The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) returns September 28 – October 8, 2023 for its annual event celebrating the art of filmmaking with a thoughtfully curated selection of films, many of which are proudly crafted in B.C. Immerse yourself in a diverse array of stories, from captivating dramas to groundbreaking documentaries, all while basking in the creative energy of a region that has become a hotspot for cinematic excellence. VIFF invites you upon a cinematic journey that showcases both local talent and international perspectives, making VIFF a must-visit destination for film enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.


2023: Defining Human


#WatchBC at VIFF via the following films:



Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before The Sun

Director: Banchi Hanuse

A thrilling portrait of a young Siksika woman as she trains for one of the most dangerous horse races
in the world: on bareback. Logan Red Crow is an Indian Relay rider who vaults from horse to horse in
exhilarating races. She is a champion in the making.



Director: Sean Devlin

Jaya, a teacher and comedian, travels across the typhoon-ravaged Philippines in a bid to win a beauty
pageant. En route, they pick up an unlikely companion. Comic, sorrowful, and political, Asog
examines the climate crisis through a kaleidoscopic lens.


Les Filles du Roi

Director: Corey Payette

Corey Payette’s rousing microbudget musical (adapted from the Urban Ink stage production he
cowrote with Julie Mcisaac) chronicles the friendship between a seventeenth century French
woman and a Mohawk trader and his sister.



Director: Sherren Lee

The summer before college, a city girl finds herself in Tofino, alienated by the local beach culturethat
is, until she falls for the charming local lifeguard, which throws her carefully planned future into


I’m Just Here for the Riot

Director: Kathleen S. Jayme, Asia Youngman

Vancouver, June 15, 2011. Hours after the Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, rioters laid
waste to blocks of downtown. In this absorbing documentary, Kathleen S. Jayme (The Grizzlie Truth)
and Asia Youngman revisit that chaotic night.


Mareya Shot, Keetah Goal: Make the Shot

Director: Baljit Sangra, Nilesh Patel

This spirited sports doc follows four junior hockey players of South Asian descent through the 2021-
2022 season as they strive to make it to the NHL. Among them, Surrey’s own Arsh Bains, who signs
with the Vancouver Canucks.


Physician, Heal Thyself 

Director: Asher Penn

One of the world’s foremost experts on addiction and trauma, Dr Gabor Mate shares not only his
theories, but also his own story: his difficult childhood in Hungary and his long years of therapeutic
practice in and around Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.



Director: Meredith Hama-Brown

With their parents tending to their crumbling marriage, 11-year-old Stephanie is drawn to a pack of
unruly teens, while six-year-old Emmy answers an eerie cave’s siren call. A deftly orchestrated,
deeply moving portrait of a family about to implode.


Union Street 

Director: Jamila Pomeroy

Interspersing interviews with archival footage, Union Street documents the history of Vancouver’s
Hogan’s Alley, the formerly Black neighbourhood which was destroyed by the construction of the
Georgia viaduct in the 1970s.



Director: Jules Koostachin

WaaPaKe is a story about resilience, love and transformation. Examined through an Indigenous lens, the stories of residential school Survivor-Warriors and their families offer an understanding of both intergenerational trauma and healing.


Wild Goat Surf 

Director: Caitlyn Sponheimer

Scrounging and scheming her way through the summer, 12-year-old Goat talks a big game about becoming a world-class surfer … Despite having never actually surfed or even seen the ocean. A charming tale about trying to slip the shackles of circumstance.




Ancestral Threads

Director: Sean Stiller

Using fashion as medicine for Vancouver’s Indigenous community, founder Joleen Mitton takes us behind-the-scenes at Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week. Featuring interviews with Musqueam weaver and artist Debra Sparrow and Dene fashion designer D’arcy Moses.


Between You and Me

Director: Cameron Kletke

An animated journey through a young woman’s diary entries, notes, and drawings.


Black Box Investigations

Director: Paige Smith

Form and function are deconstructed through the artist’s interventions with the camera.


Cloud Striker

Director: A.W. Hopkins

Set in the 1930s, Chief Cloud Striker is on a quest to find his son Elijah, who has been forcibly taken from home and placed in Saint Ignatius Indian Residential School.


Defining Human

Director: Daniel Code

As Earth reaches its environmental breaking point, Mia, a talented black astronaut, must make a difficult decision: to stay with her ailing father, or leave for the unknown potentials of space exploration.


Hair or No Hair

Director: Janessa St. Pierre

Bel, a young black woman who has been hiding her Alopecia under wigs for years, is one day exposed publicly.


Her Name is Like a Sigh

Director: Solara Thanh-Bình Đặng

Ha, an overworked Vietnamese nail salon proprietor, reevaluates her life and marriage in an unexpected mid-life crisis prompted by a new customer.


In The Wake of the Cedar Tree

Director: Towustasin

Eclectically stylized, Haida poet & videographer Towustasin creates an experimental documentary short that incorporates animation, spoken word, intimate interviews and poetic narratives to explore trauma, hope, healing and connection to land.


Master of the House

Director: Dylan Maranda

A young sommelier struggles to balance friendship and ambition on the night an acclaimed restaurant critic dines at his work- Reclamation, a restaurant hyped on reinventing Indigenous cuisine.


Nigiqtuk (The South Wind)

Director: Lindsay McIntyre

An Inuit mother and daughter, Kumaa’naaq and Marguerite, must negotiate the pressures of assimilation after relocating to a new life in the South in the 1930s. Based on a true story.


Our Grandmother the Inlet

Directors: Jaime Leigh Gianopoulos, Kayah George

Kayah George, a young Tsleil-Waututh woman and her grandmother Ta7a, daughter of the late Chief Dan George, reflect on their relationship to water, culture, and land.



Director: Amir Honarmand

Amin, an Iranian boy living in poverty during the pandemic, is gifted a stolen iPhone by his older brother. Not before long, the owner gets in touch.


Sun, Moon and Four Peaks

Director: Kevin Jin Kwan Kim

Two brothers, Minseo and Junho, are reunited in Vancouver after many years apart following their parents divorce in Korea.


Swallow Flying to the South

Director: Mochi Lin

During the Cultural Revolution in 1976, 5-year-old Swallow is abandoned at a public boarding preschool in central Beijing. When the persimmons are ripe, Swallow masters how to cry, but doesn’t forget how to fly. Inspired by the film maker’s mother’s story.


Take Care

Director: Tony Massil

A recently divorced and deflated James moves in with his grandmother Patty, a fiercely independent octogenarian. Despite Patty’s declining physical abilities, she is reluctant to give up her autonomy.


Two Apples

Director: Bahram Javahery

When a young woman leaves her homeland in search of a different future, she brings with her a single memento from her past: a ripe apple studded with fragrant cloves. A true labour of love, a tender film delivered in a richly innovative animation style.


Unspeakable Heap

Director: Kara Ditte Hansen

An accumulation of histories is explored via the film maker’s uncle, a retired Grego-Roman Olympian wrestler who lives in a sinking house built atop a decommissioned landfill.


You Feel Soft

Director: Cameron Kletke

An exploration of love and touch by Cameron Kletke, employing different forms of graphite that bring the screen to textural life.



Director: Yuezhang Qin

A cloud accompanies a young woman through daily life.


Find the full VIFF Program here.