The 42nd Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) returns from September 28 – October 8. The 2023 Festival includes 130 features and 100 shorts, including a star-studded lineup for Special Presentations and VIFF Live — unique, cinema-infused performances that push the boundaries of traditional film programming. Ticket packs are on sale to the general public today, August 17.
VIFF has already announced eight Special Presentations, including several Canadian stories: Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe by Robert McCallum, a heartfelt documentary that celebrates the life and work of the iconic Canadian children’s television personality; Swan Song by Chelsea McMullan, an inside look at the National Ballet of Canada’s 2022 production of Swan Lake directed and staged by the legendary Karen Kain; and Seven Veils by Atom Egoyan, a psychodrama about a young theatre director forced to re-examine her own trauma while working on a remount of Salome.
VIFF mainstay Hirokazu Kore-eda returns with Monster, a powerful critique of bullying and family dysfunction that explores the same events through different perspectives. Other international standouts include: The Old Oak by Ken Loach, a working class drama about a bar owner who steps up when an influx of Syrian refugees stokes xenophobic backlash; Anatomy of a Fall by Justine Triet, an engrossing courtroom drama that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year; Last Summer by Catherine Breillat, about a lawyer who begins a taboo relationship with her 17-year-old stepson; and La Chimera by Alice Rohrwacher, an exhilaratingly wild, mysterious, rough and tumble tale of a disheveled English tomb raider living with a boisterous group of Italian bohemians.
“We’re excited to include tributes to two Canadian icons; Mr. Dressup and Karen Kain, along with the latest by a legendary homegrown filmmaker, Atom Egoyan, in this year’s Special Presentations program,” says Curtis Woloschuk, Director of Programming. “And while these three films hinge on the power of performance, other marquee attractions at this year’s festival offer narratives that dramatically shift perspective, immerse us in moral entanglements, and remind us of the power of simple acts of kindness.”
This year’s VIFF Live program is guest curated by PuSh International Performing Arts Festival Co-Founder Norman Armour. Two highlights are 32 Sounds by filmmaker Sam Green, a profound documentary and live sensory experience that shifts our perception of the world, and Machine Folklore by Software2050 & NAXS FUTURE, an immersive audio-visual performance screening in which AI meets virtual consciousness to depict a portrait of humanity and the infinite possibilities of the future.
“VIFF Live events are occasions to witness boundaries lovingly teased and toyed with of what we commonly refer to as cinema,” says Armour. “The spotlighted works and artists embrace a dizzying range of aesthetic and subject matter concerns. For many of the creators, the moniker ‘filmmaker’ or ‘image maker’ being the farthest from their sense of creative identity. Here, unfettered play is the goal. And play, they do!”
The remainder of the programming for VIFF’s 42nd edition will be announced Wednesday, September 6, 2023. Find ticket packs online now at viff.org/ticket-info/#festival.