If you’re a bonafide cinephile, you’re sure to get your indie fix in Vancouver all year round. Each year, the city plays host to a wide range of film festivals, featuring quality productions in various genres from around the world.
Make sure to catch these prestigious events:
Since 1982, the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival Society has hosted the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). VIFF is one of the largest film festivals in North America, showcasing more than 300 films from around 73 countries in multiple venues. The festival runs from late September until mid-October annually, and offers awards to films voted by juries and the audience.
If you love documentaries, be sure to check out the DOXA Documentary Film Festival. DOXA is billed as Canada’s largest documentary film festival, presented by Vancouver-based non-profit, The Documentary Media Society. In addition to public screenings, this festival also features panel discussions, public forums, and educational programs. This juried festival has multiple viewing venues and runs yearly for 10 days in May.
The Vancouver Short Film Festival (VSFF) started out as the Vancouver Student Film Festival (VSFF) in 2005. The name was changed in 2012 when the festival started accommodating professional artists. The festival showcases shorts under 30-40 minutes under the categories Professional Short Film, Student Short Film, and After Dark Horror. It takes place annually in January at VanCity Theatre.
The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival showcases the great outdoors, including nature destinations, mountaineering, sports, and culture, through film, photography, presentations, workshops and special events. The festival was first held in 1998 and has bloomed from a three-day, one venue event with 1,700 viewers to a ten-day multi-venue event with 20,000 viewers.
Known as Vancouver’s second-largest film festival, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival takes place annually during August. Out On Screen, a Vancouver-based LGBTQ-oriented arts organization presents the festival that’s been around for over thirty years. The festival screens the best in global independent films that “illuminate the lives of queer, trans, and two-spirit people”, as described by artistic director Anoushka Ratnarajah.
Canada’s longest-running Asian film festival debuted in 1997. The festival showcases films and media that celebrate Asian culture diversity and depth. The four-day festival is held in November in Vancouver’s Chinatown. In addition, year-round events are also staged, including the Mighty Asian Movie Making Marathon (MAMM14), a summer short film competition.
New to the film festival scene is the Vancouver Virtual Reality Film Festival (YVRFF). Established in 2017, the festival is run by a non-profit tech culture organization and welcomes visitors to explore innovative VR technology and film content. The festival is held at CBC Broadcasting Studio Vancouver every year in May.
Held since 1988, the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival (VJFF) is Vancouver’s longest-running Jewish film festival. It is staged in early November in various venues, and showcases comedies, feature dramas, thrillers, documentaries, and shorts that highlight Jewish cultural diversity, heritage, and identity. They sometimes screen films without Consumer Protection Classification, but only to members of the Vancouver Jewish Film Centre. Seniors also get to enjoy monthly screenings throughout the year.
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