Vancouver Jewish, women, social justice, and more film festivals fill up March

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      Watching stuff on-screen at home during the pandemic doesn’t only mean checking out YouTube or logging on to streaming giants. There’s a plethora of local and independent offerings, like these upcoming film festivals and series—and even an industry conference—to take note of and appreciate for their range of selections.

      The Curse of Willow Song

      Vancouver International Women in Film Festival

      March 4 to 14  

      Launching in time to celebrate International Women’s Day, the 16th annual edition of this festival that helps to address the gender imbalance in screen industries offers 32 feature films, including 14 from Canada. And 10 of those are from B.C., including Jessie Anthony’s Indigenous drama Brother, I Cry and Karen Lam’s Asian Canadian supernatural thriller The Curse of Willow Song. Panel discussions and workshops will address making genre films, an artist talk with screenwriters, digital marketing and media, and more. 


      Vancouver Jewish Film Festival

      March 4 to 14

      With a lineup of 30 streaming titles available for viewing within B.C. (with some selections available across Canada), there’s something to suit almost every interest. Among the choices are a profile of Israel’s first female prime minister (Golda); a documentary about the popularity of a Swedish pop-dance group in Israel (Army of Lovers in the Holy Land); an exploration of the politics—and unifying power—underlying delicious cuisines of Syria, Israel, and Palestine (Breaking Bread); a reflection upon the man whose name defines excellence in journalism (Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People); and even a screwball action-comedy (Mossad). 

      "William in White Shirt"

      Modern Construction: An MDFF Retrospective

      March 4 to April 1

      This film series spotlights feature films and shorts from Toronto’s Medium Density Fibreboard Films (MDFF), which helped fuel a critically acclaimed new wave in Anglo-Canadian cinema with the likes of Kazik Radwanski’s Anne at 13,000 Ft. and UBC film professor Antoine Bourges’s Vancouver-based Downtown Eastside Trilogy

      The Expanse

      Spark FX 2021: Conference

      March 4 to 14

      Although it’s a virtual conference, it’s also a showcase of talent in Vancouver’s visual effects, animation, and technology industries. This year features five main areas: artificial intelligence in visual effects; meeting the masters, with lectures by industry professionals; production sessions with creative teams from shows such as BridgertonThe Expanse, The Monster HunterStar Trek: Discovery, and The Umbrella Academy; a real-time summit; and anniversary celebrations for films such as DragonHeart, Space Jam, and The Fast and the Furious

      Hong Kong Moments


      March 12 to 21

      This year’s social-justice festival from Kwantlen Polytechnic University kicks off with the Japanese American internment documentary And Then They Came for Us, featuring a special panel discussion featuring Japanese American activist George Takei. There’s also Wood, about illegal logging around the world; Hong Kong Moments, a look at seven people involved in the geopolitical protests; Overseas, focussing on Filipina migrant domestic workers; and Sea of Shadows, about attempts to save the world’s smallest marine mammal in the Sea of Cortez. 

      "Doggone Dystopia"

      Dan Savage’s Hump Film Festival

      To March 6

      The pandemic has wreaked havoc with many libidos and sexual practices. But if you want to get a glimpse of what turns some people on, this amateur porn fest, launched by Savage Love columnist Dan Savage, offers an array of erotic short films made by non–porn stars. The mix includes sexting, a motorsexual, training a deaf pup, sex with monsters, public water sports, leather daddies, and “animated squishiness”. If you just said “ew”, this one’s not for you. 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.