Our gay guide to the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival

While it may never reach the breadth of films shown annually at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, the LGBTQ offerings at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) continues to grow. Here are the eleven feature films with LGBTQ themes set to play at this year’s VIFF.

The 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival runs September 24 to October 9.  Visit http://viff.org/festival for tickets and information.

Chico Teixeira (Brazil/Chile/France, 87 min)
Thu Oct 1, 6:15 pm, Cinematheque
Sat Oct 3, 3:30 pm, International Village #9

A daily, familiar, sexual and emotional drama. Based on the character Serginho, the plot is based around various aspects of this “no longer a boy, not yet a man”. We follow his day to day: the recently acquired role of man of the house, taking care of his mother and younger brother; is work at the market; his friendship with Mudinho and Silvinha; and his confusing relationship, between sex and affection, with professor Ney. The film is a tapestry of the life moments of a boy in transition. Filmmaker in attendance.

The Amina Profile
Sophie Deraspe (Canada, 85 min)
Mon Sep 28, 8:45 pm, Rio Theatre
Wed Sep 30, 10:30 am, International Village #8

Amina Arraf, an attractive Syrian-American revolutionary, is having an online affair with Sandra Bagaria, a young, brilliant and well-informed Montreal professional. Amina then launches her provocatively named blog, A Gay Girl in Damascus. As the Syrian uprising gains momentum, the blog acquires a huge following. But it’s Amina’s subsequent abduction—carried out in broad daylight in downtown Damascus, allegedly by the Syrian secret police—that sparks an international movement to save her from torture, rape or even death. Filmmaker in attendance.

Big Father, Small Father, and Other Stories
Di Phan Dang (Vietnam/Netherlands, 102 min)
Thu Sept 24, 9:00 pm, Cinematheque
Mon Oct 5, 1:00 pm, Cinematheque

Saigon, late 1990s: Vu, a photography student, falls in love with his roommate, Thang, a smalltime drug dealer. Meanwhile, Vu’s father Sau has chosen a wife for his son, Huong, whom he pushes to separate Vu and Thang. But Huong is secretly in love with Sau. Stormy stories of desire and forbidden fruits.

Fire Song
Adam Garnet Jones (Canada, 85 min)
Thu Oct 1, 9:00 pm, International Village #8
Sat Oct 3, 1:15 pm, International Village #8

Shane is a smart, popular Anishnabe teenager who dreams of leaving his northern Ontario reserve to go to live in the city with his secret boyfriend David, and go to University. When his sister Destiny takes her own life, Shane’s world falls apart. His mother Jackie shuts herself inside the house and loses her job, leaving Shane to take care of her. Before long, Shane discovers that without any income, the only way to pay for the reconstruction of their collapsing roof is to sacrifice the money saved for his education. Now, Shane has one month to find ten thousand dollars or be forced to choose between his family home, and the future he’s been dreaming of. Filmmaker in attendance.

Randall Wright (UK/USA, 112 min)
Mon Sep 28, 1:15 pm, Vancouver Playhouse
Tue Oct 6, 10:00 am, VanCity Theatre
Thu Oct 8, 8:45 pm, SFU Woodwards

North America Premiere. For the very first time, hugely influential artist David Hockey has opened up his personal archive of photographs and film. The result is an extraordinary, often intimate account of this charismatic and incorrigibly unconventional figure’s life and career. It traces Hockney’s eventful journey from his working class origins in Bradford to Hollywood. The film also explores how his upbringing gave the openly gay artist the willpower not only to overcome problems in his private life but also to create some of his most renowned work. Acclaimed director Randall Wright’s credits include award-winning documentaries ‘David Hockney: Secret Knowledge’ and ‘Lucian Freud: A Painted Life’. This exclusive preview screening will be followed by a live Q&A with the enduringly popular artist from his LA studio, where, at the age of 77, he still works seven days a week.

I Promise You Anarchy
Julio Hernández Cordón (Mexico/Germany, 88 min)
Fri Oct 2, 9:30 pm, The Cinematheque
Thu Oct 8, 1:30 pm, The Cinematheque

Middle-class Miguel (Diego Calva) and barrio-dweller Johnny (Eduardo Martínez) are young lovers who finance their skateboarding lifestyles by selling their blood–and the blood of others–to underground clinics in Mexico City. One day they take on a delivery for some gangsters and things go wrong… Meshing a romance, an ultra-realistic depiction of the skate scene and some noirish tropes, Julio Hernández Cordón’s beautifully shot drama takes young love to the limit…

Nasty Baby
Sebastián Silva (USA/Chile/France, 100 min)
Sat Oct 3, 1:30 pm, International Village #10
Wed Oct 7, 8:45 pm, Vancouver Playhouse

Nasty Baby, centers around a Brooklyn couple, Freddy (Sebastián Silva) and his boyfriend Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) who are trying to have a baby with the help of their best friend, Polly (Kristen Wiig). Freddy is an artist, and his latest work is all about babies – it’s clear he’s dying to be a father. Polly is a family practitioner who is more interested in having a baby than having a man. Mo is hesitant about the entire idea, especially when Polly isn’t having success with Freddyʼs sperm and the donor responsibility shifts to him. Set almost entirely in the multicultural vibrancy of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the trio navigates the idea of creating life, when they are confronted by unexpected harassment from particularly aggressive neighborhood man, nicknamed The Bishop (Reg E. Cathey). The Bishop is bothersome in small, yet persistent ways, with a hint of danger. As their clashes become increasingly aggressive, someone is bound to get hurt.

The Royal Road
Jenni Olson (USA, 65 min)
Mon Oct 5, 9:15 pm, International Village #8
Fri Oct 9, 10:00 am, Vancity Theatre

International Premiere. If you’ve ever found yourself on the outside looking in, then you are probably familiar with the coping strategy of acquiring the identity of a movie character in order to gain legibility within the situation. The central character of Jenni Olson’s mesmerizing essay film is a gender dysphoric, Midwestern tomboy who is drawn to borrowing masculine personas from Hollywood characters as a mode of understanding how to deal with being drawn to unavailable women.

The Summer of Sangailé
Alanté Kavaïté (Lithuania/France/Netherlands, 88 min)
Sun Oct 4, 11:00 am, International Village #10
Wed Oct 7, 6:30 pm, International Village #9

17 year-old Sangailé is fascinated by stunt planes. Afraid of heights, she has never dared to even enter in one of the cockpits. At a summer aeronautical show, nearby her parents’ lakeside villa, she meets Auste, a local girl of her age, who unlike Sangailé, lives her life to the full with creativity and dare. As the two girls become lovers, Sangailé allows Auste to discover her most intimate secret, and finds in her teenage love the only person to truly encourage her in flying.

Thanatos, Drunk
Chang Tso-Chi (Taiwan, 107 min)
Wed Oct 7, 6:45 pm, International Village #8
Thu Oct 8, 11:30 am, International Village #10

North America Premiere. The camera follows closely on the heels of two brothers – one gay, the other straight. Both are looking for a job in order to survive. But both are also looking for themselves and long to find a foothold in life. The younger brother sells vegetables at the market where he meets a young woman who cannot speak but who gets up to all sorts of crazy things. The older brother is attracted to a dancer at a nightclub and finds himself drawn into some shifty business. Taking its cue from the rhythm of their wanderings, the film stays very close to its protagonists, showing them in lonely moments at the river, rambling boisterously through Taipei’s club scene by night, among barkers at the market, and in quiet moments together. Again and again the tone and hence the mood of the film changes. Zui Sheng Meng Si proves once again that young Taiwanese cinema does not have to avail itself of classical storytelling to fascinate its audience. These are lives in limbo, without fixed coordinates. In this way the film evolves into a portrait of manners, and a panorama of a society that does not appear to welcome its next generation.

Guy Édoin (Canada, 101 min)
Thu Oct 1, 9:15 pm, International Village #10
Sun Oct 4, 10:30 am, International Village #8

Filming in Montreal, a French actress (Monica Bellucci) tries to mend her son, a student for a few years in the Quebec metropolis. But a disturbing event he witnesses sounds again in him the desire to discover who his father is. The day of his birthday, it intends to find answers to his questions by confronting her mother. What it ignores is that the film that it turns specially designed to answer his questions. Meanwhile, an ambulance haunted by his past trying to stay on track while a charitable nurse watches over him from a distance while maintaining an emergency room freely. This is in hospital Ville-Marie that these four lives will collide to emerge irreparably changed.

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