Irish Abroad: Three Irish films head to 34th Vancouver International Film Festival

Three Irish films have been announced for the 34th Vancouver International Film Festival, one of the five largest film festivals in North America. Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster will continue its Canadian tour after featuring in Toronto, joining Aoife Kelleher’s One Million Dubliners, and Pat Murphy’s Tana Bana at the festival, which runs September 24th to October 9th.

Yorgos Lanthimos’s critically acclaimed Irish co-production The Lobster is a love story set in the near future where single people, according to the rules of The City, are arrested and transferred to The Hotel.  There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days.  If they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into The Woods. A desperate Man escapes from The Hotel to The Woods where The Loners live and falls in love, although it is against their rules.

The Lobster is the English language debut of Greek director Lanthimos, and stars Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz with a supporting cast including Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, John C.Reilly, Olivia Colman and Ashley Jensen. The film is written by Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou and produced by Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, Ceci Dempsey and Lanthimos. Executive Producers are Andrew Lowe, Tessa Ross and Sam Lavender with Isabel Davis as the lead executive for the BFI Film Fund. The film was developed by Element and Irish finance for the film came from the Irish Film Board with Rory Gilmartin as the lead executive for the IFB.

One Million Dubliners is a documentary like no other, touching on stories celebrating life, mourning death, examining belief, and exploring love and loss. The film introduces the audience to a range of extraordinary characters, both living and dead, and with a firm focus on life, it delves into the business of death.

Glasnevin Cemetery is Ireland’s national necropolis, home to over one million people who by their final resting place, are honorary Dubliners. The cemetery has a remarkable history that makes it one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, along with being a place that evokes profound emotions for its regular visitors. One Million Dubliners reveals the often unspoken stories of ritual, love, loss, redemption, emotion and history.

Loosely structured as a day in the life of Varanasi (the ancient city on the Ganges where Hindu pilgrims come to bathe at dawn and where cremation fires burn along the sacred river long after night has fallen), Tana Bana is a unique, intimate documentary that explores how the Moslem community of traditional silk weavers respond to huge economic shifts in their lives, and shows the difficulties they face in passing on traditional weaving skills to their children. The film also gives voice to the changing roles of women within this enclosed world.

Director Pat Murphy talks to everyone about their hopes, fears and dreams, from hard-nosed Hindu businessmen to young girls determined both to go to school and to marry the husband of their parents’ choice. Along the way he captures the fascinating beauty and captivating wonder that is this way of life.

Three main programming platforms make VIFF unique, as the Festival screens the largest selection of East Asian films outside of that region; has one of the biggest showcases of Canadian film in the world; and has one of the a largest nonfiction program outside of a Documentary Film Festival. Both Tana Bana and One Million Dubliners will feature in this last programme. The Lobster plays as part of a strand of Cannes highlights, that includes 20 films ranging from Palme d’Or winner Dheepan by Jacques Audiard, to The Assassin – from Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien, who scored Best Director at Cannes.

More films will be announced on September 3rd, with the 34th Vancouver International Film Festival running September 24th to October 9th.