tu, directed by Suzanne Friesen

SCA @ VIFF 2020

Compiled with SCA alumni and accomplished filmmaker Suzanne Friesen (whose own film tu is screening, too), here's a cheat-sheet of films by SCA folks in this year's Vancouver International Film Festival. VIFF is streaming online from September 24 – October 7, 2020, via VIFF Connect, the festival’s new online streaming platform. Make sure to add these to your viewing schedule!

Monkey Beach

Loretta Todd's Monkey Beach opened the festival with its World Premiere. Based on the book of the same name by Giller Prize finalist (2017) Eden Robinson, the film is "a modern epic underpinned by themes that have long defined heroic journeys ... a reconnection with the land, its denizens and the secrets it holds," and "a testament to Indigenous women’s ability to not just endure trials but emerge from them empowered." Todd was one of the first Indigenous women to pursue film studies at SFU in the SCA in the 1990s. She also directed the award-winning films The Learning Path (1991), "Hands of History" (1994), "Forgotten Warriors" (1997), and "Kainayssini Imanistaisiwa: The People Go On" (2003), and created, produced, and directed the Cree children’s series Tansi! Nehiyawetan on APTN. She also created the popular Cree language learning app, MyCree, and the webseries and transmedia project Fierce Girls about Indigenous girl superheroes. Find out more HERE.

Spring Tide

SCA alumni Jean Parsons (Director), Jeremy Cox (Cinematographer), and Elizabeth Cairns (Production Design) worked on Spring Tide, which is part of the VIFF Short Forum: Programme 2. Here's how it's described on the VIFF site: "A teen woman is ready to experiment, but an older man’s demands burden her sexual awakening with complex realizations about her place in the world." Find out more HERE.

A New Leash on Life

SCA alumni Daniel Jeffery (Director), Mackenzie Warner (Screenwriter, Music), and Rowan Landaiche (Production Design) worked on A New Leash on Life, which is part of the VIFF Short Forum: Programme 3. Here's how it's described on the VIFF site: "After one too many rage-filled outbursts, a magical talking dog named Basketball must talk his owner, Frank, out of having him put down." This will be A New Leash on Life's Canadian Premiere. Find out more HERE.


Directed by Meredith Hama-Brown and featuring the work of cinematographer Norm Li, who was the cinematographer for Elle-Maija Tailfeathers' and SCA alumni Kathleen Hepburn's The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open as well as Hepburn's short film Never Steady Never Still, Cosmic includes SCA alumni Sara Blake (Producer), Daniel Jeffery (Editor), Sophie Jarvis (Production Design), Natasha When (Assistant Director), Ryan Ermacora (1st AC), and Suzanne Friesen (2nd AC) in the creative crew. Presented as part of the VIFF Short Forum: Programme 4, here's how it's described on the VIFF site: "A woman and man in their early sixties try to cure their loneliness on a second date that sees them sneaking into an abandoned bowling alley." This will be Cosmic's Canadian Premiere. Find out more HERE.


SCA alumni Suzanne Friesen (Director), Ryan Ermacora (Cinematographer), Cameron Mackenzie (Production Design), Sasha Tomasky (Assistant Director), Ryan Clough-Carroll (1st AC), Grace Mathisen (2nd AC), Hannah Wheatley (Production Sound), River Miller (Costume), and Ray Hinkle (ADR Recordist) worked on tu, which is part of the VIFF Short Forum: Programme 1. Here's how it's described on the VIFF site: "Memories, identity, intergenerational trauma and diaspora become merged and confused. An exploration of a meditative respite from the human condition." This will be tu's World Premiere. Find out more HERE.

Sunken Cave and a Migrating Bird

SCA alumni Qiuli Wu directed Sunken Cave and a Migrating Bird, which is part of the VIFF Short Forum: Programme 4. Here's how it's described on the VIFF site: "Out of boredom, two siblings decide to steal a fish from a zoo’s artificial lake. Wandering about, they gradually realize that their surroundings are a mysterious echo of another place." This will be Sunken Cave and a Migrating Bird's World Premiere. Find out more HERE.

2019 participants

VIFF Catalyst Mentorship Program

SFU alumni Jade Baxter, Michelle Kee, and Hannah Dubois were among 15 participants in this year's VIFF Catalyst Mentorship Program, which is a "cohort-based facilitated mentorship program, presented by TELUS Storyhive and supported by the RBC Emerging Artists Project." All Catalyst participants "receive a professional development stipend, a full online festival subscription, eight exclusive flagship group sessions, and one-on-one mentorship opportunities." Find out more HERE.