Reel People: Cory Monteith, Queer Film Fest and more

Vancouver’s second largest film festival returns on Aug. 14 with a jam-packed line-up of thought-provoking queer cinema. With more than 80 films from 11 countries on its schedule, the 26th edition of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival is its heftiest to date.

“We’re the largest queer arts festival in Western Canada, and continue to explore boundaries and provoke meaningful conversations with our film lineup,” says Drew Dennis, Executive Director of Out On Screen.

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Highlights include the Russian drama Winter Journey, which offers a glimpse into queer lives in contemporary Russia; Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger, a documentary about a queer scholar navigating a world where gender binaries are the norm; Love is Strange, a multi-generational story of love and marriage starring John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, and Marisa Tomei; and the Robert Redford-produced Drunktown’s Finest, in which the challenges of three Navajo people living on a reservation (including a transgender woman) are explored.

Venues include the Vancouver Playhouse, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, and Cineplex Odeon International Village. Until Aug. 24. Tickets and additional info at QueerFilmFestival.ca.

The nominees for the 15th Annual Canadian Comedy Awards were announced last month, and some of Vancouver’s funniest folks are in the running for fame and glory (or, at the very least, a warm fuzzy feeling and a congratulatory tweet). Vancouver nominees include Lawrence & Holloman and That Burning Feeling (Best Feature Film); Convos with my 2-year-old (Best Web Series); Jay Brazeau (Best Male Performance in a Feature); Neil Every (Best Direction in a Web Series); and Julia Voth for Citytv’s locally shot sitcom, Package Deal (Best Female Performance in a TV Series). The awards will be handed out Sept. 10-14 in Ottawa. Peruse the nomination list at CanadianComedy.ca.

Speaking of Lawrence & Holloman, this favourite of the 2013 Vancouver International Film Festival – which has gone on to win 11 awards at 11 different film festivals – will begin its Vancouver theatrical run at the Vancity Theatre on July 18 (followed by a stint at the Rio Theatre beginning July 24).

Lawrence & Holloman marks the feature film directorial debut of Matthew Kowalchuk, and stars Daniel Arnold as Holloman, a cynical and suicidal accounting clerk who gets taken under the wing of a happy-go-lucky suit salesman named Lawrence (portrayed by Ben Cotton). Screening info and more at LawrenceAndHolloman.com.

Project Limelight – a charity that provides free performing arts programs to children living on Vancouver’s Eastside – will present two performances of The Chocolate Factory at The Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at SFU Woodward’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts on July 13. The musical comedy features 22 enthusiastic performers between the ages of eight and 14. Project Limelight received an outpouring of donations following the death of Glee actor Cory Monteith, who had been an active and vocal supporter of the organization. Tickets and information at ProjectLimelightSociety.org.

Casting news: actress Leah Gibson (Arctic Air; True Heroines) has joined A&E's The Returned, an adaptation of an acclaimed French series about a small town that is turned upside down when several local people who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear; actor Mig Macario (Once Upon a Time) has booked a role on Rush, an original series premiering on USA Network on July 17; and the fan-dubbed Grand Empress of Sci-fi, actress-director Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG-1; Sanctuary), is currently directing an episode of the yet-to-premiere CBC series Strange Empire, set in an 1860s Western frontier town. 

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