We’re so proud to be hosting so many local and internationally acclaimed artists this season! Check out a sampling of artists down below, and head over to our Artists page to see them all. Get up close and personal with some of our guests–attend their workshops and get valuable industry advice straight from the source!

Visiting Artists | Maple Smoked Cinema


Nailing the pictureFresh off the success of his CBC miniseries The Book of Negroes, producer Damon D’Oliveira and writer/star/director Maxime Desmons will present the local premiere of their feature What We Have (Ce qu’on a) about an émigré looking to escape his past once he moves to Northern Ontario. Both Producer and Director will also lead a free filmmaking workshop called “Nailing the Picture” so be sure to check it out!



Pat-Mills (1)Toronto-based comedy writer/actor Pat Mills (You Can’t Do That on Television) brings his edgy comedy Guidance for its Vancouver premiere:

“David is a former child star whose life is in the dumps. When he can’t make rent, he resorts to a desperate scheme to cobble his life back together by impersonating a guidance counsellor at a local high school. A loveable character in deep denial of his sexuality, David makes well-meaning attempts to support the students, but suffers epic fails once he employs his usual coping strategies. Well-shot and introspective in its dark humour on education, addiction and self-help, Guidance propels viewers into a Toronto of small enclaves, broad highways, and big laughter.”


ITTPRESS6The youngest festival guest is 12-year-old Crystal Labonte from Timmins, ON – the inspiring subject of the film In the Turn. Crystal and her mother Karen have been fighting for equal rights for transgender youth in their small corner of Northern Ontario since Crystal was denied the right to play sports in her school. Director Erica Tremblay will also be in attendance.



International Visiting Artists


July Jung_2Cannes-award-winning filmmaker July Jung is making a special trip from South Korea to present her brilliant, complex psychodrama A Girl at My Door (Dohee-Ya) as the festival’s Centrepiece Gala! She will also be presenting a Master Class:

“A unique opportunity, this session will involve an expansive outlining of July Jung’s processes as one of the rising filmmakers of our time. In Q + A format, we’ll dive into July Jung’s distinctive experiences with film, from her critically-acclaimed short- and feature-length films (A Girl at My Door) to her exciting future projects. Harmonizing sound, philosophical elements, flawless acting, and a captivating motion picture worthy of premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Jung will discuss her belief in film as a collaborative process, and her work as a director to see it through. Whether you are a burgeoning artist, a seasoned filmmaker, an interested critical thinker or curious film fan, this workshop is for you!”


LonnyShavelsonDirector Lonny Shavelson leads a panel discussion with Johnnie Pratt from his documentary Three to Infinity: Beyond Two Genders, inviting viewers to open their minds and hearts to a future that includes many forms of gender expression:

“In one of the most thoughtful documentaries on gender non-conformity we’ve seen, director Lonny Shavelson offers us an inspirational and loving essay on the multiplicity of genders outside the binary. A landmark contribution to cinema on genderqueer, gender variant and gender non-conforming identities,Three to Infinity bears touching testimony from parents and partners, and exceptional individuals living beyond the gender binary who are forging new paths towards authentic, accepted lives.”




michielthomas_fallonfox_fbBelgian-raised, US-based director Michiel Thomas makes his first trip to Vancouver to present the illuminating Game Face with one of the starts, Terrence Clemens as the Festival’s Closing Gala film! Join us for this exhilarating, no-holds-barred documentary that brings intimate introduction to two athletes waging the biggest fights of their lives: coming out in their professional careers while continuing to remain at the top of their games. Fallon Fox, the first transgender Mixed Martial Arts fighter, copes with an unwanted media frenzy in the midst of her rising and prolific career. And at point guard pace, Terrence Clemens must contend with his experience of incarceration and being outed in LA as he works to rebuild his life and basketball career in Oklahoma. Their experiences demonstrate how far the world of sports has come in accepting LGBTQ players and how much work there is left to do—and queer basketball star Jason Collins and celebrated trans* basketball player Kye Allums show solidarity and support. Through adept filmmaking and intimate video diaries, Game Face gives us a glimpse of two athletes who’ve chosen to get in the ring for their rights in sport, their dignity and their communities.