Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver International Film Festival Brings the World to the West Coast

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver International Film Festival Brings the World to the West Coast

Article excerpt

West meets world at Vancouver film fest


VANCOUVER - If they were shoes, it could be considered a pair of sturdy hiking boots to Toronto's Manolos.

But the Vancouver International Film Festival embraces its laid-back, West Coast vibe, and will get underway this week far from the bright lights and big stars with an impressive line-up of 380 films from 75 countries.

The two festivals are very similar "in many of the essential ways," says Alan Franey, VIFF festival director.

"But TIFF has a unique function in the market economy in that it is sort of of a proxy Hollywood festival that happens on Canadian soil," he says.

That "tends to eclipse what is still at the heart and soul of the Toronto festival, as it is any festival worth its salt around the world, we're all essentially trying to do the same thing: the old spririt of an international festival of quality cinema."

The festival that runs from Sept. 27 to Oct. 12 in Vancouver is a reflection of the host city, he says: outward looking, multicultural, well-educated, and possessing social conscience.

"Interested in travelling, too, and for a lot of people the festival represents a way to see the world in a very affordable, convenient way," Franey says.

Indeed, this year's line-up takes moviegoers from the battlefields of Congo to the bedrooms of Indonesia.

The Dragons & Tigers series is the largest annual exhibition of East Asian films outside of Asia, featuring established and emerging filmmaking talents from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. The annual $5,000 Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema will be awarded to a new director from East Asia.

Leo Fo, a senior producer at Saturday Sneak Preview for the Chinese-language Fairchild Television in Vancouver and a self-professed movie fan, said the festival offers a good taste of Asian film.

"People are curious to see cinema from other countries, to see what they have, and the festival is a good opportunity to see those films because outside of the festival a lot of these films are not very easy to find," he says.

In comparison to European and North American movies, Asian films tend to be very visceral visual experiences served best by a big screen, Fo says. …

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