VIFF chooses 2017 Cannes favourite for closing gala film

The Vancouver International Film Festival announced Wednesday that Todd Haynes' film Wonderstruck has landed the much vaunted spot of closing gala film.

Entertainment industry big wigs to headline VIFF Creator Talks series

Cast members attend the screening of Wonderstruck at the Cannes Film Festival in May. VIFF announced Wednesday that Wonderstruck will be the festival's closing film. (Reuters/Stephane Mahe)

The Vancouver International Film Festival announced Wednesday that Todd Haynes' film Wonderstruck has landed the much vaunted spot of closing gala film.

Wonderstruck stars Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams and was touted by some film critics as an Oscar contender following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this spring.

The film takes place in two time periods from the perspectives of two runaway children.

VIFF's 2017 season runs from Sept. 28 to Oct.13 — and is jammed with more than 300 films from Canada and around the world.

Sandra Oh stars in Meditation Park, VIFF's opening film. The comedy is written, produced and directed by Vancouver filmmaker Mina Shum. (Mongrel Media)

The opening film, announced in mid-August, is Meditation Park, a bittersweet comedy starring Sandra Oh. Vancouverite Mina Shum is the writer, director and producer.

Meditation Park tells the story of a 60-year-old Chinese Canadian wife, mother and grandmother living in East Vancouver whose life is forever altered by circumstance.

"Her life completely changes when she discovers an orange thong in her husband's pants," explained Shum.

Another festival highlight is a documentary about acclaimed spoken word artist Shane Koyczan.  

Shut up and Say Something will screen at VIFF's B.C. Spotlight awards gala Oct. 7.

Industry big wigs headline Creator Talks

Industry panel sessions and talks by renowned members of the entertainment industry are a perennial favourite.

Canadian success story Jeremy Podeswa, the director of Game of Thrones, will be a keynote speaker during the festival's popular Creator Talks series.

Carlton Cruise, director of Bates Motel, and David Slade, executive producer of the popular Netflix series Black Mirror will also be part of the Creator Talks.

Huge expectations for 2017 festival

VIFF's executive director Jacqueline Dupuis says she has huge expectations for this year's festival.

"It's going to be amazing ... the excitement by the audiences so far have been really fantastic — so I think it's going to be one of our best festivals yet."

Festival and event tickets are available online Sept. 7 and in-person at the 1181 Seymour St. box office on Sept. 14.