Preview – East Asian Cinema at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2019, September 26 – October 11
The 38th Vancouver International Film Festival’s (VIFF) Gateway stream will once again present the largest showcase of East Asian cinema outside of that region. The programming stream, which includes the long-running Dragons & Tigers film series, transports viewers into the compelling cinematic worlds envisioned by some of East Asia’s most adventurous creators. It features VIFF alumni and debut filmmakers from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Bhutan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Tibet
This year’s Gateway selections offer audiences the chance to reconnect with several VIFF alumni who have risen to international fame since playing VIFF at a formative point in their career. This year’s returning class includes past VIFF award winners Diao Yinan with The Wild Goose Lake (China), an explosive neo-noir; Lou Ye with his corruption thriller The Shadow Play (China); and Anthony Chen with Wet Season (Singapore), his beautifully told follow-up to Ilo Ilo.
“We’re very excited to showcase the latest work by some of VIFF’s most notable alumni. Especially since the likes of Anocha Suwichakornpong, Pema Tseden and Yamashita Nobuhiro have become fixtures on the international festival circuit since their first VIFF bows,” said PoChu AuYeung, Program Manager & Senior Programmer, who works closely with programmers Shelly Kraicer (Chinese language films) and Maggie Lee (Japanese and Korean language films) on the Gateway stream. “This year’s Dragons & Tigers series features an incredible collection of first features, including the North American Premiere of Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, which displays masterful mise-en-scène for a debut,” AuYeung continued.
With film productions hailing from ten countries, Gateway delves into some of the most gripping events of 2018. Tom Waller’s The Cave (Thailand) features the real-life heroes who rescued a boys soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand. Erik Brown, a diving instructor from Vancouver, plays himself in this stirring account of how an international coalition of experts and volunteers raced against the clock to pull off the rescue. The theme of survival also plays a starring role in the Canadian Premieres of Birthday (South Korea), Lee Jong-un’s dramatization of the 2014 Sewol Ferry Accident, and Melancholic (Japan), a Yakuza thriller from Tanaka Seiji, another VIFF alumnus.
For 28 years running, VIFF’s celebrated Dragons & Tigers series has championed some of East Asia’s leading cinematic talents. The 2019 edition will see three of eight films directed by female filmmakers: Jill Li’s Lost Course (World Premiere; Hong Kong), Lau Kek Huat and Vera Chen’s Boluomi (North American Premiere; Taiwan) and Chan Oliver Siu Kuen’s Still Human (Canadian Premiere; Hong Kong). Other highlights in the series include the delicate yet explosive Another Child, the directorial debut of Korean superstar actor Kim Yoon-seok .
Balloon (dir. Pema Tseden, China)
Birthday (dir. Lee Jong-un, South Korea) – Canadian Premiere
The Cave (dir. Tom Waller, Thailand) – North American Premiere
Children of the Sea (dir. Watanabe Ayumu, Japan)
Every Day a Good Day (dir. Omori Tatsushi, Japan)
Hard-Core (dir. Yamashita Nobuhiro, Japan)
Krabi, 2562 (dirs. Ben Rivers and Anocha Suwichakornpong, UK/Thailand)
Present. Perfect. (dir. Zhu Shengze, USA/ Hong Kong) – Canadian Premiere
Samsara (dir. Moon Jeong-yun, South Korea) – World Premiere
The Shadow Play (dir. Lou Ye, China) – North American Premiere
Spring Tide (dir. Yang Lina, China) – International Premiere
Wet Season (dir. Anthony Chen, Singapore)
White Snake (dirs. Amp Wong and Zhao Ji, China)
The Wild Goose Lake (dir. Diao Yinan, China/ France)
Wild Sparrow (dir. Shih Li, Taiwan) – North American Premiere
Dragons and Tigers
Another Child (dir. Kim Yoon-seok, South Korea)
Boluomi (dirs. Lau Kek-huat and Vera Chen, Taiwan) – North American Premiere
Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains (dir. Gu Xiaogang, China) – North American Premiere
Lost Course (dir. Jill Li, Hong Kong) – World Premiere
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (dir. Pawo Choyning Dorji, Bhutan) – North American Premiere
Melancholic (dir. Tanaka Seiji, Japan) – Canadian Premiere
Still Human (dir. Chan Oliver Siu Kuen, Hong Kong) – Canadian Premiere
Vanishing Days (dir. Zhu Xin, China) – North American Premiere
For more information on VIFF Gateway and wider programming, please visit the festival website.