VIFF 2018: Oscar contenders and Hollywood star power in Special Presentations

VIFF unveils Special Presentations slate for 2018 edition

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


The Vancouver International Film Festival’s (VIFF) Special Presentations series features 16 of the most highly anticipated and acclaimed films of the festival season. Canadian films in the series include the late Rob Stewart’s final testament, Sharkwater Extinction; Miranda de Pencier’s stirring tale of collective rebirth, The Grizzlies; and Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and acclaimed photographer Edward Burtynsky’s ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch, which critiques humanity’s massive impact on the planet.

The Special Presentations showcases the world’s boldest storytellers and their exceptional works. This year’s slate includes some of the festival circuit’s big award winners: KORE-EDA Hirokazu’s bittersweet tearjerker Shoplifters (Palme d’Or, Cannes) and Pawel Pawlikowski’s searing love story Cold War (Best Director, Cannes). Also featured will be star director ZHANG Yimou’s latest, the period martial arts film Shadow. Zhang is this year’s recipient of the Venice Film Festival’s Glory to the Filmmaker Award in recognition for his body of work.

Another VIFF regular, Olivier Assayas, returns with Non-Fiction. It’s a relationship drama starring Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet. Non-Fiction is the 12th Assayas film to have played at VIFF in a span ranging from A New Life in 1993 to Personal Shopper in 2016.

Films in the Special Presentations series also bring Hollywood star power. Adapted from Patrick deWitt’s Governor General award-winning novel, Jacques Audiard’s The Sisters Brothers stars Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly as Oregonian assassins on the trail of two gold prospectors, who are played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed. David Lowery’s The Old Man & the Gun tells the real-life story of Forrest Tucker, an amiable bank robber and prison escapee, who is played by Robert Redford in a fitting capper to his legendary career. Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? stars Melissa McCarthy in the dramatic role of an author turned literary forger. Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased stars Lucas Hedges as a 19-year-old sent to a gay-conversion therapy centre by his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe). Edgerton is expected to spend a day at the festival on October 6.

Among those films and filmmakers likely to figure in the Oscars conversation at the end of the year are Academy Award-nominated Cartel Land director Matthew Heineman’s A Private War. The film stars Rosamund Pike as Marie Colvin, the celebrated war correspondent for The Sunday Times, and Jamie Dornan as photographer Paul Conroy. Wash Westmoreland’s Colette, featuring Keira Knightley in a career-best performance as the titular French novelist, and Rupert Everett’s The Happy Prince, starring Colin Firth, Emily Watson and Everett as Oscar Wilde, are heartfelt biopics about influential literary figures. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi–whose films A Separation and The Salesman played at VIFF and went on to win Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011 and 2016, respectively–is back with Everybody Knows, a Spanish-language mystery starring Penélope Cruz, Ricardo Darín and Javier Bardem.

Finally, Yorgos Lanthimos–the creative mind behind The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Dogtooth–promises to reinvigorate the costume drama with The Favourite, a blackly humorous period piece about the power struggle between the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) and a new servant (Emma Stone) who are both vying to be the favourite of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman).

All of VIFF’s feature films are eligible for the prestigious Super Channel People’s Choice Award, which will be determined by popular vote. Audiences are invited to cast ballots after every screening. Audience voting will also determine the winners of the other awards.

Special Presentations:

ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch (dirs. Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky, Canada)
Boy Erased (dir. Joel Edgerton, USA)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (dir. Marielle Heller, USA)
Cold War (dir. Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland/UK/France)
Colette (dir. Wash Westmoreland, UK)
Everybody Knows (dir. Asghar Farhadi, Spain/France/Italy)
The Favourite (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/UK/USA) – Canadian Premiere
The Grizzlies (dir. Miranda de Pencier, Canada/USA)
The Happy Prince (dir. Rupert Everett, UK/Belgium/Italy/Germany)
Non-Fiction (dir. Olivier Assayas, France)
The Old Man & the Gun (dir. David Lowery, USA)
A Private War (dir. Matthew Heineman, USA/UK) – Canadian Premiere
Shadow (dir. Zhang Yimou, China)
Sharkwater Extinction (dir. Rob Stewart, Canada)
Shoplifters (dir. Kore-eda Hirokazu, Japan)
The Sisters Brothers (dir. Jacques Audiard, France/Belgium/Romania/Spain)

About Films+
Launched in 2016, the Films+ program features live events, talks, conferences, exhibitions and other immersive experiences that celebrate the best in screen-based storytelling: great achievements, important innovations and the talented creators behind them.

About VIFF |
Founded in 1982, the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival Society is a charitable not-for-profit arts and cultural 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. The Society’s mission is to celebrate excellence, promote diversity and foster discovery and innovation in the field of screen-based storytelling. Among the largest film festivals in North America in terms of screenings and attendance, VIFF presents over 350 films and events, plays host to over 400 industry professionals from around the globe and boasts the largest Canadian film program in the world. For its 37th year, VIFF welcomes the world to Vancouver from September 27 – October 12, 2018.

  • Programming Announcements: Released weekly throughout August and September. See previous media releases here
  • 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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