The Vancouver International Film Festival opens its doors on Friday NZ time, its programme offering five NZ titles plus the Burstyns’ long-coming doco Some Kind of Love, originally travelling as Yolanda’s Last Portrait.
The Burstyn’s have been working on Some Kind of Love since before their This Way of Life had its successful international festival run and almost achieved an Oscar nomination. Along the way the NZFC deemed Some Kind of Love’s subject matter insufficiently Kiwi to support it, at which point the Burstyns took it to Canada and secured funding from Telefilm, Shaw Media, Rogers Documentary Fund, Knowledge Network and the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Completion Fund. Not surprisingly, it’s identified in the VIFF programme as a Canadian title.
The film has made pre-sales in Canada, Sweden and Finland, and has more festival announcements to come.
There’s an interesting discussion to be had about whether, as the NZFC shifts some of its focus to developing talent, whether a project such as Some Kind of Love (or, indeed, Florian Habicht’s also UK-set Pulp: a Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets) would now have a better chance of achieving NZFC support.
Some Kind of Love centres on the difficult relationship between 77 year-old artist and designer Yolanda Sonnabend and her 79 year-old brother Joseph, an esteemed New York AIDS doctor. The pair share the London house Yolanda has occupied for 50 years, Yolanda because she won’t or can’t give it up, Joseph from a sense of duty to his sister who’s showing signs of dementia.
The feature offerings named for NZ are Gerard Johnstone’s Housebound and the first part of Gaylene Preston’s Hope & Wire (which VIFF will present as a special trilogy screening outside the festival on 25 October).
Three shorts screen: the world premiere of Paul Wong’s A Long Beside; Jason Lei Howden’s The Light Harvester, making its international premiere; and Alyx Duncan’s The Tide Keeper .
VIFF is one of the five biggest film festivals in North America, and works hard to differentiate itself from Toronto which closes its doors less than a month before Vancouver’s open. VIFF prides itself on its world cinema programme and has long been one of very few North American festivals to offer a significant programme of titles from Asia.
The festival also runs the VIFF Industry Conference during VIFF, which is usually designed for the benefit of Canadian filmmakers rather than being an international talkfest.
VIFF runs 25 September – 10 October.