With the film festival on the other side of the country now over, the spotlight turns west as the Vancouver International Film Festival gets underway later this month.
Celebrating its 35th season, the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) has taken to restructuring its offerings this year with multi-experiential streams, including curated screenings fused with related talks and events in what they are calling their “film plus” model.
“With the steady and rapid growth of Vancouver’s creative industries, we’re adding to and expanding our programming to mirror this diverse community,” says VIFF executive Director, Jacqueline Dupuis. “With this shift, we are welcoming variety in ideas, in content and, most importantly, in creators and audience. We hope audiences will discover more, discuss more, and connect through an enriched creative community.”
That being said, film remains firmly as the centre point to VIFF’s sixteen days of programming. With it comes another batch of #MustSeeBC films in this year’s BC Spotlight Series. Among the ten films in the series, highlighting the work of local filmmakers, is the world premiere of Cadence.
Written and directed by first-time filmmaker, Alex Lasheras, Cadence is a psychological horror film dealing in the power of imagination, and which questions the notions of self-identity. It tells the story of Cadence who, on a romantic trip with her boyfriend, begins to experience hallucinations. Fearful and confused by those hallucinations, she is tested in distinguishing the reality from the nightmare.
“I wanted to make something that both entertains and challenges the audience. I’m drawn to films with original stories that try something new, I hope it delivers in that aspect,” says Lasheras. ““If you love films with good twists, come see this movie. It will keep you guessing to the very end.”
With its cast made-up entirely of established and up-and-coming Vancouver actors, Lashera credits them and his collaborative creative team for helping him achieve his vision. “If you have a passionate team of talented artists committed to serving the story, that’s when movie magic happens.”
Among the actors is Vancouver-based Maxine Chadburn, who plays the film’s title character.
“The script felt fresh,” she says. “After reading the first few pages I thought the lead female character was complex and interesting, something few independent films achieve.”
Chadburn’s enthusiasm is matched by others in the cast and crew, including award-winning local producer Arun Fryer.
“The support and love given to this film, I’ve never experienced anything like it before,” says Fryer. “We produced twenty minutes and crowdfunded to make the feature a year later. It was inspiring to watch Alex’s vision come to life.”
A graduate of the UBC film program and Vancouver Film School, the thirty year-old Lasheras remembers visiting VIFF as a youth.
“One of the first things I did when I got my license was me and a friend drove an hour to the ‘big city’ to see a foreign film at VIFF. I grew up on a farm and no cable tv, so watching foreign movies became an introduction to world culture,” says Lashera.
Lashera considers it an “unbelievable honour” to now be part of the festival himself.
The 35th annual Vancouver International Film Festival runs September 29 to October 14 at various locations around town. Visit http://viff.org for more information.