The 20th Vancouver International Film Festival is gearing up to showcase – from September 27 to October 12 – a raft of international films. The overall theme for the event is ‘Same Planet, Different Worlds’ and the stated purpose is ‘to encourage understanding of other nations through the art of cinema, to foster the art of cinema, to facilitate the meeting in British Columbia of cinema professionals from around the world, and to stimulate the motion picture industry in British Columbia.’
This year, 43 films have been awarded spots in the Non-Fiction Features program, which is sponsored for the first time by The Documentary Channel. These include: The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition (George Butler), about the explorer’s 1914 excursion; Kandahar (Mohsen Makhmalbaf), about the current situation in Afghanistan; Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town (Micha Peled), about the mega-store’s invasion of Ashland, Virginia; Mullet (David Caesar), a piece set in a small Australian fishing community; and The Bank (Robert Connolly), about the downfall of an unscrupulous bank executive. Within the non-fiction category there are six Canadian premieres, 22 North American premieres, seven international premieres and one world premiere.
The National Film Board of Canada will present an award for Best Documentary Feature for the tenth year running. The jury will consist of Diane Weyermann, director of the Sundance Institute’s international programs (and former director of the Soros Doc Fund); Gerald Peary, film critic for the Boston Phoenix; and doc-maker Nettie Wild (A Place Called Chiapas).