Dates 7 - 16 May 2010 Venues Vancity Theatre, Pacific Cinematheque & Empire Granville Theatres

No Fun City

85 min. Canada, 2010 dir. Melissa James and Kate Kroll, | Reviewer John Jane

This film, made on location in Vancouver, may be of special interest to those – and I’m sure there are many – Vancouverites who believe that the title aptly describes their town. With perhaps the most restrictive licencing laws of any major city in the western world, Vancouver has certainly earned its reputation as a “No Fun City”. It would seem that the city’s bureaucrats and politicians would be happy to turn all but the downtown entertainment district generally confined to the south Granville Street corridor into a ghost town after midnight.

No Fun City is a film about the underground music scene in Vancouver and its ongoing struggle in a city that seems to want no part of it. It follows the misadventures of colourful local promoters Wendy13, the last manager of the infamous Cobalt Motor Hotel on Main Street right in the middle of “Canada's poorest postal code” and Malice Liveit from the Sweatshop as they face police raids, eviction notices, heavy fines and lawsuits.

The city’s attack on such venues does have its supporters. Patrons at these venues have been known to get wildly drunk, and then out of control. But, as we watch “The Cobalt” close its doors for the last time, we cannot help but sympathise with the plight of those who would keep Vancouver's extreme underground music scene alive. The film features interviews and performances of some local bands.


89 min. Iceland, 2009 dir. Andri Snaer Magnason and Thorfinnur Gudnason, Soundtrack Valgeir Sigurdsson | Reviewer John Jane

In watching Andri Snaer Magnason's critical essay about the Icelandic government’s ill-advised decisions to sacrifice the Nation's environment in undertaking the huge Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Project, it quickly becomes obvious that the film’s title – Dreamland – is a purely satirical one. A more obvious title might have been “The seduction of Iceland’s economy by a large corporation”.

Magnason chronicles how Iceland's government actively pursue an ill-fated programme to attract Alcoa Inc, the world’s largest aluminum company with a promise of cheap energy. The film is worth seeing if only for its breathtaking aerial photography. However, its heavy journalistic narrative makes for stark storytelling. The film certainly offers rhetorical arguments that put the tiny country’s environmental and financial problems into an historical perspective. Since it was made the nation’s three leading banks have collapsed and Iceland now owns a huge dept and a very unsettling future.

The Referees (Les Arbitres)

77 min. Belgium, 2009 dir. Lehericey Delphine and Yves Hinant | Reviewer John Jane

If you’re an air traffic controller, an inner city high school teacher or a stock exchange floor trader then you already know what work related stress is all about. But at least you won’t likely require police protection for up to twelve hours after you finish your shift.

Besides the pressure of having to control a 90-minute game involving 22 passionate players in front of a partisan crowd of up to 70,000, professional soccer referees must make split-second decisions that can easily effect the final result. This fast-paced film focuses on three such heroes who officiated at the EURO 2008 championship held in Austria and Switzerland: Howard Webb from England, Pieter Vink from Holland and Roberto Rosetti from Italy who handled the final match between Germany and Spain. The film provides a peek into the psyche of those who would subject themselves and in some cases their families to such adversity for the love of the game.

Soccer devotees will notice former referee Pierluigi Collina in his new capacity as a member of the UEFA Referees Committee.

Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life

60 min. Canada, 2007 dir. Joan Prowse | Reviewer John Jane

By any measure, Buffy Sainte-Marie has had an incredible career, arguably being the most successful aboriginal artist ever. All the more remarkable considering that she has achieved much of her success on her own terms. Joan Prowse’s film provides a snapshot of a career that has endured for five decades as well as fleeting glimpses into her personal life.

The film features performances in concert and television including film footage of Sesame Street episodes and Interviews with some of her music contemporaries including Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, Taj Mahal and Steppenwolf's John Kay. The concert segments include some of the singer’s most inspiring songs such as: Fallen Angels, Until It's Time for You to Go, Universal Soldier

Prowse’s cinematic study is not a biopic. It offers the audience hardly more than a peek into her personal relationships. Sainte-Marie was married three times to: Dewain Bugbee, Sheldon Wolfchild (father to her son Cody) and Jack Nitzsche, but only her current partner, Chuck Wilson was interviewed.