My Top-Five “Must See” Picks at VIFF

Lorna Reads VIFF Guide

Vancouver film buffs will have the opportunity to catch a number of critically acclaimed international films over the next fortnight at the 34th annual Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), which kicks off on Thursday.

As a former film journalist and self-confessed film fanatic, I am really excited about this year’s selection of films. It is chock-full of features and documentaries I have been looking forward to seeing.

I’m also excited to be volunteering in the VIFF media office where I get to combine my passion for communications and my love of cinema!

One of the perks of volunteering is that I get a pass granting me access into most screenings so have eagerly scoured the VIFF schedule and selected the movies I most want to watch.

Here are the top five movies I intend to check out:


Lenny Abrahamson’s adaptation of Emma Donaghue’s powerful bestseller is at the very top of my list.

While the subject matter may not be for everyone (it’s inspired by the horrendous Josef Fritzel case) the film generated rave reviews at Telluride and Toronto – even winning the People’s Choice Award at the latter.

Brand: A Second Coming

Documentarian Ondi Timoner’s film about British comedian and activist Russell Brand is screening in the documentary section of the festival.

This promises to be a revealing and intimate portrait of Brand’s life over the last few years and his struggle with addiction. 

Beeba Boys

I’m a sucker for a gangster film so when I saw the trailer for Beeba Boys, a film about a ruthless mobster loosely based on “Bindy” Johal, I was very intrigued.   A gangster film set in Vancouver and directed by a woman no less!

I love seeing this city on the big screen and it’s especially nice to enjoy it for itself and not as a stand-in for a US location.

London Road

Received enthusiastically at TIFF, this unorthodox musical recounts the chaos that followed the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich, England in 2006.

Evolving from the stage musical of the same name it is based on actual taped interviews conducted with inhabitants of London Road, the quiet residential street from where the victims were picked up.

45 Years

This drama generated glowing reviews from critics and earned Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay best actor awards at the Berlin Film festival earlier this year.

It tells the story of an older couple whose lives are rocked when the husband receives a letter revealing that his past love’s frozen body has been recovered from the Alps five decades after she fell to her death.

By Lorna Allen