Vancouver movie screens turn a muted shade of pink

While the Queer Film Festival is now over for another year, thanks to the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), which gets underway September 29, screens will remain a muted shade of pink as it presents a number of LGBTQ films over its 16 days.

Below is a listing of the entire line-up of LGBTQ features that will play during the 2011 VIFF including English artist Andrew Logan’s “Alternative Miss World” in The British Guide to Showing Off; Maryam Keshavarz’s Circumstance, a daring exploration of a lesbian relationship in contemporary Tehran; and Vietnam’s first gay feature, Lost in Paradise, from director Vu Ngoc Dang.

We will continue add details to each show as they become available, in the meantime, for more information visit

Alan Bennett and the Habit of Art

Alan Bennett and the Habit of ArtOne of the UK’s national treasures, author, playwright and Beyond the Fringe founding member Alan Bennett scored a huge hit with his play The Habit of Art, about a fictional meeting between composer Benjamin Britten and poet W.H. Auden. Adam Low directs this revealing and entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the man and his art. Screens with Alan Bennett: The Southbank Show.

Thursday, September 29 at 7:00pm, Vancity Theatre
Monday, October 3 at 3:20pm, Granville #5
Sunday, October 9 at 1:30pm, Vancity Theatre

Director: Adam Low | Country: UK | 53 min

Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye

Marie Losier’s alternately charming and moving documentary captures the domestic and professional lives of performance artists Lady Jaye and Genesis P-Orridge, a couple who tried for “pandrogynous” perfection through plastic surgery aimed to make each look like the other. Winner, Caligari Film Prize; Teddy Award: Documentary, Forum, Berlin 2011.

Thursday, September 29 at 4:20pm, Granville #2
Thursday, October 6 at7:00pm, Vancity Theatre
Friday, October 7 at 8:45pm, Granville #5

Director: Marie Losier | Country: USA | 70 min

The British Guide to Showing Off

As jape-filled as its subject, Jes Benstock’s documentary take on idiosyncratic English artist Andrew Logan and his “Alternative Miss World” competition is both funny and warmhearted. Combining commentary from the worlds of art, fashion, music and theatre with animation and juicy archival footage, it will bring a smile to your face. Filmmaker in attendance.

Sunday, October 9 at 9:15pm, Granville #1
Monday, October 10 at 2:30pm, Granville #4
Thursday, October 13 at 12:00pm, Granville #4

Director: Jes Benstock | Country: UK | 92 min

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life

Carol Channing: Larger Than LifeA bonbon for buffs of all things Broadway, [Dori Berinstein’s documentary] is a celebration and a lament–a celebration of Channing’s seven decades as musical comedy star, and a lament that there’s really no one like her anymore, a performer who eclipsed most of the roles she played by force of personality, and defined the word “trouper.”–Variety.

Friday, September 30 at 9:30pm, Granville #2
Saturday, October 1 at 2:50pm, Granville #1
Wednesday, October 5 at 10:30am, Granville #7

Director: Dori Berinstein | Country: USA | 83 min


A daring exploration of a lesbian relationship in contemporary Tehran that also speaks volumes about family life and politics, Maryam Keshavarz’s debut feature is an ambitious, engaging and provocative drama that has been causing waves on the international film scene. Winner, Audience Award, Sundance 2011.

Friday, September 30 at 9:15pm, Vogue
Sunday, October 2 at 1:15pm, Vogue

Director: Maryam Keshavarz | Country: USA/Iran/France | 106 min


Colloquial humour colours Thom Fitzgerald’s romantic comedy about a lesbian couple planning to wed in Canada after more than 30 years together. Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis shines in this beautiful love story as the defiant and hilariously profane Stella. Filmmaker in attendance.

Saturday, October 1 at 6:45pm, Granville #7
Sunday, October 2 at 1:15pm, Granville #2

Director: Thom Fitzgerald | Country: Canada | 93 min

Everything and Everyone

Tracy D. Smith’s latest feature is a beautifully told story of love, laughter, loss, and everything in between. A troubled group of family and friends deal with crises of age, love, death, parenthood and identity, taking us on a journey both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Wednesday, October 12 at 6:45pm, Granville #1
Thursday, October 13 at 2:50pm, Granville #1

Director: Tracey D. Smith | Country: Canada | 100 min

Happy, Happy

Happy, HappyNorway’s submission for the Best Foreign Film Oscar is this offbeat comedy by Anne Sewitsky that is replete with infidelity, moose meat, church choirs, board games, blow-jobs, over-consumption of alcohol and embarrassing showdowns… Single and “happy” Kaja finds her small-town life turned upside-down when a sophisticated city couple moves in next door.

Monday, October 10 at 12:30pm, Granville #6
Wednesday, October 12 at 9:15pm, Granville #4
Friday, October 14 at 2:00pm, Vogue

Director: Anne Sewitsky | Country: Norway | 85 min

How To Die In Oregon

In one of the year’s most compelling documentaries, Peter Richardson profiles several terminally ill Oregonians who’ve been offered the chance to “die with dignity” thanks to the state’s assisted-suicide program. Intimate, provocative and profoundly moving. Winner, Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, Sundance 2011. Filmmaker in attendance.

Friday, September 30 at 7:00pm, Vancity Theatre
Saturday, October 1 at 12:45pm, Granville #7
Friday, October 7 at 3:20pm, Granville #5

Director: Peter D. Richardson | Country: USA | 107 min

Lost Bohemia

In 1895, 165 artists lofts and spaces were completed above Carnegie Hall in NYC. Mark Twain wrote there, Enrico Caruso recorded there, Isadora Duncan danced there, Marlon Brando rehearsed there… Josef “Birdman” Astor’s documentary began as a loving chronicle of the place, its history and the artists still living there. Then the Carnegie Hall Corp. decided to redevelop…

Thursday, September 29 at 9:15pm, Vancity Theatre
Monday, October 3 at 2:50pm, Granville #1
Sunday, October 9 at 10:30am, Granville #7

Director: Josef “Birdman” Astor | Country: USA | 79 min


Vietnam’s first gay feature is unsophisticated by international standards (too many ugly duckling metaphors!), but director Vu Ngoc Dang understands how being gay in a repressive society breeds crime and prostitution, and he catches the Saigon rent-boy scene quite accurately. He also knows how to make the most of his good-looking cast.

Thursday, September 29 at 9:15pm, Cinémathèque
Sunday, October 2 at 4:00pm, Cinémathèque

Director: Vu Ngoc Dang | Country: Vietnam | 99 min


Miss RepresentationOutraged by the damage wrought by media misogyny, Jennifer Siebel Newsom issues this angry yet cogent call to arms. Damning statistics speak for themselves while the firsthand accounts of the discrimination endured by high-profile women set the blood boiling. Winner, Audience Award: Documentary, Sonoma 2011.

Friday, September 30 at 1:15pm, Granville #2
Sunday, October 9 at 6:40pm, Granville #4
Friday, October 14 at 1:15pm, Granville #2

Director: Jennifer Siebel Newsom | Country: USA | 90 min

Our Future

Japan’s sexual minorities find their champion in Iizuka Kashou’s tough-and-tender debut feature. Set in a summer cram school , it centres on the experiences of Yu, a teenager who feels (and dresses) more like a boy than a girl, has gay and transgender friends and needs to find a way to fend off bullies. Dragons & Tigers Award nominee. Filmmaker in attendance.

Monday, October 3 at 9:30pm, Vancity Theatre
Tuesday, October 4 at 4:00pm, Vancity Theatre

Director: Iizuka Kashou | Country: Japan | 75 min

Palácios de Pena

Haunted by their own directionless lives, two pre-adolescent cousins reunite while visiting their ailing grandmother. In the midst of her fantasies of a medieval past–one consumed by fear and desire–the two girls are transformed and confront a legacy of oppression. Screens with Red Dawn, a new short by Joao Pedro Rodrigues.

Thursday, October 6 at 1:30pm, Cinémathèque
Tuesday, October 11 at 6:45pm, Cinémathèque

Director: Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schimdt | Country: Portugal | 59 min

Paul Goodman Changed My Life

A prolific writer and self-described “man of letters,” Paul Goodman emerged as a key 1960s counterculture figure with the publication of Growing Up Absurd. Delving into the multifaceted life of this social critic-poet-philosopher, Jonathan Lee’s revelatory documentary professes that there’s still much guidance to be gleaned from this extraordinary multi-hyphenate.

Thursday, September 29 at 6:00pm, Granville #5
Wednesday, October 5 at 10:45am, Cinémathèque

Director: Jonathan Lee | Country: USA | 89 min

Sauna on Moon

Eros means business in this southern China brothel-set comedy of manners, money and desire. Zou Peng’s racy pop-art, neon-bright fantasy tale of a hard-working whorehouse boss and his colourful and loyal employees takes us right to the core of contemporary Chinese mores, entertainment and sex.

Saturday, October 1 at 8:00pm, Granville #6
Monday, October 3 at 3:00pm, Granville #3

Director: Zou Peng | Country: China | 94 min


SenoritaVincent Sandoval’s fine short, shown here last year, has blossomed into an excellent debut feature. The basic situation is unchanged: Sofia (played by Sandoval himself) is babysitting a teenage boy in Talisay but moonlights once a month as an expensive hooker in Manila. Now, though, Sofia’s past comes back to haunt her in a violent struggle for the political future of her rural community. Dragons & Tigers Award nominee. Filmmaker in attendance.

Sunday, October 2 at 9:30pm, Vancity Theatre
Monday, October 3 at 4:00pm, Vancity Theatre

Director: Vincent Sandoval | Country: Philippines | 100 min

Sisters & Brothers

Carl Bessai’s raucous, poignant feature is the latest in his series of collaboratively written comedies on the theme of family. This comedic tale about the trials and tribulations of four sibling pairs is an example of ensemble filmmaking at its finest.

Wednesday, October 5 at 9:15pm, Vogue
Tuesday, October 11 at 1:45pm, Vogue

Director: Carl Bessai | Country: Canada | 82 min

The Skin I Live In

Re-teaming with Antonio Banderas for the first time in 21 years, Pedro Almodóvar delivers a juicy Hitchcockian thriller, replete with plot reversals and his trademark stylistic flourishes. Banderas is a plastic surgeon trying to perfect a skin treatment on the beautiful woman (Elena Anaya) he keeps captive in his mansion…

Tuesday, October 11 at 9:30pm, Vogue
Thursday, October 13 at 1:30pm, Vogue

Director: Pedro Almodóvar | Country: Spain | 117 min


The hard-boiled detective tale takes a turn for the high tech in Dawid Marcinkowski’s acclaimed interactive cinema experience, for which he will be here. As this gripping neo-noir unfolds, it’s left for the audience to decide which tangent the narrative follows next. Three alternate endings promise a host of dark possibilities. Filmmaker in attendance.

Friday, October 7 at 9:15pm, Vancity Theatre
Sunday, October 9 at 4:00pm, Vancity Theatre

Director: Dawid Marcinkowski | Country: Poland | 90 min


This elemental drama, set on a small family farm in rural Quebec, introduces four characters struggling with their most basic, unchangeable desires. Director Guy Édoin lays out a seemingly insoluble conflict in this powerful film, consisting of beautiful but almost unbearable tension.

Tuesday, October 11 at 9:15pm, Granville #4
Wednesday, October 12 at 11:40am, Granville #3

Director: Guy Édoin | Country: Canada | 111 min

Wish Me Away

Wish Me AwayFor 30 years, the supremely charismatic country star Chely Wright prayed: “Please, God… Don’t let me be gay.” Finally, Wright risks the wrath of her family and the whole of conservative America by very publicly coming out. Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf capture Wright’s remarkable transformation from closeted crooner to risk-taking advocate. Winner, Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, Los Angeles 2011.

Thursday, September 29 at 9:15pm, Granville #4
Wednesday, October 5 at 11:00am, Granville #2
Wednesday, October 12 at 11:00am, Granville #2

Director: Bobbie Birleffi, Beverly Kopf | Country: USA | 96 min


The breakout hit of Slamdance, Mark Jackson’s terrific, atmospheric psychosexual thriller thrusts Josyln (the amazing Joslyn Jensen) onto a remote, wooded Pacific Northwest island, where she takes a job as the primary caregiver to an elderly invalid in a vegetative state. With its constant frissons and claustrophobic cinematography, it stands on par with Polanski’s Repulsion.

Thursday, September 29 at 2:00pm, Granville #2
Saturday, October 1 at 1:30pm, Cinémathèque

Director: Mark Jackson | Country: USA | 87 min

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