VIFF Expands its Platform to Include Internet Videos

A collaboration with Toronto's Buffer Festival brings the best of YouTube to the big screen.

September 7, 2017

By Christine Beyleveldt / Photo: LC Media Corp

After 36 years of showing movies, the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is injecting some digital disruption into the two-week-long reverie. This year, a cohort of YouTube filmmakers will be getting the red carpet treatment when award-winning online videos from Toronto’s Buffer Festival will air during a full day of programming dedicated to digital-first storytelling at VIFF.

The new collaboration, along with VIFF’s regular offering of panel discussions, workshops, film, and now digital video, is all part of a more inclusive model the festival is calling “film plus,” developed last year to entice new audiences. “Buffer Festival really ticked that box,” says Executive Director Jacqueline Dupuis, noting the five-year-old festival—created by four Canadian YouTubers in 2013—is the largest international festival exclusively featuring YouTube content. This year, Buffer runs from September 28 to October 1 at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre, coinciding with the first few days of VIFF, which kicks off its two-week run in this city on September 28.

Dupuis hopes adding Buffer content, which includes travel, comedy, vlogging (video blogging), LGBT+ content, music and short films from over 90 creators, to the VIFF experience will engage existing audiences and draw new viewers to the festival. Two digital content creators are also attending the festival for a special Creator Day in addition to this year’s regular Creator Talks. “We want the content creators here in Vancouver to be able to build careers,” says Dupuis. With online platforms serving as launch pads for creators, they can turn to feature film and television.

Also at VIFF this year is a continuation of the five-night performance series VIFF LIVE, which also launched last year. “It’s kind of the ultimate collaboration of music and film,” Dupuis explains. The headline act is The Green Fog, commissioned by the San Francisco Film Society for the 60th anniversary of the San Francisco International Film Festival and directed by Canadian cinematographer Guy Maddin. “It’s kind of a re-imagining of the film Vertigo,” Dupuis says. A live musical score composed and performed by the San Francisco Kronos Quartet will accompany this take on an old classic, and bring an added dimension to the festival by fusing visual and acoustic experiences.

VIFF Details:

When: September 28 to October 13

Where: various theatres from the International Village Cinemas to the Rio Theatre

Tickets: starting at $15, passes and ticket packs available now and single tickets on September 7

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