Playing at the
Victoria Film Festival
Victoria, British Columbia
Feb 1 to 10th
Tue | Feb 5 | 9:00 PM | SilverCity #3
Thur | Feb 7 | 6:15 PM | SilverCity #3
Back in 2011, I saw Chef of the South Polar (review link) at the Victoria Film Festival (VFF), and I learned a good noodle consists of a lot more than the love put into kneading the dough and creating the strands. Kansui is one part sodium bicarbonate and many other parts other trace minerals. To put them together in perfect harmony is part of many an Asian culture.
This year marks this event’s 25th anniversary (Taking place from Feb 1 to 10) and Ramen Shop (Ramen Teh) will continue to teach me something new in terms of how to celebrate life and food. Life lessons are often part of the theme in these movies, and I’m looking forward to what this year’s crop of films will offer.
The 2018 Victoria Film Festival is in full swing and every year, there’s at least one foodie themed piece of cinema for me to look at. This year’s offering is a very curiously named, All You Can Eat, Buddha. Writer / Director Ian Lagarde makes his feature-length debut with this work. According to actor Silvio Arriola who plays Valentino, the manager of the Cuban resort El Palacio — this story was conceived when this filmmaker was vacationing in Mexico, observing life around the resort he was at and having a particular Vedic text on hand to read.
The significance of what food represents to Mike (played to great stoic effect by Ludovic Berthillot) is not what this film is about. This protagonist is often juxtaposed to the backdrop of the sea, giving him a godlike presence, and suggesting he is on a spiritual retreat. The few picturesque moments of exquisite buffets are used to a lesser effect. To understand what both mean requires a second and third helping — a viewing, that is.
Plays Feb 10, 6:15pm
at Silvercity Tillicum
Feb 11, 6:30pm
at The Vic Theatre
Feeding the planet and the less fortunate anywhere is potentially difficult. To explore this situation is the documentary Theatre of Life, which is playing during this year’s Victoria Film Festival. This movie shows the task in a small-scale is doable, but it takes a concentrated effort to make it work and a continued commitment to make a difference. Chef Massimo Bottura deserves praise for taking the surplus and expired food meant for the 2015 Milan Expo’s many concession and diner operations and prepare simple original meals at the Refettorio Ambrosiano. This food kitchen still operates, and it does more than to feed the lower-class; it gives them a sense of community.
Updated: Mon 11:30pm, Feb 6
Virtual Reality is poised to become a viable medium to work in for many an artist (cinema or otherwise) and at the 2017 Victoria Film Festival, I spent a part of my weekend at Fort Tectoria playing these types of games and attending the last discussion of Springboard talking about it. This medium is a challenge to work in; Derek Jacoby, Maureen Bradley and Kate McCallum are people with a tremendous interest in this tech and they presented a fascinating look into how to work with and filming in virtual space is at now. The challenges to make it mainstream was also looked at.
Jacoby is aware of what other companies are doing. He’s the head of Victoria Makerspace, a collective tool workshop at the Vancouver Island Technology Park, where they get to play, if not create items, that will get used in the future. Whether that’s with video games (which they all agree is the driving force now) or in rehabilitation (where VR can make a huge difference to those with disabilities and can not get out in the world), as long as interest is high, then it will happen. Unlike 3DTV’s and how it fizzled, Jacoby also noted there’s the potential of mainstream not accepting it. Bradley focussed on the challenges of filming in this space and showed how video editing (where my interest is) is done. Software stitches the varying layers of 2D images onto a 3D like map, and rendering is not a perfect science. McCallum talked about the work she’s doing now and which types of businesses are taking interest in this new medium.
The 2017 Victoria Film Festival‘s Gala film certainly painted the night a pretty shade of pink with its opening film Window Horses to kick off the night. I thought the heroine Rosie Ming was wearing this event’s colours before putting on the black chādor, before arriving in Persia. Intentional or not, the first day was certainly fun, bright and cheerful. The morning and afternoon were wrought with continuous snowfall, and some of the organizers worried that it might cause problems since social media was on fire with reports of icy conditions and accidents already happening.
Thankfully, the troublesome weather faded away by evening so filmgoers can safely drive instead of slide to and fro from home. But for those who want an early start, Fort Tectoria is running virtual reality demos during this 10-day event to show off this technology as the coming thing. Eventually, some futurists predict it will integrate with cinema to create enhanced experiences. By the time I arrived downtown, I had a tough call to make: to go see Journey to the West 2: The Demons Strike Back at Cineplex Odeon or play video games. Very rarely, does a film festival offer this kind of opportunity for nerds like me!
Tickets can be bought online or at the door. A one time $2 membership fee is required to attend all movies.
The 23rd Annual Victoria Film Festival takes place from Feb 3 to 12, 2017, and the selection is as regularly diverse as my tastes. Missing this year is the In Conversation series, and this particular aspect has always been of interest to me. I love hearing about the thought processes of these talented filmmakers. Sometimes, one might get to meet some really big names. One year had Gareth Edwards present, talking about his work prior to Godzilla. Now that he has helmed one of the biggest movies of 2016, Star Wars: Rogue One, how many people can say they have met him?
Taking the Frame Off is a new program examining the coming trends, but will it be the same? With topics ranging from “What’s App, Doc” which looks at how content is consumed in a digital age to “Storytelling in Virtual Worlds,” my guess is in how media is created for the modern age will be at the forefront. Plenty can be said about how this new medium, VR, can work. This year, it is getting the spotlight at Play @ The Fort at Tectoria on 777 Fort Street. Here, demos of how virtual reality works will be offered free of charge and the games that’s playable now will be the spotlight. If we ask nicely, perhaps they might have a presentation of Allumette or Henry the Hedgehog.
More about this up and coming technology will be explored in an upcoming interview to be published on otakunoculture.com with Vincent McCurley, a technology specialist working for the National Film Board of Canada. They will be offering eight titles, two of them are shorts, at this year’s event! Of course, leading the charge is my top pick, which is also this year’s opening gala.
Window Horses (drama, animation)
Feb 3, 7pm – Cineplex Odeon Downtown
The unique character designs and visual styles are at the heart of why I’m loving this film, and it is topping many of my lists of movies to must see. With a story about young Rosie Ming (voiced by Sandra Oh) going to Iran, just what will she find there? She’s a poet yearning to visit Paris, but this Middle Eastern country is nowhere close to the City of Lights. Here, she will discover secrets to her mixed heritage and I suspect this coming of age film will be a true delight. This movie is selected as the opening Gala for this festival.