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VIFF 2020 Opening Night: Monkey Beach (World Premiere)

VIFF 2020 Opening Night: Monkey Beach (World Premiere)

The Vancouver International Film Festival kicks off its 2020 season on Thursday, September 24 with the World Premiere of Loretta Todd’s MONKEY BEACH.
In bringing BC author Eden Robinson’s beloved novel to the screen, Todd offers us a modern epic underpinned by themes that have long defined heroic journeys in a debut feature narrative that unfolds through a thrilling array of temporal shifts and stylistic flourishes. A film about re-connection with the land, its denizens and the secrets it holds, MONKEY BEACH is also a testament to Indigenous women’s ability to not just endure trials, but emerge from them empowered.

Made in BC and based on the best-selling novel, the film is set and filmed in Vancouver, and in and around Kitimaat Village. The film showcases an exciting roster of up-and-coming talent, including lead actress Grace Dove (The Revenant), Joel Oulette (Trickster) and veteran Adam Beach (Flags of Our Fathers; Windtalkers). It is the first dramatic theatrical feature directed by Loretta Todd, and the first screen adaptation of Eden Robinson’s work (with Trickster due to premiere on CBC this fall).

Waking up in her East Van apartment nursing another hangover, Lisa (Grace Dove) is served notice by her cousin’s ghost (Sera-Lys McArthur), “Your family needs you.” Reunited with her Haisli kin in Kitimaat Village, she realizes that she’s meant to save her brother (Joel Oulette) from a tragic fate she’s foreseen since childhood. Of course, there’s also the matter of contending with the mystical creatures lurking in the nearby woods. And so begins a captivating allegory about learning to coexist with both the ghosts that haunt us and spirits who might enlighten us.

Thursday, September 24
Doors 6:00 pm | Movie 6:30 pm *Start time subject to change
Ticketing info www.viffest.org

*Must be 19+ w/ID for bar service. Sorry, Rio Theatre Groupons and passes n/a for this event.

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MONKEY BEACH (Loretta Todd, 2020 / 103 mins / 14A) Five hundred miles north of Vancouver is Kitamaat, an Indian reservation in the homeland of the Haisla people. Growing up a tough, wild tomboy, swimming, fighting, and fishing in a remote village where the land slips into the green ocean on the edge of the world, Lisamarie has always been different. Visited by ghosts and shapeshifters, tormented by premonitions, she can’t escape the sense that something terrible is waiting for her. She recounts her enchanted yet scarred life as she journeys in her speedboat up the frigid waters of the Douglas Channel. She is searching for her brother, dead by drowning, and in her own way running as fast as she can toward danger. Circling her brother’s tragic death are the remarkable characters that make up her family: Lisamarie’s parents, struggling to join their Haisla heritage with Western ways; Uncle Mick, a Native rights activist and devoted Elvis fan; and the headstrong Ma-ma-oo (Haisla for “grandmother”), a guardian of tradition.