Rainy days call for a movie night!

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The 38th annual Göteborg Film Festival(GIFF) has once again descended upon the city of Goteborg. This year, in addition to continuing to promote Nordic film, the festival will offer a number of Japanese selections including the Studio Ghibli documentary “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness” in the ‘Japan in Focus’ category.

I was pretty impressed with the lineup of the festival last year (which was my first year attending the film festival). So far, it looks like GIFF continues to show a great selection of international and Nordic films.

Visitors to GIFF can take advantage of seeing movies in some beautiful venues around the city.

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Draken theatre is one of the main theatres for the festival!

The Göteborg Film Festival offers more than just movies, with workshops, music and more. It’s nice to have a festival in town in the winter. It brings some life into the sleepy town and it’s just perfect to duck into a movie on a chilly day.

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Snowy weekend as GIFF begins

GIFF takes place Jan 23rd-Feb 2nd. For tickets, check out their website:

http://www.giff.se/
http://filmweb01.filmfestival.org/filmfestival/info/en/festivalprogram/filmer

If you are in Göteborg during the festival, be sure to check it out!

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I Am Way Out West 2013

IMG_1265The evening before the festival began at Slottsskogen (“Castle Forest” park in central Goteborg)


Being our first sommar in Sweden it was our first time at Way Out West in Göteborg! Posters for the festival were all over town and I was curious to see what all the fuss was about.

The musical line-up for the festival was quite impressive. There were performances by popular artists I had never heard of before like The Knife (more dancing than singing) and Håkan Hellström (the Swedes went wild while he was onstage, and it’s no surprise as his hometown is Göteborg) as well as ones that I marked on my list to see, such as, Of Monsters and Men, Miguel, Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar and Alicia Keys. It was nice to be able to see what the other stages had on to see some random acts as well. It’s one of the great things about festivals – you can discover new music, and just wander around during performances if you feel like it. There was a good festival vibe all around.

IMG_1279Map of the festival grounds at Slottsskogen

IMG_1297The park looks so different with all the vendors and stages set-up. Hard to believe it’s the same place I used to do my morning runs!

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IMG_1357Stage clean-up at the end of the night

IMG_1358Huge iPhones 😉

IMG_1369Public Enemy!

IMG_1384Alicia Keys closed out Way Out West 2013

Being a fan of Alicia Keys from the very start, I was thrilled to get the chance to see her perform my favorite songs
live! She is such a talented artist and really knows how to pump up the crowd, although I must say, the crowd was
already pretty hyped to see her perform!!

A clip from Alicia Keys performing “You Don’t Know My Name”

Alicia calls the guy from the restaurant Hahaha

Festival food was hit or miss. We definitely liked the Churros from mandelmannen.se,
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The VEGETARIAN Pho on the otherhand…
should have known it wouldn’t be good without MEAT. All food served on festival grounds is Vegetarian!

IMG_3493Obviously Not Authentic…

IMG_3525Something’s missing…oh yeah the Meat!

Saw a few films during the festival as well and checked out 3 of 5 theatres where films were being screened. It was a
great way to escape the rain, however, I was disappointed that many of the special screenings only had Swedish subtitles like the Swedish world premiere of “Easy Money” (or Snabba Cash). The website neglected to mention that information. I unfortunately wasn’t able to see a few films I was looking forward to checking out.

IMG_1273New this year was a tent at Slottsskogen screening evening films

Svensk Sommar is a mix of sunshine and rain, and it’s been like this for the majority of August. We weren’t allowed to bring umbrellas (paraply) on site but there were ponchos at various tents. Fortunately, the torrential downpour waited until after Alicia Key’s performance on Saturday night. We biked home in the rain, soaked, but didn’t matter as we were still on cloud 9 after an amazing performance.

IMG_1275Ben & Jerry’s Rain Ponchos!!

 

I always wondered where all the Tretorns were in the winter, being a Swedish brand and all. I’ve seen more
hunters here. But now I know. When Hipster Swedes aren’t wearing Converse, than they are wearing Tretorns because the
festival grounds can get muddy, Although I must point out that they did make good use of the rubber mats near the
stages.

IMG_3558This pic would be so perfect If the dog was wearing converse too

Didn’t get a chance to attend any of the Way Out West Talks but most of them were in Swedish. Overall, I had an awesome time at the festival! Saw some great performances, checked out a few films and made sure to take home some festival swag 😉

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VIFF 2011 – Woman in a Septic Tank Review

Vancouver, Canada – The first feature film by director Marlon Rivera, Woman in a Septic Tank (Ang Babae sa Septic Tank), is a welcome change to the usual ‘poverty porn’ churned out by Filipino filmmakers.

A satire on Filipino filmmaking, the story follows two Indie filmmakers as they plan out their latest project ‘Walang Wala’ or ‘With Nothing’,  about a mother, Mila (Eugene Domingo) who is forced to sell her child to survive.

The director’s clever formula focuses on a few of Mila’s sequences retold in many different ways,  as it seems everyone has their own idea on how the part should be played. Rivera does a wonderful job of going back and forth between the ‘Walang Wala’ film and the filmmakers’ story.

There were a few lengthy scenes that could have been shortened and improved, specifically those used in the initial sequences. How many times does the viewer need to watch Mila scoop soup into bowls?

Other than that, the characters were relatable, the dialogue was witty and humourous and the actors’ performances were lively and enthusiastic . Along with a plethora of jokes about prize-winning Pinoy movies, not to mention the ‘septic tank’ scene, Woman in a Septic Tank is a brilliant, entertaining film that is sure to appeal to both a Filipino and Non-Filipino audience alike.

Filipino Indie cinema has come a long way with this offering from Marlon Rivera.  The film sends out a message to other Filipino filmmakers that there is no need to purely focus or limit one’s self to poverty related stories just because you want to tell a story about the Philippines.There are so many more stories just waiting to be told.

Judging on how this film is being received, the Filipino audience is ready for them. Hopefully, other Indie directors will take note and follow suit.

Woman in a Septic Tank had it’s first international premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival(VIFF) on Monday, Oct 3. The film has also been selected as the Philippines contender for the foreign-language Oscar.

Check out the full trailer below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqDG_P96Rb0

Not Your Typical Sunday…

..or a Typical Taiwanese Film.

VIFF 2010: Pinoy Sunday

Written and directed by Ho Wing Ding, I had the opportunity to see “Pinoy Sunday” at the Vancouver International Film Festival last week.

The film tells the story of two Filipino workers living in multicultural modern Taipei, Taiwan, a country where Filipinos represent the largest ethnic minority. One Sunday while sitting, eating mango ice and talking about their lives, they stumble upon a couch.

The characters fantasize about being able to relax on the couch after a hard day’s work, Taiwan Beer in hand, although Dado prefers that it be a San Miguel, the traditional beer of the Philippines.

This beautiful red leather sofa represents more than just a comfortable place to lie and relax on. To them, it’s a chance to feel somewhat  ‘at home’ in this foreign land. This couch would also be the one possession they owned in Taiwan, unlike their living quarters which belonged to their employers.

They decide that they must bring the couch back with them. With little money to pay for a truck, and with no other means of transport, they make the ridiculous decision to carry it back and their Sunday adventure begins.

Taipei 101, a common sight in their daily commute, helped give them a sense a direction on their way.

Although this was a film set in Taiwan, and by a Taiwanese director, he did a great job with the humor in the film. Filipinos and non-filipinos alike will be entertained by the offbeat pair made up of a single, playboy, Manuel and the more *responsible* family man, Dado, who stays in touch with his family but also has another relationship in Taiwan.

The serious and darker themes of the film, Overseas Filipino Workers, and the struggle of separation from their families and country are highlighted as well, but the mood of the film remained positive.

One of the examples of the relationship between migrant workers and the Taiwanese can be seen in the film when they accidentally knock a man off his scooter with the couch. The man yells at them the Filipinos that they should speak Chinese!

I very much enjoyed this film. The director did a great job with the film’s humor, while still giving the audience a look at the lives of Overseas Workers in Taiwan. We were all left, rooting for the pair, hoping they’d succeed on this comical task to find their way home.

With over 380 films from over 80 different countries, he Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) opened 2 weeks ago and runs until Oct 15th. This was definitely a film that was worth checking out.

For more info on great indie films, that differ from the mainstream norm, check out the VIFF.org website.

More Info on Pinoy Sunday can be found on their website.
http://www.pinoysunday.com