Award-winning actor Ethan Hawke stars in Stockholm, a retelling of the story of a botched 1973 robbery that saw hostages come to the defence of the perpetrator, a phenomenon that came to be known as Stockholm Syndrome. It screens at the Victoria Conference Centre during the upcoming Victoria Film Festival. Photo courtesy Victoria Film Festival

AND, ACTION! Victoria Film Festival launches 25th celebration of on-screen creativity

10-day festival brings together film lovers, filmmakers and the people who help make it happen

More films, a new Nordic program and a disco-themed opening night gala are among the highlights for the 25th annual Victoria Film Festival, attendees at a launch party heard Sunday.

The packed schedule will see a record number of films – 156 in all – screened Feb. 1-10 at various Victoria-area theatres. They include international award winners and the world premiere of Vancouver filmmaker John Bolton’s That Higher Level, which follows 100 musicians out to make their marks in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

Also on the agenda is a program called In Conversation with Smoke Signals, which features a panel discussion with Smoke Signals director Chris Eyre and stars Evan Adams and Tantoo Cardinal (who appears in at least two festival entries this year). The trio will discuss the Indigenous filmmaking legacy left by the award-winning 1998 film, which had its Canadian premiere at the Victoria Film Festival.

For those who appreciate international film, the Nordic program offers a collection of Danish and Icelandic-produced movies that add a solid element to the festival’s wide range of offshore productions. The State of Play portion of the VFF features eight films and video installations curated by Gina Luka.

And as always there are numerous discussions and networking opportunities for budding filmmakers to connect with the people who fund independent films, and pick the brain of creative individuals who have “been there, done that.”

The 10-day festival opens its silver anniversary at the Victoria Conference Centre theatre with French comedy Sink or Swim, director Gilles Lellouche’s comedy about a group of 40-something guys out to keep their mojo afloat by trying synchronized swimming. The evening continues with a disco-themed gala party on Fort Street at “Studio 25.”

To get a list of films and their synopsis, or to find tickets for the opening gala and festival, you can visit victoriafilmfestival.com. You can also pick up a 25th anniversary special festival guide for $3 or a free foldable guide at the festival office at 1215 Blanshard St.

editor@mondaymag.com

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