U.S. documentary Unbranded is one of 14 films that will be screened during the Vernon International Film Festival at the Towne Cinema

U.S. documentary Unbranded is one of 14 films that will be screened during the Vernon International Film Festival at the Towne Cinema

Film fest: travel the world in seven days

The Vernon Film Society screens docs, dramas and more at its 22nd annual Vernon International Film Festival.

Film lovers are about to travel the world from the comforts of a cushy seat in a dark theatre when the Vernon Film Society presents its 22nd annual Vernon International Film Festival.

The festival, taking place at the VFS’ home at the Towne Cinema in downtown Vernon, starts April 1 and continues to April 7.

“The Vernon Film Society is pleased to announce a very strong schedule of films for the 22nd annual Vernon International Film Festival,” said Charles Wills, with the VFS.

Two different films will be shown nightly, at 5:15 and 7:45 p.m., with a total of 14 international films including award winning and nominated dramas, documentaries, comedies and foreign language entries to be screened in all.

Kicking off the festival Friday, April 1 at 5:15 p.m. is the British stage-to-screen comedy-drama The Lady in the Van, starring Maggie Smith.

The true-to-life story is about Mary Shepherd, a former nun and concert pianist who ended up as a transient living in a dilapidated van on the driveway of  the home of Alan Bennett (the film’s writer) in London for 15 years.

Michael Moore’s latest documentary, Where to Invade Next, at 7:45 p.m., sees the provocateur filmmaker playfully invading other countries to see what they have to offer over the U.S.

Where to Invade Next is so heartfelt and sincere, it’s tempting to say that Moore’s mellowed with age. But beneath its innocent-abroad optimism, the film has a stinging truth that’s hard to ignore,” wrote Chris Nashawaty, film critic with Entertainment Weekly magazine.

On Saturday, April 2 at 5:15 p.m., Hungarian war drama Son of Saul is about the two days in the life of Saul Auslander, a Hungarian prisoner working as a member of the Sonderkommando at one of the Auschwitz crematoriums who, to bury the corpse of a boy he takes for his son, tries to carry out his impossible deed.

(The film is in Hungarian with English subtitles.)

Canadian entry, Our Loved Ones (Les Etres Chers), at 7:45 p.m., is directed by Montreal’s Anne Emond and centres on a French-Canadian family whose patriarch committed suicide. The film explores the continuing emotional impact of his death on his now-adult son and granddaughter.

(In French with English subtitles.)

Oscar winners Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) and Tim Robbins (Mystic River) star in the U.S. film The Perfect Day, Sunday, April 3 at 5:15 p.m.

The film follows a group of aid workers who work to resolve a crisis in an armed conflict zone.

At 7:45, 99 Homes stars Michael Shannon (Take Shelter) as a ruthless businessman who evicts a family from their Florida home.

The father (Andrew Garfield, The Social Network), desperate to save his family, becomes the businessman’s assistant and lowers himself to his level.

Iceland drama, Rams, Monday, April 4 at 5:15 p.m., is about two sheepherder brothers who raise a special breed of prized sheep despite not having spoken to each other in 40 years.

(The film is in Icelandic with English subtitles.)

Winner of the audience award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Meru, at 7:45 p.m., follows climbers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk, who arrived in India to tackle the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru.

What was meant to be a seven-day trip became a 20-day odyssey in sub-zero temperatures, with the setback of a massive storm that showered the mountain with at least three metres of snow.

Tuesday, April 5 at 5:15 p.m., Turkish-French film Mustang, nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, follows five young orphaned sisters and the challenges they face growing up in a conservative society.

Mustang is full of life even as it depicts lives in lockdown,” said Nicolas Rapold, with The New York Times.

(In French with English subtitles.)

Born to be Blue, at 7:45 p.m., is the Canadian produced film that re-images the life of troubled American jazz legend Chet Baker, starring Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) and Callum Keith Rennie (Hard Core Logo).

Bryan Cranston’s Oscar nominated performance as blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo is told in the film Trumbo, Wednesday, April 6 at 5:15 p.m.

At 7:45 p.m. is the macabre comedy The Legend of Barney Thomson, directed by and starring Scotland’s Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty), as a Glasgow barber who becomes a suspect in a string of gruesome murders.

New Zealand film The Dark Horse, Thursday, April 7 at 5:15 p.m., is the true story of Genesis

“Gen” Potini (Cliff Curtis), a Maori speed-chess champion who seeks redemption and a new purpose in life despite his struggles with bipolar disorder.

The final film of the festival, at 7:45 p.m., is U.S. full-length documentary Unbranded, which follows four young Texans and the 16 wild mustangs they adopt to embark on a 3,000-mile journey from Mexico to Canada through treacherous territory.

Admission to the film festival is $7 per film or $30 for a five-film pass (cash only), good for any number of people for any film.

Tickets/passes are now on sale at the Towne box office and the Bean Scene coffee house, across from the theatre.

Pass holders should be in the theatre at least 15 minutes before the film starts to ensure a seat (first come, first served). Doors open every day at 4 p.m.

More information is available at www.vernonfilmsociety.bc.ca.

 

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