Canadian film picks at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival

A scene from the BC-shot Suck It Up.

While the Toronto International Film Festival premieres many of the high-profile, Oscar-baiting Hollywood releases, the Vancouver International Film Festival has carved a niche for itself by emphasizing Canadian and foreign releases. This year’s Canadian slate includes feature films and documentaries in the True North program as well as films by emerging filmmakers in the Future//Present series. Here’s a look at a few of the more notable Canadian releases screening at the fest, which runs Sept. 28-Oct 13 at various theatres in town.

Meditation Park—Vancouver director Mina Shum (Double Happiness) returns to her favourite theme—immigrant experience in Canada—in this, her fourth feature. In it, Maria (Cheng Pei Pei) has been a dutiful housewife to her workaholic husband (Tzi Ma). But when she learns he’s having an affair, everything changes. She’s aided and abetted by her daughter (returning Shum favourite Sandra Oh). Vancouver, especially Chinatown, also plays a part. Meditation Park is the fest’s Opening Night Gala Film.

A scene from Mina Shum’s Meditation Park.

Suck It Up—”A buddy-comedy wrapped in a British Columbia road trip, Suck It Up figures out how to find the humor in emotionally distressing situations that might elude any less determined characters than the film’s two protagonists. Gently amusing while avoiding needless sentimentality, Jordan Canning’s deft feature could find a limited following on the art house circuit or any number of streaming services.”—The Hollywood Reporter. It’s the second feature from Canning, following 2014’s We Were Wolves.

You’re Soaking in It—Scott Harper documents the shift in advertising from creative leaps and psychological profiling to precise, targeted surveillance rooted in complicated algorithms. The filmmaker interviews movers and shakers in the industry, including the guy who invented the pop-up add. He’s very sorry, apparently.

Still Night, Still Light—Sophie Goyette’s drama moves between three characters and three locations. Eliane, haunted by the death of her parents, leaves her Montreal home to teach piano in Mexico City. Her student’s father Romes is coping with midlife disappointment. Lastly, Pablo’s father harbours memories of a lost love. “Framed by Léna Mill-Reuillard’s gauzy and wistful cinematography, Goyette’s storytelling craft and ingenuity transcends generations, cultures and language, resulting in a debut that is nothing less than a complete and singular vision from a rising talent.”—Screen Anarchy

Still Night, Still Light.

Shut Up and Say Something—Melanie Woods’ documentary looks at Vancouver-based spoken word artist Shane Koyczan. The film screens at the BC Spotlight Awards Gala on Saturday, Oct. 7.

The Green Fog– A San Francisco Fantasia—Winnipeg-based filmmaker Guy Maddin, in collaboration with brothers Evan and Galen Johnson, pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo in this collage-based film. Drawing on images from classics, ’50s noir, documentary and experimental films, and ’70s prime-time TV to create a “parallel-universe version” (Maddin’s words) of the Hitchcock classic. The Green Fog is a special VIFF LIVE presentation at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts on Sunday, Oct. 10, where it will be screened along with a live performance of the soundtrack by Kronos Quartet.

A still from The Green Fog, Guy Maddin’s tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

For more info on the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival, visit

Vancouver Cheese and Meat Festival Returns September 30

vancouver cheese and meat festival 2017

Image courtesy of the Vancouver Cheese & Meat Festival |

Meat and cheese go together like bread and butter (which, also tastes good with meat and cheese), so it just seems right to have a festival devoted to the perfect pairing. The second annual Vancouver Cheese and Meat festival is approaching quickly and tickets were quick to sell out.

However, there is a rumour that some extra passes will be made available to those on the waitlist for evening tickets. Additionally, if you post on the Event Facebook page, there’s a good chance that people may be willing to sell their tickets if they’re no longer able to go to the actual event. If all else fails, you can start planning your trip back to Vancouver for the 2018 Cheese & Meat Festival!

This year, The Cheese and Meat Festival will be hosted in Vancouver on September 30 at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in Yaletown (181 Roundhouse Mews).

The festival will feature local and international cheeses and meats with an assortment of condiments, including pickles, nuts, bread, and more. Guests will also be able to enjoy the meaty and cheesy delicacies paired with a variety of beverages, including wine, beer, and cider.

Vancouver Cheese & Meat Festival

Image courtesy of the Vancouver Cheese & Meat Festival |

Aside from the extensive cheese and charcuterie, there will also be desserts and coffee available at the end of the event.

The vendor list for the event includes:

  • She Devil Delights (Hellish Relish)
  • ARC Iberico Imports (Iberico Ham)
  • Hoyne Brewing Co (Beer)
  • Blue Heron Creamery (Innovative dairy free “cheese”)
  • Two Rivers Specialty Meats (Various charcuterie)
  • Hanes Hummus
  • Sheringham Distillery (Gin / Vodka)
  • Barrelhouse Brine (Pickled vegetables)
  • and many more…

The full list of vendors is available on the Cheese & Meat Festival website.

The Cheese and Meat Festival also takes place in Victoria, and recently launched its first event in Seattle. To keep an eye on ticket sales, visit the Facebook event page.

Vancouver Cheese & Meat Festival Quick Details

  • Date: Saturday, September 30, 2017
  • Time: Afternoon tasting session (3pm), evening tasting session (7pm)
  • Location: Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in Yaletown (181 Roundhouse Mews)
  • Admission: $55+ for tickets, but currently sold out – sign up for the waitlist for a chance to buy extra tickets released closer to the event.

Beware the temptation of adults-only New Zealand circus troupe’s Goblin Market

Goblin Market. Jen Rault photo.

“Spectacular, magnificent and breathtaking are a few of the words that describe contemporary circus show The Goblin Market,” according to

The Goblin Market is a recent production from New Zealand circus performance troupe The Dust Palace. The show is inspired by Christina Rossetti’s poem about two sisters, one of whom is tempted by the goblin merchants who sell fruit by the stream from which they draw their water. Needless to say, no good comes when the sister exchanges a lock of her hair for a piece of fruit.

In The Dust Palace palace version, three performers (Eve Gordon, Rochelle Mangan, and Edward Clendon) interpret the story’s dark, sensuous elements with acrobatic feats, nudity and sexual scenes. The adults-only circus production is sure to spice up this fall’s Vancouver  arts lineup.

Published in 1862, Rossetti’s Goblin Market is considered to be a vibrant feminist work with themes of female power, sexuality, sisterly love and sorority. The Dust Palace is known for mind-blowing, genre-bending entertainment. Previous shows have included Ithaca, a large-cast science fiction retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey, and Top of the Heap, a family-friendly production. Watch the trailer for The Goblin Market here.

Praise for The Dust Palace’s The Goblin Market:

“Superbly choreographed acrobatics featuring the finely muscled bodies and disciplined athleticism of highly trained performers” —New Zealand Herald

“The most common word on everyone’s lips: Spectacular!” —Theatreview (New Zealand)

The Goblin Market comes to the York Theatre Oct. 3-7 and 10-14 (8 p.m. performances), and is recommended for audience members over 16. Visit for tickets.

This Week’s Top 5 Instagram Photos of Vancouver – September 15, 2017

Check out this week’s top 5 Instagram photos from @Inside_Vancouver!

The talented photographers who snapped these shots have either tagged us in their post or have included the #veryvancouver hashtag in their caption.

Follow us on Instagram, tag us in your next snap, and you may see your picture featured here.

False Creek Vibes ✌🏼📷 // Photo: @instagramvancouver

A post shared by Inside Vancouver (@inside_vancouver) on Sep 12, 2017 at 4:01pm PDT

Due North ☝🏼🌲 // Photo: @ddskline

A post shared by Inside Vancouver (@inside_vancouver) on Sep 8, 2017 at 4:26pm PDT

Downtown Vancouver 📷☁️ // Photo: @vancouverlife

A post shared by Inside Vancouver (@inside_vancouver) on Sep 7, 2017 at 11:00am PDT

A beautiful shot of Kits Pool, the ocean, some clouds, some mountains and the city skyline 🍭☁️ // Photo: @arielle.n.d

A post shared by Inside Vancouver (@inside_vancouver) on Sep 11, 2017 at 4:45pm PDT

👋🏼☔️ // Photo:

A post shared by Inside Vancouver (@inside_vancouver) on Sep 9, 2017 at 11:00am PDT

Last chance to see Monet’s Secret Garden at the Vancouver Art Gallery (plus fall exhibition preview!)

This year, in the heat and never-ending sunniness of summer, I spent most of the time out of doors. However, with the return of cooler weather and rainy days, I’ve started to long for contemplation in galleries once again.

Claude Monet’s Secret Garden at the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) has been on my do-list for quite some time. With the exhibition closing in just over two weeks, I managed to fit in a visit. I’d highly recommend doing the same before it ends.

The exhibition runs until October 1, 2017 and has generated considerable buzz from art enthusiasts in the city. I went on a weekend afternoon and the VAG was very busy. Obviously, other people had the same idea for a rainy day activity. I’d suggest getting there early to avoid line-ups and congestion in the gallery rooms and corridors.

Photo Credit: Tara Lee

Secret Garden is located on the main first floor of the gallery and is an impressive collection of Monet’s works from the Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris. Michel Monet, son of Claude Monet, left his paintings to the gallery in 1966, making it the recipient of the largest collection of Monet works anywhere. The exhibition at the VAG is so exciting since it is the most significant one in Canada in two decades.

The thirty-eight paintings on display cover the rich trajectory of Monet’s artistic endeavours and present a range of different subject matter, from French industrialization to more pastoral works of the countryside.

The Bridge at Vervyl, 1889

Together, the works showcase the groundbreaking nature of Monet’s artistic eye and representation. This was an artist willing to paint France at a specific temporal moment, refusing to look away from controversial signs of modernization, such as trains and factories. Many of his contemporaries were still wedded to pre-industrial nostalgic scenes. The paintings also show Monet’s attempts to capture the ephemeral, whether in light or movement.

Train in the Snow, The Locomotive, 1875

Of course, of particular interest in the exhibition is the emergence of Impressionism and Monet’s deviation from solid forms and shading to a more experimental use of paint on canvas premised on short, disconnected brushstrokes with intensely vibrant displays of colour. For example, a work Taking a Walk Near Argenteuil, where the Monet lived from 1871-1878, draws the eye to the movement of clouds, people, leaves, and the rich texture of the countryside.

Taking a Walk Near Argenteuil, 1875

The most recognizable of the works for me are found within Monet’s Giverny period, a prolific span of years from 1883 until his death in 1926.

Field of Yellow Irises at Giverny, 1887

The artist purchased a house in this northern French village where he painted in the open air, depicting his evolving gardens and ponds as the seasons unfolded over the decades. Iconic water lily paintings are included in the VAG exhibition, mesmerizing in their play with the surface of the water and what it dreamily reflects.

Water Lilies, 1916-1919

I was also drawn to later works of Monet during a time when he began to suffer from cataracts and failing vision, which had an effect on his ability to distinguish colours. The artist primarily had the labels on the tubes of paint to guide him in his colour choice. It’s astounding he was able to create beauty amidst such loss.

Roses, 1925-1926

Also worth viewing is a documentary of Monet’s life and artistic evolution that provides more context and background to the stunning works on display.

Overall, Secret Garden is the ideal outing for the end of summer/beginning of fall. After spending a couple of hours in the gallery–including viewing the Emily Carr exhibition, Into the Forest, on the top floor–head to the Gallery Café for a drink, a bite, and an opportunity to think and chat about what you’ve just visually absorbed.


There’s also plenty to look forward to this fall and winter at VAG. Here are some highlights:

Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting (September 30, 2017 to January 1, 2018)

This exhibition looks at two modes of painting in Canada from the 1970s onwards. Thirty-one artists who were part of these divergent aesthetics will be on display.

True Nordic: How Scandinavia Influenced Design in Canada (October 28, 2017 to January 28, 2018)

Lars Dressler and Jason Dressler, Brothers Dressler, Branches Chandelier, 2009, white oak, Courtesy of Brothers Dressler

With Scandinavian artistic ethos all the rage currently, this exhibition is sure to be of interest. It will look at craft and industrial design and its appearance and influence in this country.

Portrait of the Artist: An Exhibition from the Royal Collection (October 28, 2017 to February 4, 2018) 

From the Royal Collection, this meta-exhibition of over eighty works explores representations of artists, either done through self-depiction or by others. What does it mean to be a artist? How do they perceive themselves and how do others see them?

Gordon Smith: The Black Paintings (October 21, 2017 to February 4, 2018)

Look forward to a mounting of Gordon Smith’s black paintings, exploring his wartime experiences as well as texture, layering, collage techniques, and the expressiveness of paint.

Carol Sawyer: The Natalie Brettschneider Archive (October 28, 2017 to Feburary 4, 2018)

This collection will display Carol Sawyer’s efforts to connect singer and artist Natalie Brettschneider to musicians and artists in mid-century British Columbia.

Further info on all exhibitions is available on-line.