Vancouver International Women in Film Screenplay Competition announces Official Selections

 

Being a writer can be a solitary experience. Developing story takes time, patience, and a focus that demands persistence, and a dedication to craft. This year’s official selection list has those qualities in spades.

With submissions received from Canada, the United States, Australia and Hong Kong, the competition was exceptional. Getting on this list is a major accomplishment. Our jury for this year’s event are all experienced in script breakdowns and understand the art of the craft extremely well. They read blind, with only Competition Coordinator and Creator Michelle Muldoon knowing who wrote what (and Michelle did not have a vote in the results).  Continue reading

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Love, a tragicomedy –– Canadian rom-com Relative Happiness to premiere in Vancouver at #VIWIFF2015

Johnathan Sousa and Melissa Bergland

Johnathan Sousa and Melissa Bergland in Relative Happiness

The Nova Scotian rom-com Relative Happiness, directed by Deanne Foley, charmed festival audiences with its fabulous lead (Australian actress Melissa Bergland) and the right mix of humour and emotion. Bergland stars as Lexie, plus-sized and 30 years old, a feisty Bed and Breakfast owner who desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. Co-starring as Lexie’s love interests are Aaron Poole (Strange Empire, The Animal Project) and Johnathan Sousa (The Animal Project, Rookie Blue). The film is based on the bestselling novel by Lesley Crewe.

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Kalki Koechlin shines as Laila in Margarita, With a Straw – Indian film opens #VIWIFF2015

Kalki Koechlin as Laila in Margarita, with a Straw

Kalki Koechlin as Laila in Margarita, with a Straw

By Manjit Bains

I’m not sure if this is a film I can tell you to watch.

How open are you when it comes to controversial topics surrounding coming of age? When you watch Hindi films, do you turn away from the screen when they’re about to kiss? If so, then this is not the film for you.

Margarita With a Straw is a beautiful film about love and balance, in whatever form that may take.

It is the story of Laila (Kalki Koechlin), a young girl in the process of becoming a woman. Continue reading

A Renaissance Revolution – VIWIFF Catalyst For Change Discussion

Late one night, with tummies full of Tojo’s, Rawiya and Sophia lay comatose in bed.

Suddenly, Rawiya awoke from her slumber in a fit, “I just had the most crazy-ass dream!” Rousing her partner, “I was kayaking off Jericho when a huge grey whale popped up and told me I was pregnant. It said the baby would either grow up to become a great filmmaker who inspires and entertains billions or live a lifetime of struggle just to have their voice heard.”

Rawiya’s eyes widened, “It was a sperm whale! Do you think…”  Continue reading

The odd realm of Frauke Finsterwalder’s Finsterworld

Finsterworld

Satire, surrealism, fairy tale, allegory, black comedy, and tragicomedy: many genres could describe Frauke Finsterwalder’s first film, Finsterworld. One genre can be ruled out for sure though: vérité.

When the Women in Film Festival committee decided to invite Finsterwalder’s film, our festival judges and volunteers struggled with how to summarize this incredibly complex debut film – you’ll have to see it for yourself to understand.  Continue reading

Behind the bright façade – an African ménage à trois in Marie Kâ’s L’Autre Femme

 L'Autre FemmeWhat strikes one right away in this erotic tale written, directed and produced by Vancouver filmmaker Marie Kâ, are a wide pallet of bright colours and ubiquitous sunshine.

Clothing, interiors and street life really are that colourful in Dakar, the location for the story, said Kâ, who grew up in Senegal and studied film in France and the US. So much so that the set design and wardrobe teams did such a good job of setting up the shop window with some of the costumes that local women were coming onto the set to inquire about the clothes.

The story of Madeleine, who finds unconventional ways to get to terms with her husband’s new, young, second wife, did not strike Kâ as an unusual constellation.  Continue reading

Remembering the Homelands – Lisa Jackson’s How A People Live

Pristine waters in majestic fjords, lined by evergreen forests and a backdrop of snowcapped mountains. A bald eagle flies over treetops and a harbour seal peeks up from the waves.

To most B.C. citizens, these are not mere postcard pictures, but real memories that many of us, at least the lucky ones living near the coast, have experienced, travelling on one of the ferries. 

Jessie Hemphill

“Your identity derives from the place where you have roots, where your origin stories are. Everything comes from the land,” says Jessie Hemphill, a young aboriginal woman who joined filmmaker Lisa Jackson and her crew on a boat trip to the homelands of her nation, the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw. Continue reading

Patricia Ortega’s El Regreso – a cinematic debut gem from Venezuela

El Regreso

The festival feature El Regreso / the Return is an opportunity to experience a heart-wrenching, beautifully lensed film made in Venezuela.

Apart from the obvious cinematic qualities of the film, including the excellent direction of lay child actors by debut filmmaker Patricia Ortega, the VIWIFF selection committee was particularly struck by the true events behind the story, Continue reading