Victoria Film Festival

Special Events

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VFF Special Events

States of Play

at the Atrium - 800 Yates street from February 2 - 10 between 10-6pm

States of Play is a multimedia exhibition composed of eight film and video installations that celebrate VFF’s 25-year history. These installation spaces invite us to abandon static ways of viewing cinema, discover film in a new way, and enter a state – of – play.

In the spirit of bringing film to life, many of these installations will require patrons to engage with the exhibit performatively. This may be a piece which requires the viewer to step into a projection box, peer under a plinth, and traverse a series of bellowed walls. They may have to kneel, crawl under, lie down, or move to access media. In this sense, the exhibit will not only be a place to watch media, but also to consider the performative role of an audience during a cinematic presentation.

The work selected for this exhibition is reflective of VFF’s pursuit to create a platform for unconventional cinema. The shorts being presented are cinematic hybrids that encompass many artistic mediums including dance, theatre, video architecture, digital media, found objects, sculpture, television news, performance interview, video games and poetry. These hybrids reveal the way in which film can act as a bridge between all mediums. They illustrate the spectacular results that can occur when mediums collide into a filmic format.

–Gina Luke


A series of enigmatic plinths entice viewers to uncover what’s hidden inside. In each plinth, two small lenses on either side offer bizarre cinematic immersion and performatory experiences. Video channels have been hidden on either side of the rectangular structure allowing for two points of discovery. This piece asks you to participate in a double act with another audience member who may be glimpsing into the other side.

SUBCONSCIOUS PASSWORD (2014) invites us to participate as a studio audience in a stereoscopic simulation of a colourful game show. We explore Chris Landreth’s subconscious in the hopes of saving him from a social faux pas.

THE ART OF DROWNING (2010) where the undulating tempo of Billy Collins’ voice becomes expressed through a fluid animation by Diego Maclean.

I SEE A DARKNESS (2006) this seductive work presents us with a cascading grid of colours that shift across our field of view endlessly. Visuals rest alongside a repurposed Johnny Cash song personalized by Meeso Lee’s voice. This short was presented as part of VFF’s 2001 “Visions from Beyond” abstractions.

HAIR LADY (2007) by David Birdsell is a piece that explores the dynamics of alienation. This work began as a science project expressed through time-lapse photography. David Birdsell has contributed a number of high-calibre shorts to the Victoria film festival and taken home first place prizes for them. These include, Phil Touches Flo and Blue City.

A BIT TRANSCENDENTAL (2002) brings us into the experimental drug-induced void generated by two college friends. We travel through this work with their dialogue anchoring us in a non-space. This piece was created by Patrick Lowe under the Winnipeg film group collective.

MIA’ (2016) soft sculpture and theatre are integrated into cinematic scenes based on the detailed inter-city geography of Vancouver. Amanda Strong’s work explores the ideas of blood memory and Indigenous oral story.

ORA (2012) shows the spectacular result of the collaborative practice between dance choreographer José Navas and filmmaker Philippe Baylaucq after they embarked on a two-year residency with the NFB in Quebec. It is the first piece to use 3D thermal imaging, producing visuals like none that have ever been seen before.

HAIKU 4 (2015) is one part in a series of 10 video haikus created through stop motion animation, marionette puppetry and relief sculpture. These haikus explore ritual and personal grief through shifting dream-like states. Calgary-based animator, Lyle Pisio took the VFF best short animation award for Haiku 4 in 2015.


The bellows is an installation that asks participants to abandon the static version of cinema and traverse into surreal cinematographic locations. Panels have been placed in a serpentine arrangement and beckon for participants to weave in and out of a series of shorts. Each short is designed to take us on a journey to an alluring destination.


It is a biographical documentary that takes us into the Nevada desert for an iconic festival. This work delves into the performative appearances of Christine Stewart’s alter ego, Nurse Tiny. The role of the audience is always in flux as Nurse Tiny’s shifting engagement with the camera crew and other patrons creates a fluid double act. This cult classic was screened at VFF’s fourth festival.

CONFESSIONS OF A SALESMAN (2009) reveals filmmaker Ho Tam’s complex sentiments about both the creation and experience of the Asian male identity. Comprised of some of his best works from 1994 to 2008, this series of rich montages re-appropriates his experimental body of work in a larger global context.

ASIAN GANGS (2013) is a short which takes on faux broadcasting from Vancouver’s streets to report on socioeconomic issues often ignored in the media. This short, created by Calum MacLeod and Lewis Bennet, was a finalist in VFF’s View and Vote program

SHUT UP AND SAY SOMETHING (2018) features international spoken word poet, Shayne Koyczan. Koyczan connected with documentary filmmaker Melanie Wood to create the film. This piece explores the roots of his spoken-word performance alongside a restorative journey to his hometown.

MIEUX (2000) by Denis Côté highlights the goings-on of a failing romance. Poignant shifts between cinematic modes give us a unique insight into Madeline and Simon’s relationship. Denis Côté is an independent filmmaker and producer living in Quebec, of Brayon origin.

SAD BEAR (2011) is a folklore piece that stems from the reimagining of the New York urban legend, Death Bear (2009). Both Sad Bear and Death Bear are interventionist performers who visit patrons during times of vulnerability and strip them of the sentimental objects that perpetuate their grief.

AREA CODE (2003) is a landscape portrait venturing from Eastern to Western Canada expressed through fleeting roadside imagery. This work was part of a VFF special feature titled “unchartered territory” where a series of shorts took us to a variety of zig-zagging destinations in North America.


Enter the archives, let these films transport you away, become untethered from the present as you explore VFF’s strangest series of filmic hybrids. As viewers climb into this installation they activate a baffling performative role when their body becomes integrated into a sculptural object.

PLAN FOR VICTORY (2008) swiss video and installation artist Elodie Pong presents us with a message that is aerially scrawled upon an isolated hillside. This testament is first disrupted and then effectively deleted by a natural catastrophe.

HIPSTER HEADDRESS (2017) was created by Amanda Strong, a Vancouver-based media artist who works with hybrid documentary. This micro short was commissioned by the NFB to address trends in cultural appropriation indicative to Vancouver’s rave culture.

RYAN (2005), a film by Chris Landreth, blends an impromptu, real-life, interview of Ryan Larkin, with compelling, and otherworldly digital animation.


Disconnect from the exhibition space and fixate on a 3-dimensional work that explores altering psychological states.

MY TRIP TO LIBERTY CITY (2004) by Jim Munroe, uses the first player vantage point of a carjacking game alongside a bizarre YouTube soundtrack to demystify the violence normally associated with the game. As viewers, we experience this world’s more peaceful elements and walk freely as a Canadian tourist.


This small video installation is camouflaged within the regular architectural components of the Atrium space. A tiny video screen anchored on the wall plays an endless loop of Meeso Lee’s ANXIETY (2001). Meeso Lee is a Zine and Video artist based in Vancouver.


A familiar yellow text will be placed in the Atrium, housing Christine Stewart’s iconic work, THE PHONEBOOK (1999). This short takes an everyday object from the domestic realm and asks us to consider its legitimacy as a reference to cultural history.


The sound box is an audio device that explores the early years of the festival and the birth of VFF as a cultural hub in Victoria. Through this piece, we hear alternating segments of documentary audio and learn how the festival began from a single piece of film in 1995 titled, Wooden Nickles. This is a chance to learn how VFF has grown into an elaborate city-wide event and how it intends to grow in the future. This work has no specific beginning or end and audience members can jump in at any time to learn more about the Victoria Film Festival’s history as a cultural institution.

Audio and Visual (1995) • Audio and Visual (1996) • Audio and Visual (1997)



Participants transcend into a cocoon enclosure and uncover a space of retreat. Housed in the haven dome is a short by Catherine Bisley, Groping Revenge Fairytale (2018). The piece asks us to suspend our sense of reason and gently venture into unordinary settings.



Safe Space Panorama is an 8-channel panoramic cinema that hosts immersive screenings, public lectures, discussions, and multichannel video work of artists that deal with uneasy content and ideas. This installation will engage with a selection of VFF’s 25 years of archival media in an immersive 360 degree environment. The structure itself merges together architecture, cinema, installation art, and the roundhouse style arrangement such as found in a speaking circle or around a campfire.

This ongoing screening is a fluid opportunity to dive into 25 years of exclusive video footage uncovered in the VFF offices.


VFF values creating opportunities for our local and BC-based filmmakers, as well as for filmmakers visiting from around the world, to come together with industry leaders for networking, knowledge sharing, and creative development. In order to facilitate further learning, artistic progression, and business opportunities, VFF hosts the SpringBoard industry gathering during the Festival each year.


PATRICE RAMSAY is the Coordinator of Independent Production at Knowledge Network. She helps bring original Knowledge Network commissions to a BC audience. Recent examples include “This Mountain Life”, “Paramedics: Life on the Line”, and “Shut Up and Say Something”. She is also responsible for the budget of all independent production at Knowledge and manages Knowledge’s Broadcaster Performance Envelope from the Canada Media Fund. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration and recently earned The Osgood Certificate in Entertainment Law from Osgood Hall Law School of York University.

SUSAN HUMMEL was named Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Lionsgate’s new office in Canada in May 2017. Based in Toronto, she leads and manages the Company’s distribution operations in a key territory. Ms. Hummel is responsible for growing Lionsgate’s worldwide content platform in Canada, driven by a nearly 17,000-title lm and television library, one of the largest independent television businesses in the world and a premium home entertainment division. She is an experienced and entrepreneurial distribution executive with deep knowledge of the Canadian television landscape, charged with identifying licensing opportunities for Lionsgate’s lm and television portfolio in this key territory.

MICHELE MCMAHON is a Production Executive, Original Programming for B.C. and the Territories for Bell Media. In this role, Michele is the point of contact for the local television production community (producers, directors, writers), acts as the creative executive on projects in development and production, and initiate community engagement and outreach initiatives. Michele is currently the production Executive for Bell Media on the feature documentary The Inconvenient Indian(TMN) and Cardinal (CTV), and was an executive on 19-2 (BRAVO) and Motive (CTV). In 2016 both 19-2 and Motive received multiple Canadian Screen Awards, 19-2 won best dramatic series and was nominated for an International Emmy.

NICOLE MENDES has spent the past nine years working in Scripted Content at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. As Executive in Charge of Production for CBC Drama, she oversees projects in both production and development for dramatic one-hour series, limited series, miniseries, movies of the week, and specials. She currently oversees Canada’s number one drama, Murdoch Mysteries, and the acclaimed series, Anne With an “E”, a co-production between CBC and Netix. Nicole has also served on multiple juries and sat on various industry panels for organizations such as TIFF, WGC, DGC, and WIFT-T.

TERI SNELGROVE is the Associate Producer at the BC & Yukon Studio of The National Film Board of Canada where she has worked on many documentaries including the acclaimed The Road Forward (Marie Clements), Debris (John Bolton), Beauty (Christina Willings), and the interactive project, Bread (Mariette Sluyter). She is proud to have worked on two upcoming NFB films, Highway to Heaven (Sandra Ignagni), and Because We Are Girls (Baljit Sangra). Teri has also worked on a number of animated projects, including The Mountain of SGaana (Christopher Auchter), Shop Class (Hart Snider) and The Zoo (Julia Kwan).

TANIA KOENIG-GAUCHIER, APTN, is a television producer who brings more than 20 years of experience in broadcasting and independent production to APTN’s Programming department. She has worked as a producer for CTV, APTN and the CBC, and has a background in business, marketing and promotions for television. One of the first employees at APTN in 1999, she now returns full circle and feels fortunate to work with other Indigenous producers who share her passion to tell authentic Indigenous stories and share them with the world.

SARAH POCKLINGTON is the Acting Arts Manager for The First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC). FPCC is a First Nations-run Crown agency with a mandate to support the revitalization of Indigenous languages, arts, culture and heritage in British Columbia. The Arts Program offers a number of funding opportunities for Indigenous artists, arts organizations, societies, First Nations communities and established unincorporated arts collectives that have a stated and demonstrated commitment to Indigenous arts development and practice.

ELFRED MATINING, TELUS Storyhive, works with the community to find the many and varied mobilizing intersections of art and lm, equity and access, and learning and geography through community capacity building across BC and Alberta. As an artist, his practice investigates the phenomenon of pedagogy through objects, performance, and engagement. As the Training and Education manager for TELUS STORYHIVE, his work helps to build and nurture a culture of engaged storytelling through project funding, mentorship, training and distribution.

ANGIE POWER is a seasoned publicity and promotions professional with twenty years of experience in the film industry. She began her career with Lions Gate Films, which was renamed Maple Pictures in Canada and subsequently acquired by Alliance Films in 2011. It was at this time that Ms. Power formed her own communications company which she operated until 2013, when she joined the team at Allied Integrated Marketing as Director.

ERIKA KUMAR manages Creative BC's direct funding programs, including Domestic Industry Initiatives and the Interactive Fund. Erika is also responsible for the coordination of the MPPIA Short Film Award and the Daryl Duke & William Vince Scholarships. Erika graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Simon Fraser University, and has a Certificate in Entertainment Administration from the University of British Columbia. Prior to working at Creative BC, Erika was a project coordinator for The Adbusters Media Foundation.

WALTER QUAN was born in Vancouver and moved to Victoria to work for the BC Arts Council nearly 27 years ago. He administers Council’s Project Assistance for Media Artists program (look it up…) After working for arts organizations in theatre, music and dance, he came to the BC Arts Council to administer programs for writers, visual artists and media artists and for Training and Music organizations. He’s been a clarinet player but now manifests his art practise as a knitter and maker of sushi candles.

WILLIAM BROYLES created the Emmy-winning television series China Beach, and the recent series SIX. He wrote the screenplays for Apollo 13, Cast Away, Polar Express, Unfaithful, Flags of our Fathers, Jarhead, and others. Apollo 13 won the WGA award and was nominated for an Academy Award. Before he was a screenwriter he was the founding editor of Texas Monthly, which won numerous National Magazine Awards, and was editor-in-chief of Newsweek. He is the author of the book Brothers In Arms and his story “Why Men Love War” was chosen by Esquire magazine as one of the best 25 stories about war ever written.

HILARY PRIOR is the founder of Victoria’s May Street Productions and co-founder of Mooswa Films. Hilary’s highly respected credits include dozens of documentaries, children’s shows and several feature films. This past year Hilary co-wrote and produced feature lm, Percy, starring Christopher Walken, Christina Ricci, Zach Bra and Adam Beach. Hilary has directed and produced for nearly every broadcaster in Canada, including CBC, CTV, Global, Bravo!, W Network, Animal Planet Canada, Discovery, the National Film Board, Vision TV, W Network, YTV, The Travel Channel, History Television, Knowledge, SCN and TV Ontario.

ART NAPOLEON is co-founder of Mooswa Films. He both produces and stars in APTN’s cultural cooking series, Moosemeat & Marmalade and the digital documentary series, Food For Thought. Tapping into rich and profound ancestral knowledge to create sustainable and ethical alternatives for the modern world are the foundations that guide him in his many projects. A former hand-picked (not elected) Chief of the Saulteau First Nation in north-eastern BC, Art is a conservationist, naturalist, faith-keeper and educator who interprets life through the holistic lens of Cree worldview. Art remains connected to his home territory and his Cree and Dane Zaa roots.

KATE GREEN has been an active content creator for almost 20 years working mostly in lifestyle and factual television as a producer and director. Her work has aired on various networks such as HGTV, W Network, CBC, History, Fuel TV, and Slice. Kate’s first documentary, Not A Stranger, won the Audience Choice Award at the Vancouver Short Film Festival and was nominated for Best ‘Made in Canada’ Short at the Northwestfest. Kate’s second documentary, Melting Stars, won Best Short at the International Wildlife Film Festival. Kate recently took the LEAP into the director’s chair with the sci- web series, NarcoLeap, airing on TELUS Optik and





Commissioning editors will provide up-to-date info on the projects they fund.

Patrice Ramsey, Knowledge Network

Susan Hummel, Lionsgate

Michele McMahon, Bell Media

Nicholas Tabarrok, Darius Films

Nicole Mendes, CBC TV Drama


Discussion of Indigenous-exclusive funding programs.

Teri Snelgrove, NFB

Tania Koenig-Gauchier, APTN

Sarah Pocklington, First People’s Cultural Council

Elfred Matining, TELUS Storyhive Indigenous Edition


Schedule one-on-one time to pitch your screenplay or project to commissioning representatives. Participants will be able to schedule 10 minutes of pitch time with the guests of your choosing.

Also on hand is a public relations doyenne who advises on materials and strategies that you will need to get your lm into the marketplace.

Patrice Ramsey, Knowledge Network;

Susan Hummel, Lionsgate

Michele McMahon, Bell Media

Tania Koenig-Gauchier, APTN

Nicole Mendes, CBC TV Drama

Nicholas Tabarrok, Darius Films

Angie Power, Public Relations, D Films


Schedule one-on-one time to discuss your screenplay or project with public funders in order to explore which funding streams apply to your work.

Erika Kumar, Creative BC;

Walter Quan, BC Arts Council,

Teri Snelgrove, NFB


Writers known for their remarkable translations from book to screen discuss the challenges of adapting source material for film.

William Broyles Jr. (Apollo 13, Planet of the Apes, Cast Away, Jarhead, Polar Express)

Don McKellar, (Blindness, The Red Violin, Last Night, Twitch City, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould)


Why a web series? The web is a unique space for storytelling as well as building audiences. Its bite-sized stories, ability to release quickly, and opportunity to keep costs low speaks to an accessible way to create content.

Hilary Pryor & Art Napoleon, Food For Thought

Documentary Web Series

Kate Green, NarcoLeap Web Series



Content makers mix and mingle and get your next film project underway.

Smoke Signals was a seminal film for the Victoria Film Festival. It opened our mind to the community need and gave us a direction in which to strive. It is fitting that we now celebrate in our 25th year this wonderful film.

Join us as we bring you another opportunity to see this mind-opening tale on the big screen. The film screens at 6:30 PM followed by a conversation with some of Smoke Signals’ principals.

Richard Crouse of CTV’s Pop Life hosts.


CHRIS EYRE, the nation’s most celebrated Native American film director, was born in Oregon. A member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he gained national attention in 1998 with the movie Smoke Signals, winning the Sundance Film Festival Filmmakers Trophy and the Audience Award. The Film also took Best Film honours at the American Indian Film Festival.

He is a director and producer, also known for Edge of America (2003) and Skins (2002), and was honoured with the HatcH Native Spirit Award for his achievements in filmmaking.

Chris Eyre was appointed as chairman of the film department at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design as of January 2012.

EVAN ADAMS is from Tla’amin Nation, near the town of Powell River, B.C. He has starred in the Emmy-winning TV-movie Lost in the Barrens and its nominated sequel Curse of the Viking Grave, and numerous episodics like The Beachcombers and Black Stallion. Evan stars as Thomas Builds-The-Fire in Smoke Signals, written by Sherman Alexie. He won Best Actor awards from the American Indian Film Festival, and from First Americans in the Arts, and a 1999 Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance. He continues to work on intermittent, high-profile projects, and is also a medical doctor in Vancouver, Canada.

TANTOO CARDINAL is arguably the most widely recognized Indigenous actress of her generation. Tantoo has appeared in numerous plays, television programs, and films, including Legends of the Fall, Dances With Wolves, Black Robe, Loyalties, Luna, Spirit of the Whale, Unnatural & Accidental, Marie-Anne, Sioux City, Silent Tongue, Mother’s and Daughter’s and Smoke Signals. Recent work includes the films Eden, Maina, Angelique’s Isle and Falls Around Her (both playing at VFF 2019).

For her film making contributions to the First Nations artistic community, Cardinal won the Eagle Spirit Award. She has also been honored with the MacLeans’ magazine Honour Roll as Actress of the Year; the Outstanding Achievement Award from Toronto Women in Film and Television; an International Women in Film Award for her lasting contribution to the arts, and induction to the CBC/Playback Hall of Fame.

Cardinal is a Member of the Order of Canada, recognizing her contributions to the growth and development of Indigenous performing arts in Canada.

RICHARD CROUSE is the host of the CTV talk show Pop Life, and the regular film critic for the 24 hour news source CTV’s News Channel and CP24. He is also the author of nine books on pop culture history including Who Wrote the Book of Love, the best-selling The 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, and its sequel. Crouse was the host of Reel to Real, Canada’s longest running television show about movies, from 1998 to 2008 and is a frequent guest on many national Canadian radio and television shows.

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