Film festival looks to resilience, challenge and change as this year's theme

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival slate includes 10 films from B.C.

Actors Justin Rain and Violet Cameron are seen in a scene from the film Brother, I Cry. The movie from director Jessie Anthony is one of 10 B.C. films at this year's Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. The festival runs online March 4-14.

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival

When: March 4-14

Where: Online at 

Tickets and

The theme for this year’s 16th Annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (VIWFF) is “Resilience. Challenge. Change.” Online from March 4-14, the event, produced by Women in Film and Television Vancouver, will be screening 32 films from 16 different countries.

The Canadian contingent includes 14 offerings, with 10 of those movies from B.C.

“I’m excited to share this year’s film program, which celebrates the complexity and diversity of ways girls and women choose to challenge, overcome, and inspire — themselves, each other, their communities, and our world today,” said festival programming committee chairwoman Marena Dix in a news release.

One of the B.C. films in the program is Brother, I Cry from Jessie Anthony. a Haudenosaunee woman from the Onondaga Nation in Ontario who calls Vancouver home. Brother, I Cry is the story of life on the modern reservation as seen through the lives of siblings Jon and Ava (Justin Rain and Lauren Hill) as they struggle through addictions and search for spiritual connection.

“I have so much gratitude for the response and reactions I have received for Brother, I Cry. The reaction to the film has been overwhelmingly beautiful. Nyawēnha — thank you,” said Anthony in an email.

Brother, I Cry is Anthony’s first feature film. It premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival last fall and earned Anthony the B.C. Best Emerging Filmmaker award.

Brother, I Cry isn’t Anthony’s and her production company Pass Through Productions Inc.’s only film at this year’s festival. El Color Negro, a short film that supports Black Lives, will also be screening.

“Having two of our projects in our local community festival feels completely amazing and we are absolutely grateful and proud,” said Anthony.

The festival includes both short- and feature-length films. From narrative and documentary to experimental and animation, the festival hits a broad range of notes.

The features slate includes three Canadian films. Joining Anthony’s Brother, I Cry is another B.C. offering, the award-winning horror movie The Curse of Willow Song, from Vancouver filmmaker Karen Lam. Passages from Quebec-based director Florence Pelletier rounds out the trio.

The festival will also include virtual talks with filmmakers. The VIWFF is also presenting a wide variety of livestreamed events, including an International Women’s Day panel (March 8) with government and industry groups. Also on the slate for March 10 is a talk with the 10 VIWFF Screenplay Competition finalists.

All film programs are on-demand on VIFF Connect, March 4-14. The additional programming requires separate registration via Zoom through the VIWFF website, and is free this year.

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