VIFF 2018 Gateway stream features the latest from masters of East Asian cinema Jia Zhangke, Lee Changdong and Hong Sangsoo

37th Vancouver International Film Festival
September 27 – October 12, 2018


The 2018 Vancouver International FIlm Festival’s (VIFF) Gateway stream will once again illustrate that Vancouver’s ties to the Pacific Rim are not only geographic and economic; the city is also a vital port of call for East Asia’s finest cinema. From China, Gateway offers JIA Zhangke’s Ash is Purest White, starring ZHAO Tao, and BI Gan’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, starring TANG Wei (Lust, Caution VIFF 07). From South Korea comes LEE Changdong’s Burning (FIPRESCI Prize, Cannes), starring Hollywood actor Steven Yuen (Okja, The Walking Dead), and HONG Sangsoo’s Grass. From Japan comes DAIHACHI Yoshida’s The Scythian Lamb and HAMAGUCHI Ryusuke’s Asako I & II.

For 27 years running, VIFF’s celebrated Dragons & Tigers series has discovered some of Asia’s leading cinematic talents. Focusing on first and second features, the 2018 series will see five of eight films directed by female filmmakers, underscoring the the abundant diversity of East Asia’s next generation of storytellers. These films include Kamila Andini’s The Seen and Unseen (Indonesia / Netherlands), MOON So-ri’s The Running Actress (South Korea) and Ash Mayfair’s The Third Wife (Vietnam).

The theme of home–its physical, geographical and spiritual meaning–cuts across various films in the stream. JEON Go-woon’s Dragons & Tigers selection Microhabitat (South Korea) portrays a resourceful, couch-surfing woman, while OKITA Shuichi’s Mori, the Artist’s Habit (Japan) is a comic look at a 30-year recluse. In Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s Manta Ray (Thailand), also featured in Dragons & Tigers, a man takes over his rescuer’s home–and his life. HOSODA Mamoru’s Mirai (Japan) and Shireen Seno’s Dragons & Tigers entry Nervous Translation (Philippines) present home and family from the perspective of small children.

“As we experience greater political and economic instability around the globe, filmmakers explore the shifting ideas of what constitutes home and family, while evaluating the consequences of consumerism and materialism,” said Maggie Lee, Gateway Programming Consultant and Chief Asia film critic at Variety.

Gateway also presents three Tibetan works. Lhapal Gyal’s Wangdrak’s Rain Boots is the story of an impoverished young boy’s development, Sonthar Gyal’s Ala Changso portrays a gruelling spiritual journey, and Pema Tseden’s Jinpa is an eccentric tale of revenge, produced by WONG Kar Wai.

“The last 13 years have witnessed a thrilling new movement in Tibetan filmmaking, something we might call a Tibetan New Wave,” said Shelly Kraicer, Gateway Programming Consultant and one of the foremost Western experts on Chinese cinema. “A small group of young visionary Tibetan directors, filming mostly in the Amdo region of Qinghai, China, have figured out how to realize their visions while facing a myriad of obstacles.”

Featured Films:

14 Apples (dir. Midi Z, Taiwan/Myanmar) Canadian Premiere
Ala Changso (dir. Sonthar Gyal (aka Song Tai Jia), Tibet/China)
Asako I & II (dir. Hamaguchi Ryusuke, Japan)
Ash Is Purest White (dir. Jia Zhang Ke, China/France)
Burning (dir. Lee Chang-Dong, South Korea)
An Elephant Sitting Still (dir. Hu Bo, China)
A Family Tour (dir. Ying Liang, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Singapore/Malaysia) North American Premiere
Father to Son (dir. Hsiao Ya-Chuan, Taiwan) North American Premiere
Grass (dir. Hong Sangsoo, South Korea) Canadian Premiere
It’s Boring Here, Pick Me Up (dir. Hiroki Ryuichi, Japan)
Jinpa (dir. Pema Tseden, Tibet/China)
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (dir. BI Gan, China)
Lush Reeds (dir. Yang Yishu, China)
Mirai (dir. Mamoru Hosoda, Japan)
Mori, The Artist’s Habitat (dir. Shuichi Okita, Japan) Canadian Premiere
No. 1 Chung Ying Street (dir. Derek Chiu, Hong Kong) North American Premiere
People’s Republic of Desire (dir. Hao Wu, USA/China)
The Scythian Lamb (dir. Daihachi Yoshida, Japan)
Wangdrak’s Rain Boots (dir. Lhapal Gyal, Tibet/China) North American Premiere

Dragons & Tigers
Girls Always Happy (dir. Yang Mingming, China)
A Land Imagined (dir. Yeo Siew Hua, Singapore/France/Netherlands) North American
Manta Ray (dir. Phuttiphong Aroonpheng, Thailand/France/China)
Microhabitat (dir. Jeon Go-woon, South Korea)
Nervous Translation (dir. Shireen Seno, Philippines) Canadian Premiere
The Running Actress (dir. Moon So-ri, South Korea) North American Premiere
The Seen and the Unseen (dir. Kamila Andini, Indonesia/Netherlands/Australia/Qatar)
Third Wife (dir. Ash Mayfair, Vietnam)

About Films+

Launched in 2016, the Films+ program features live interdisciplinary performances, industry talks, workshops, VR and other unique experiences, all celebrating the achievements and innovations of screen-based storytelling. Each VIFF programming stream offers a Films+ program.

About VIFF |

Founded in 1982, the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival Society is a not-for-profit cultural society and federally registered charitable organization that operates the internationally acclaimed Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) and the year-round programming of the Vancity Theatre at the Vancouver International Film Centre. VIFF produces screenings, talks and events that act as a catalyst for the community to discover the creativity and craft of screen storytelling. For its 37th year, VIFF welcomes the world to Vancouver from September 27 – October 12, 2018 as it showcases the top international, Canadian and BC films and plays host to industry professionals from around the globe.

  • Programming Announcements: Released weekly throughout August and September. See previous media releases here.
  • Press Conference: September 5, 2018 at the Vancouver International Film Centre (1181 Seymour St)
  • Tickets: Passes and ticket packs are available online at noon on August 23, 2018. Single ticket prices range from $13 – $22 and can be purchased online starting at noon on September 6, 2018 and in-person at the Vancity Theatre Box Office starting September 13, 2018. Visit for more information
  • Volunteer Registration: Each year VIFF relies on the hard work of more than 1,000 volunteers to assist in running the festival. Volunteer registration is now open at

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