Victoria Film Festival Screens 109 Features in its 2023 Program

Victoria Film Festival 2023

The Victoria Film Festival, known for its eclectic mix of shorts and features, runs February 3 – 12 this year.

The festival’s films tell 109 stories, with 82 feature-length and 26 short films, representing 27 countries. One makes its international debut and eight make Canadian debuts. Fifteen have a female lead, and 44 a female director. There are five films made by Victoria-based filmmakers. 

Other notable numbers: 

• 30 Canadian features 

• 4 Quebec features 

• 4 LGTBQ+ features 

• 4 Indigenous features 

The Festival’s Opening Film is Emily by Francis O’Connor in her directorial debut, a biopic of one world’s most famous authors, Emily Brontë.

Highlights of the features screening at this year’s Festival:

  • A Cedar is Life will make its Canadian debut at the 2023 Victoria Film Festival, produced by locals Harold C. Joe & Leslie Bland. 
  • The Canadian premiere of Master Gardener, which stars Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver and is written and directed by Paul Schrader. 
  • Ballad of a Great Disordered Heart, a documentary feature from Scotland making its International Premiere at the VFF. The evening includes live music by Aidan O’Rourke and local legend Daniel Lapp. 
  • One Fine Morning, which won the Europa Cinemas Label for the best European film at Cannes\2022 Cannes winner for Direction in a French Film, Metronom. 

As usual the format includes Q&As by filmmakers at selected screenings.

Springboard Industry Seminars 

VFF also hosts its Industry Panel events Springboard and Masterclass, February 3 – 5.

Springboard will include producers, directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, and composers under the theme “Busting Out,” exploring how to pitch and get your ideas in front of those who can make them a reality. Guest panelists include Academy Award-winning composer Mychael Danna, screenwriter Sophie Jarvis, cinematographer Jeremy Cox, director Kurtis David Harder, talent agent Ari Wise and many others. 

The Masterclasses on February 5th shares on how to put the “Wow” in a low-budget film. 

In Conversation with Paul Schrader 

Prolific screenwriter Paul Schrader, most famous for films like Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and American Gigolo will participate in the Festival’s annual In Conversation showcase, during which he’ll be presented with the VFF Modern Masters and be gifted a work of art created by Richard Hunt.

Art Exhibit – Bringing Film to Life

The VFF has always been interested in how film and visual arts combine. Since 1999 they’ve supported an art exhibit that interprets the intersection between film and visual arts. During the 29th  Victoria Film Festival, the Atrium at 800 Yates Street will display an Art Exhibit titled Bringing Film to Life with new art created by ten artists. Entry to the exhibit is free. 

There are multiple venues to view the film festival offerings, including a whale watching boat, Blue Bridge Theatre, the Odeon on Yates, Capitol 6 and the Vic Theatre. 

Tickets and details are available at