Vancouver fest puts spotlight on China


VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver International Film Festival on Wednesday said it will put a focus on Chinese cinema with its 26th edition, led by the world premiere of Feng Yan's "Bing Ai."

"China is going to be center stage for the next couple of years, and British Columbia will present a physical gateway to the Pacific Rim," Vancouver festival director Alan Franey said while unveiling a 333-strong film lineup.

In all, Vancouver's Dragons and Tigers program has booked 67 movies, including 13 features from China.

These include Yan's "Bing Ai," an epic portrait of a peasant woman defying Chinese authorities, and the North American premiere of Wang Bing documentary "Fengming: A Chinese Memoir," which probes the country's whitewashed post-revolutionary history.

Other North American premieres include Weng Shouming's "Fujian Blue," Peng Tao's "Little Moth" and Diao Yi'nan's thriller "Night Train," a tale of sex workers in a Chinese backwater. Vancouver also booked two international premieres from Hong Kong: Samson Chiu's "Mr. Cinema" and "Homeless FC," from directors James Leong and Lynn Lee.

Other films in the section deal with the impact and experiences of Chinese abroad, such as the U.S. film "Hollywood Chinese by director Arthur Dong, "The Home Song Stories" from Australian director Tony Ayres and Ang Lee's latest offering, "Lust, Caution."

Vancouver will kick off Sept. 26 with Joe Wright's "Atonement," which bowed in Venice.

The festival also has booked about 90 feature documentaries including Tricia Regan's "Autism: The Musical"; Bari Pearlman's "Daughters of Wisdom," about Tibet's first monastery for women; and "The War on Democracy" from British director John Pilger.

The festival's Film and Television Forum will run Sept. 26-28 and feature screenwriter David Arata ("Children of Men") and producer Ron Yerxa ("Little Miss Sunshine") will be among the delegates.

In total, the festival will host 13 world premieres, 29 international premieres, 28 North American premieres and 34 Canadian premieres.

The festival closes Oct. 12 with a gala screening of "Hors de Prix" (Priceless), Pierre Salvadori's comic farce starring Gad Elmaleh and Audrey Tautou.