Flying to the Victoria International Film & Video Festival (VIFVF) on a turbulence-bucking, 37-seat propeller plane, passing over lush green islands of temperate rain forest, I'm thinking of Fitzcarraldo and the opera house in the jungle. What kind of film festival would I find in a British Columbia frontier town, on an island reachable only by little prop planes and long-distance ferries? As it turns out, Victoria is a popular tourist destination during the summer and there are all sorts of cosmopolitan amenities microbrews, day spas, peeler bars ("strip joints" in local parlance). Nevertheless, Victoria's breathtaking, domed capital building worthy of a major European country seems out of proportion for the city in which it sits, suggesting a visionary, "build it and they will come" optimism.

The organizers have been growing the VIFVF for the past five years with the intention of making it an international event no longer overshadowed by Vancouver. As Victoria is to Vancouver, so Canada is to the U.S., and it is the festival's mission to bring Victorian and Canadian films out of obscurity. The organizers did an excellent job of culling and presenting the best Canadian films from last year's festival circuit, such as Song Catcher, The Law of Enclosures, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Century Hotel, Un Crabe Dans la Tete, Mile Zero, Lunch with Charles, Turning Paige and the documentaries Lilith On Top and Obaachan's Garden. . .

. . .Gabriel Fleming was on hand for the Canadian premiere of his DV feature, One Thousand Years. In a San Francisco counter-culture setting where the guide posts for romantic relationships are gone, Maria falls for a guy whose signals she can't decipher, even while she herself sends mixed signals to her possibly lesbian best friend. Intelligent, subtle and intimate, Fleming's depiction of life and love in turn-of-the-millennium San Francisco is the genuine article. . .


2002 Filmmaker Magazine

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