Vancouver, Russian, and Arctic Circle filmmakers featured at this year’s Women in Film festival

A scene from Porcupine Lake, one of the films at this year’s Vancouver International Women in Film Festival.

Adolescent growing pains, military conscription and small-town redemption are among the subjects in films at this year’s Vancouver International Women in Film Festival.

A co-presentation of Women in Film and Television and the VIFF Vancity Theatre, the 13th annual edition runs March 6 to 11. Celebrating the best of cinema created by women. the festival als features  film panels, master classes, guest filmmakers, artist talks, pitch sessions, receptions, and an awards gala. All screenings take place at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St.).

See below for some of the highlights of the festival.

Dark Blue Girl (Germany) —Set in Greece, Dark Blue Girl is the debut feature from director Mascha Schilinski. It was nominated for the GWWF Best First Feature Award at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festiva the winner of the grand jury prize (along with awards for sound design and music) from Germany’s Filmland MV festival. Canadian premiere.

River of Silence (Canada)—Addressing the theme of missing and murdered Indigenous women, the film was written and produced by Vancouver-based Petie Chalifoux (and co-produced by husband Micheal Auger). Chalifoux based the story on her own family’s experience. River of Silence is showing as part of a day of free screenings on International Women’s Day on March 8, starting off with Deepa Mehta’s Anatomy of Violence. The 2016 documentary Women Who Run Hollywood and the 2016 Russian film I Know How To Knit (making its North American premiere) also screen.

Convictions (Russia)—The doc, from director Tatiana Chistova, tells the story of conscription in Russia. Beginning at the age of eighteen, Russian men are required to serve in the military. An alternative is offered to conscientious objectors: but first, they must prove their convictions to the draft board. North American premiere.

Porcupine Lake (Canada)—Directed by Ingrid Veninger, Porcupine Lake follows Bea as she adjusts to life in smalltown Ontario. The 13-year-old befriends the rambunctious Kate, who quickly becomes the centre of Bea’s adolescent world.

Prodigals (Canada)—In Vancouver filmmaker Michelle Ouellet’s Prodigals, Wesley returns to his hometown after a five-year absence. Hoping to redeem himself, he assists at the trial of his friend’s younger brother, who is charged with murder. Prodigals stars Sara Canning (CW’s The Vampire Diaries).

Sara Canning (Vampire Diaries) stars in the B.C.-set film Prodigals.

Other films include the German documentary In the Shade of the Apple Tree, the French feature Anissa 2002, and the Arctic Film Circle produced tryptich The Last Walk, featuring stoires by Indigenous filmmakers in the Arctic.

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