Spotlight on UK, Indigenous, Quebec films at Victoria festival

A meet-and-greet with Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin and the international premiere of Game of Thrones’ star Aidan Gillen's new film are among highlights of the Victoria Film Festival, which runs from Feb. 2 to 11.

Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin and Game of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen among stars

Pickups, with Irish Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen, is among the films featured at the 2018 Victoria Film Festival. (Victoria Film Festival)

Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin and Game of Thrones' star Aidan Gillen's new film are among the marquee events at the Victoria Film Festival, which runs from Feb. 2 to 11.

Kathy Kay, the festival's director, said the film lineup has broadened this year with a special programmer for selections from the U.K, as well as for Indigenous, Canadian and Quebec films.

Kay spoke with On the Island's Khalil Akhtar about some film fest highlights, meet-and-greets with the stars and how many movies she watches.

We know you can't pick favourites but what are some of the highlights?

The Party's got Kristin Scott Thomas and Patricia Clarkson and then there's an international premiere of Pickups with Aidan Gillen, [who stars in Game of Thrones as as Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish].

There's one about Sammy Davis Jr. and at the same time there's one about André Leon Talley (a former Vogue editor) and their stories are kind of the same in a way, and it's fascinating and great to get a chance to watch both those documentaries.

The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, screening at the Victoria Film Festival, documents the life of the Tales of the City novels' author. (The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin)

How can people interact with the special guests?

They do attend their films, and depending on the guest, they do enjoy coming to a party. They'll come to the gala, filmmakers and donors have access in our VIP lounge.

There's the Q and A and usually they stick around for a little bit afterwards. With Armistead Maupin this year he's actually doing a meet-and-greet just after the screening of his film.

Another great icon for the world, Alanis Obomsawin is coming. She's made 50 films and I think her documentary [Our People Will be Healed] will touch a lot of people.

How many films do you watch in a year?

I don't know, I guess maybe 500, 600 films a year.

There are some days when you don't watch any, or hardly anything, but there are days when you watch five or six. When I go to Toronto, I've watched eight films in one day.

Do you watch films all the way through?

You always give them a fair shot. If it's a feature film, we kind of have the half-hour mark.

And then we'll usually fast forward through a bit to see if they bring something together, but it's usually fairly early on that you can tell they haven't really done their work to put something great on screen.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

With files from CBC's On the Island.