Vancouver International Women in Film Festival Archives
On March 7-11 we proudly presented Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (VIWFF), a five-day celebration featuring in-person screenings, receptions, filmmaker panels, and more at VIFF Centre.
The 2023 festival opened with an special presentation of Broken Angel directed by Jules Koostachin.
Featuring a slate of selected panel discussions on cinematography, intimacy coordination and directing, as well as an International Women’s Day Panel on March 8th, which featured major players in diversity and inclusion efforts. The festival also included a Special Presentation screening of She Said followed by a panel, Short and Feature Screenings, the annual Screenplay Competition Panel, Awards Ceremony, and a Closing Gala. The Closing Feature was Stellar directed by Darlene Naponse.
Followed by a virtual festival March 12-25, VIWFF 2023 included 35 films from 12 countries, made up of 17 Canadian films — with 5 from local BC filmmakers.
Jules Arita Koostachin
Canadian Feature Narrative / Canada / 2022
Spurred into action by the unsettled spirit of her late mother, Angel flees from domestic abuse with her daughter Tanis in tow. In the safety of a women’s shelter on their reservation, they find comfort by reconnecting with their Cree culture and kin. But it won’t be long before their abuser tracks them down– and Angel must prepare her spirit for confrontation. A thrilling tale of survival, strength, and kinship, with an appealing genre twist.
Among Us Women
Sarah Noa Bozenhardt, Daniel Abate Tilahun
Documentary Feature / English, Afrikaans / Germany, Ethiopia / 2021
Huluager, a soft-spoken farmer, is expecting her fourth child. Like many women in the rural village of Megendi, she is reluctant to give birth at the distant medical center. Through intimate, slice-of-life footage, this breathtaking documentary shines a light on a young mother’s hopes, concerns, and dreams as she opts for the comfort and risk of a traditional home birth. A fascinating window into questions of self-determination in Ethiopia’s shifting landscape of maternity care.
Feature Narrative / English, French / Canada / 2022
Montreal, 1984. Upon the death of her estranged Indigenous adoptive sister, Frédérique (a street-smart Francophone artist on the verge of eviction) is suddenly tasked with raising her bubbly and inquisitive niece, Rosie. Initially reluctant, Fred can’t help but grow attached. But to keep Rosie in her custody, she’ll need to get her life in order, first. Buoyed by a vibrant 80s-inspired soundtrack, this delightful, heartwarming dramedy explores growth through hardship, and the joys of found family.
Las Abogadas: Attorneys on the Front Lines of the Migrant Crisis
Documentary Feature / English, Spanish / United States / 2022 / 1:35:00 / 2022
This powerful humanitarian documentary follows the efforts of four valiant immigration attorneys over a multi-year odyssey, starting in 2018– as the Trump administration sets up policies making it nigh-impossible for those fleeing from violence and war to seek asylum in the United States– and, into 2021, as the refugee crisis fails to improve under the Biden administration. A moving cri-de-coeur highlighting the arduous roads walked by refugees, and the urgency of combatting a broken system.
Documentary Feature / English / Singapore / 2021
A trans filmmaker from conservative Singapore embarks on a revelatory emotional quest to love herself completely by confronting her pre-transition photographs. Through intimate footage, archival photos, and compelling voice-over narration, Quen Wong has crafted a deeply moving love letter to multiple generations of trans women: from the pioneering queer communities of the original Bugis street dating back to the 1950s-80s, to today’s Singaporean youth protesting for the right to transition while in high school.
Everybody Wants To Be Loved
Narrative Feature / German / Germany / 2021
In this exquisitely written dramedy, psycho-therapist Ina notices that something is wrong with her health– but on the day of her high-maintenance mother’s 70th birthday party, she doesn’t have time to worry about herself. Her partner wants her to move to Finland for his career, much to her moody teen daughter’s dismay. Ina wants to please everyone, but something has to give. A new revelation prompts her to rethink her priorities.
Canadian Feature Narrative / English / Canada / 2022
In a Northern Ontario bar, SHE (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, magnificent) and HE (Braeden Clarke, soulful) wait out the apocalypse. Natural disasters are raging outside. Settlers are panicking: the world is on fire. But for those who have never known privilege, the world has always been ending. And it soon will be reborn, through the cosmic power of a lover’s touch. Darlene Naponse’s surreal Indigenous romance unfolds in the poetic “fluidity of time, touch, realism and reverie.”
Mistik + Expedition Reclamation
Mistik (Jules Koostachin)
Expedition Reclamation (Erin Joy Nash, Chelsea Murphy, and Sanjana Sekhar)
Canadian Short and US Feature Narrative / English / Canada and USA / 2022
A short and feature pairing: MisTik follows Cree twins who carry the last of the healthy trees on their backs, with the hopes of saving what is left of the world they once knew. Expedition Reclamation weaves together a tapestry of voices from 12 Black, Indigenous, and women of color who are redefining “outdoorsy” and reclaiming belonging in outdoor culture.