A Guide to Vancouver Film Festivals

By: George Adelman
Bobina de 16mm. Tomada en digital. Frederic Comí / Getty Images

Teeming with breathtaking natural sights, Vancouver lies in the west of Canada and is known for having a diverse diaspora. Multiple ethnic groups and religious communities reside in vibrant Vancouver, which is partly why the city hosts a plethora of cultural events catering to people from diversified backgrounds. From swimming carnivals and food galas to theatrical showcases and cinematic celebrations, every festival in Vancouver brings color and joy to the city. While all the social gatherings are enjoyed by locals and foreigners alike, some events are particularly better-received and anticipated for all year round, such as the many film festivals spaced throughout the twelve months of the year.

Though the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is globally recognized and looked forward to, the Canadian mega-city holds many more ceremonies honoring films and cinema. The most intriguing aspect of all Vancouver cinematic commemorations is their unapologetic acceptance and promotion of the most emotive films addressing delicate issues. Be it challenging documentaries or controversial queer films, every Vancouver film festival works for particular genres and underscores the relevant cinematic pieces based on the script, production, and execution. Vancouver is a dreamland for cinephiles, like a candy store for kids.

If you are a diehard movie aficionado, you should check out these film fiestas at least once in a lifetime.


The International Vancouver Film Festival

The most popular of all Vancouver film celebrations, VIFF, occurs every year from late September to early October. It exhibits more than 300 dynamic films worldwide, bringing the crème de la crème of world cinema to Canada.

Vancouver Asian Film Festival

The oldest Asian film festival in the country, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, is a nod to Canada’s welcoming character as a country. It celebrates the Asian community in the country and worldwide by bringing their positive side to screens. The commemoration’s focus circles primarily around contemporary Asian cinema, with films made by North American filmmakers of Asian descent taking center stage.

Vancouver Asian Film Festival is celebrated in early November every year.

Vancouver Jewish Film Festival

Vancouver Jewish film festival brings contemporary Jewish cinematic wonders to the city, followed by panel discussions and special events. It is the longest-running Jewish film festival in Canada that also takes place in early November.

Whistler Film Festival And Filmmakers’ Forum

Annually celebrated from later November to early December, the Whistler Film Festival is organized by the Whistler film society, screening more than 90 extraordinary films from all over Canada and the world. The gathering is succeeded by another mega convention, the filmmakers’ forum, one of the most significant events of the industry.


Doxa Documentary Film Festival

Hosted by a non-profit documentary association of the same name, the Doxa Documentary Film Festival brings intensely stirring motion picture pieces by independent filmmakers from all over Canada. It happens each year from early to mid-March.

Vancouver Queer Film Festival

Celebrating individuality and promoting inclusion, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival is orchestrated each year after the annual pride parade and festival (which typically happens in early august), showcasing the finest of queer independent cinema.

Year-Round Essential Cinema At The Cinematheque

One of Canada’s most renowned film institutes, Pacific Cinematheque Pacifique, serves as the gathering site for most Vancouver film festivals. But during the months when the reputable institution isn’t hosting a cinematic celebration, it runs its film series for movie buffs to enjoy.

Head on to the mesmerizing city of Vancouver to appreciate the dynamic art of motion pictures!