CVAG Film Series

The Comox Valley Art Gallery Film Series is a selection of titles from the Toronto International Film Festival Film Circuit. We present two Film Series each year – one in winter/spring and one in the fall.

CVAG staff and volunteers organize the film series, and proceeds go towards our artistic programming.
About the TIFF Film Circuit

Founded in 1989, Film Circuit is the film outreach program of the Toronto International Film Festival. It brings the best of Canadian and international films to communities across the country.

Through an alternate model of grassroots distribution, marketing and exhibition, the TIFF Film Circuit encompasses over 180 groups in over 160 communities across Canada and helps TIFF lead the world in building markets and audience for Canadian cinema.


Tickets are $13 for CVAG members, $14 for non-members.

Tickets (and CVAG memberships) can be purchased at the CVAG Shop, or by calling 250.338.6211 ext. 1.

All screenings are at the Rialto Theatre, 2665 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay, at 5pm.

Films are often sold out, so we strongly recommend purchasing tickets in advance. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis so we suggest arriving early. Attendees should not reserve more than one seat, and there is no seating after 5pm.

The films in this series are:

March 25 + March 28 THE LEISURE SEEKER*

See below for film details.




Director: Nora Twomey
Cast: Saara Chaudry, Soma Chhaya, Laara Sadiq
Year: 2017
Runtime: 93 mins
Country: Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg
Language: English

Director Nora Twomey’s The Breadwinner, based on Deborah Ellis’ award-winning novel, breathes life into the extraordinary story of 11-year-old Afghan girl Parvana, born into an ever-changing world of conflict and oppression, who finds strength in the love of her family and the power of storytelling.

In Taliban-controlled Kabul, women and girls are not permitted to leave the house unescorted, to earn money, or to shop for food and supplies in the market. When Parvana’s father, a teacher, is unfairly imprisoned, she must disguise herself as a boy to become her family’s sole breadwinner. Showing courage and perseverance, Parvana does anything she can to support her family, while trying desperately to help free her father.


Director: Alexandra Dean
Cast: Mel Brooks, Diane Kruger
Year: 2017
Runtime: 90 mins
Country: USA
Language: English

Hedy Lamarr was a Hollywood movie star who was hailed as the most beautiful and glamorous in the world. However, that was only the surface that tragically obscured her astounding true talents. Foremost of them was her inventive genius that a world blinded by her beauty could not recognize as far back as her youth in Austria with her homemade gadgets. This film explores Lamarr’s life which included escaping a loveless marriage on the eve of Nazi Germany’s conquest of her nation to a new career in Hollywood. However, her intellectual contributions were denied their due even when she offered them in the service of her new home during World War II. Only after years of career and personal decline in her troubled life would Lamarr learn that her staggering aptitude created brilliant engineering concepts that revolutionized telecommunications, which forced the world to realize the hidden abilities of a woman it had so unfairly underestimated.


Director: Paul McGuigan
Cast: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell
Year: 2017
Runtime: 105 mins
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English

The sultry Gloria Grahame won a best supporting actress Oscar for her performance in 1952’s The Bad and the Beautiful. She appeared in films alongside Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, and a bevy of other icons. Her star blazed brightly then faded quickly, but she did not disappear. How Grahame spent her later years is the subject of this beautiful — and rare — ode to life after fame.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool features as fine a performance as you will see this year: Annette Bening’s portrayal of Grahame. She is paired brilliantly with Jamie Bell, who breathes pure empathy into his role as Gloria’s lover Peter Turner, a working-class English actor. Drawing on Turner’s memoir of the same name, director Paul McGuigan fashions a moving narrative that embraces the high and lows of the erstwhile Hollywood star’s time spent living in Liverpool in the 1970s. Gloria is in her fifties, but her vitality and eccentricity leave Peter, who is decades younger, enraptured by this outrageous new force in his life.

As the two embark on their romance, we follow them from England to Los Angeles, from stage to hospital, and from laughter to tears. Unorthodox and sincere, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is the kind of showbiz love story seldom depicted onscreen.


Director: Petra Volpe
Cast: Marie Leuenberger, Max Simonischek
Year: 2017
Runtime: 96 mins
Country: Switzerland
Language: German (English subtitles)

Switzerland, 1971. Nora is a young housewife and mother, living her life in relative contentment in a quaint village in the countryside. Unaffected by the major social unrest and the women’s suffrage movement going on elsewhere, things are much the same as they have always been in her town, and Nora quietly goes about her days being friendly with everyone. But after her husband forbids her from going back to work, she joins the cause of her oppressed fellow women, unwilling to stay quiet any longer. Launching into a public stand on the issue, tensions between the townspeople and Nora rise ever higher as the day of the deciding vote draws near.

THE DIVINE ORDER is the latest project by Swiss filmmaker Petra Volpe. With women’s voices at the centre of the narrative and behind the lens, this light-hearted suffrage story offers important commentary on the rights we take for granted in our daily lives. Winner of the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, the film’s powerful and relevant message is connecting with audiences around the world.


Director: Cédric Klapisch
Cast: Pio Marmai, Ana Girardot, François Civil
Year: 2017
Runtime: 113 mins
Country: France
Language: French (English Subtitles)

Ten years after leaving his native Burgundy to make a tour of the world, Jean returns home with his father who is at the point of death. Once together with his sister Juliette and his brother Jérémie, and following the death of his father just before the beginning of the harvest, Jean will have to find and reinvent his fraternity.

March 25 + March 28THE LEISURE SEEKER

*The March 25 screening is sold out, but we have arranged for a second screening on Wednesday, March 28. Tickets are on sale now.

Director: Paolo Virzi
Cast: Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland
Year: 2017
Runtime: 112 mins
Country: Italy
Language: English

Canadian acting legend Donald Sutherland and Academy Award winner Helen Mirren star in this wise and witty road movie set in today’s divided United States. The English-language debut of Italian director Paolo Virzì (Like Crazy), The Leisure Seeker takes an entire country as its canvas and a couple of ageing adventurers as its lovable heroes.

Ella (Mirren) is dying of cancer. John (Sutherland) is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Neither is interested in quietly fading away surrounded by nurses and machines just to needlessly prolong a winnowing life. With the end of the road in sight, Ella opts to tune up their vintage RV and hit the highway, travelling from Boston to Florida with John behind the wheel. He may not always be cognizant of the nature of their trip — she assures him it’s just a vacation — but he gets into the spirit. As they pass through cities and towns they see how much the world they know has changed for ill or for good. And they try to leave it on a graceful note.