Four must-see hidden gems at the 2021 Victoria Film Festival

Four must-see hidden gems at the 2021 Victoria Film Festival
Alex Litvin / Unsplash
CHEK's Graham Cox was joined by Head of Programming with the Victoria Film Festival, Kinga Binkowska, to look at four must-see hidden gems, available this year, that movie fans won't want to miss.

It may feel like a more unique movie experience for festival-goers – including the lack of visiting a theatre and watching on screens from home – but the Victoria Film Festival has moved its popular annual event into the virtual world for 2021.

Starting Friday, Feb. 5, participants will be able to choose their own snacks, beverages and create their own home watching environment in order to take in a roster of hand-picked films that aren’t widely available elsewhere, such as on Netflix.

Boasting over 50 curated films, head of programming with the Victoria Film Festival, Kinga Binkowska, says this year’s films are “very diverse and inclusive.”

While festival-goers are able to see several local selections this season – including a variety of Indigenous-made films – Binkowska notes that due to the different global film landscape created by the COVID-19 pandemic, staff decided to broaden their selection parameters to add a few options that “are not your typical festival films.”

Choosing which films to target during any season can be an overwhelming task so CHEK’s Graham Cox sat down with Binkowska in order to help source some under-the-radar selections that movie fans must check out.

From a documentary looking into how Artificial Intelligence will impact humans in the future to a light-hearted comedy about prison inmates performing a well-known stage play, these four films can’t be missed.

Here are four must-see hidden gems that will be featured at the 2021 Victoria Film Festival.

1. Shiva Baby – Canada

Danielle is different things to many people. To her parents, she’s still their dependent as they fund her way through a gender studies degree. To Maya, she’s an ex-girlfriend from high school with unresolved feelings. In their “mutually beneficial” relationship, well-established sugar daddy Max thinks he’s helping pay her way through law school. As Danielle meanders her way into adulthood, all of these separate identities have co-existed without much difficulty. But one afternoon as she attends shiva with her parents, her worlds collide in this wonderfully dark comedy.


2. iHuman – Norway

iHuman, is a documentary thriller that explores the most powerful and far-reaching technology of our time –  Artificial Intelligence. With a unique access to pioneers at the frontline of the AI revolution, it explores opportunities and challenges that it can bring and its impact on the global community.

3. The Big Hit – France

The Big Hit follows Étienne, who is a past-his-prime but endearing theatre actor giving more drama lessons than actually spending time acting on a theatre stage. He is hired to be in charge of a project that’s very much new territory for him – a theatre workshop in a prison. Étienne ambitiously brings together an unlikely yet lovable troupe of convicts to stage Samuel Beckett’s famous play Waiting for Godot. After an unanticipated initial success, the colourful troupe is allowed to go on a tour outside the prison, with a final performance on one of the most prestigious stages in France, Paris’s Théâtre de l’Odéon. And that’s when things get complicated…

4. Fanny Lye Deliver’d – United Kingdom

Set on an isolated farm in Shropshire in 1657. The story of Fanny Lye, a woman who learns to transcend her oppressive marriage and discover a new world of possibility – albeit at great personal cost. Living a life of Puritan stricture with husband John and young son Arthur, Fanny Lye’s world is shaken to its core by the unexpected arrival of two strangers in need, a young couple closely pursued by a ruthless sheriff and his deputy.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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