CVAG Film Series


Series passes for the Fall 2018 Film Series are now available.

Films run on Sundays at 5pm at the Rialto Theatre, 2665 Cliffe Ave. Courtenay (Driftwood Mall).

The series pass provides access to all seven films for $91 for CVAG members/$98 for non-members. Individual tickets will be $14 each for CVAG members/$15 for non-members.

Call 250.338.6211 ext. 1 to purchase passes over the phone, or drop by CVAG at 580 Duncan Ave, Courtenay.


September 16 – Unarmed Verses
September 30 – Mary Goes Round
October 14 – Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
October 21 – The Miseducation of Cameron Post
October 28 – Mary Shelley
November 4 – Cardinals
November 18 and 21 – Three Identical Strangers

Film Series Brochure 2018

About the Comox Valley Art Gallery 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.


UNARMED VERSES – Sunday, September 16 at 5 p.m.
Directed by: Charles Officer
CANADA, 2017
Language: English
86 minutes
With: Francine Valentine

An impassioned portrait of self-expression and the universal desire for a sense of belonging, Charles Officer’s deeply affecting Unarmed Verses follows Francine Valentine, a sensitive, shy, and fiercely curious adolescent, as she discovers the power of poetry, of music, and of her own voice.
Officer spent over a year documenting the luminous Francine and her family, and much of his film is devoted to her involvement in a songwriting and recording program run by the grassroots community-building organization Art Starts. Though clearly gifted, Francine battles both her diffidence and deep-seated insecurities about her identity. (A single, profound shot of her bedroom wall depicts a poster of two girls — European and Asian in appearance — identified through graffiti as “perfect.”) Living with her father, elderly grandmother, and brother in a Toronto community housing project, Francine is also facing relocation to make way for a new mixed-use development, an index of the city’s relentless gentrification and a lack of concern for existing residents. All of this is assembled seamlessly and lyrically by Officer, whose skill is especially evident in his delicate use of sound — as befits his engaging young subject.
Winner of the Best Canadian Feature Documentary prize at Hot Docs and the People’s Choice Award at the Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, Unarmed Verses is a poignant study of both a young girl and a community that are engaged in a nebulous fight for their place in this world.

“There’s a quiet, discreet magic at work with Charles
Officer’s latest documentary.”

–Brad Wheeler,
The Globe and Mail


MARY GOES ROUND – Sunday September 30 at 5 p.m.
Directed by: Molly McGlynn
CANADA, 2018
Language: English
84 minutes
Principal Cast: Aya Cash, Sara Waisglass,
John Ralston, Melanie Nicholls-King

Mary has not led a charmed existence. Her family split up when she was a child and, after her mother died, she was left alone, uninterested in (and maybe incapable of ) reconnecting with her father, Walt (John Ralston), or her younger sister, Robyn (Sara Waisglass). A string of heartbreaks has fuelled Mary’s alcoholism, which she’s now having a hard time hiding. After a particularly disastrous night, complete with a drunk-driving charge, Mary accepts her father’s entreaty to visit and realizes others might have even bigger problems than she does.
Molly McGlynn’s finely observed Mary Goes Round begins with a surprise that’s slyly funny. But the film is more artful character study than easy laughs. McGlynn’s smart script provides us with an array of compelling characters, all plagued by unique demons. Walt worries how his mistakes will affect Mary and Robyn. Mary’s new-found friend, Lou, is a sympathetic and engaging home-care worker who may have the most complicated past of all. On the periphery are Lou’s aging charges who have a lot to teach Mary about self-pity. And there’s a flummoxed, good-natured cop who turns out to be uncommonly understanding.
At the centre is Aya Cash (TV’s You’re the Worst), in a textured, touching performance as Mary, a woman-child anxiously fighting pain she doesn’t understand and has a tough time acknowledging. Tooling around town on a kid’s bike, Mary is a complicated emblem of resilience wobbling towards the realization that caring about others might actually be the way to escape one’s own trauma.

“Mary Goes Round handles its story beats with
a canny mixture of rueful humor, warmth and
realism. The script by McGlynn (whose own
immediate-family history is roughly akin to Mary’s)
is understated and astute, with characters that never
feel like ‘types.’ ”

–Dennis Harvey,

ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH – October 14 at 5 p.m.
Directed by: Jennifer Baichwal
CANADA, 2018
Language: English
Run Time TBC
With: Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal,
Nick de Pencier

In the highly anticipated third instalment of an arresting art exhibition, Anthropocene finds
the award-winning Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky teaming up again with
acclaimed director Jennifer Baichwal (Long Time Running; Watermark) and producer Nick de Pencier (Watermark; Manufactured
Landscapes) to explore humanity’s impact on the natural world. Four years in the making, Anthropocene is not only a film, but also an event that is sure to effectively capture everyone’s attention with its stunning visuals and timely activism. “Anthropocene” is a term signifying the exact time of human influence on Earth’s geographic landscape. The Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), an international team of scientists, has spent the last 10 years researching this period and its effects on the planet — namely, the dangerous interference with Earth’s natural resources. Burtynsky explores these geographic detonations with the AWG by visiting lithium evaporation ponds in the Atacama Desert, potash mines in Russia, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and other places strongly affected by human domination. Using his photography skills,Burtynsky highlights these devastating impacts in stunning, artistic shots. The documentary takes on a surreal feeling, yet it calls attention to the very real threat of Earth’s slow dissolution. The film combines art and science, using the two different fields of expression to shed light on a global problem that is not going away any time soon.

“Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and
Nicholas de Pencier are Canadian artists who are
at the very forefront of their fields. This [film and]
exhibition will demonstrate the power of art to
engage us aesthetically and intellectually on issues
of pressing concern.”

– Marc Mayer, Director and CEO,
National Gallery of Canada


Directed by: Desiree Akhavan
USA, 2018
Language: English
90 minutes
Principal Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Jennifer Ehle,
Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck

After her clandestine romance with her female best friend is revealed, Cameron Post’s (Chloë Grace Moretz, Brain on Fire; The Clouds of Sils Maria) conservative aunt and guardian sends
her away to undergo conversion therapy.
Despite dealing with the tragedy of losing her parents in a car crash, Cameron seemingly fits in well with her conservative Montana community: she performs well at school, holds a place on the track team, participates in her local youth group, and has a picture-perfect boyfriend on her arm. However, when she and her best friend Coley are caught embracing after a high school dance, Cameron’s life quickly comes crashing down around her.
Cameron is immediately sent to pray away her “same-sex attraction” at God’s Promise, an evangelical conversion therapy camp, where she’s forced to wrestle with her identity and sexual orientation among a group of similarly stranded youths. After making a real connection with fellow campers Jane Fonda (Sasha Lane, American Honey; Hearts Beat Loud) and Adam Red Eagle (Forrest Goodluck, Indian Horse; The Revenant) and seeing some of the devastating effects of the camp’s program on others, Cameron is forced to question the legitimacy of the camp’s dogmatic teachings and decide for herself who she really is.
Winner of the US Grand Jury Prize for best dramatic feature at Sundance, The Miseducation of Cameron Post deftly explores how identities, families, and communities are intertwined through its stellar cast of up-and-coming actors and Desiree Akhavan’s skilled and thoughtful direction.

“Chloë Grace Moretz puts in a career-best turn as a
teen sent to ‘pray away the gay’ at a Christian camp
in Desiree Akhavan’s compassionate LGBT story.”

– Jordan Hoffman,
The Guardian


MARY SHELLEY – October 28 at 5 p.m.
Directed by: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Language: English
120 minutes
Principal Cast: Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth,
Bel Powley, Tom Sturridge

Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour (Wadjda) and starring Elle Fanning (The Beguiled; 20th Century Women), Mary Shelley depicts the author as a fiercely modern 19th-century woman, and her Frankenstein as the product of unbridled imagination and profound grief.
Daughter of political philosophers William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, who died giving birth to her, Mary (Fanning) is a bookish adolescent of humble means when she meets Percy Bysshe Shelley (Douglas Booth, The Riot Club; Romeo & Juliet). Though only 21, he is already a celebrated young poet — and a shameless womanizer with one collapsing
marriage already under his belt. Defying her beloved but disapproving father, Mary absconds with Shelley — her stepsister, Claire (Bel Powley, A Royal Night Out), in tow. Mary seeks “unconventional approaches to living,” and finds it in spades with her debt-ridden bon vivant scribe, who desires neither monogamy nor the constraints of fatherly responsibility. Yet Percy believes in Mary, and two years into their union he whisks her away to a Swiss chateau for a summer of carefree living presided over by Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge, On the Road; Far from the Madding Crowd), where Mary will confront personal demons and compose the most influential horror novel of all time.
As Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker, Al-Mansour is as much a pioneer as her heroine. She renders Mary Shelley as a sumptuous and intoxicating proto-feminist tale of fearless self-actualization and fiery creativity.

“Mary Shelley is a luscious-looking spectacle,
drenched in the colors and visceral sensations of
nature, the sensuality of young lovers, the passionate
disappointment of loss and betrayal. But above all it
is a film about ideas that breaks out of the well-worn
mold of period drama (partly, anyway) by reaching
deeply into the mind of the extraordinary woman
who wrote the Gothic evergreen Frankenstein.”

– Deborah Young,
The Hollywood Reporter


CARDINALS – November 4 at 5 p.m.
Directed by: Grayson Moore, Aidan Shipley
CANADA, 2017
Language: English
84 minutes
Principal Cast: Sheila McCarthy, Katie Boland,
Grace Glowicki, Peter Spence, Peter MacNeill,
Noah Reid

After years in prison for a drunk-driving accident causing death, former convict Valerie Walker (Sheila McCarthy, Algonquin; TV’s Little Mosque on the Prairie) returns home. She is greeted by her daughters, Eleanor(Katie Boland, Daydream Nation) and Zoe (Grace Glowicki, Suck It Up), and the three hit up a burger joint before returning to their suburban home. The community keeps to itself and Valerie plans on moving on without revisiting any of the events she has had years to ponder.
But the deceased man’s son Mark (Noah Reid, Old Stock; Score: A Hockey Musical) soon shows up at Valerie’s door. He comes for closure, but makes his suspicions about Valerie’s motives crystal clear, as he does his intention to dig until he hits the core. Exasperated, Valerie needs to keep at bay past witnesses, an inquisitive therapist, and a creeping Mark, all while protecting her daughters.
The acerbic wit of the script, written by co-director Grayson Moore, is astonishing. Tonally, Cardinals’ razor-sharp dark humour permeates through a genuinely gripping psychological thriller. McCarthy’s towering performance is at the centre of it all, as her character navigates the palpable malaise that her return has triggered while testing whether what goes around always comes around.

“From its opening scenes, Cardinals sets a standard
of no-holds-barred storytelling.”

– Lydia Ogwang,
Cinema Scope


Three Identical Strangers – November 18 and 21 at 5 p.m.
Directed by:
UK, 2018
Language: English
96 minutes
With: Robert Shafran, David Kellman, Eddy Galland

In Tim Wardle’s Sundance Special Jury Prize–winning documentary, a chance encounter brings three identical triplets together nearly two decades after they were separated at birth and adopted by separate families. However, their elation at their reunion is soon undermined by the realities of fame, family, and a creeping suspicion that something sinister tore them from one other in the first place.
Robert Shafran arrives at college ready to reinvent himself, but when strangers continue to refer to him as “Eddy,” their welcomes quickly become unnerving. Robert soon finds himself face-to-face with his exact double: Eddy Galland. The pair’s astonishment at finding each other and the incredible story of their past and chance meeting is quickly picked up by local media, catching the attention of David Kellman, their identical triplet.
With the three brothers happily reunited and busy taking full advantage of their newfound celebrity, their parents take up the less pleasant task of investigating what separated the three young men in the first place. When their questions are met with evasive and unsatisfactory responses from the triplets’ adoption agency, a larger conspiracy bubbles to the surface, with an indeterminate number of victims at play.
A film of triumph and tragedy, and a true testament to the power of documentary film, Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers leads its audience through an emotional journey about how we understand our families and ourselves.

“A gripping, stranger-than-fiction account of a
real-world medical conspiracy, the film begins as a
human-interest story and builds to an impressive
work of investigative journalism into how and why
they were placed with the families who raised them.”

– Peter Debruge,