Families–close knit, estranged, chosen, or amusingly dysfunctional–are an endless source of inspiration for filmmakers. This year’s festival program has several films focused on a variety of family structures. Here are your best bets for some family drama.
Living in a cramped apartment in a new city, a young violinist is trying to take care of her listless mother and burnout brother. Tonight is a school recital-will she have her moment to shine, or will her family remain preoccupied?
Choosing which film to go to see at a film festival is tough–there’s only one screening, and tickets for films are sold in a block of time so you want to know the screening you pick is the best one. To help you decide which film to see, here are some comparisons to some beloved films and shows already out there so you can see which must-see film could be added to your list of favorites.
If you like Orange is the New Black you’ll love Pretty Bitch
Pretty Bitch by Rebecca Coley is the first film that will be shown during our festival. It is a hard film, but so worth the watch: the main character is a young woman in prison whose sense of divine justice makes Pennsatucky’s religious fervor pale in comparison…
Noor is a feature-length drama from Turkish director Çagla Zencirci and French director Guillaume Giovanetti. Our festival committee was interested in this story for many reasons, but what caught their eye is the story and the cinematic excellence that beautifully captures the calm and majestic landscapes of Northern Pakistan.
While women might not be faring well behind cameras, on camera it pays to have the presence of women. How can one measure the presence of women on screen? What makes a film feminist? Is a token appearance or a one-off line by a female character enough?
Enter the Bechdel Test and the Mako Mori Test. Both are tests/tools that can be used to indicate the presence of women in the film you are watching. Neither test necessarily indicates that the film is feminist, they merely indicate the role of women in the particular story you are watching, and might suggest whether or not the female characters are well rounded, engaging, dynamic, or just tired old stereotypes.
Film festivals have a bit of a reputation for choosing depressing or overly-intellectual films. However excellent these films may be, sometimes you just want to head out for a night of some lighthearted entertainment. Here are the picks for VIWIFF’s best feel good films.
Newcomers Swim Every Friday
For most Vancouverites, the ocean is something to be celebrated and enjoyed–that’s why most of us live here, after all. For folks like Aisha, who are new to Canada, large bodies of water present a whole new level of unfamiliarity in strange surroundings. In this lovely short by Meghna Haldar, we watch a woman trying to face her fears by keeping her head above water.
Afterparty, a feature-length Canadian dramedy is definitely one of the most unique films we will be showing at this year’s festival. Here are some interesting facts about the film, which will be showing on Saturday, March 8th.
If you’re interested in finding the script for this film, good luck–every single line said in the film was improvised by the cast!
The film passes the Bechdel Test
The film features LGBTQ2S characters
The film was shot in Canada over six weeks
Afterparty is the result of a very unique effort on behalf of the cast and crew. Made by Sociable Films, a boutique film production company based in Vancouver, their mission is to make movies “sociably”. In their own words,
“Making movies sociably” is an artist driven philosophy, where artists’ resources and talents are pooled and shared in a familial spirit, resulting in films that are both artistically fulfilling and fiscally responsible. Sociable Films believes that by working together, artists will have the ability to say “yes” more often to the projects, stories and ideas that inspire them, by building a community of people interested in helping each other succeed.”
Lastly, stay tuned for some hilarious slam poetry about candy…you’ve been warned.
As we start a new year of women in film, it seems pertinent to take a look back and see how far we came in 2013.
THE BAD NEWS
The past year has definitely had its highs and lows. San Diego State University’s Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film had the tough job of crunching the numbers, delivering the sobering news in their annual ‘Celluloid Ceiling’ report that 2013 was a huge low for women employed in film.
As Variety pointed out, 2013 represented the lowest levels of women employed in film production since 1998. Sixteen years of hard work, and women in film are still making high quality work, but not getting the support or credit they need to continue to make it in the film industry.
The Celluloid Ceiling survey showed that in the top-grossing 250 domestic pictures shown, employment of women for these films was only at 16%. Compare this to where we were are at in 2012 (18%), and 1998 (17%).
Who says women aren’t funny? This year’s VIWIFF lineup has comedies from all over the world. If you’re looking for laughs, these films are your best bets to tickle your funny bone.
Karen Lam’s The Meeting is her second film showing at VIWIFF (her feature-length supernatural thriller, Evangeline, is opening the festival). This dark comedy focuses on a group of serial killers in the midst of, well, supporting one another at their weekly AA-esque support group. One can’t stop bragging about his finesse with weaponry, another is hung up on his creepy fetishes, while the rest argue about group dynamics. Will a surprise visit from a lost person looking for another meeting prove helpful in vanquishing their troubles, or tempt them into relapse?