Three picks from the Vancouver International Women In Film Festival

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      Once again, the Vancity Theatre hosts a whopping program of features, shorts, seminars, and other activities—many of them free—at this year's Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. 

      German production Dark Blue Girl kicks things off with a gala screening on Tuesday (March 6). Here are a few picks from the days that follow:

      IN THE SHADE OF THE APPLE TREE (Germany)  An intimate look into the seemingly mundane lives of an elderly German couple in the tiny town of Korbußen, this gentle doc is filmmaker Claudia Euen's attempt to document—and figure out for herself—what exactly makes love work. Turning the camera on her grandparents, Ilse and Wolfgang Gutsche, who have been together for over 65 years, Euen allows the couple to tell the story of their courtship following the Second World War, their marriage shortly after, and the life they've shared since, while intermittently reflecting on her own experiences with loves had and lost. There are no a-ha moments or big reveals. Rather, the film moves with tenderness and a quiet confidence that, with concerted effort, things will work out in the end—much like the nature of love itself. Screening at the Vancity Theatre on Wednesday (March 7) > Lucy Lau


      THE WOMEN WHO RUN HOLLYWOOD (France)  It’s a little known fact that before 1925, some 50 percent of Hollywood films were made by women—a statistic that still shocks today. (When it really shouldn't). Sister filmmaking duo Julia and Clara Kuperberg's The Women Who Run Hollywood excavates the history of pioneering women in America's film industry, and brings forward the ongoing and important discussion of the lack of female creatives and leadership in contemporary show business. This 52-minute documentary features snippets of film produced by talented women in the silent era, as well as candid interviews with the few prominent female screenwriters, directors, and film execs who have been able to climb the ladder in more recent times. The Kuperberg sisters definitely put the topic of Hollywood's gender inequality in filmmaking in the spotlight, but their straightforward storytelling seems to lack the push to generate further action against an all too depressing reality. Screening at the Vanity Theatre on Thursday (March 8) > Tammy Kwan


      THE LAST WALK (Canada/Greenland/USA)  It's not easy living in the Arctic, and it's even harder when you have to deal with a tragic loss. The Last Walk directed by Anna Hoover, Johannes Lynge, and Jerri Thrasher, is a short film (45 mins) consisting of three different fictional stories that explore tragedy, forgiveness, and healing, using Indigenous storytelling techniques. Set in Greenland, Alaska, and the Northwest Territories, each story features two sisters going through a traumatic experience—in each case the loss of a child. Bits and pieces of Indigenous culture are sprinkled in each tale, showcasing traditional clothing, food, and native languages. At times it's difficult to understand what the filmmakers are trying to convey. You end up questioning if the character is real or just an illusion. But beyond the confusion and grief is something that viewers can take home with them: learning to let go and move on. Screening at the Vancity Theatre on Sunday (March 11) > TK