VIFF Live! Goes Big and Brings Kid Koala and RZA to Town
"This decision is to say to a younger, different audience, 'I see you, I know you are there.'"
September 21, 2018
If you think you know everything about VIFF, think again. In this, its 37th year, the Vancouver International Film Festival has raised the game and thrown its hat in with hip hop.
First up is an interactive multi-turntable digital extravaganza conceptualized and orchestrated by master Canadian DJ Kid Koala. An individual artwork created on the night, Satellite involves 50 turntables operated by the audience (in groups of four) who follow lighting changes in the room as their guide to building a collective wall of sound.
“It’s a buffet, a Korean BBQ of music,” laughs local events wunderkind Ken Tsui. Tsui has been with VIFF for a few years in different roles, but this year’s VIFF Live! marks his first full program. A cinephile and self-described “pop culture-obsessed Millennial,” Tsui says he wants to open VIFF up to those who might think the festival has nothing to offer them.
“I’ve been a big fan of Kid Koala for years,” he says. “This is something really different—it places the audience into the creative space. Not only are you playing on one of 50 turntables, there’s also an artist creating a live visual landscape inspired and driven by the soundtrack in the room.”
Proving he means what he says about new audiences, Tsui notes Satellite is an all-ages show (min. recommended age is 10), offering an exciting and playful opportunity for intergenerational collaboration.
More traditional in some ways—a film screened with a live soundtrack—Tsui’s second offering is anything but. RZA: Live From the 36th Chamber sees the multi-talented frontman of Wu-Tang Clan dropping beats from the group’s back catalogue to cult martial arts movie, Lau Kar-leung’s The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. Arguably the hottest ticket — not just of the festival, but the city’s Fall arts season — this ineffably cool collision of hip hop and Kung-fu is destined to add up to far more than the sum of its parts. (Tickets can also be bought for a separate creator talk with RZA at the Rio Theatre.)
“Wu-Tang Clan was really important to me growing up. The music made me feel more confident as a Chinese person here. Choosing to bring RZA was really a decision to say to a younger, different audience, ‘I see you, I know you are there’ and to make it clear that VIFF has a space for them.”
Kid Koala Satellite, Annex, Oct. 5-7, 6.30 and 9pm; $40, $30 youth (18 and under).
RZA: Live From the 36th Chamber, Orpheum, Oct 9, 8.15pm, $58.
RZA: Creator Talk, Rio Theatre, Oct 9, 6pm, $25 (over 19s only).