News from Hollywood North
Taiwanese film fest is also out on screen
The HSBC Mandarin Cinema program, in partnership with the Vancouver International Film Centre, explores the queer cinema of Zero (Mei-Ling) Chou at the Taiwanese Cultural Festival next weekend (September 1 to 3). This is on the heels of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, which comes to a close on Sunday (August 26).
Like fellow Taiwanese director Ang Lee, who transformed the taboo of homosexuality into critical success with The Wedding Banquet and Brokeback Mountain , Chou has been garnering accolades for her films' queer content, including the Teddy Award for best feature film for her latest, Spider Lilies ( Ci Qing ), at this year's Berlin International Film Festival.
A screening of that film, a lesbian love story featuring pop star Rainie Yang, will precede the Taiwanese Cultural Festival at the Vancity Theatre on Wednesday (August 29) at 7 p.m. Chou will be attending to participate in a Q&A session. (Details are at www.vifc.org/. )
In a phone interview, TCF programming director Rachel Fan explained that the choice to highlight Chou reflects both the fest's desire to "introduce young new blood from the Taiwanese film industry and also celebrate Taiwan's interpretation of diversity".
Fan says Chou's works reflect Taiwanese liberalism: "Homosexual issues”¦[are] nothing new in Taiwanese society. We can see that in recent years”¦a recent increase in the number of gay films shows how open Taiwanese society is.”¦It doesn't really matter whether it's about a gay relationship or heterosexual ones as long as it's a well-made love story." Fan points out that Chou's films go beyond homosexual themes to address such issues as Internet socializing, family, obligations, gender identity, and labour.
Chou's films will be shown each day of the festival: Corner's , a 2001 documentary about Taiwanese gay and lesbian bars (September 1); Poles Extremity (2002), about people living in remote places, and Vision of Darkness (2005), about visually impaired youth (September 2); and Splendid Float , a 2004 drama about a Taoist priest who is a drag queen by night (September 3). All screenings are at the Plaza of Nations.
For more information, visit www.taiwanfest.ca/ .
B.C. PRODUCTIONS GILD GUILD NOMINATIONS
Several B.C. productions were among the nominees for Directors Guild of Canada Awards announced on August 13.
Fido led the pack with four nominations: best feature film, best feature-film direction (Andrew Currie), best feature-film production design (Rob Gray), and best feature-film picture editing (Roger Mattiussi). Dragon Boys is up for best-television movie/miniseries. Robson Arms and Godiva's are competing for the best-drama television series award while best direction in a television series, for specific episodes, includes Whistler (Grant Harvey) and Intelligence (Stephen Surjik).
The awards will be presented on September 29 at the Carlu in Toronto.
CAMBIE MAYHEM CUTS INTO PARK'S PROFITS
Although the financial impact of the Canada Line construction on the Park Theatre has been lessened by revenue from the other theatres owned by Festival Cinemas, president Leonard Schein says the Park has lost $95,000 in 2007 and attendance has dropped by about 25 percent.
Schein, also a Cambie Village Business Association board member, said by phone that Cambie business owners "were always under the impression that the construction would have been three to four months maximum". The project commenced in 2005 and has not yet ended.
On behalf of the CVBA, Schein suggested a compensation program be implemented for businesses affected from one to two years by the disruption. "We'd like to see property taxes for 2008 be waived for all of the small businesses that are affected by the construction. The second thing we'd like to see is some program like they have in Seattle, where small businesses who can prove their losses during this time period would be compensated up to a maximum amount of money."
Canada Line independent-business liaison director Karen Peterson Ivanick explained that "the governments don't reimburse or compensate businesses for losses during any infrastructure projects, so they didn't require it of InTransitBC in their contract." Ivanick said that if the CVBA wants to see taxes waived or financial compensation, "they would need to really lobby the government for public policy change."
Estelle Lo, general manager and director of finance for the City of Vancouver, said that due to the Vancouver Charter, "The city really has no authority, no ability to exempt properties from taxes. We cannot really waive the property taxes, and the city does not have a compensation program for the businesses."
Schein pointed out that because small-business owners must sign personal guarantees, landlords go after personal assets when they cannot pay rent; consequently, it's not just their businesses but their personal lives that are affected as well. "The important thing is that businesses are still open," Schein said.
For information on Cambie businesses, visit www.cambievillage.com/ .