VIFF 2010: Canadian Images films announced

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      The Vancouver International Film Festival, which runs from September 30 to October 15, announced that this year's Canadian Images program will include 87 Canadian films, selected from 700 submissions. (Last year's festival featured 89 films.)

      There'll be 17 dramatic features, 11 nonfiction features, and 43 shorts. That includes 24 British Columbian productions (6 feature documentaries, 7 dramatic features, 10 shorts, and 1 mid-length film).

      The festival will kick off with Barney's Version. It's director Richard J. Lewis' cinematic adaptation of Mordecai Richler's novel with a cast that includes Dustin Hoffman, Scott Speedman, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Bruce Greenwood, and many more.

      Watch the trailer for Barney's Version.

      The Canadian Images opening gala will feature Carl Bessai's Fathers&Sons, a sequel to Mothers&Daughters which won the 2009 VIFF Most Popular Canadian Film Award. (Bessai has a second film, Repeaters, also at the festival.

      There'll also be special presentations of:
      Ӣ Score: A Hockey Musical, Michael McGowan's ode to the nation's most beloved sport, which will open the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9;
      Ӣ Love Shines, Douglas Arrowsmith's documentary, featuring appearances by Bob Rock, Feist, and Elvis Costello, about musician Ron Sexsmith as he records his 12th album;
      Ӣ Winds of Heaven, Michael Ostroff's documentary about the work of Emily Carr and the inspiration she drew from the land and aboriginal people.

      Here's a rundown of the feature films in the program.

      Altitude (Kaare Andrews), B.C.
      A weekend getaway aboard a small plane turns deadly for a rookie pilot and four teenage friends. Minutes after take-off, the aircraft is climbing out of control into the heart of a mysterious storm. Unable to get their bearings or contact the ground, the group realize they are locked in combat with a terrifying supernatural force.

      Amazon Falls (Katrin Bowen), B.C.
      Director Katrin Bowen's candid and chilling first feature delves into the belly of the mythical beast that is Los Angeles. Bowen goes beneath this sunny faí§ade to expose the legions of dream-chasers whose realities are far from glamorous.

      Breaking the Silence: Burma's Resistance (Pierre Mignault, Hélí¨ne Magny), Quebec
      Two filmmakers’—Pierre Mignault and Hélí¨ne Magny—secret and dangerous journey into the heart of a nation ruled by an oppressive and violent military regime reveals the strength of the Burmese people on both sides of the border, and their unprecedented dedication to the cause of freedom.

      Curling (Denis Cí´té), Quebec
      Jean-Franí§ois (Emmanuel Bilodeau) is a lonely single father, protective of his daughter and afraid of life outside their small, cloistered world. As she approaches adolescence, tensions between and around the pair come to a boil. Denis Cí´té's mysterious, poignant film captured the Best Director and Best Actor awards at Locarno 2010.

      A Drummer's Dream (John Walker), Ontario
      John Walker's latest documentary features a rare and unique assembly of some of the greatest drummers in the world. Explosive talent, passion, humour and irresistible personality come together in a magical setting when they create a profound and unforgettable experience. Featuring Nasyr Al-Khabyyr, Dennis Chambers, Kenwood Dennard, Horacio "El-Negro" Hernandez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Mike Mangini and Raul Rekow.

      Everywhere (Alexis Durand-Brault), Quebec
      Jim (Patrick McKenna) is a three-time divorcée, looking for security in his newfound relationship with Isabelle. By succumbing to the benefits of phone technology, Jim regains self-assurance, but his ethically questionable acts test the boundaries of intimacy.

      Guido Superstar: The Rise of Guido (Silvio Pollio)
      Director Silvio Pollio plays Guido, an Italian stallion with more bravery than brains, who gets more than he bargained for when he's hooked into going undercover against Canada's drug underworld. Suspense, slapstick and plenty of delicious plot twists soon follow...

      Heartbeats (Xavier Dolan), Quebec
      Like multiple Cannes prize-winner I Killed My Mother, Xavier Dolan's more confidently stylish sophomore effort garnered the Prix de la Jeunesse at the French festival, as well as the grand prize in Sydney. Dolan and Monia Chokri star as inseparable friends who both fall for the same handsome young man...

      Hope Builders (Fernand Dansereau), Quebec
      Fernand Dansereau, the Jutra Tribute award-winning director, returns with a fascinating look into freshly seeded grassroots activism by following a grade 6 class from La Farandole school in McMasterville, Québec, as they participate in a research-action project.

      Incendies (Denis Villeneuve), Quebec
      Jeanne and Simon journey from Montréal to the Middle East, hoping to fulfill their mother’s cryptic last request: to deliver letters to a father believed dead and a brother unknown. Director Denis Villeneuve poetically lays bare two lives and a legacy shattered by war.

      Leave Them Laughing (John Zaritsky), B.C.
      Director John Zaritsky delivers a perfect balance of rawness and exuberant humour. This musical-comedy about the nearness of death is unique and compelling, drawing its audience deep into a story of suffering and pain while liberating us with laughter.

      Love Shines (Douglas Arrowsmith), B.C.
      Douglas Arrowsmith directs this candid portrait of Ron Sexsmith recording his 12th studio album while engaging with the legendary musician's paradox: low record sales, amidst awards and praise by luminaries like Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Feist and Daniel Lanois, all of whom appear here.

      Love Translated (Julia Ivanova), B.C.
      Dreaming of beautiful, yet dutiful brides, men from all over the Western world travel to Odessa to meet women courtesy of Julia Ivanova's doc explores motives on both sides of this dubious exchange, in which many paying customers come up empty-handed—and sometimes empty-hearted.

      Mammalian (Frank Wolf), B.C.
      Frank Wolf and his buddy Taku brave a 2,000 km Arctic canoe journey from Yellowknife to Rankin Inlet, revealing the harshness and the beauty of Canada’s largest wilderness area, and the troubling changes rapidly sweeping the North.

      Marion Woodman: Dancing in the Flames (Adam Reid), Ontario
      What if life and death are not divided against each other but are instead part of a mysterious, harmonious whole? That's the thesis and the challenge of Adam Reid's enlightening documentary about spiritual intellectual Marion Woodman.

      Mighty Jerome (Charles Officer)
      Charles Officer's documentary chronicles the life and legacy of athlete Harry Jerome, using archival footage, personal interviews, stylized re-enactments and a contemporary soundtrack to examine the determination of a gifted Canadian athlete on a mission to please a country that misunderstood him.

      MODRA (Ingrid Veninger), Ontario
      Lina and Leco are restless, confused teenagers on a trip to Slovakia in Ingrid Veninger's tender snapshot of youth coming to an end. A subtle, heartfelt film of unspoken feelings and gradual revelations.

      Mourning for Anna (Catherine Martin), Quebec
      Paralyzed by grief after the murder of her daughter, a woman retreats into the splendour and solitude of rural Québec, where she will form a new bond and undergo a special kind of healing. A quietly powerful film from Catherine Martin.

      A Night for Dying Tigers (Terry Miles), B.C.
      In 24 short hours, Jack heads to prison. Push comes to shove in a fireworks display of family dysfunction during his farewell dinner in this acutely observant, appallingly funny third feature from Terry Miles, director of VIFF 08 hit When Life Was Good.

      Repeaters (Carl Bessai), B.C.
      Three addicts in a rehab clinic come to discover that they are living the same day over and over again. Carl Bessai's film uses this story conceit to explore the paradoxes of addiction; the film is a philosophical meditation in thriller format.

      Route 132 (Louis Belanger), Quebec
      Director Louis Belanger (Gaz Bar Blues) introduces us to Gilles and Bob, who hit the scenic route for a little crime spree, planning to take advantage of the backward provincials. What could possibly go wrong?

      Snow and Ashes (Charles-Olivier Michaud), Quebec
      Blais Dumas, a war correspondent, awakens from a coma in a hospital room to find that his collaborator David has not come back with him. In Charles-Olivier Michaud's award-winning debut feature, the story slowly unfolds in a series of flashbacks that shed light on the events that led to David's disappearance...

      Two Indians Talking (Sara McIntyre), B.C.
      In director Sara McIntyre’s comedic narrative, two First Nations cousins await an impending road block. Though they were raised together, on the same reservation, their banter and debate remind us that those on the same side of a cause can have radically different perspectives.

      Uncle Brian (Nick McAnulty), Ontario
      Nick McAnulty's debut feature is a brutally funny mix of sex, violence and alienation. Daniel MacLean as Brian discovers the downside of burning bridges and that sometimes saying you're sorry just isn’t enough.

      When the Devil Knocks (Helen Slinger), B.C.
      An astounding cast of characters shares the confines of one woman’s mind. Helen Slinger uses footage taken over years of therapy to uncover dozens of “alters,” a life-long battle with Dissociative Identity Disorder and the extraordinary strength of a fragmented self.

      Whirligig (Chaz Thorne), Nova Scotia
      After yet another failure, Nicholas Sinclair (Everwood's Gregory Smith) manages to track down his parent's new home in Nova Scotia, in spite of their evasive efforts.... Director Chaz Thorne has created a sardonic and highly entertaining coming-of-age story about a young man whose misguided attempts at growing up eventually pay off.

      Winds of Heaven (Michael Ostroff), Ontario
      This is a must-see, possibly one of the best films ever made about our province, these forests, and our history as newcomers. It's the story of Emily Carr and what inspired her: the love of the people, the places, and the love of art. Hats off to everyone involved in this project; it is, for us, a very important story well-told, and surely for everyone, a sight to behold.


      Fathers&Sons (Carl Bessai), B.C., Canadian Images Opening Gala
      Sharply realistic and exuberantly funny, Carl Bessai's film combines four stories about grown men and their dads. Spanning different Canadian cultures and juggling a cast of finely drawn characters, this is a warm, boisterous comedy.

      Score: A Hockey Musical (Michael McGowan), ON, Anniversary Gala
      Michael McGowan's latest film combines musical numbers with Canada's national sport. Stars include music icon Olivia Newton-John alongside a slew of Canadian talent, including Marc Jordan, Nelly Furtado, Hawksley Workman, George Stroumboulopoulos, and Evan Solomon.

      Barney's Version (Richard J. Lewis), ON, Opening Gala
      Based on Mordecai Richler's prize-winning comic novel--his last and, arguably, best--Barney's Version is the warm, wise and witty story of an unlikely hero—the unforgettable Barney Panofsky (played perfectly here by Paul Giamatti).


      In the Wake of the Flood (Ron Mann), ON
      In 2009, writer Margaret Atwood’s dedication to the preservation of bird life produced a creatively eco-friendly book tour. Veteran documentarian Ron Mann's rare and intimate look at a national treasure reveals Atwood’s personal drive, and the value of fiction and bird song.

      An Ecology of Mind (Nora Bateson), B.C.
      Nora Bateson celebrates her anthropologist-father Gregory Bateson, whose work in cybernetics, semiotics and epistemology continues to challenge us to see our lives within a larger system. With A Simple Rhythm (Tess Girard, ON), Tess Girard's absorbing look at (and listen to) synchrony and chaos, and the universal vibrations that connect us all.

      Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie (Sturla Gunnarsson), ON
      Ecologist and scientist David Suzuki serves as veteran filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson's subject in this thorough, deep-reaching account of the Canadian icon's life. Gunnarsson shows how Suzuki's relationship with his father and the family's internment during WWII gave Suzuki a sense that history matters and helped shape his critical thinking as an "outsider." Also see: Severn, The Voice of Our Children, about the important work done by Suzuki's daughter.