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VIFF 2014 Opening Gala: The Crowd Went Wild

The 33rd Annual Vancouver International Film Festival kicked off last night with the gala screening of "Wild," directed by Canada's own Jean-Marc Vallée. Although he and his cast were not in attendance -- VIFF rarely sees the level of glitterati our sister festival to the east receives -- the audience was electric.
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A Funerary Call To Bewitch This Halloween

Harlow MacFarlane makes some seriously evil music. Combining elements of ritual ambient, power electronics, and the atmopsheric end of the black metal spectrum, his various recording projects -- Funerary Call, Sistrenatus, and the analog synth-oriented Grey Towers Stone Temples -- have earned him recognition from avant-garde music fans worldwide. He's also a horror movie expert who has worked for years in the make-up and prosthetics industry in B.C. Hopefully, his upcoming live performance -- under the Funerary Call aegis, providing a live score for Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages -- might help raise his profile here at home.
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Sex, Death And Witches: Movie Frights For Halloween In Vancouver

People like me who get excited about poring over the cheapie bins for bargain-priced cult classics should be positively ecstatic about the October programming at the Vancity Theatre. I talked to VIFC programmer Tom Charity about the VIFC's late October schedule -- including the Vancouver-shot porno chic Sexcula; the inspired decision to have Vancouver's Funerary Call do a live score for Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages; and the two films paired with Häxan: Ken Russell's The Devils -- a serious favourite of mine -- and Dario Argento's Inferno.
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35mm v Digital: The Cinematheque's Jim Sinclair talks Economics, Nostalgia and Tarkovsky

This VIFF, the vast preponderance of films were projected digitally (only four out of 340 films at the fest were actually shown on film). Every film I saw looked and sounded great, insofar as there were no scratches, missing chunks, stutters, mis-projections, or glitches. It's hard to argue with perfection. That said, a new 35mm print of a film like Tarkovsky's Nostalghia is a cause for great excitement, and more than merited a talk with the Cinematheque's Jim Sinclair about film vs. digital, Tarkovsky, and other upcoming film fare.
Globe and Mail

VIFF Director Steps Down

Alan Franey has overseen his final Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) after a year in which attendance exceeded expectations. The festival director is stepping down from his role after 26 ye...
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VIFF 2013: Bruce Sweeney, Local Hero

My favourite film to deal with life in Vancouver -- maybe even my favourite film to be made here -- remains Bruce Sweeney's 1998 offering, Dirty. Workshopped in a way informed by Sweeney's experiences at a VIFF forum with Mike Leigh, the film digs into the muck of the city's damaged psyche, offering characters that are unforgettable and all too familiar in their dysfunctionality -- including a pot-dealing dominatrix (the late, terrific Babz Chula); a painfully lonely schlub from Port Alberni with anger-management issues (Ben Ratner); a student saddled with massive student loan debt and an eating disorder (Nancy Sivak); and an anal, preening UBC student with a secret need to be spanked and humiliated (played by the great local actor, filmmaker and UBC professor Tom Scholte).