VIFF Announces BC Spotlight Films

Meet Beau Dick: Maker of Monsters
Courtesy of VIFF

By Pat Mullen

The first wave of programming is out for the Vancouver International Film Festival. VIFF’s initial release of Canadian programming includes four documentaries: the city before the city, Meet Beau Dick: Maker of Monsters, On Putin’s Blacklist and Shut Up and Say Something. All four films are BC productions and appear in the festival’s BC Spotlight line-up. Subscribe to POV to read more about these VIFF films in our Fall issue!

Other BC-based productions in the programme include Once There Was a Winter from Sitting on the Edge of Marlene director Ana Valine and recent TIFF selections Never Steady, Never Still and Public Schooled by Kathleen Hepburn and Kyle Rideout, respectively.

The documentaries screening at VIFF are:

c‘əsnaʔəm: the city before the city
Dir. Elle-Maija Tailfeathers in partnership and collaboration with the Musqueam First Nation and the c‘əsnaʔəm: the city before the city curatorial team
We live our lives on land that was never ceded or sold by those who were living here at ‘first contact,’ and yet we know precious little about the Lower Mainland before real estate. This film aims to correct that with a meaningful reminder of the history and prehistory of this land and her first people. VIFF alumnus Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, in collaboration with the Musqueam First Nation and the UBC Museum of Anthropology curatorial team, shares this reflection on a time when BC was indeed super and natural.

Meet Beau Dick: Maker of Monsters
Dir. Latiesha Ti’si’tla Fazakas, Natalie Boll
Admirers of Pacific Northwest art are notably unanimous in their admiration of the oeuvre of the late Kwakwaka’wakw artist Beau Dick, whose generosity and prolific nature embodied the very spirit of potlatch. LaTiesha Ti’si’tla Fazakas and Natalie Boll share an intimate profile of this man’s rare charisma; his carvings, which remain revered in art circles; and his passionate activism, which culminated in the breaking of coppers in Victoria and Ottawa as an act of protest against legislative injustices.

On Putin’s Blacklist
Dir. Boris Ivanov
An engaging and timely tour d’horizon of Mother Russia and her place in the world today. We witness the wounded pride of Russians as the Soviet Empire crumbles, and the jingoistic xenophobia born out of an increased reliance on foreign investment. Propaganda and demonization of the “other” result in institutionalized racism and a culture of disdain. Boris Ivanov brings us up to speed on the shameful adoption crisis, the state-sanctioned hacking of the Internet and the heartless treatment of LGBTQ citizens.

Shut Up and Say Something
Dir. Melanie Wood
Internationally acclaimed spoken-word artist Shane Koyczan gives a poignant and powerful voice to those relegated to the margins: the bullied, awkward and visibly different. In this entrancing documentary, Melanie Wood reveals a bashful alchemist who creates dazzling rhetorical fireworks. With candour, Koyczan shares his momentous and deeply personal journey to finally meet his estranged father. The result is his most important poem yet—and the more intimate his words are, the more universal they become.

VIFF runs Sept. 28 – Oct. 13.