5 Reasons To Get Out During VIFF

By Kristi Alexandra

Every Tuesday, I plan to catch a half-price flick. I check my Flixster app to see what’s playing at the movies, but I don’t always make my way to the theatre doors. A client messages me for a last minute press release, I get revisions from an editor, I catch up on emails, or I sometimes get caught in a Pinterest clickhole—and I don’t always find a trailer that catches my fancy. C’est la vie.

There’s always next Tuesday, I think.

With the Vancouver International Film Festival on now until Oct. 14, there’s no “there’s always next week” excuse.

A bevy of films are on offer until Oct. 14 screening at seven different venues in Vancouver, ranging from shorts, documentaries, and feature films. In its 35th year, VIFF is introducing the VIFF HUB – “a central location for experiences beyond film,” at the Vancouver International Film Centre (1181 Seymour St).


Personally, I just watched a screening of The Bacchus Lady directed by E. Jyong. The flick tells a tale new to Vancouverites, but one not uncommon for financially-strapped Korean seniors. The film follows So-Young (an aptly ironic pseudonym), an elderly lifelong prostitute plagued by poverty, as she grapples with sex work in her golden years, friends meeting the end of their lives, and taking care of a young boy orphaned by circumstance.

I ugly-cried in parts, snickered at sexual innuendo and, ultimately, was glad to experience going to the movies through a new lens. Getting out to my first VIFF show of the year has me eager for more, and here’s why.

It’s Good For The Soul
If there’s anything I’ve learned about the self care movement, it’s that we should do things that make us feel good. Yoga, meditation, long, fragrant baths and eating chocolate come to mind. For me? Taking two hours in darkness and munching on popcorn is a soul-rejuvenating activity, especially when I’m filling my heart and eyes with something of substance.

You Might Learn Something New
Though the characters and story were fictional, The Bacchus Lady brings to light a real-life phenomenon plaguing seniors in Korea. This empathetic view on the subject is a didactic one—one that teaches you something new while pulling on your heartstrings. I can’t help but feel a little more educated now, if not a little more sentimental.

It Forces You To Shut Off For A Couple Hours
Like going to any movie theatre (or yoga class or what-have-you), watching a film in a theatre as opposed to scanning Netflix at home forces you to be present. Take a break from checking emails, responding to text messages, and tying up loose ends and just watch.the.movie.

You (Probably) Won’t Be Able To Catch These Films Anywhere Else
Given the global and indie nature of many of the films showing during VIFF, it’s probably safe to say they won’t be screening at your local Landmark Theatre anytime soon. Catch them while you can because most of the pictures are only screening twice over the two-week fest.

Thanks to his role on GIRLS, we fell in love with Adam Driver. Because of his passion for good film, we kept the flame alive.

Known Actors in Little-Known Films
Long before everyone starting coming out of the woodwork to proclaim their lifelong love of The Hip amid the band’s final tour, I was an unabashed Gord Downie fan. It went so far as me proudly toting around my copy of Coke Machine Glow, an anthology of poetry by Downie that went along with his lesser appreciated solo debut in 2001. I was SO proud that I knew more about him than any of my fellow audiophiles; I felt it put me in a more intimate level of fandom in which my boy Gord would be impressed and honoured that I was just that into his art.

For your own bragging rights, catch big names such as Ethan Hawke, Sandra Oh, Shia LaBeouf, Cynthia Nixon, Adam Driver and Brad Pitt in their smaller passion projects during VIFF.


Kristi Alexandra is an unabashed wino and wannabe musician. Her talents include drinking an entire bottle of cabernet sauvignon, singing in the bathtub, and falling asleep.