Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

VIFF Announces 2020 Speaker Lineup for VIFF Talks

Article Pixel

See the full lineup below!

VIFF Announces 2020 Speaker Lineup for VIFF Talks

Vancouver International Film Festival 2020 (VIFF) is delighted to announce the complete programming lineup for the always popular VIFF Talks series for its 39th edition. VIFF Talks, is a program presented by Creative BC and a platform for creators and innovators to share expertise on their craft.

VIFF's festival lineup and events will be primarily available on the new VIFF Connect streaming platform. While film programming will be geo-blocked to the province, VIFF Talks will be available across Canada and internationally, providing an unprecedented level of access to filmmakers and fans everywhere.

New additions and highlights of the series include: "Oka, the Legacy 30 Years On," a live discussion on the 30-year anniversary of the Oka Crisis, featuring Beans director Tracey Deer and filmmaker Jules Koostachin; "Actors in Conversation" featuring Black Bear cast Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon; and "Moving Forward: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion," a panel featuring the talents of The Curse of Willow Song director Karen Lam, Brother, I Cry director Jessie Anthony, Akilla's Escape director Charles Officer, actor Mayumi Yoshida and actor, writer, director and producer Omari Newton.

"We're thrilled to bring you our exciting series of VIFF Talks where leading creators share the secrets of the screen trade," says Frances Bergin, Programmer, Creative Engagement. "We're going right to the source with our stellar roster of directors, showrunners, writers, producers, cinematographers and production designers as they share opinions on the ins and outs of the business, advice on getting green-lit, insights into moving-image technology, accounts of the creative process - all this and more! It's a bounty of information and inspiration for fans, fellow creators, students and industry professionals alike."

The following complete lineup will take place online at VIFF Connect. A replay of each talk will be available within 24 hours of the event for anyone who has a ticket or a VIFF Connect subscription, but is unable to watch at the scheduled time. Ticket holders will have 24 hours to watch THE TALK once they press "Play."

VIFF TALKS: Creators and innovators share expertise on their craft
Presented by Creative BC

Oka, the Legacy 30 Years On | Saturday, September 26, 6pm PDT (Live)
Tracey Deer, Director, Beans
Jules Koostachin, Filmmaker

Thirty years to the day since the end of the Oka Crisis, filmmakers Tracey Deer and Jules Koostachin discuss the legacy of resistance. Deer's Beans, screening at VIFF 20, is inspired by her own coming of age as a Kanien'kéhaka (Mohawk) girl in Kahnawake during the 1990 conflict. The conversation explores that pivotal moment in our national history, how it plays out on-screen, and how it continues to shape Indigenous land disputes.

In Conversation with Charlie Kaufman | Sunday, September 27, 6pm PDT (Pre-recorded)
Charlie Kaufman, Writer/Director, I'm Thinking of Ending Things

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's latest film, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, is an uncanny, tightly wound metaphysical thriller streaming worldwide on Netflix. Adapted from Iain Reid's critically acclaimed debut novel, the film tackles our assumptions about identity and relationships in Kaufman's signature surrealistic style. Join Kaufman for a conversation on the process of adapting Reid's material for the screen.

Case Study: This Extraordinary Being, Watchmen | Monday, September 28, 6pm PDT (Live)
Greg Middleton, Cinematographer, Watchmen
Stephen Williams, Director, Watchmen
Host: Simon Barry, Creator, Warrior Nun

HBO broke new ground with the critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated Watchmen - undoubtedly one of the best limited series of 2019. One particular episode, This Extraordinary Being, was shot in black-and white, and still has everyone talking. Go behind the scenes with two Emmy-nominated guests, cinematographer Greg Middleton and director Stephen Williams, as they provide an insider's view of one of the year's most exciting hours of television.

Creating Satirical Comedies | Tuesday, September 29, 6pm (Live)
Supported by Pacific Screenwriting Program
Tony McNamara, Creator/Showrunner/Executive Producer, The Great
Alena Smith, Creator/Showrunner/Executive Producer, Dickinson

For those interested in contemporary stories wrapped in historical fiction, featured guests are the showrunners of two unique and audaciously funny series: Tony McNamara is the creator of the Emmy-nominated The Great, featuring Elle Fanning, and the Peabody Award-winning Alena Smith is the creator of Dickinson, featuring Hailee Steinfeld. Both shows are wild, weird, irreverent, satirical, and bitingly funny. Perfect for writers and fans alike.

Actors in Conversation | Wednesday, September 30, 6pm (Live)
Aubrey Plaza, Actor, Black Bear
Christopher Abbott, Actor, Black Bear
Sarah Gadon, Actor, Black Bear

Whether it's True Detective, Catch-22, or Alias Grace; Letterkenny, Parks and Recreation, or Girls; American Woman, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, or Black Bear (screening at VIFF 2020), our guests Aubrey Plaza, Sarah Gadon, and Christopher Abbott are forging remarkable careers in the worlds of TV and film. The group will talk about the director/actor collaboration and the challenge of doing meaningful work; they'll also share their inspirations and techniques, as well as advice they have for upcoming actors.

Creating the Look | Thursday, October 1, 6pm PDT (Pre-recorded)
Supported by ACFC West Local 20 Unifor
Mark Friedberg, Production Designer, The Underground Railroad

Emmy Award-winning production designer Mark Friedberg has collaborated with some of our favorite directors, including Ang Lee (The Ice Storm), Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), Wes Anderson (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk and The Underground Railroad), Ava DuVernay (Selma) and Todd Phillips (Joker), to name a few. Join Friedberg as he discusses creating some of his favorite cinematic worlds.

Meet the Showrunners | Friday, October 2, 6pm PDT (Pre-recorded)
Supported by Pacific Screenwriting Program
Marsha Greene, Co-Showrunner, Mary Kills People
Nathaniel Halpern, Creator/Showrunner/Executive Producer, Tales from the Loop
Bruce Miller, Creator/Showrunner/Executive Producer, The Handmaid's Tale
Tanya Saracho, Creator/Showrunner/Executive Producer, Vida

The annual showrunners session returns with some fan favorites. From dystopian tragedies to medical dramas, and from trailblazing queer and Latinx stories to unique sci-fi worlds, all featured guests are on their 'A' game. Up for discussion: re-writing scripts for pandemic times, challenges in Zoom rooms, the Current TV landscape and how cultural shifts are impacting storytelling.

Master Craftsman of Light and Lens | Saturday, October 3, 6pm PDT (Pre-recorded)
Rob McLachlan, Cinematographer, Lovecraft Country

Rob McLachlan is an award-winning cinematographer whose artistic vision, technical know-how and creativity lie behind such renowned shows as Ray Donovan, Game of Thrones, Westworld, and, most recently, the HBO series Lovecraft Country. The veteran cinematographer will provide insights into how he creates the look and feel of those shows, as well as sharing his process in working across multiple genres, shooting on film vs. shooting in digital, and collaborating with directors.

Moving Forward: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion | Monday, October 5, 6pm PDT (Live)
Presented by UBCP/ACTRA
Karen Lam, Writer/Director, The Curse of Willow Song
Jessie Anthony, Writer/Director, Brother, I Cry
Mayumi Yoshida, Actor, Hello Ninja
Charles Officer, Director, Akilla's Escape
Omari Newton, Actor/ Writer/Director/ Producer

How can we diversify our industry, make it more inclusive, and ensure that there are meaningful opportunities for BIPOC and marginalized or equity-seeking groups within it? These questions are now being asked with great urgency, as frustration at the slow pace of change increases. Our guests - at various stages in their careers - are all artists from groups that are often under- or misrepresented on screen; in this session, they'll discuss the successes they've achieved and the challenges they still face.

Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott on The New Corporation | Tuesday, October 6, 6pm (Live)
Joel Bakan, Director, The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel; The Magnitude of All Things
Jennifer Abbott, Writer, The Corporation

After Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott's The Corporation transformed VIFF audiences in 2003, Bakan and Abbott return to the 2020 Festival for a follow-up, The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel. Refreshing the corporation's evolution as a legal "person" to a virtue signalling chameleon, the new film is an incisive and comprehensive exploration of power and hypocrisy in the face of a growing resistance. Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott join us for a conversation dissecting their approach to a follow-up, taking the conversation beyond the screen and expanding on why, 17 years on, the urgency for an update is essential.

VIFF LIVE: Unparalleled experiences that go beyond the cinema screen

Keyboard Fantasies: An Evening with Beverly Glenn-Copeland | Thursday, October 1, 5:30pm PDT (Pre-recorded)
This one-off virtual VIFF LIVE event is also a worldwide exclusive: right after our one-time-only screening of Keyboard Fantasies, director Posy Dixon will join Canadian composer Beverly Glenn-Copeland for a short conversation which will be followed by an intimate 30-minute performance.

One of the first queer Black classical music students to attend McGill University, Glenn initially made music in relative obscurity. Now a transgender practicing Buddhist, he's enjoying a late-career renaissance stemming from the rediscovery of his self-released, Atari-generated album Keyboard Fantasies (1986). A younger audience has found and embraced Glenn's trailblazing Fusion of electronic, folk, and classical, and after three decades, he's earned cult status among the elite of contemporary electronic music. In every frame of Dixon's bright and generous portrait, there's a gentle and introspective wisdom that amplifies Glenn's deep reciprocity with both his audience and his fellow musicians.

Coinciding with the September 25 release of Glenn's new album, Transmissions: The Music of Beverly Glenn-Copeland, this unique event marks the only time Dixon's film will be accompanied by a performance.


Related Articles View More TV Stories

From This Author TV News Desk