Vancouver International Film Festival unveils its online and in-cinema 2020 lineup

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      The Vancouver International Film Festival has unveiled a mix of streamed films and in-person screenings for its COVID-era fest from September 24 to October 7.

      The 39th annual celebration will offer streamed films from here and around the world, geoblocked to be exclusive to British Columbia on a new VIFF Connect platform.

      The opening film is the world premiere of Loretta Sarah Todd’s Monkey Beach, based on Eden Robinson's book. And special guests in the event's talks include writer-director Charlie Kaufman.

      Aside from the Cinematheque, there will be in-person screenings at the newly renovated VIFF Centre, a $2.8 million overhaul that boasts a new 41-seat Studio Theatre, a dedicated Education Suite, a New Media Lab, and a redesigned atrium. It was designed by Vancouver-based mcfarlane biggar architects + designers.

      The fest is selling a $60 all-access subscription to bring the programming into B.C. homes. Sales start at noon on September 24. Elsewhere, VIFF Talks, VIFF AMP, Totally Indie Day and VIFF Immersed will be available across Canada and internationally. Single Tickets and subscriptions are available at, where you can also find the complete program.

      Amid the more than 180 films on offer, global programming includes the world premiere of Ecuador's Yellow Sunglasses (director Iván Mora Manzano), the Canadian premiere of Golden Bear winner There Is No Evil (directed by Mohammad Rasoulof in an Iran/Czech Republic/Germany coproduction), the Canadian premiere of the found-footage film My Mexican Bretzel (by Spain's Nuria Giménez, Spain), the German documentary Merkel—Anatomy of a Crisis, about the critical moments of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015, and Danish master Thomas Vinterberg's Another Round.

      Mads Mikkelsen in Danish master Thomas Vinterberg's Another Round


      Special programs include Impact, about activism and featuring highlights like Sundance Grand Jury and Audience Award winner The Reason I Jump (directed by Jerry Rothwell in a UK/USA production) and Citizen Penn's portrait of Sean Penn's activism. Meanwhile, the M/A/D program of music, art, and design films has profiles of everyone from Frida Kahlo to music lover Jimmy Carter.

      True North spotlights Canada, with Bruce LaBruce’s Saint-Narcisse and the B.C. premiere of The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel by Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott.

      Insights, "nonfiction films that investigate essential subject matter", will boast the world premiere of Belgian-France production My Voice Will Be With You and the North American premiere of Anerca, Breath of Life.

      Amid Gateway, the series focused on East Asia, look for highlights including the international premiere of Japan's The Town of Headcounts (dir. Shinji Araki, Japan) and the Annecy International Animation Film Festival official selection Beauty Water, from South Korea.

      There are full programs of shorts, including animated gems and the female-focused Tell Us About Her Life compilation.

      “While audiences will find the same quality of films, they’ll represent a greater diversity of perspectives," pointed out Curtis Woloschuk, associate director of programming in the statement today. "Of the 24 Canadian features at the festival, 14 are by female creators and 11 are by BIPOC filmmakers — including must-see works by emerging and established Indigenous directors."

      On the streamed speaker list, look for Watchmen cinematographer Greg Middleton and director Stephen Williams; Lovecraft Country cinematographer Rob McLachlan; and a panel of showrunners that includes Bruce Miller from The Handmaid’s Tale

      VIFF AMP, which explores the essential role of music in movies, hosts a virtual Music in Film Summit from October 3 to 4, with such big names as Terence Blanchard, composer for Da 5 Bloods, and Nora Felder, music supervisor at Stranger Things.

      VIFF Totally Indie day talks and workshops happen September 26.