09/04/2013 01:15 EDT | Updated 09/05/2013 01:49 EDT

VIFF Opening Night Film Alexander Payne's Nebraska

The Vancouver International Film Festival kicks off Sept. 26 with the Canadian premiere of Alexander Payne's "Nebraska".

Payne's follow up to the Oscar-winning "The Descendants" garnered a Best Actor award for star Bruce Dern at Cannes this year, and was described by The Guardian as a "bittersweet road movie."

The premiere is something of a coup for VIFF, often criticized as less glitzy than its eastern neighbour, TIFF. Payne is bound to be a popular choice, with previous movies "About Schmidt", "Sideways" and "Election" enjoyed by critics and audiences alike.

Payne described "Nebraska" as "a nice little comedy." When asked why he chose to make the movie, the director bluntly told Coming Soon, "I'm always just so damn desperate to find anything that can make a movie. I'm serious. This one is not a grand statement and it's not particularly important to me. 'The Descendants' wasn't entirely personal to me. I just thought it was make a decent movie and it would be fun to make. I also think about what would be fun to make."

Other galas announced include Arie Posner's "The Face Of Love" starring Annette Benning as a widow who, years later, meets a man (Ed Harris) who bears an uncanny resemblance to her late husband. Shades of Krysztof Kieslowski's "Blue" and Jonathan Glazer's underrated "Birth" can be found, according to Cinema Scope magazine.

Closer to home, there is also a gala screening for a drama from Vancouver's Ben Ratner. "Down River" stars Gabrielle Miller ("Corner Gas"), Helen Shaver, Jennifer Spencer and Colleen Rennison as women all living in the same building and forced to face up to life's challenges.

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