Latest News

From volunteers to films, Richmond has a stake in VIFF

By Lorraine Graves

Published 4:09 PDT, Thu September 5, 2019

Last Updated: 4:17 PDT, Thu September 5, 2019

At the Vancouver International Film Festival kick-off press conference Sept. 4, the Richmond connection was clear. While the festival itself doesn’t start until Sept. 26, tickets go on sale now.

At the Vancouver International Film Festival kick-off press conference Sept. 4, the Richmond connection was clear. While the festival itself doesn’t start until Sept. 26, tickets go on sale now.

From the short documentary, “Highway to Heaven,” about No. 5 Rd’s multiple faith communities to the volunteers, our community shows the flag at VIFF this year. 

Work-shopped at UnionDocs 2016 Summer Documentary Lab, Sandra Ignagni’s short has its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival and is one of the featured presentations at Vancouver’s festival. 

Out of the thousands of hopefuls who enter their productions into the festival, less than 10 per cent are chosen for entry into competition for glory and cash prizes. “Highway to Heaven” is one that made the grade. 

“Highway to Heaven” chronicles Richmond’s multi-faith No. 5 Rd., home to many places of worship. Produced with the National Film Board of Canada, this documentary short offers a look at Canadian culture and religious freedom. 

Festival executive director Jacqueline Dupuis says the Richmond production fits into the festival’s mandate to find, “stories that spark action and charge the way we see the world.”

Another Richmond connection to VIFF are volunteers from our community. Mimi Horita whose paid work is media and marketing manager at Steveston’s national historic site, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery.  

“I rushing back to the cannery as soon as this is done,” Horita said with a smile, while volunteering at the kick-off press conference. 

Another Richmondite is using her linguistic abilities to work as a translator. Helen Lui speaks fluent English and Mandarin, and says she can help with French in a pinch.

They are just two of the over 1,200 invaluable volunteers that Dupuis says will put in close to 30,000 hours by the time the festival ends, Oct. 11.

The last part of the press conference, held at the VanCity Theatre involved an announcement from Vancouver Centre MP, Dr. Hedy Fry, a federal government grant in excess of $1.4 million for renovations to the atrium and for the creation of specialized spaces for micro cinema and augmented reality.

Calling it one of the last art-house cinemas in the Greater Vancouver area, Fry described the Vancity Theatre as affordable cultural space. 

Fry said, “Cultural infrastructure is the foundation of who we are. It allows us to get to know who we are across this vast country.”

Fry went on to outline the benefits of the creative sector.

“It creates over 10 million jobs which is greater than the mining and forestry sectors,” she said. “Supporting the arts empowers artists telling the stories themselves.”

As the press conference ended, Dupuis said, “See you at the movies.”

While it’s easy to be “world famous” in your home town or even your home country, VIFF seeks to bring in a blend of emerging, local and truly world-renowned producers, actors, composers and creators too many to list. VIFF also includes an industry conference for those working in production to learn, network and schmooze. 

VIFF runs Sept. 26 through Oct. 11 at various venues around the Lower Mainland. 

To see the schedule, line-up, locations and ticket information go to viff.org

See more canada news

See All

See more international news

  See All
© 2019 Richmond Sentinel News Inc. All rights reserved. Designed by Intelli Management Group Inc.