Vancouver is home to a large and bustling film industry, but there is a community beyond set life and the grind of production. There are an extensive number of local festivals and events dedicated to honouring films and the people involved, from all avenues of local and international stages.
Within these events is a community of people that deeply appreciate film. There’s always an excited buzz in the air at film festivals as crew members and audiences mingle, and a glowing pride at local award ceremonies that recognize talent in the community.
The best way to get involved and immerse yourself into the industry is to submit to your passion of filmmaking. Get excited and get out there, attend festivals and networking events or enter your work into local contests. See below for a list of Vancouver’s top recommended film festivals and events for 2017.
1. Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival – February 10-18, 2017
Now, in its twentieth year, VIMFF is a week-long event that highlights the culture and community of an outdoor lifestyle. The festival includes instructional seminars for those looking to improve their own skills, as well as films that give a unique perspective on experiences and culture from around the world. Per their website, VIMFF “brings communities together to promote positive values and active lifestyles.”
2. Vancouver International Film Festival – September 28-October 13, 2017
One of North America’s largest film festivals, VIFF is not one to miss. With multiple venues screening local and international films over the span of two weeks, this festival could be considered a temporary lifestyle for avid festival goers. Industry and interactive events are held throughout the festival, and are open to the public.
3. The Leo Awards – June 3-4, 2017
The Leo Awards celebrate achievements in British Columbia’s film and television industry. This annual award ceremony, presented by the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of British Columbia, recognizes categories such as best dramatic series, best music video, best web series, and best animation among others.
4. DOXA – May 4-14, 2017
Presented by the Documentary Media Society, DOXA is focused on independent documentaries from around the world. The festival includes panel discussions that are open to the public, and engaging forums and programs.
5. Vancouver Short Film Festival – January 17-28, 2017
The VSFF is short and sweet, as it celebrates the community of short films, video, and animation. It is focused on BC-based productions, and strives to connect filmmakers with the broader industry.
6. Crazy 8s – Gala Screening on February 25, 2017
This 8-day filmmaking challenge will drive you crazy. That’s because Crazy 8s finalists are expected to produce their film from start to finish in just eight days of production and editing. The contest was created to provide funding and support to emerging filmmakers, and has launched more than a few careers. You can also enjoy the final films stress-free, at the Screening Gala.
7. Vancouver Latin American Film Festival – late August 2017
The VLAFF is an annual event that provides “audiences with the unique opportunity to watch inspiring films and interact with guest filmmakers from across Latin America and the diaspora,” according to their website. The festival encourages conversation between cultures, and promotes Latin American cinema in Canada.
8. Vancouver Queer Film Festival – August 10-20, 2017
As one of Vancouver biggest film festivals, the VQFF celebrates the best in queer cinema. For decades, this festival has been creating social change through film, workshops, panels, and parties.
9. Vancouver International Women in Film – March 8-12, 2017
The VIWIFF features an impressive range of work from established and emerging women filmmakers. The festival highlights women from around the world, and provides room for conversation with networking events and Q&As open to the public.
10. Just Film Festival – March 31-April 1, 2017
The Just Film Festival focuses on creating an understanding of other perspectives, through exploration of Vancouver’s diverse justice community.
Honourable mentions: there are many more than just ten film festivals/events in Vancouver, please also check out the BC Student Film Festival, Vancouver Jewish Film Festival, Vancouver Italian Film Festival, and many more!