Filming in Vancouver: Stars align for 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver International Film Festival executive director Jacqueline Dupuis helped open the 36th edition of VIFF.

As with previous years, the Vancouver International Film Festival has brought a bevy of filmmakers and stars to the city, to converge upon a cinematic smorgasbord.

The whole shebang kicked off back on September 28 with a spotlight on truly homegrown project.

The opening gala screening honoured the latest work by Vancouver filmmaker Mina Shum.

The comedy-drama Meditation Park, which used numerous locales in East Vancouver and Chinatown as shooting locations, was filmed in Vancouver from February 27 to March 23.

Meditation Park’s Tzi Ma, Mina Shum, and Cheng Pei Pei

The feature film stars Cheng Pei Pei (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) as Maria, a loyal wife who discovers her husband (Tzi Ma, Arrival) has been having an affair with another woman (Jemmy Chen).

Her startling discovery prompts her to begin a quest for independence from her controlling husband.

Meditation Park’s Jemmy Chen

Sandra Oh, who previously starred in Shum’s films Double Happiness (1994) and Long Life, Happiness, and Prosperity (2002), plays Maria’s daughter who encourages her mother to assert herself.

Although Oh wasn’t in attendance, many of the cast members walked the red carpet the event.

Meditation Park cast members with filmmaker Mina Shum (second from left)

What’s more, a bevy of gliterrati filming in Vancouver graced the evening with their presence, including:

• Charles Melton (Riverdale)

Charles Melton

•  Stefanie von Pfetten (The Women of Marwen)

Stefanie von Pfetten

• Agam Darshi (You Me Her)

• Juan Riedinger (The Romeo Section)

Agam Darshi and Juan Riedinger

• Steph Song (Blood and Water)

Steph Song

• Michael Eklund (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency)

Michael Eklund

• Camille Sullivan (The Man in the High Castle)

Camille Sullivan

• Usman Ally (Veep) and more.

Usman Ally

Later on during the festival, the Creator Talks series featured a number of notable names working in behind the scenes.

Canadian director Jeremy Podeswa and cinematographer Greg Middleton talked about their work on the much-talked-about Game of Thrones.

Costume designer Ane Crabtree talked about her work on The Handmaid’s Tale.

Ane Crabtree (centre)

But beyond the Creator Talks, numerous filmmakers and cast members made appearances throughout the festival to participate in Q&A sessions after screenings of their films, such as The Hidden Sword (China); Last Days in Havana (Cuba/Spain); A Beautiful Star (Japan); Rebels on Pointe (Canada); Never Steady, Never Still (B.C.); and Luk’Luk’I (Vancouver), a local film set in the Downtown Eastside.

Translator Alex Fu (left) with The Hidden Sword producer Guan Dan Dan and actor Zhang AoYue (centre and right). Photo: Gabi M./VIFF 2017

Last Days of Havana director Fernando Pérez

Rebels on Pointe director Bobbi Jo Hart

A Beautiful Star director Daihachi Yoshida. Photo: Emmanuelle Davis/VIFF 2017

Never Steady, Never Still

Luk’Luk’I

The festival continues until it culminates in a closing gala screening of Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck on Friday (October 13). Until then, there are plenty of screenings to catch and watch for some of the selections to come back to theatres in the near-future. For more information and full details, visit the VIFF website.

That’s all for this week but check back in with us next week for more of what’s going on in Vancouver’s screen scene.

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