“Dog’s Life,” “Pass System” to premiere at VIFF

Helene Choquette's A Dog's Life, Alan Zweig's Hurt (pictured) and Alex Williams' The Pass System have been unveiled as part of the 34th Vancouver International Film Festival's Canadian Images series.
August 25, 2015

Hélène Choquette’s A Dog’s Life and Alex Williams’ The Pass System have been unveiled as part of the 34th Vancouver International Film Festival’s (VIFF) Canadian Images series.

The Canadian Images series spotlights documentaries and feature films from filmmakers across Canada, offering cash awards for Best Canadian Film ($10,000) and Emerging Canadian Director ($2,000).

Films set to make their world premiere at the Vancouver festival include Choquette’s A Dog’s Life, which examines the relationships that form between the homeless and their canine companions; Tony Massil and Pablo Alvarez-Mesa’s Frank and the Wondercat, highlighting local Pittsburgh celebrity 80-year-old Frank Furko and his 20-pound performing house cat Pudgie Wudgie; Chelsea McMullan’s Michael Shannon Michael Shannon John, which follows two siblings to Thailand as they unearth their murdered father’s mysterious and secret life; and Alex Williams’ The Pass System, which illuminates Canada’s past racial divide, denying Indigenous peoples the ability to leave their reserves without a pass.

Additional documentaries showing in VIFF’s Canadian Images series include Alan Zweig‘s Hurt (pictured), which makes its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and focuses on Steve Fonyo, who made a historic cross-country run for cancer research in 1985 but later ran afoul of the law for various offences; Su Rynard’s The Messenger, which premiered at Toronto’s Hot Docs and examines the declining population of songbirds; and Sophie Deraspe’s The Anima Profile, which explores the “Gay Girl in Damascus” Internet hoax.

The seven documentaries join the previously announced BC Spotlight features at VIFF that include Damien Gillis and Fiona Rayher’s Fractured Land, Lewis Bennett’s The Sandwich Nazi and Charles Wilkinson’s Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World, which received Best Canadian Feature Documentary honors at this year’s Hot Docs.

VIFF, which runs September 24 to October 9, will announce its Canadian Images Special Presentations and the Canadian Images Short Films at a later date. The full VIFF program will be announced on September 3.

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.