the game, this short is about overcoming adversity to play on a champion varsity team which leads to some unexpected revelations. This short 15-minute film features former-NBA star, Rick Fox, as the coach that has to make some difficult decisions.
8 shorts are featured in the “Crisis Management” short films, including Hunger, a film directed by Alejandro Montalvo from Mexico. Also known as Hambre, this short film is a black comedy focused on a 57-year old quiet man who has lived his whole life doing what others have told him to do. A typical government worker, a typical family man, he has been praised by others for his successes, however he has been living his life longing to fulfill his hunger, a lust that lives within him. He finally reaches his breaking point on his birthday and breaks out for freedom.
Still one more screening today, “Touching the Poetic” is a dramatic short film series that focuses on the poetry in film. These films are visually stunning, filled with expressive audio and visual experiences for viewers. Walt & Me by Yaz Canli is one of the films in this category. We are transported to the back mountains, where the protagonist is hiking through, obviously self-discovering through the wilderness, at times similar to the movie starring Reese Witherspoon, Wild. However the ending is a bittersweet twist, her saying her goodbyes and recovering from a loss dear to her heart.
Vancouver International Film Festival ends Friday, October 13th. Make sure to check out some short films or featured films before the festival wraps up. There’s some talented Canadian and International directors who normally aren’t featured on the Hollywood movie screens worth checking out. For schedule of films, go to viff.org.