Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Fishnets and Flying Elbows

Poked a camera around the "Hell on Wheels" Screening, talked with the Misfits Roller Derby Team and later, went hunting for "Battle Scars" with Sarah (Femurs) Facini, The Festival's Volunteer Coordinator.

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Head, Heart and Balls

I ran into Debbie Walker and Peter Foldy in the Lounge, and had a little chat with them about the festival circuit, future projects, and Peter's "First Time."

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V.I.P.

I didn't get the All-Access pass I was expecting.... so I snuck into the Trigger Points Lounge to sneak a peek behind-the-scenes...It didn't go too well...
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Friday, February 01, 2008

Devil's Apple

Here it is: Vlog #1 of this this year's Victoria Film Festival. 
I swung by the Devil's Apple Art Exhibit last night at the CAC and talked with the show's creator Mike Routliffe. 
Stay tuned for more episodes, as we explore the Festival, hidden behind a video camera and an all-access pass. Oh, the trouble we can get into. Woohoo!
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Friday, January 25, 2008

Festival Buzz - The Devil's Apple & Freshest of the Fresh

(phone ringing)
(click)

“Uh… Hello?”

“Ssseven dayssssss…”

“Oh crap.”


That’s right, fellow cinephiles, the Victoria Film Festival is going to be in full swing in seven days! Have you picked out your tickets yet? To make things easier, I’ve selected 10 films that are sure to please even the pickiest of palates. But, first...


We've Been Shot!

Victoria News
came by for a mid-week photo shoot—keep your eyes peeled for our cover! In the process of finding the ideal shot, we discovered that one of the construction guys next door can do handstands, and another produced the locally made World Premiere, The Egg Factory. What a diverse group!


Buzz Around Town

Everyone knows that the Victoria Film Festival hits the BIG screen from February 1 through 10th, but have you seen our festival advertised on smaller screens around town? Our ads have gone live, all over the city, on plasma screens at 5 recreation centres, the Gray Line bus terminal and the COHO ferry. We’re also being promoted on the 27 new screens at the Victoria airport!
Did you catch C-FAX at 3 PM today? Murray Langdon interviewed Hollywood Dreams director Henry Jaglom, and leading actress Tanna Frederick. At 3:30 PM, he followed it up by chatting with Russian supermodel, author, and actress Irina Pantaeva, of Siberian Dream. She’ll be flying in from NYC to attend both of her screenings. Make sure to tune into CBC Radio at 8:15 AM on Monday, January 28th for On the Island with Gregor Craigie, who will be interviewing Kathy Kay about the Festival.


10 FRESH Films

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox
– Sara Lamm

An offbeat, funny, and ultimately moving documentary about a socially-responsible company and the family that runs it. Dr. Emanuel Bronner was a mesmerizing and enigmatic character with a Yoda-like syntax whose mystifying messages belied a crafty, entrepreneurial mind. An impassioned speaker, he was a virulent anti-Communist and rallied against the fluoridation of drinking water. His activities didn’t go unnoticed by the FBI, either, mainly because he frequently called them with complaints and suggestions.


The Dead Sleep Easy
– Lee Demarbre (director will be at screenings)

BC PREMIERE

When you’re south of the border, sometimes it is better to be dead than alive… From the team that brought you the cult hit Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, comes this surprisingly serious bright-light film noir with a Mexican twist. More surprising is some of the true-to-life casting, including Canadian-born wrestling superstar Vampiro, starring as The Champ, and world-renowned gangster-celebrity Dave Courtney. Talk about method acting!


Identity
– Chiara Bellini

CANADIAN PREMIERE & WINNER PREMIO SPECIALE AT CIMAMERICHP 2007

Back in Sardinia, rumors still surround the fate of Giovanni Piras, and the stories about him in Argentina are even more grand and bizarre. Then, one Sunday in the 1950’s, his sister finds him again—on the cover of a magazine as Juan Domingo Peron, President of Argentina. It’s time to put the fables about him to rest forever. What happened to the poor emigrant? Who was the real man behind the legend?


Never Apologize
– Mike Kaplan

BC PREMIERE

Never Apologize
is a unique hybrid of film, theatre and literature, that visits Lindsay Anderson and his famous colleagues: Alan Bates, Bette Davis, John Ford, John Gielgud, Lillian Gish, Richard Harris, Laurence Olivier, Alan Price, and Rachel Roberts. Drawing equally on his own recollections, and on Lindsay Anderson’s superbly-written materials, Malcolm McDowell conveys a sense of life with a man who was at once irascible and caring, deeply intelligent, and outrageously stubborn. Director Mike Kaplan pulls of a very surprising coup: a film that engages for every minute.


Let Others Suffer
– Todd Peters (director will be at screenings)

BC PREMIERE

This remarkably adept mockumentary on the filmmaking process features a terrific ensemble cast that emulates the dynamics of many typical low-budget independent films; anyone who has been on such a film crew or set will recognize these characters very clearly. With a jaded commentator, who seems to rejoice in ripping the director’s film apart, Let Others Suffer offers a wonderful depiction of the near-impossibility of getting a low-budget indie made today.


The Milky Way
– Lina Chamie

BC PREMIERE

The Milky Way
is an excellent Brazilian feature film that examines the inner struggle that love can create. Through Heitor’s thoughts and memories, we learn the history of a relationship that was seemingly doomed from the start. Julia, a young performance artist, lives and works in a world of other men, and her boyfriend Heitor’s jealousies soon take over every aspect of their lives.


Portage
– Ezra Krybus, Matthew Miller and Sascha Drews

This coming-of-age story is shot beautifully in remote, ragged Ontario, and the challenge of coping with a tragedy is heightened by the challenges wrought by the unforgiving environment. Stephie is sent camping with her big brother and three best friends to get past her traumatic fear of water. Through the experience, she becomes a strong young woman who flourishes under pressure and escapes the oppressive fear she has lived with for years.


Slingshot
– Brillante Mendoza

A tribute to the real potential of digital cinema, Slingshot is a slum epic on steroids. It weaves stories into a shocking tableau about the people living in the Philippines’ poorest and most crime-ridden districts. Starting from the film’s amazing nighttime raid, and climaxing with a candlelit vigil by those insulted by politicians’ empty words, the director investigates lives at every turn and blends their true fictions right into the streets of Manila.


The Class
– Ilmar Raag

CANADIAN PREMIERE

The Class
is a refreshingly raw view of teenage reality that you just won’t be able to look away from. An awkward and unwanted outcast is neither friends nor enemies with a seemingly uncomplicated jock. The two are marked as friends in a dangerously petty circle of violence and rumors that is made even more frightening by the way it manages to sidestep the radar of even the most intelligent adults.


The Gates
– directed by Antonio Ferrera, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Matthew Prinzing

BC PREMIERE

7,500 frames flowing with orange curtains were installed along the pathways of Central Park in 2005. The point was not to look at them, but to use them—to walk through and under them. Anyone ever involved in the arts knows the hoops you must jump through, whether it’s for funding or permission. The Gates reveals the 26-year odyssey that two men embarked on to bring a ceremonial and elegant feel to a city park.



Films for the Entire Family!


This year, we’re trying something new… We’ve had a bunch of short films rated, so that kids can see great films, too! We’ve put together a fabulous program of films for the young ones, as well as the young at heart. Get your tickets to Family Programming now, and bring the entire family to the Odeon on Sunday, February 10th, at 3:30 PM.

Another fun all-age film event to check out is FilmCAN. FilmCAN is an amazing opportunity for local high school students to create a short video from beginning to end, and have it screened at the Film Festival. Guided by various filmmaking mentors, the teams work through their ideas and then go on to create the World Premieres that you will get to see on the big screen. 2008 FilmCAN features shorts made by students from Reynolds, Vic High, St. Michael’s, Claremont, and Spectrum. So, come out, bring the kids, and support local and developing talent while inspiring the next generation!


Devil’s Apple, A Film

Conceived and created by local artist Mike Routliffe, this cutting-edge art exhibit features a film, a series of vignettes, and a series of printed and framed photo manipulations. Industry and information eras merge and we begin to understand that everything is composed of information that is constantly in flux. For details, flip to page 69 of the Program Guide, or go see it for yourself! Devil's Apple will run Monday to Friday, January 31st to February 6th, from 10 AM to 5 PM at the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria (Sussex Place G6-1001 Douglas St., between Fort and Broughton).


That’s it for this edition of Festival Buzz! Stay tuned for more. If you know any film lovers, make sure to spread the Buzz around!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Film Festival Buzz - Oscar Nods and a Special Birthday

Hello, fellow cinephiles!

Can I get a drum roll, please? The countdown is officially on – The 14th Annual Victoria Film Festival hits the big screen and brings in the stars in 10 days!


Oscar Nods and Waves

Oscar is shining the shiny golden spotlight on the Victoria Film Festival this year…

The Counterfeiters - Stefan Ruzowitzky
NOMINATED FOR BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Grab your tickets before they sell out – This feature is screening on Friday, February 8 at 6:45 PM, at Capitol 6.

Madame Tutli-Putli - Chris Lavis, Maciek Szczerbowski
NOMINATED FOR BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Grab your tickets before they sell out – This short film will be screening alongside Carts of Darkness on Sunday, February 3 at 3:30 PM, at the Odeon.

Away From Her - Sarah Polley
NOMINATED FOR BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY & BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE (Julie Christie)
This was the opening film of last year’s festival… Be sure to check out this year's opener and World Premiere, Motown High.

Ellen Page (star of The Tracey Fragments)
NOMINATED FOR BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Ellen Page has scored a Golden Globe for her leading role in Juno, and now she is up for an Oscar! See this young up-and-comer at the Victoria Film Festival's highly anticipated, The Tracey Fragments.


Buzz Around Town

We hope you caught Deadhead and Victoria Film Festival juror David Lemieux on C-FAX 1070's Newsline today, with Murray Langdon.

Director Henry Jaglom and actress Tanna Frederick, from Hollywood Dreams, will also grace C-FAX 1070 with an in-depth interview. Hollywood Dreams is a hit feature film screening at the Victoria Film Festival, that delves into the nature and glossy façade of fame in Hollywood. Tune in on Friday, January 25th, from 3 to 3:30 PM, Pacific Time.


The HOT Ticket

Please Vote for Me – Weijun Chen
Featured in our "Cultures Unbound" program, this documentary is selling out fast! Please Vote for Me is a touching, eye-opening, and sometimes comical film about an experiment in democracy. A grade three class in Communist China holds an election to select a Class Monitor. Enter two boys and a girl: a wily cajoler, a ruthless authoritarian, and a talented, sensitive girl that is way out of her depth. They’re not alone in their political battles, either; teachers and doting parents eagerly egg them on. Please Vote for Me is a portrait of a society that on some level is familiar to us all.

Tickets are available online, at the Bolen Books box office, or at the Festival office located at the corner of View and Blanshard (808 View Street).


Happy Birthday

Monday, January the 21st marked a very important day for the Fairmont Empress Hotel. The Empress turned 100 years old, which means that people have been sipping afternoon tea at this landmark since 1908! Famous visitors to this gorgeous landmark have included Ginger Rogers, John Wayne, Shirley Temple, Queen Elizabeth, and the King of Thailand.

Join that impressive roster yourself, with the Festival Package Deal. Celebrate in comfort and luxury while indulging in the hottest new films of the season. Whether you're looking for a charming and cozy place to stay in Victoria, or want to surprise a loved one with a grand gesture before Valentine’s Day (because it's never to early to start warming them up), take advantage of this steal of a deal while it’s still available.


Festival Package Deal

For only $159, the luxurious Fairmont Empress Hotel package for 2 people includes:

  • One night overnight accommodation
  • 4 Film Festival Tickets of your choice from a vast array of amazing films
  • A full English breakfast in the morning
  • Cocktails at the Empire Theatres Lounge at Platinum

To book your reservation, call 250-384-8111 or email emp.reservations@fairmont.com and ask for the “Film Festival Rate.”


That's it for today... If you know any film lovers, spread the buzz around! Stay tuned for even more Festival Buzz!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Film Festival Buzz - Movies, Music and Big Moves!

14th Annual Victoria Film Festival Buzz

Hello, fellow cinephiles!

Movies just aren’t the same without some amazing music playing in the background. So, why shouldn’t your life have a fantastic soundtrack, too? Well, now it can! Make sure to check out the Empire Theatres Lounge at Platinum, located oh-so-conveniently at 759 Yates, the ground zero for film festival land.

The Empire Theatres Lounge is a hip and happenin’ place to kick back, enjoy some tasty food, and chat about this year’s films.

So, catch some tunes and meet some cool people. Here’s the who’s who of the what’s what taking place at the Lounge every night, starting at 8 PM.

Hemant Rao – Feb. 1 & 2
Hemant’s performances are all about “living the song” and his recordings have been compared to the likes of George Harrison.

Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra – Feb. 3
An acoustic sound explosion born in the indie scene of Victoria B.C. Featuring an acoustic and eclectic mix of ska, reggae, Latin rhythms, Russian folk songs and hip hop.

Karel Roessingh – Feb. 4
Karel is a jazz pianist and composer that has performed with Bud Shank, Ian MacDougall, Pat LaBarbera, Don Clark, Floyd Standifer, Roy Reynolds and many well-known vocalists.

Nick Schols – Feb. 5
A wonderful nostalgic treat. Nick busts out a tantalizing mix of those classic tunes you love, from “It’s Now or Never,” to “My Way,” to “Pretty Woman.”

Ian Farish – Feb. 6
Acoustic grooves, evocative vocals and thoughtful lyrics, Ian Farish and Bonnie Davison perform a selection of well-crafted pop originals from Farish's recent CD, Soul Songs.

Miss Emily Brown – Feb. 7 & 9

With her autoharp, music box, guitar, and unmistakable voice, Miss Emily Brown performs minimalist compositions that will make you forget that you have heard everything before.

Randy Waldie – Feb. 8
Randy Waldie brings a roots-blues sensibility to the jazz standards. Quoting from many different styles he infuses a fresh take into the familiar.


THE VANISHED - Makoto Tanaka

If you’ve been thinking about checking out The Vanished, you’d better get your butt in gear and grab your tickets, because tickets are...well...vanishing!

Screening on February 7th and 10th, this thriller will appeal to horror buffs and fans of creeptastic Japanese cinema. This film features zombie children, gruesome murders, and a spine-chilling journey… So, get prepared to be totally scared! Tickets are available online or you can drop by any of our box offices, listed on VictoriaFilmFestival.com.


Moving and Shaking

Pictures falling haphazardly off walls, tickets flying out the door, volunteers whipping around – those aren’t the only things moving around here. Victoria Film Festival headquarters are scheduled to make a big move about 5 days after the Festival is over, right next door to Johnny Zees. Who knows? Maybe having ‘round-the-clock access to a 1st-person shooter could be the miracle cure for festival-related stress?

On a more serious note, the VFF would like to extend many, many thanks to Empire Theatres for their continued support of our festival, and for providing an excellent roof over our heads.

That's it for today... If you know any film lovers, spread the buzz around! Stayed tuned for more Festival Buzz!

Festival Buzz - Special Guests

14th Annual Victoria Film Festival Buzz

Hello, fellow cinephiles!

Our box office got off to a roaring start on Monday the 14th. The phones were ringing off the hook and then--all of a sudden--went silent on Tuesday. It turned out that our phone lines were dead (I know what you're thinking--YES, Kathy had already paid the bill!), and everything was fixed by the following day.

To make things even more exciting around here, renovations started next door. Construction workers busied themselves with chipping drywall off the other side of our shared wall, which caused paintings to go flying, Poltergeist-style, and a hole to magically appear in Kathy's office. A couple of people screamed, I wondered if shelves were going to do our Programmer Donovan in, but we're all a-okay.

Are you wondering who you'll get to rub shoulders with at this year's festival? Well, I'm not telling you. I kid, I kid. Here are some of the glitterati stopping by for the festivities this year:

Don McKellar will be speaking at the Victoria Film Festival’s Trigger Points Pacific Co-Productions Conference. He is a Tony and Genie Award-winning Canadian actor, writer, and filmmaker. Don wrote and starred in many well-known films, such as Roadkill and Highway 61. His most recent collaboration with Bruce McDonald spawned the cult classic television series, Twitch City, in which Don played the starring role.

Adam Carolla co-wrote and starred in The Hammer, which is to be screened at the Victoria Film Festival. He is a comedian, comedy writer, radio and television personality, and actor. Adam is known for edgier fare, like Comedy Central's hop-fueled The Man Show and the radio show Loveline. He currently hosts the hit morning radio program, The Adam Carolla Show.

Don Shebib directed A Song to Sing-O, which is a World Premiere at the Victoria Film Festival. He is a prominent Canadian film director, writer, producer, and editor. Don gained critical acclaim in Canadian cinema for his 1970 movie, Goin' Down the Road.

Irina Pantaeva wrote and starred in Siberian Dream, which is a BC Premiere at the Victoria Film Festival. She is proud of her Buryat heritage, and she is an accomplished supermodel and actress. Irina has appeared in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Zoolander, and starred in the off-Broadway play, Jewtopia.

In exciting award news, some familiar Victoria Film Festival faces are nominated for British Academy Film Awards:

Golden Globe winner Julie Christie is in the running for Best Actress for Away From Her, the opening film of the 13th Annual Victoria Film Festival.

Halifax-born Ellen Page, the star of the highly anticipated The Tracey Fragments (screening at this year's festival), is also nominated for Best Actress at BAFA, for her starring role in Juno.

That's it for now... If you know any film lovers, spread the buzz around! Stayed tuned for more Festival Buzz!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Welcome to the 2008 Victoria Film Festival!

We're glad you're here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

End Bash

Free Drinks.
Yippee!!!
and tasty Reef food. A wee bit spicy, but nothing that the free drinks couldn't take care of. We made it through another year.

10 days
56 films
22 free beers
3 gallons of theatre soda
a tonne of new friends

and only one case of front-row neck-ache.

And now it's back to real life.
'til next year.

2:37

Heavy.
Wow.
Graphic too.
Why must I always see a heavy movie before a party?
Off the to End Bash.

My Victoria Video Competition

Swung by Whitebird for the My Victoria Awards, where the festivals Loungerino was hosted, tucked underneath Lyle's Place beside the Odeon on Yates. Nice place, licensed, and the food looked and smelled great, but I was on the liquids, too nervous to eat.
Lots of Awards, the details are on the festival home page.

Glastonbury

Lots of texture from the different kinds of films used to patch this together. It must've been a nightmare for whoever had to get all the releases signed. Colourful Characters and a bunch of music I didn't recognize. It's the freaks that make the festival, the costumes and parlour tricks. Long live the Freaks!

Clocking in at nearly 2-and-a-half hours, I felt like I'd endured the festival by the end of the film. Sensory overload.

I need to shave. I've made it this far into the festival, and feel like it's playoff season. Only 2 days left, and I'm keeping the scruff for the team.

Puffy Chair

Oops, I was late for Puffy Chair.
Missed the first five minutes.
It was fun, handmade, tiny crew. good dialogue (though a tad cliche at times,) charming, interesting characters, realistic. Based on the fact that it was a relationship movie, and that ground has been trampled, it's worth the watch, it still had its fresh moments. Loved the handheld camerawork, in and out of focus and intimate.

Store

A packed theatre for the World premiere of Cami Kidder's first feature, Store. Pamphlets were even handed out for a support group for hoarders. An interesting commentary on "Stuff" which brings George Carlin's rant to mind. I have yet to need a storage locker, but I must confess, I'm a hoarder (sort of.) Are you a hoarder if you actually use all the stuff?
10 televisions (3 don't work), 12 projectors (5 don't work, they're for parts, okay?) 271 reels of film, all 8mm home movies of people I don't know. Hi, my name is Scott, and I'm a hoarder. Step 1, done.
My dream job: A treasure hunter, cleaning out abandoned storage lockers.
What made Store great, were the little gems of wisdom from the packrats, like "It's all stuff that I care about, I'm just not sure what it is." Priceless.